What’s up everyone, Ryan McGillivray back here for another inside recap of TUF season 13. Well another week has gone by and episode 2 is in the books. As we all know a certain event captured most of the attention of episode 2 which we will go over. Also the second preliminary fight as well.
We start this week with a training session with Team Dos Santos. The fighters arrive to the training centre first followed shortly by the coaches. Immediately the coaches walk into Keon Caldwell at the front door, and he has some unsettling news as he tells Junior “we have to talk”.
At this point no one really knows what’s going through Keon’s mind. For me it was apparent that Keon had been struggling with the training as well as the absence of his family. At first he made it seem as though his daughter was sick, saying when he left she was in the car crying and “squawking”.
Perhaps a culture difference or just a misunderstanding on my part in assuming that meant she was sick. Later we had more talks and it came right down to him just having a hard time dealing with the distance of his family. Since I have a daughter of my own that I left behind I did have some empathy.
I felt his pain of being without our kids. It was something for me I hadn’t anticipated being so hard. When he decided to leave it was only roughly a week into us being there, which is in my opinion the shocking part. I can understand what he was going through but couldn’t see how he could use it as a weakness.
I have my daughter’s hand tattooed on my right bicep as a symbol of her being my strength. I won’t lie and say it was easy, because it was far from it. Though I saw this as an opportunity to improve my daughter’s (Peighton) life.
She was why I was in that house giving my heart and soul to my dream. So for me using that as a reason to go home was not even close to a thought in my mind. I think he will regret his decision every day of his life and just hope he finds success in his life for this reason.
Like Dana said at least it happened early and gives another true fighter a chance at his dream. We move to our team holding the fight pick. In the gym Javier Torres seemed to be one of our most skilled and well rounded guys. A brown belt in Judo, brown belt in BJJ, an amateur Muay Thai back round, as well as a size advantage being a natural 185-pound fighter.
Coach Lew had trained with Chris Cope in the past and was very convincing in telling us that he was one of their weaker guys. Given my impression on Javier’s skills and my thoughts derived from coach Lew I thought we were wasting our pick. We all thought Javi was going to run through Cope.
I was really eager to get into the cage at this point, and this may have something to do with my outlook on this week’s pick.
The fight started with some tentative stand up exchanges which foreshadowed much of the fight. Javi seemed unwilling to let his strikes go and started to force the clinch and cage work. Javi got a takedown in the first but couldn’t control Cope and they were back to the feet. They both landed a few solid strikes, one which opened a small cut below Cope’s left eye.
I thought it was a close round but Javi landing a little bit more and landing a takedown took a very close first round. The second round was much the same as the first, with some subtle differences. Javi seemed to back off a little and Cope was gaining momentum. Chris seemed to gain some confidence and was pushing forward more. This seemed to hinder much of any affective striking from Javi this round. I gave this close round to Chris for his aggression and slightly more effective striking.
The third round was once again much the same. I was disappointed that Javier didn’t see that the fight was slipping away and didn’t seem to have any urgency to change his plan or finish the fight. For me I saw so much potential in him and he just couldn’t put it together. Once again Chris built some momentum and pushed Javi back and landed some more effective strikes and countered a hip toss into a takedown of his own. A fairly close round again, but I thought Chris took the deciding round 10-9.
This fight was our first taste of defeat as a team. I thought that we all handled it well, a few minutes of being down and then refocused on our ultimate goal. We lost control as well after the fight which changes things.
I really underestimated how much it meant to have fight control. Instead of knowing who on your team is up next, the whole team has to be close to weight and ready to go. Granted we should all be ready to go at all times but it adds a certain stress factor which I didn’t anticipate.
I went home that night and dreamt all night that they would pick me to fight next!
Ryan McGillivray’s TUF 13 blog will be posted on ProMMAnow.com following each Wednesday night episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos. Be sure to follow Ryan on Twitter @KidMcGillivray.