BY Jeff Cain
We’re just a couple of weeks away from “Ultimate Fight Night,” live on Spike TV, August 6th, and MMAWeekly continues to bring you sixteen fighters in sixteen days with Alex Karalexis. Alex will take on Kenny Florian, and spoke with MMAWeekly about his up coming bout, his training, and what a win will do for his fighting future. Sixteen fighters in sixteen days carries on with Alex Karalexis.

Most people know Alex Karalexis from the Spike TV original reality series, “The Ultimate Fighter.” He was eliminated from the program when he lost to the eventual winner in his weight class, Diego Sanchez. Questioned about the loss to Sanchez, and how his game has evolved since then, Alex answered, “I’ve definitely become more well rounded. You know I’ve been working my ass off on my ground game. Up until that point, I didn’t really have much of a ground game. I mean I’ve only been fighting for two years. Two years in January, so I’m still pretty new to this, and by the time I got out to, you know when the TV show started and stuff like that I only had about six to eight months to work for Laimon. I really didn’t do any Jiu-Jitsu stuff out here in Boston when I was training here. You know? I was a Carpenter at day, and pretty much fighting at night for fun. You know? Just to do something, so I mean my ground game I didn’t really start training that until about a little over a year ago. I really worked hard on it, and I think I’ve just become more of a well rounded fighter.”

Alex trains in Las Vegas with an impressive stable of fighters. He stated, “I’m out at Laimon’s camp training with Baroni, Mayhem Miller, Jay Hieron…It’s a real good crew. I’ve been out there about a year and a half now.” Karalexis continued, “The good thing about our room is that, you know, I mention the names, and a lot of people might think egos. You know just from the way that they see us. You know, Baroni, how he comes out, and Mayhem with his entrances, and stuff like that, but we all kind of bring a little something different to the table. We all learn from each other. We all get along really well, so everybody checks his ego at the door…It’s a really good learning experience.”

Training in Vegas has it’s advantages and pitfalls. Always in question is whether or not the fighter fell victim to the temptations that living in Vegas provides, or if they’ve taken training seriously. Karalexis said, “I didn’t have a penny to my name when I got out there. You know? I was a poor fighter. Man I didn’t even have a car for the first three and a half months I was out there. I was riding around in 115 degree weather with my backpack on biking four miles a day to train, and twice a day…That lifestyle stuff it doesn’t really affect me. I don’t really get wrapped up in it.”

Karalexis is well aware of what this fight means to his career. A win will launch his career in a very different direction that a loss will, and he knows it. Alex commented, “I’ve been working my entire life man. I’m a blue collar guy, and I was a Carpenter. Man I’ve framed houses in 15 below zero. You know? I’ve worked 60-70 hour weeks, so this is my chance. You know to get away from that. I don’t want to go back to that. If I ever had to pick up a hammer I could. Do I want to? No. Would I? Yeah, so this is my chance…I don’t want to mess this up man. I’m living my dream right now, and I think getting into the sport a little later I can appreciate it a little more.”

Discussing his opponent, Kenny Florian, and what advantages he has over Florian, Karalexis commented, “I think I’m bigger and stronger. I know I’m bigger, I know I’m bigger and stronger, and I think a lot of people underestimate me just from the one fight that they saw with me against Diego which I mean that wasn’t me in there. I was glad I had a chance to prove myself on April 9th, and I’m looking forward to people getting to watch that fight on July 25th.”

Alex continued, “The TV show, it’s a little different. You know? You don’t have your regular camp with you. You have two days to prepare yourself for a fight. Granted everybody went through the same thing, but that kind of messed with my head a little bit. I was convinced that if that fight hit the ground, that’s it. I lost. You know, for the first time in my life in a fight I hit the mat and said to myself awe shit, here we go. You know? And then once that happens, forget about it. I was done. I didn’t have Laimon. Laimon was actually in Diego’s corner. I had been working out with Laimon for like eight months at that point in time. You know? I didn’t have them just to work me through that man. You know if worse comes to worst just hold on until it gets stood up. You know just work my escapes to get up, or whatever. You know ride out the clock. Do whatever. I panicked. I gave up my back. He took advantage of it. That ain’t going to happen this time. A lot of people think my ground game sucks. Good. Great. You know?….Like I said, I’ve been working with Mayhem, Hieron, Laimon, so. Granted my submission skills aren’t anywhere near where Kenny’s are at right now, but guess what? This ain’t a fricken grappling tournament. It’s a fight.”

Karalexis’ prediction for the fight was, “Against Florian obviously I see me winning, and I see me winning by knockout…It might be a little drawn out because I don’t think he’s going to want to stand and trade. You know? It might be a lot of in the clinch. I think everyone knows I want to knock him out, and he wants to take me down and submit me, so he’s going to take punishment trying to take me down, and I’ll either beat him up, up top and then get a stoppage when we hits the ground, or I’ll just knock him out.”

“I’m ready to go. I’m looking forward to it,” Karalexis told MMAWeekly. In closing he added, “Kenny’s a smart fighter. I know he’s going to come ready to bring it because he got demolished by Diego like we all did on the show, so I think he’s got something to prove. You know? I think he got a little embarrassed, and I think he’s going to try to take that out on me. I’m expecting him to bring his A game, and I’m planning on bringing mine.”