Matt Schnell TUF 24 Blog Episode 8: The 2nd round begins
Matt Schnell talks beer pong, coaching tensions and the 2nd round on TUF 24
By Matt Schnell
The flyweight division gets largely overlooked by the average MMA fan.
This isn’t a secret and not many will argue otherwise. In this 24th season of "The Ultimate Fighter", 16 of us have a chance to change the minds of a few fans. Being a flyweight doesn’t mean we are bunch of little guys out to play it safe and bore the fans with a win by decision. I believe Dana did a good job in this episode by pointing out how thrilling these first round fights were. What we have is an opportunity to prove something this season.
Not only do we belong and are amongst the best in world, but that flyweights, are every bit as capable at producing fights at a high and exciting level, as the more popular weight divisions. I think the proof is in the result of round one; eight fights, eight finishes. Team Flyweight flexin’
If you were to take a group of 16 friends and remove them from the world for six weeks they are going to get under each other’s skin. The 16 of us were there to fight each other. The production crew decided to throw together a party for us. Rather than allowing the beatings to continue until morale improved, they decided to treat us to some good food and games to remind us of normal life we did not have in the house.
There is clearly some deep seeded tension between Henry and Joe. Henry said some things that Joe didn’t like and the fact that he was intoxicated made him an easy target. I want to state for the record that Henry is not good at beer pong, at all. He is actually awful at it. Adam Antolin and I rained terror upon the entire household. It was nice to be able to relax and pretend for an afternoon that we weren’t there to beat each other up. Overall, it was a good time and I think it benefitted each of us moving forward.
The start of the second round definitely had a strange dynamic with the first fight being teammate versus teammate.
In previous seasons coaches were able to pick the fights and avoid pairing teammates so early in the competition. This complicated the matter of fight preparation quite a bit. I think that the coaches delegated training time to both Alexandre and Kai effectively. Each of them were given time to train with Henry and Coach Kirian. They also brought in additional coaches to ensure that everyone had adequate reps. The team did not suffer in the process and the fact they were teammates did not impede their preparation or chance for victory.
These fights are a matter of life and death as far as we are concerned. It’s not as difficult to go and lay it all on the line for one fight. But, this deal isn’t like a typical fight where you’re able to recover for weeks or even months after. To put this in perspective, four fights in a year is a busy year. Four fights in six weeks is insane and as you can imagine can be quite taxing, physically and mentally.
I think Alexandre fought an intelligent fight even though he fought to Kai’s strengths a bit. He kept it standing and was willing to strike with a guy that he knew was a dangerous striker. Kai was able to defend the takedown effectively, and it kept the fight competitive. It was close on the feet and I think the takedown attempts and the grappling exchanges were the difference. You might argue the fight was back and forth enough to warrant a third round. However, I can certainly see how the decision was made.
Congratulations to Alexandre on advancing to the Semi-finals! Next up will be Hiromasa Ogikubo of team Benavidez against Adam Antolin from team Cejudo! Y’all tune in next week for another exciting episode of the Ultimate Fighter 24!