Isaac Vallie-Flagg Defends Jackson’s MMA: “To Straight Up Bash Coaches Or Fighters, I Think is Wrong”
Lightweight Says Next Opponent Adriano Martins “Well Rounded” and “Hits Hard”
By Kelsey Mowatt
As Isaac Vallie-Flagg continues to prepare for his upcoming bout with Adriano Martins, the surging lightweight has had to watch one of the men who’s been integral to his success, Greg Jackson, come under fire. Of course, unless you’ve been without electricity for the last week or so, you’re likely aware that Jackson and his star fighter Jon Jones turned down a bout with Chael Sonnen. The decision prompted the cancellation of UFC 151 and has drawn the ire of some fans and observers.
“I hate hearing anyone who’s part of this sport attacking another person who’s in the sport, whether it be trainers, fighters or camps,” Vallie-Flagg recently told Full Contact Fighter. “It’s the kind of thing where everybody who’s a fighter or trainer knows what it takes to train and knows the excitement and how hard people work for this. So to criticize someone’s performance, or to just straight up bash coaches or fighters, I think is wrong.”
Jackson and his renowned camp have encountered criticisms in the past, as a result of performances that some critics have declared were aimed at scoring decisions wins rather than stoppages.
“My whole strategy against “JZ” (Cavalcante) was to go forward against this guy the whole fight and just go at him,” said Vallie-Flagg, while citing the game-plan he utilized against Cavalcante in May to earn a split decision win. ‘For there to be any kind of criticism of running or anything like that, sometimes you don’t want to stand right in front of a guy and get hit in the head by a guy who can hit really hard. Other times that’s the right way to fight.”
“Look at some of the fighters from this camp. Look at how “Cowboy” Cerrone fights,” Vallie-Flagg added. “Cowboy just moves forward on people. I would like to think that I just pushed forward the whole time against “JZ”, and I would have loved to get a finish but it just didn’t happen. I think the whole elusive criticism isn’t true. Fighters like to finish fights. It’s nice to not have to fight for 15 minutes, if you don’t have to, and organizations like to see finishes on your record.”
Of course, it’s no surprise to hear the 34 year-old-fighter rise to the defense of his trainers and teammates, as it’s a group who have helped build Vallie-Flagg into an established lightweight. Since a submission loss to Rudy Bears in 2007, Vallie-Flagg has gone undefeated in 11 consecutive bouts and is 2-0 with the Strikeforce organization.
“I feel like just now I’m coming into my own with my identity as a fighter and who I want to be ,” said Vallie-Flagg. “I don’t know what Sean Shelby (Strikeforce matchmaker) has planned for me but I just want to keep beating guys, and course, Gilbert Melendez is the guy that everybody wants to eventually fight for the title. It’s not like I want to stay in the middle of the pack, I want to get up as high as I can.”
Now, Vallie-Flagg will try to build on his win over Cavalcante–who not long ago was widely viewed as one of the world’s top lightweights–by defeating Martins. The 30 year-old, Brazilian lightweight will be making his Strikeforce debut riding a four fight win streak and having gone 9-1 in his last 10 fights.
“I’ve done some homework about him and know a little about him, watched some tape of him, which is always good,” Vallie-Flagg noted. “He’s well rounded; he’s a black belt in jiu-jitsu and his stand-up is pretty good. He hits hard, so I think he presents a lot of threats to me everywhere, which is just fine with me. My advantage is going to be that I’ve fought for Strikeforce before; I’ve fought in a bigger organization before, so I know what to expect.”
The upcoming bout will be part of Strikeforce’s September 29th card in Sacramento, California.