by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The first fight for Gilbert Yvel in the UFC definitely didn’t go the way the Dutch striker intended.
Facing Junior Dos Santos in January, Yvel was excited to finally enter the Octagon, but the end result was a TKO loss. The former Pride and Affliction fighter admits that to this day he still hasn’t gone back to watch the footage.
“First of all, I didn’t see the fight. I was very embarrassed,” said Yvel recently on MMAWeekly Radio.
Every fighter reacts differently to their first fight in the Octagon, and butterflies seems to be a common theme. Yvel says he was surprised by the amount of nerves that struck him prior to stepping into the Octagon for the first time, but it’s over now and he’s ready to move on.
“To be honest I was really nervous and I was like losing it a little bit in the gym, but for now my training camp goes very well. We have already been here for the past three months,” Yvel commented. “Three months of sparring, still trouble getting good sparring partners. I hope I won’t be nervous the next time, but I’m ready.”
It all boils down to the dream of fighting in the UFC. Like getting called up to the big leagues in baseball, he equates the UFC to finally making it to the “show,” and sometimes it’s hard to take all that in at once.
“It’s my dream to fight in the UFC,” Yvel commented. “I’ve been fighting in the big shows around the world, but I think the UFC is the end station for every fighter.”
Ready to put the last fight behind him, Yvel is now ready to challenge former IFL heavyweight Ben Rothwell at UFC 115 in Vancouver. Originally set to face former sparring partner Pat Barry, Yvel got Rothwell instead, and says that there are obvious differences between the two, but nothing he hasn’t faced before.
“Basically Pat Barry’s a small guy, and Ben is a big guy. And let’s be honest, we all like to fight the small guy, but that’s okay it doesn’t matter,” said Yvel. “Maybe I fight next time, Pat. Either way, one of those I can knock out so Ben this time, maybe Pat the next time.”
The size difference is considerable between Rothwell and Yvel, but the Dutch fighter believes speed will kill in this match-up.
“The good thing is when you’re so big and heavy, you’re not that fast. The bad thing is there’ s a lot of power behind his punches and kicks,” said Yvel.
“Every punch he thinks he wants to throw, I give him three. And after every punch he does throw, he’s going to get four back.”