Leister Bowling’s TUF 16 Coach Blog Week 5 – Finally Getting to See Who These Guys Are


Lesiter Bowling at UFC 111 with Shane Carwin & GSPThis episode showed me a lot about some of the guys. Seeing Julian kind of breaking down and saying he shouldn’t have picked that fight. The bottom line is that he picked who he thought would be his toughest fight. Looking back, it probably wasn’t the smartest pick, but it was definitely an honorable one. With Bristol’s win, we were now back in control.

We never made a quick decision and told guys right after the fight. We would always go back home and try to make the best picks we could. We also knew that if we told them who was fighting, it might backfire and make them too nervous to sleep and kind of drive them crazy.

At this point, a couple of the guys had nagging injuries, ribs, etc. and Igor had been asking us daily to put him in. In the locker room after the fight, Mike Ricci said something that couldn’t have been more accurate…. THERE ARE NO EASY FIGHTS!

Secor couldn’t have been more right, we were going to make what we felt were the most educated picks we could to advance all of our guys. We studied and had a lot of meetings to decide our picks. It was probably the most stressful part of the show for our coaching staff.

Back at the house, when all the guys were talking to Julian, definitely wasn’t the best time for Matt Secor to mess with him. Secor is a joker though and he truly didn’t like Julian. Deep down Secor just likes to get under peoples’ skin and I’m sure he wanted Julian to punch him just to get him out of the house.

Julian lost it. He may have overreacted a little, but to him, this competition was over and what did he have to lose? He just lost in the first round and nobody comes on this show to lose.

I said this in a previous blog, but two-a-day practices weren’t necessarily about hard training twice a day. It was about getting the guys out of the house and clearing their minds. They could work out if they wanted, take naps, or do whatever they pleased.

Brendan Schaub was the one that told us to make sure we got them out of the house as much as we could and we took that advice and ran with it. Our guys would come in and tell us that Team Nelson was going stir crazy and jealous that they weren’t training twice a day.

Michael Hill wasn’t only upset about the two-a-days, but he and Cameron Diffley were disappointed by the structure and organization during training. One thing I stress to every athlete I coach is that they have to BELIEVE in their coaches. If you don’t believe in your coaches, you need to find new coaches that you believe in.

In this show though, you are stuck with the team that picks you. We knew as coaches we had a very short window to get our team to buy into what we were doing. It all started with Loren Landow’s warmup every day and preaching consistency to the guys. Consistency breeds champions.

We picked Igor Araujo to fight Nic Webb. Igor is a legit BJJ black belt and Nic Webb has a BJJ background as well. We felt that Igor was more well rounded, better BJJ, and more experience.

Igor was definitely one of my favorite guys to be around. He wore his heart on his sleeve and was a man of honor. His family came first and he truly missed them and wasn’t afraid to cry and show everyone how much he missed his wife and kids. He felt guilty for being on the show.

Besides all that, he was absolutely crazy in an awesome kind of way! His gameplan “drilling” was like nothing I’ve ever seen. He would ask you a question and then want to drill it and, next thing you know, he is going all out, but with control. They show him doing this with Eliot and totally took him by surprise.

After the fight picks they show the bed incident. Mike Ricci’s reactions are priceless. He is just very polite and calm and well spoken. With his hair messed up for the first time all season, he says, “I didn’t expect to get so upset; I was really upset.” That guy cracks me up, a true silent killer!

This episode was one of my favorite TUF episodes to date. It really gave us an insight to who these guys are. The campfire scene was as real as it gets. Igor was really messed up being away from his family. He talked about them daily. I continue to be impressed with Bristol. He was a true leader and always there for the guys when they needed him.

The fight…

Well, the first round was very dominant and one-sided. Nic didn’t land one punch, didn’t threaten one submission, not one takedown. At the time, I thought it was going to a third round because the second round was very close and Nic ended up on top.

After watching again though, the first round was as one-sided as a fight can be; there just wasn’t much damage. I can’t argue that a 10-8 wasn’t warranted. Igor was really amped up for this fight being that it was his son’s birthday and I think that is part of what lead to the fatigue.

Dana thought that decision was as bad as it gets and reminds the guys to never leave it in the hands of the judges (easier said than done sometimes). Will the judging get better or worse? Only time will tell.

Until next time…

Leister Bowling: Wrestling/MMA Coach at Grudge Training Center and Easton BJJ. You can follow Leister on Twitter @LeisterBowling or Email Leister3B@gmail.com for training tips/seminar information.

(Photo courtesy of Leister Bowling)

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