Friday, April 6, 2007

Week One: No love lost

By Joe Lauzon

(Brockton native Joe Lauzon, a UFC lightweight fighter and member of the cast of TUF 5, will give exclusive insight to readers immediately following each week’s episode. Here’s his first installment, commenting on Episode 1.)

Before I begin, let me say: Jens and BJ legitimately hate each other.They tried as best they could to be cordial when we started out, but you could sense underlying tension in the room.I can promise you, there will be no love lost when they fight again.

Arriving at the house, we were just feeling each other out, but we didn’t have much time to get to know one another before we hit the gym for evaluations. Jens’ session was intense, and it didn’t surprise me when BJ cut his short — we were all pretty gassed from traveling to Las Vegas and the initial workout.

After evaluations, before the team selection, we all talked within the house on who everyone wanted to have for coaches. Pretty much everyone in the house wanted to be on BJ’s team, with the exception of Wayne Weems (he is from Jens’ Team Miletich already). Some people said they would be happy on either team, but the general idea within the house was "I want to be with BJ." A lot of people were saying to me, "How can Jens show you anything? You already knocked him out." That’s really not the case though. I will learn absolutely everything I can from anyone. Jens and I fought, but that didn’t even matter. Had I been put on his team, I would have been listening as much or more than anyone else there. I would have taken every opportunity to learn from whichever coach I was with.

That said, if I had a choice, I wanted to be on BJ’s team. Some people will look at it as disrespect to Jens, but that’s not the case whatsoever.Jens’ style is to stay on his feet and trade standing, while BJ is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and is world class on the ground against absolutely anyone. He is a more diverse fighter as well. He can stand and trade with people, or he can take them down. He has great wrestling and is happy no matter where he is. For me, that’s the kind of guy that I wanted to work out with and learn from.

When BJ pulled his “raise your hands if you want nothing to do with Team Pulver” maneuver, it was the highest tension situation I have ever been in. First of all, we had to make a decision on which team we wanted to be on, knowing that we could be put on a team we don’t want to be on if the numbers didn’t work out. Jens was standing there talking about how 10 people raised their hands but only eight could be with BJ, so he couldn’t wait to spar with the two guys that didn’t want to be on his team but were "stuck" with him. He said he was going to just beat on those guys everyday until they left or quit. As I was standing there with my hand up, BJ shot me smirking glances, and I knew he was going to pick me. That said, I was still relieved when my name got called — you can never be 100 percent sure.

Before the first fight was announced, I thought for sure Gabe was going to be the first pick. He came in out of shape and way overweight. Everyone else in the house was ready to make weight the first day, but Gabe was the heaviest. If I were on Team Pulver, I would have been pushing hard to pick Gabe first, because everyone in the house knew he was the most overweight and would have the toughest time cutting down to make his fighting weight. If you give him more time, he can do the right things to make the cut easier — I thought Team Pulver would capitalize on that quickly.If you have to make 155, you need to be around 170 at most ... and that’s pushing it. Cutting weight is hard: Only the first 10 pounds come easily, and then it gets tough and you have to fight for every pound.Allen Berube said it best: "You just gotta start giving 100 percent in the kitchen." This made Gabe start crying, which we kind of took as Gabe looking for some more camera time.

The fight announcement came down, and Cole Miller was chosen to fight Allen “Monstah Lobstah” Berube. I knew Cole before the show a little bit, having met him a few times at various fights backstage. He is a real good Jiu-Jitsu guy but doesn’t have the best standup or wrestling.Conversely, Monstah has good pretty good wrestling and boxing, so we thought if we kept him off the ground he would do OK.Monstah is a lot shorter than Cole, so he had to watch out for the reach advantage as well. It was a tough fight for Monstah, but it was one of the better matchups for him.

We went with the Braveheart face paint before Monstah’s fight. We were bored out of our minds, so it seemed like a great idea at the time. Our biggest issue in the house was boredom, so the face paint helped that a little bit.

The fight with Cole and Monstah seemed a lot closer when it was actually happening — it seemed like they were on the ground longer and the triangle didn’t come so quickly.Looking at the tape, it’s hard to believe the fight was over in two minutes and thirty seconds.That said, Allen left it all in the Octagon, and has nothing to be ashamed of.It was a good performance by Cole, who was crying in the cage after it was over. That just shows the kind of emotion that goes into training for a fight.

That’s it for this week, thanks for reading, and be sure to check back every week for more behind-the-scenes access to The Ultimate Fighter 5.


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