EXCLUSIVE | Cella sets sites on Sweden for UFC debut against Tor
A week before most of his “The Ultimate Fighter 17” cast mates pair off, Adam Cella will get the first stab at life inside the UFC cage.
Cella is slated to take on fellow “TUF 17” cast member Tor Troeng on the undercard of UFC on FUEL TV 9.
UFC on FUEL TV 9 takes place Saturday at Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm. The main card airs on FUEL TV following Facebook prelims. The TUF 17 finale is slated for April 11 in Las Vegas and will air live on FX.
“I was preparing to fight on the finale in Vegas and then I got a call to go to Sweden and fight Tor in his backyard, which I’m totally fine with,” Cella said. “I don’t really care about all of that. I just wish I was able to share the whole finale experience with everyone else.”
Troeng and Cella both lost in their “TUF 17’ bouts.
Troeng has tallied 20 pro fights, mostly on the European circuit, going 15-4-1. The 30-year-old was Chael Sonnen’s fourth-round pick on “TUF” and was KO’d by Josh Samman in the show’s sixth episode.
“(Tor’s) fought some tough dudes, like Thales Leites, who he lost to,” Cella said. “I’ve watched a couple of his fights and I’m not real big on watching other people’s fights. It tends to be a highlight reel and you psyche yourself out. I watched a couple and he looks well-rounded, not really great at one specific thing. It’ll be a good fight and matchup wise, Fight of the Night potential.”
Cella, out of St. Louis, is 4-0 with all four coming via first-round stoppages. Cella, a member of Jon Jones’ team is unfortunately known for being on the receiving end of Uriah Hall’s highlight-reel knockout kick in the third episode.
This will be Cella’s first time out of the country. While to some, a near week-long stay in a foreign city has all the makings of adventure and excess, Cella has far too many tasks to juggle to make it a breezy stay.
“Everybody says it’s going to be a little vacation, but it’s a business trip,” Cella said. “When I get there, I’m going to be adjusting, cutting weight, working in workouts and doing a couple of interviews and photos. They say there’s nothing but beautiful women over there, well, I won’t be experiencing it so it doesn’t really matter.”
After a stopover in St. Louis for his sister’s wedding, Cella – whose base is Finney’s MMA in St. Louis – migrated back to Las Vegas to finish off training at John Wood’s Syndicate MMA. Wood was one of Team Jones’ assistant coaches on “TUF 17.” Wood and Finney’s MMA teammate Kevin Engle, who has known Cella for close to 10 years, will join him on the trip to Sweden.
“He’s going to be my voice,” Cella said of Engle.
Cella has focused on his wrestling during and after his time on “TUF 17.” While he admits that he is no NCAA Division I grappler, the kickboxing standout has gained much more confidence and feels that he can handle his own with just about anyone. For the standout striker, the metamorphosis to becoming a complete mixed martial artist is starting to take shape.
Though Cella has been in-and-out of the TV face time since his fight with Hall, recently a video surfaced and made the rounds of social media of Cella getting a tap of a wagering Jones during a “TUF 17” training session.
“They edited it down to where it looked like it was a 30 second clip. He and I were going for five or six minutes and we did that a lot,” Cella said. “Granted, he never threw down a stack of cash like he did that day. He came up and emptied his pockets and said, ‘Let’s go.’ If anybody knows Jon Jones, he’s real playful, real fun. I was like OK, why not. I don’t have any money. What’s going to happen? We start going and he took me down. He shot in and he stuck his neck out there and I got a legitimate tap out of him. When you’re watching it, it looks kinda slow but as soon as he stuck his head in there I felt it and I was like, ‘No way.’ But I have to give him credit because he hit me with a few elbows here and there just playing around just to let me know why he’s the champion. But then we rolled a few days after that and I think in a five minute go he tapped me maybe seven or eight times. I got lucky that it happened to be on camera.”