Gilbert Yvel has a game plan for his bout Friday against Houston Alexander. Whether he will follow that plan, however, remains to be seen.
“The smartest thing to do is just keep my hands up and play my game and keep him at my distance and beat him up,” Yvel told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show.” “Because he’s a great fighter, [but] I’m just more advanced. I’m just better. But the fighter in me … the moment the bell rings, I always forget the game plan and I just want to punch him in the face.”
Yvel and Alexander headline Resurrection Fighting Alliance 2, which streams live on Sherdog.com at 9 p.m. ET. The UFC veterans will square off in a light heavyweight bout. After years of competing as a heavyweight, Yvel realized he could make the move to 205 pounds while training for a fight in Canada.
“At one point, I was training so hard, I was like 225,” he said. “Then I was talking to my trainers and I was like, ‘You know what? I might be able to get down to 205.’ … It looks like a pretty easy cut for me. Of course you think, ‘I want to stay around 205, around 220.’ I’m looking good. It’s a pool body, awesome, but of course you’ve got to wait before the next fight and you get one pizza and then another pizza and before you know it, I’m 240 again.”
Yvel is quick to laugh when it comes to his long career. He’s been fighting in MMA since 1997, and the sport still hasn’t lost its luster.
“I’ve been in the fight game now for 15 years, and of course I’m still having fun,” Yvel said. “… Training for the fight is not that fun. The minutes and the days before the fight are not fun, but the moment you’re in there and you take your first punch or you throw your first punch, it is all fun again.”
Alexander has also been in the game a while, but he hasn’t accrued anywhere near the experience that Yvel has. Still, Yvel respects his opponent and also looks forward to fighting him for less than obvious reasons.
“He’s a tough guy, a hard puncher, and a black guy,” Yvel said. “I think he’s like the third black person I’ll fight, so that’s going to be fun. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Let’s go ahead and see who’s the smartest and who’s the toughest.”
As for fighting smart, Yvel will try to stick to his strategy. He expects Alexander to try to counter it with aggression.
“The smartest thing for him to do is start brawling with me … but I will try to stay focused and just keep him at distance and pick him apart,” Yvel said. “This is the best way for me to fight, although a little boring for me. I just like to go in and just punch people in the face, just try to knock them out as fast as possible.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 1:02:55).