UFC’s Isaac Vallie-Flagg Outlines Adjustments He’s Made Heading Into Scrap With Matt Wiman
By Kelsey Mowatt
After putting together an undefeated 12 fight run, Isaac Vallie-Flagg is in unchartered territory, as the lightweight’s lost back-to-back fights for the first time in his career.
The 36 year-old joined the UFC last year, and proceeded to score a split decision win over highly regarded vet, Yves Edwards. Since then, however, Vallie-Flagg has dropped decisions to Elias Silverio and Takanori Gomi, and the Strikeforce vet will be looking to avoid a third straight defeat, when he faces Matt Wiman on November 22nd.
“I think every fight’s a must win. I’ve always said that,” Vallie-Flagg relayed on a recent episode of Full Contact Fighter Radio, when asked if he’s feeling any additional pressure, heading into his scrap with Wiman. “Especially now coming off two losses, I started my camp early because I’m so stressed out about losing my job. I want to make sure that I do everything that I can to win this fight and keep my job. I like staying employed.”
Although Vallie-Flagg is understandably upset that he’s lost two straight fights, his UFC 172 tilt with Gomi was one of the year’s highlights. Gomi and Vallie-Flagg earned “Fight of the Night” honors, and an extra $50 grand each, for the thrilling slugfest.
“I’m bummed out….I enjoyed fighting Gomi and I told you before that fight that I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, so it was a honor to fight him,” the Jackson-Wink MMA lightweight said. “It sucks taking a loss to a guy still. After that I got to re-assess some stuff and I’ve been kind of making some improvements on some things that I think cost me the fight.”
“If you watched the fight, I’d throw shots and I would recover sloppy,” noted Vallie-Flagg, while elaborating on the adjustments he needed to make. “So I’ve been working on my balance, and being a little more athletic, making sure that obviously I’m moving my head. The one thing both Gomi and I did, neither one of us moved our head. We just sat there and ate shots, which is not a good way to have a long career, or it’s not smart for the later years either you know?”
The losses have also come after Vallie-Flagg spent nearly a year on the sidelines, due to a hip and back injury. Following his victory over Edwards in February, 2013, the New Mexico fighter did not compete again until this past January.
“My back is fine,” said Vallie-Flagg. “The one issue going into the first fight, after my back, especially after fighting that really big guy (Silverio)…he was a really huge, strong guy, and he took my back at one point and I remember thinking that if he goes hips down on me he’s going to hurt my back, so I rolled to mount, gave him mount intentionally, and now I’m not thinking about my back all the time, which is kind of nice. So that played into one of the fights.”
“Now the back is healthy,” furthered Vallie-Flagg, who after fighting Silverio, battled Gomi a few months later in April. “I’m happy with where it’s at.”
Vallie-Flagg and Wiman will fight at the November 22nd, UFC Fight Night 57 card, which will be hosted by Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
Stay tuned to Full Contact Fighter for a follow up article featuring Vallie-Flagg’s thoughts on the upcoming fight with Wiman.