Boots Scraps – Boots Recaps his XKL Title Fight
Pat and I flew down to Detroit on Thursday morning, settled in our hotel and chilled out. Hammer drove down that same night to meet us Thursday morning. On Friday at around 1pm, I started my cut in the sauna. It was very hard and I was happy to weigh-in at my 155 lbs target.
Weigh-ins were supposed to be at 6pm but ended starting at 7pm. During the delay time, Corey Hill (my opponent) and I got to chat and know each other. He is by far the coolest and nicest opponent I ever had, a REAL professional fighter. He was talking to me about life in Tampa, his kids and how he loves fishing on Sundays, etc…Then we promised each other to make it the fight of the night!
The XKL organization put us as the main event on the weigh in night. I was very surprised about that. I had finally made it to main event, my first one, and in the States! At the weigh-ins, I made it at 155lbs and Corey at 154lbs. He looked really skinny and was soooo tall! I was excited to fight him. I thought he would stand up with me and trade strikes. It would be a perfect opportunity for me to test my striking against an opponent who has the reach on me. In all my fights, I have had the reach on my opponent, so this fight, if it stayed standing, would give me a great challenge and test my striking skills!
After the weigh-ins, we did the same good routine, eating lots of good food and re-hydrate! On Saturday, fight day, I stayed in the hotel to relax and focus. I had about 10 guys from OAMA who drove down Friday night to meet with us and watch me fight. I couldn’t believe that those guys drove 10 hours to watch me fight and support me! Thank you so much!
At the event, I stayed in the locker room. I had Nick, Hammer and Pat to help me warm up and get ready for the toughest and biggest fight of my career. The night went great, it was a good event and the fights went by fast! XKL really took great care of us before and after the fight. Very professional organization and nice people!
This is the recap of the fight, what I remember of it anyways (not much). I haven’t seen the fight yet…I walked out to the cage. It was a tiny cage, way smaller than the one I train at OAMA! I couldn’t believe how small it was, not to my advantage that’s for sure!
1st round: Corey and I touch gloves, we moved around for a bit, the feel out process. I engaged with a good low kick that caught the sweet spot, right on his thigh. I saw Corey didn’t like that at all and wiggled his leg around motioning that he was hurt. Right away he took me down, crazy fast double leg, picked me up and slammed me. I didn’t feel anything during the fight, the adrenaline was taking care of all that ! I landed bottom guard. I tried to tie him up, work angles from the bottom, work my submissions; triangles, arm locks and sweep attempts but he was too strong and countered every move I did. Every time he stopped one of my offense, he retaliated with forearm, elbows and punching strikes…HARD hitting! He was way stronger than me, countered every move I did and pinned me against the cage. First round was all him, working the ground and pound to perfection! When the bell rung, I was so happy and started to get dizzy. I wasn’t hurt, but I knew I already had a concussion and my muscles were very tired but I wasn’t breathing heavy.
2nd round: Pat gave me my instructions and the game plan. I went out there but was way too tentative to throw any of my strikes. I knew he was going to duck under and try to take me down…and he did. Again Corey got a beautiful double leg takedown on me, so fast! He picked me up and slammed me again, I landed in bottom guard and he started to work his game plan. GNP! I got a shoulder lock on him and he just pounded his way out, I let it go. I knew it wasn’t going anywhere…Then I finally got the angle and caught him in a straight arm lock. I tried to finish very hard, it was tight! I heard snap crack, pop…still he didn’t tap, close but no cigar. He stepped over to defend his arm. I abandoned the submission to get top position. I got cross side top on him and he started to rest, he was tired but so was I. My cardio felt fine, but my shoulders and muscles were gone! I went knee on belly to make him move, we scrambled a bit and I caught him in a kimura, the kimura RENZO GRACIE taught the last seminar he was up in Ottawa at OAMA. I tied up his arm and head with my legs, and started to work on the shoulder lock and finish him. He was very strong but I finally got the arm bent and over and start twisting it, still no tap…It felt like I had the kimura for a good minute! Then I adjusted the submission making it tighter and finally felt him tapping. I released right away and ran over to my corner men and my team!
OAMA students rush the cage, I got to see G hop on the cage, Hammer and Nick picked me up on their shoulders, Pat was by my side, the great moment for me! I went over and thanked Corey Hill for giving me the opportunity to fight him, he did the same. A real gentleman … class act. They announced the winner, put the belt around my waist, it was very heavy! I said something, don’t remember much…and then headed over to my team and the doctor check up. Once all that finished, I had to lie down and let the nerves go down in the change room. I got out, did an interview with John at the Fight Network (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZZrE86Uk1k) and then we were on our way to celebrate and eat at BIG BOYS! All the guys had a meal with me…burger, fries and chocolate shake. Then they drove off back to Ottawa!
Pat and I left Detroit in the morning and got in Ottawa at 5pm, where I got to check all the comments, compliments and cheers from all my fans, friends, family and teammates. I was so shocked to see how many there was! I appreciate all the support from all of you guys, it was a great experience! Couldn’t have done it without you !
All in all I am happy I won but…dissatisfied with my performance. I trained so hard with Kru Jeff, working on my striking, all the boxing drills and the improvement I have done…and let’s not forget the game plan we had put together…All I did was score a good low kick…and then nothing, not even got to punch him once for the whole fight! In that way I’m disappointed in myself and my performance, but I am very happy I won and got to test my Renzo Gracie Jiu Jitsu against a tough and strong wrestler like Corey, who also trains at Gracie Barra Tampa.
I want to thank everyone for all the comments and support, I really appreciate it! It’s what keeps me going!
I was back at training Monday and through the whole week I have been doing training with Pierre and Kru Jeff. I have a tough opponent, Samuel Guillet who I will be fighting at WRECK II (www.wreckmma.com) on April 16th in Hull. I hope to see everyone there and I will make sure that Sam and I put on a great fight!
I will be putting up some pictures of after the fight in Detroit. The title belt is awesome, it’s so nice and sooo heavy! I will be posting during the weekend to let you guys know what’s going on with some BIG news coming up!
Take care everyone and enjoy the beautiful weather!