TUF 16 Coach Blog Week 3 – Dissecting Defeat


Lesiter Bowling at UFC 111 with Shane Carwin & GSPNeil getting the win was a huge boost to our team’s confidence. We now had control and wanted to make sure we made the best picks to keep control.

Sam Alvey was our No. 1 pick and he was also the guy who had the most weight to cut. He had kept his weight under control after the fight to get into the house. So we figured it would be best to have him fight first so he couldn’t be called to fight later on if we were to lose control. Joey Rivera was a guy who impressed me in a couple ways in his fight to get in. He seemed to stay pretty basic, and seemed very explosive when he wanted to be. That being said, we thought Sam had decent takedown defense and better striking, so this fight should definitely go our way.

Back at the house, the pranks are still coming from Team Nelson. I was impressed that they had the decency to put his bed on floaters so it wouldn’t get soaked!

A lot of people out there criticize these guys for acting crazy on the show, etc. What most people don’t have a comprehension of is how bored the guys really get.

Team Nelson at this point is only getting to leave the house once a day for training. They are stuck in that house for about 21 hours a day with absolutely no contact to the outside world. They aren’t allowed to watch TV, listen to the radio, talk on the phone, no music during training, etc. What else would you expect from a house full of guys with nothing to do?

Pranks and crap talking are their only forms of entertainment.

We stuck to two-a-days and the main reason was to try to keep our team sane. We didn’t make them train hard twice a day, but we certainly gave them options. Typically there was one structured practice and one open room practice. They could choose to get one-on-one’s with coaches, lift weights, do cardio, or even take a nap during the open room if they wanted. We just wanted to get them out of the house.

Sam Alvey is a unique individual. We picked him first not only for his fighting ability, but also for his composure and attitude. Pat Barry knew Sam from fighting on some smaller shows and said he is the kind of guy that will get his teeth knocked out, smile, and press forward.

I wasn’t able to be there for Sam’s fight, but after the fight I got a complete re-cap from our coaching staff. Sam had his own warm-up routine, which everyone respected. He did squats, lunges, squat jumps, and really burned his legs. None of the coaches liked what they saw with his warm-up, but this is a guy with 25 professional fights and nobody was going to say anything that might get in his head.

The bell rings and Joey opens up with two head kicks, one of which seemed to land pretty nice. I don’t think anyone saw that coming. The double-leg, though, that was my biggest concern. The first round was pretty obvious that Joey won. To me Sam looked a little flat out there. I don’t know if it was the weight cut, the warm up, the nerves, Joey was just better, or a combination of everything.

The second round, I thought Sam did a lot better and Joey was tired, so that helped a little too. However, Joey rocked Sam pretty good and I agree with the scorecards when they announced Joey the winner.

In the locker room, they show Sam saying that he thought he won the fight, which was weird to me because, if anything, it could have gone to a third round. But when they announced that there was no third round, it was pretty clear that Joey had won the fight. Sam showed the character that we picked him for when he said he would be there for the team for the next five weeks (which probably seemed like an eternity to him now that his goal of winning the show was gone).

Roy’s locker room was ecstatic, and rightfully so. They just knocked off our No. 1 pick and regained control.

To my surprise, he is going to pick a name out of his hat and let his fighters pick their own fights. They will be basing their picks off of emotion alone, as most of these guys have never seen each other fight and are going strictly off what they now about the guy from living with him in the house.

I am not sure if he made this decision so the guys were comfortable with choosing their own destiny or so he could take the weight off his back if they make a pick and lose.

We as coaches have access to computers and can look up the fighters and try to make the best picks based on each guy’s style. Obviously, it didn’t work for us with Sam, so maybe Roy’s method will be genius. We will have to wait and see how it plays out.

Stay tuned…

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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