My fight on July 7th marked my 7th official UFC fight. After the Mishima fight in April, I was eager to be tested again by a strong and talented fighter, who could push me on the ground. Thus, getting a win over Alvin Robinson on Saturday night by utilizing my wresting and jiu-jitsu skills was very rewarding.
Going into this fight, I had a tremendous amount of respect for Alvin. With a 9-1 record, he had impressive college wrestling credentials – along with a nasty BJJ submission game, solid striking skills and an overall aggressive fighting style. For a 155lb fighter, he is quite large and explosive. Previous to our fight, he had finished all of his wins via submission. In making his UFC debut, I knew he would be extremely hungry and hard-hitting.
Knowing all of this and the recent history of unknowns making strong showings in their UFC debuts, I had trained harder than ever. Under the guidance of Kevin Kearns, my strength and conditioning coach, I worked 6 days a week on getting stronger, more flexible and more explosive. That training was supported by another key coach, Jesse Kropelnicki, who helped oversee my cardio plan and serves as my nutrition advisor.
My BJJ black belt coach and brother Keith expanded my repertoire so that I could be mistake free with my jiu-jitsu technique and vicious with my ground and pound. My Muay Thai and MMA skills were tested everyday at Sityodtong in Boston where Mark DellaGrotte coached me closely to make sure I was always sharp. Last April, I added a new wrestling coach and training partner to Team Kenny Florian named Sobhan Namvar. He is an amazing addition to my team of coaches.
Throughout my training camp, I never felt in better shape. One of my training tools was the VersaClimber. It was a huge help in getting me to new levels of conditioning. There is no doubt that VersaClimber gave me a significant edge physically and mentally going into this fight.
Being a swing bout for UFC 73 meant I had to be ready to fight either 2nd on the main card or all the way to after the last main event. Backstage I had to be warm and ready to go for almost 3 hours. Since all the main card fights except one went the distance and due to a terrible accident that happened at the event, my fight was moved to the final fight of the night. After the Silva vs Marquardt fight, I was forced to rush into the Octagon, so my fight would be televised. It was a little hectic, but nothing was going to take my focus away.
In preparing for this fight, we believed Alvin would immediately go hard from the start and try to push me to the ground. So I wanted to aggressively counter his wrestling attempts and strike hard when given the opportunity. I was looking to score cleaner and more precise strikes and vary the striking as the round went on.
As expected Alvin did a solid job of trading blows and staying aggressive and we went to the ground a few times. My brother Keith wanted me to apply an intense pressure style of jiu-jitsu and ground and pound. Fortunately, our fight plan worked and Alvin was forced to tap out due to strikes from the mount at 4:30 of Round 1.
Most of the fights that night were highly competitive and ended up going the distance, but were left in the judges hands. I wanted to give the fans in Sacramento and at home some extra excitement with a definitive finish. I was very happy to fight in an aggressive fashion and not be a part of the recent trend of UFC upsets.
I want to thank Alvin Robinson for bringing his talents and competitive fire into the Octagon. He is a young fighter with much talent and just as importantly, a lot of class. Alvin will be back in the Octagon and better than ever. I wish him the best of luck.
I want to send my prayers and my condolences to the family of the man who died in the accident at ARCO Arena. Apparently, a man fell some 30 feet while in the smoking section between the Herring/Nogueira fight and Evans/Ortiz fight. This unfortunate event led to a delay during the show.
My sponsors ensure that I am training my hardest and my best for every fight. Without their help, being a full time fighter would be impossible. Accordingly, thanks to TUF GUY Productions, Sprawl Fight shorts, NHBGear.com, Heart Rate Inc., Tourtellotte Solutions and Burnwithkearns.com.
I also want to thank Randy and Kim Couture and the guys at Xtreme Couture (Vegas) for their assistance in preparing me for this fight. Boxing coach Jimmy Gifford was a big help out there as well. My friends Alex Karalexis and Joel Armstrong were just awesome while I was out training in Vegas – so thank you guys!!
In my next newsletter, I will give you an update on an amazing trip I am taking. Until then, stay with the Flo.