What a weekend it was in St Louis! The best part of this job is when I get a chance to cover the fights, but I have to admit it’s even better when you know the guys fighting.
I arrived in St Louis on Thursday, and one of the first things I did was go see Dan. I couldn’t believe how relaxed he was when I got to his hotel room. He was just kicking back playing chess online. His mood stayed the same the entire weekend.
It was a huge contrast to what I saw in Nashville when Dan was preparing to fight Jake Shields. At that time, Dan was in the middle of a difficult weight cut trying to get down to 185 pounds. That was not a problem this time, as the fight with “Babalu” was made for Dan’s natural weight of 205 pounds. It also allowed Dan to enjoy the week.
It seemed like every time I saw Dan during the week, he was eating. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t pounding sodas and chips, but he was able to have a full breakfast, lunch and dinner. He was also able to stay hydrated.
When you watch the weigh-ins for these fights, pay attention to what the fighters do when they are done on the scale. If you see a guy start to chug fluids immediately—such as Scott Smith—it is a sign that they are dehydrated from cutting water weight.
I mention Scott Smith because he was in action against Paul Daley on Saturday night. I talked to friends who were backstage at the weigh-ins, and they said Smith spent the 20 minutes before his name was called with his forehead resting on the table in front of him. Daley, on the other hand, was walking around smiling and joking. That should have been a good sign of how that fight would end. As we all saw, Daley won by KO in the first round.
Right after the Daley fight, it was time for Dan to fight. I like Renato Sobral, but after watching him get knocked out by guys that don’t have the knockout power that Dan does, I had a hard time believing “Babalu” could win this fight. As usual, I was dead solid perfect in my prediction as Dan crushed the bubble gum-chewing Brazilian in less than two minutes.
Later that night, I asked Dan if Sobral’s eyes rolled back in his head after the first right hand.
Dan’s reply? “Like a slot machine!”
How does it get any better than that?