From here on out, I am going to try to focus more on what happened during training that wasn’t shown rather than the drama that was going on in the house.
This week, Team Carwin had control. We thought a lot about who we wanted to pick and why.
We viewed Colton Smith as probably the best guy on their team. We didn’t necessarily think that he had the best overall MMA skill set, but he was really good at taking people down and controlling them and that wins fights. This is a guy that we wanted to pick to fight now and make sure we put a guy against him who we felt could not only stop his takedowns, but outwrestle him in the fight.
What most people don’t know about Eddie Ellis is that he wasn’t actually one of the 32 guys that originally had a fight to get into the house. He was an alternate. He literally had to sit and wait for weigh-ins and hope that someone missed weight. Luckily for him, someone missed weight and he ended up facing David Michaud in the fight to get into the house.
Michaud was a NCAA D1 wrestler from South Dakota State University. Eddie won that fight in impressive fashion and basically outworked the wrestler. Eddie fought at a great pace and just ground him down. We felt by judging that fight alone, he and Colton would be a really good battle, but that Eddie’s experience and wider variety of skills would win him this fight.
During training Eddie was a pessimistic perfectionist. What I mean by that is that no matter how good he does or what we tell him, he thinks he did something wrong. Eddie never wanted compliments; he wanted raw truth. The hardest part about coaching Eddie is that he does everything so good and you want to tell him, but no matter how good he is doing he will never believe you!
I have a saying that I truly believe and it is, “Champions are never satisfied!”
Eddie is the epitome of that saying. No matter how great you do, there is always room for improvement. He told us the day we picked him that he doesn’t want to be told how great he is, blah, blah, blah; he just wants the truth. Well, the truth is that Eddie couldn’t have been more of a pleasure to coach. He never questioned anything we told him to do. He has a no-nonsense attitude and when it is time to train, he bites down on his mouthpiece and he goes as hard as he can every day.
Eddie vs. Colton was a great fight and showed the warrior spirit of both guys. The first round was pretty even until about the halfway point. Eddie got taken down and got right back up just like he said he would. He ended up catching Colton and hurting him. On the ground he landed a nasty elbow that opened a HUGE cut. Towards the end of the round it looked like Eddie had complete control of the fight.
In between rounds, you can hear me telling Eddie to stay on him, he was hurt and it was now time to break him and finish him. Well, breaking Colton is easier said than done. When Colton came out for the second round, he looked just as fresh as round one. He got the takedown and worked some elbows of his own for four minutes. When Herb Dean stood them up (Eddie disagreed with that stand-up in the locker room afterwards, by the way) Eddie realized it was do or die time and as he came in got caught with a glancing blow to the temple that wobbled him.
We definitely thought it was going to a third round, but if Igor’s was a 10-8, Colton’s could have been a 10-8 as well. Judges are throwing out more 10-8 rounds than I have seen in any UFC/MMA fight I’ve been to, and they did it again, awarding the fight to Colton. The only hard thing about these is that they are two-round fights. I’m not sure how a third round would have gone as Eddie took a lot of damage in the second.
In the back, we were truly all proud of Eddie. That guy has a ton of heart and nobody can ever question that. He fought his heart out and that is all I will ever ask from a guy. I know Eddie didn’t want to hear it then and won’t like reading this now, but that was a great fight and he has nothing to hold his head about.
Like I said last week, will the judging get better or worse? Only time will tell…
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)