Normally before every fight I have the very same feeling. It doesn’t matter who I’m fighting, it’s always the same feeling, it’s a feeling that we all felt at one point or another. Fear. Yeah that’s right, I get scared.
I’ll admit it, right before every fight the worst possible outcomes run through my mind. I imagine myself getting submitted in 30 seconds or getting knocked out in 15 seconds. I don’t know why but thoughts like that always pass through my mind.
But this time it was different, I wasn’t scared, I was…excited? Yeah, I was excited. It’s hard to explain. I woke up that morning and I had a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t wait to fight!
When I was a kid we always opened our presents at midnight on Christmas Eve. As soon as it hit midnight it was Christmas to us. I would be counting the hours and minutes until it was time for us to open our gifts.
Well that’s how I felt for this fight. I knew that I would probably fight around 7 p.m. or so and I couldn’t wait to go out there and do what I do best.
Pre-fight at Tachi Palace
I checked into the venue at 4:30 p.m. like we were supposed to; it was me and my team, John Alessio, Sim Go, and Sean Spees. I felt confident having them by my side and I knew that whatever situation Drew Bittner put me in I would have an answer for, not because I’m super smart but because my team is.
John Alessio has been in over 40 MMA fights so he knows a thing or two about fighting. Sim Go is one of the top grapplers in the world so anything on the ground he would cover. Sean is the glue that holds everything together. He knows how to calm me down between rounds so I can start the next round fresh and ready to go.
I stretched out, got my hands wrapped and started my warm up. I got a good warm up in and the whole time I was happy. I had a smile on my face and I couldn’t wait to go out there and fight.
Finally it was time for us to get ready to walk out. I remember waiting for the fight before me to finish, while I was waiting I said a quick prayer. I asked the Lord to keep me and Drew safe.
Drew walked out first; I always walk out second since I was the former Champion. Drew came out and he got a huge ovation from the crowd, he was the hometown hero that’s for sure.
My song starts to go off and that’s when it was my cue to walk out. I walk down the ramp and I hear people booing. I guess they didn’t like that I walked out to Justin Bieber’s “Baby”. Ha-ha.
It didn’t bother me because I still had the smile on my face as I walked down the ramp. I got to the cage and started to take my warm ups off. I gave my trainers a hug and thanked them for being there with me and walked into the cage.
I walked in and immediately locked my eyes on Drew. He was my only focus, nothing else mattered to me. I kept my eyes on him the whole time. They introduced him and I just stood there watching him.
We locked eyes and he looked down and started to pace back and forth. I could tell that he was nervous. They announced me next but I didn’t acknowledge it, didn’t raise my hand or nothing, my only focus was Drew at this point.
Herb Dean started the fight and Drew and I touched gloves; I always touch gloves with my opponents before each fight. Just because we’re about to beat each other up doesn’t mean we have to hate each other, it’s all about respect.
Anyways, we touch gloves and circle for a second. Drew hits me with a nice jab and straight right followed by a very nice double leg. He took me down way too quick for my liking.
On the way down I grabbed for a guillotine, as I have it I can hear my mom yelling in the crowd. It doesn’t matter how many people are there cheering I can ALWAYS hear my mom yelling for me. Sometimes I hear her better then I hear my own corner. Ha-ha.
I go for the guillotine but it’s not tight, after a few seconds I decided to abandon the guillotine and try to get back to my feet. I get back to my feet only to be taken down again by Drew.
This time we land in the middle of the cage. As we land I noticed that his hands were on the mat, I decided to go for a gogoplata. I wrap my leg around his arm and tuck my foot under his chin. I pull his head down to apply the choke.
I didn’t have the right angle on it because I could feel pressure on my knee as I went for it. I hear my knee start to pop but I didn’t care, the choke was deep. The more I pull down on his head the more I can hear him gargling but I can also feel my knee popping at the same time.
Somehow he gets out of the choke and now we’re in my guard. Drew postures up and throws a few punches. He tries to walk me to the cage but I angle off. At this point, I have two goals. Don’t take any damage and don’t be pinned to the fence.
Every time he tries to pin me against the cage I push off the cage with my feet and angle off. I hear John Alessio ask for elbows so I start to throw short elbows while in my guard. After a minute or so Herb Dean stands us up.
We get in the middle of the cage and Drew throws a jab followed by a straight right. I shoot in for a double leg takedown; he stuffs my takedown pretty easy. I forgot that he wrestled in college. Ha-ha.
From here I pull half guard and go for a deep half guard sweep that Jeff Glover taught me not too long ago. As I come up top Drew grabs my neck and goes for a guillotine.
He tries to pull guard but I beat him to the punch and roll to my back. I don’t mind being in my guard, even more so if it prevents me from getting choked out. I start to rock his base and he lets go of my neck and not too long after the round ends with Drew inside my guard.
I stand up and walk to my corner and I remember thinking to myself that I lost that round. I don’t know why but I had a feeling they gave that round to Drew. I look over at Sean and he reminds me to get my heart rate down.
I go through my normal motions that I do between every round to bring it down. Two deep breaths and as I let my breath out I let out the last round also. Whatever happened in the last round is in the past, all that matters is this round coming up.
After that John and Sim start to give me instructions on what to do in the next round. Herb Dean comes over and tells us that it’s time to start the next round.
I get up and I look over and I see my good friend Phil Baroni looking at me. He gives me a “Come on you can do this look”. I just look at him and nod my head.
I know that Drew is going to shoot in in the beginning of the round but this time I’m ready. The round starts and we circle, Drew throws a leg kick then I throw a leg kick. Drew comes in for the takedown but this time I was ready.
I circle and sprawl and stuff his takedown. I come towards his side and start to throw some knees, which is weird because I never throw knees from that position in training. Guess no time like the present.
I go to spin to his back but he stands up and pushes my back into the cage. I quickly pummel in for double under hooks. I step over and hit an outside trip on him, the same takedown that I’ve been hitting this whole camp.
He falls and I land on top on him, from here I got him where I want him. I have a good top game and I know that as a wrestler he’s probably uncomfortable being on his back.
I throw a few punches just to get him to cover up. I hear Sim yelling at me to go for the dope mount, I throw another punch or so and then I slide my knee in between his knees and step over and walk to mount.
I have Drew mounted but I have to move quickly, I threw a right hand to have him cover up. From here I have two goals, don’t get bridged over and to take his back.
Drew was pretty strong so I made sure to keep my hips low and weight on him; I also threw a few punches to distract him. I threw a right hand and he tried to turn away from me, as he did that I used my chest to keep his side pinned against the mat.
I wrapped my arms around his neck but I didn’t quite have the choke in, he tried to turn into me and get out but I rolled him and stuck on his back.
I’m choking him and I know the choke is in pretty tight. I felt like I was squeezing FOREVER! It’s weird because I must have only been choking him for about 10 seconds but it felt like I had the choke on him for 10 minutes.
Finally I feel him tapping and the next thing I know Herb Dean is pulling us apart. I get up and I feel relieved, relieved that the fight is over, but most importantly, relieved that I got back in the win column.
Every fight is important but the fight after a loss is crucial, I didn’t want to have a two-fight losing streak and I was relieved that I won. Relieved, not happy; weird I know.
I want to thank you guys for taking the time to read all my blogs. I tried my best to give you an insight into my life and what I go through before, during, and after a fight.
It really means a lot when people tell me they like reading my blogs. I also want to thank my team for helping me out for this fight. They all know who they are and how much they mean to me.
Now like Jay Z says, “On to the next one.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: For those who have not yet seen Uly’s fight with Drew Bittner you can watch it here: “Tachi Palace Fights 10” fight videos.
P.S. – You can follow me on Twitter @uselessgomez.
P.S.S. – Here’s some of my trainers that you should follow for more updates and training advice:
“The Ulysses Gomez Experiment” has been a weekly ProMMAnow.com blog series written by world top 10 ranked flyweight Ulysses Gomez as he prepared for his Aug. 5 fight at Tachi Palace Fights 10. “The Ulysses Gomez Experiment” has been part of our ongoing series of exclusive content written by individuals involved in the mixed martial arts industry.