EXCLUSIVE | TUF 16 Fighter Joey Rivera BJPENN.COM Blog #2
Last week, after my fight regained control for our team, which allowed us to pick the next fight, Coach Nelson had the guy draw straws. Honestly, I think there should have been some more strategy behind the operation. What fighter doesn’t want to fight? They will never say “no”. So, as the coach, you have to call the shot and pair up your most fight-ready candidate with the least damage from the prior fight, with the most damaged guy from the other team. Or any other strategy would have probably worked a little better. Julian won the “straw draw”.
Julian was anxious to go after Team Carwin’s #2 pick, and he could have picked anybody. To me, this tells a lot about his desire to want to be the best. I thought he wanted to fight Secor, because Secor and he had “beef” with each other. I was pretty surprised that he picked Bristol, but on the other hand, that’s what I like about him.
Julian is a real young guy with one kid and another on the way. He typically fights at 155, making him smaller than the other guys in the house, but is very strong with good over-hand lefts and rights.
Bristol is a little bit older, a seasoned vet, is a promoter for his own fight organization, and he’s gone the distance with top-level fighters at 185. He is one of the bigger guys in the house. He is also from Vegas, which people believe to be the fighting capital of the US.
Prior to last week’s fight, I thought Julian was going to win not only because he was my teammate, but because he showed great confidence when picking his fight. Mentally he was ready, and that is the most important part of the battle. I thought he was going to be able to hurt Bristol with strikes and avoid Bristol’s powerful attacks.
Bristol did an excellent job with his boxing and effective leg kicks. For most of the fight, Bristol was able to keep the pressure on top of Julian and dictate the fight. A couple great exchanges happened when they would break-off and Julian would viciously cut a couple loose, and cut Bristol pretty badly. By the end of the fight, he had several gashes that were leaking pretty bad and had to be stitched up. If Julian would have put some more pressure and fought going forward, he probably would have come out with the win. I believe he will be back in the future and better than we saw him last week. He is young with a long career ahead of him.