As Strikeforce Career Comes to a Close, Isaac Vallie-Flagg Hopes for Octagon Debut in 2013


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Isaac Vallie-Flagg is hardly the authority on verbal warfare. He won’t make headlines for his out-of-the-cage antics. He has never asked anyone to, “Let me bang, bro.”

In an individual sport that often rewards those who draw the most attention to themselves, Vallie-Flagg shuns the limelight with his unassuming nature -- perhaps at least part of the reason why it has taken the 34-year-old Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts product as long as it has to reach a more prominent position in the sport. On three separate occasions, Vallie-Flagg auditioned for an opportunity to compete on a season of “The Ultimate Fighter” – twice at 170 pounds and once at 155 – and all three times he failed to make the final cut.

“I’m not a loudmouth, I try not to talk (expletive) unless I really don’t like somebody,” he told Sherdog.com. “I know what sells on TV, and I know my attitude doesn’t sell on TV. Hopefully my fights will sell themselves.”

Until recently, Vallie-Flagg toiled on the regional level, competing everywhere from New Mexico to Hawaii to an ill-fated card in the Dominican Republic. In May 2011, he finally received a call-up to the bigger stage, earning a split verdict over Brian Melancon at Strikeforce “Overeem vs. Werdum” in May 2011.

He returned to the promotion’s hexagon some 11 months later as a heavy underdog against Gesias Cavalcante, who was once thought to be one of the world’s top lightweights thanks to his dominance on the Japanese MMA circuit. Fifteen minutes later, buoyed by a relentless and diverse striking attack, Vallie-Flagg emerged with a split-decision triumph over the former K-1 standout.

It was a career-defining moment, the kind of victory that should, in theory, lead to bigger and better things.

“I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for a week after that,” he said. “I was just really excited. I wanted to ride that momentum farther into my Strikeforce career.”

Vallie-Flagg was then booked for a matchup with Brazilian prospect Adriano Martins on a Sept. 29 card in Sacramento. However, the entire Strikeforce card was canceled when lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez withdrew from the event after injuring his shoulder in training. Showtime subsequently informed the promotion that it was no longer interested in broadcasting the card without a true headliner.

Vallie-Flagg and the rest of the fighters on the card were left to twist in the wind. Some have been added to Strikeforce’s Jan. 12 bill, which is expected to be the promotion’s swan song. Martins is scheduled to compete that night – but against Jorge Gurgel, not Vallie-Flagg.

“I really felt like it wasn’t even the best fight on the card – the Melendez-Healy fight,” Vallie-Flagg said. “It was gonna be a good fight, but I thought there were a lot of really exciting fights on the card. I think it could have carried its own. I think Showtime killing the card kind of sucked.

“Adriano’s a tough dude. That was a guy who I do think could have fought in the UFC,” he continued. “It would have been another notch in my belt to keep moving up the ladder.”

As disappointing as the cancellation was, Vallie-Flagg sees the big picture. He is hopeful that he can take his talents to the Octagon once Strikeforce closes up shop for good. There has been no formal announcement regarding the fates of the fighters under contract with Strikeforce and Showtime, but it is expected that many of them will move on to the UFC at some point in 2013.

If and when that transition happens, Vallie-Flagg wouldn’t mind taking out some of the cast of the recently-completed season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

“If I had my way, I’d fight a guy like that (expletive) idiot who was on the show – that Julian Lane kid,” he said. “Even a Mike Ricci, I know he’s coming down to 155. Hopefully I get brought over to the UFC and hopefully I get to fight soon.”

A matchup with Lane might not materialize if Vallie-Flagg does indeed move on to the UFC, because the “TUF 16” cast member is scheduled to headline Cage Fighting Fury Championships 19 on Feb. 3 in New Jersey. At least in this case, substance appears to have triumphed over style.

“I’ve had three tryouts, and I’ve never made it on the show…that’s fine with me. I’d rather be known for my hard work than being a loudmouth drunk idiot on TV,” Vallie-Flagg said. “I don’t have time to mess around in this sport. Even if I do get into the UFC I don’t want to be stuck on undercards. I want to be out there in the public eye beating tough people.”

view original article >>

Related News

  • 25 days ago
  • 74 views

A look at the turbulent year of 2011 in the career of Chael Sonnen. Including his battles with athletic commissions and return to the cage after a suspension for his failed drug test following the first Anderson Silva bout. When last we left Chael Sonnen, he was embattled in a public tussle with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. If you missed part one, you can read it here. Sonnen had gone in front of the California commission following a failed drug test in California and claimed that he'd more

  • 25 days ago
  • 26 views

In this week’s Twitter Mailbag, MMAjunkie columnist Ben Fowlkes looks at UFC 175, B.J. Penn’s attempt at a comeback, and Chael Sonnen’s fall from grace, plus much more.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC more

  • 25 days ago
  • 38 views

Rory MacDonald responds to fellow top ranked UFC welterweight Tarec Saffiedine, who recently called him out. Former Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine is looking for another fight after successfully making his UFC debut earlier this year. He defeated Hyun Gyu Lim in an entertaining fight of the night performance, and as he looks for a top contender on his next bout, he recently called out Rory MacDonald. Related: UFC: Singapore: Saffiedine vs. Lim Photo Gallery "Rory looked prett more

  • 25 days ago
  • 16 views

Although he lost a good chunk of time in his career, Stefan Struve is fortunate to be returning to the cage after a heart condition put his health at risk.Filed under: News, UFC more

  • 26 days ago
  • 33 views

On Monday, UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and former Strikeforce titleholder Gilbert Melendez began filming the twentieth season of The Ultimate Fighter in Las Vegas, NV. While the show has, in large part, become formulaic and stale, especially after a recent listless nineteenth season, this upcoming iteration at least promises a few fresh caveats, as it will not only introduce a brand new weight class to UFC audiences -- the women's 115-pound division -- but it will also crown a new ch more

  • 26 days ago
  • 24 views

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that B.J. Penn is a future UFC Hall of Famer. His mixed martial arts career began inside the Octagon at UFC 31, and over the course of his career he elevated the lightweight division to its marquee status and is one of only two men to hold UFC titles in two weight classes. A win over Frankie Edgar at the TUF 19 Finale on Sunday could add a new chapter to the legacy of “The Prodigy.” Since losing the UFC lightweight title to Frankie Edgar in April of 2010, and t more

  • 27 days ago
  • 32 views

B.J. Penn could be on the brink of a career rebirth at 145 pounds on Sunday night, when he meets Frankie Edgar in his featherweight debut. Or, the 35-year-old former welterweight and lightweight champion could be on the brink of retirement. If Penn loses to Edgar in the main event of The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, his boss is going to suggest he walk away. "This is B.J. Penn's last fight possibly," UFC president Dana White said Tuesday on FOX Sports 1. "If he w more

  • 28 days ago
  • 51 views

The worldwide leader for mixed martial arts and UFC news, MMA News, UFC Rumors, MMA Rankings, Interviews, Videos, UFC Results, and UFC Blog more

  • 28 days ago
  • 34 views

Legendary MMA fighter Bas Rutten believes Wanderlei Silva's recent drug fiasco will certainly tarnish his legacy. Bas Rutten is disappointed in Wanderlei Silva's recent downturn outside of the cage and believes the Brazilian's actions will "tarnish" his otherwise remarkable legacy. The former UFC heavyweight champion joined Australia's Submission Radio, where he discussed Silva's recent troubles with the Nevada State Athletic Commission that stem from "The Axe Murderer's" failure to comply with more