I really wish that they were showing more of the training footage so you guys could see how challenging it is to not only work with guys that you are just getting to know, but to make sure we are catering to each guy’s personal needs. Fighters need to be confident in their training to feel confident in their fight.
Mike Ricci is a very smart guy and he truly came on this show to win. He wanted to fight Hill because he was their No. 2 pick. I think it also probably had something to do with the fact that he knew it would get in Hill’s head if they fought and it did.
We let the guys pick coaches and Bristol and I clicked from the beginning, so that probably had something to do with him picking me. I hated having to coach against Neil, but was glad to know that Bristol wanted me in his corner. We truly wanted both of these guys (and anyone on our team) to win this show. The fact that we were being put in this position when it was even (4 Team Carwin and 4 Team Nelson) was very frustrating. We knew our guys would fight each other eventually, but none of us saw this coming.
Bristol Marunde vs. Neil Magny
This was my first time cornering across the cage from Trevor Wittman, since we are always in the same corner. I planned to look over and see his cheesy smile that he is known for, but it wasn’t there and that disappointed me a little!
In all seriousness though, it was a good fight. Round 1 was very close, and Neil seemed to find his groove in Round 2. Neil seems to always get better as the fight goes on. Bristol was a leader on our team from day one. He was humble in the victories he had, and humble in this defeat as well. His attitude didn’t change one bit and he left the locker room with a smile on his face.
Yes, he was disappointed to lose the fight, but he fought as hard as he could and that is all we can ever hope for in a fighter. Neil had the same smile as always and didn’t enjoy the victory that much, he was already thinking about the next one.
Igor Araujo vs. Colton Smith
The weigh-ins for this fight were crazy. You have to understand that there is no security, no Dana White, no commissioner, and nobody to hold these guys back during the staredown. This isn’t a quick 10-second staredown either; they are about a minute or two long and very awkward.
Igor is a very intellectual guy and can speak like five different languages fluently. Somewhere in those languages, Colton calling him a “Mother (expletive)” translated wrong!!!!
He went crazy saying, “Don’t you call my mama a (expletive)!” Thankfully, Shane stepped in and tried breaking them up, while Roy sat back and enjoyed the show. I really think they would have fought if Shane didn’t stepped up.
Unfortunately, the fight wasn’t as entertaining as the weigh-in. We knew there was a good chance that Colton would get Igor to the ground. Igor is a black belt in BJJ and we wanted constant attacks from bottom and were confident that Igor could catch him. Colton is a lot better on the ground than we had given him credit for. He was able to control the fight on the ground and earn the decision.
I hated seeing Igor lose. To be honest, when I first met Igor during the fights to get into the house, I thought he had a bad attitude. He was paired in the other locker room from us and we had to coach against him.
He knew Nate Marquardt from training in the past and he thought we were strategically coaching against him. He came up to us after the fight and basically called us out and said that we told the guy his strengths, which was not true.
I thought he was a little crazy. Once we got him on our team, I quickly realized how wrong I was about Igor. He has a huge heart and values his family more than anything in the world, just like any real man should. He was a pleasure to be around and I’m glad we had him on our team.
Until next time…
Leister Bowling: Wrestling/MMA Coach at Grudge Training Center and Easton BJJ. You can follow Leister on Twitter @LeisterBowling or Email [email protected] for training tips/seminar information.
(Photo courtesy of Leister Bowling)