The first episode of Albatal complete teams were finally picked, and Youness Mikkiss picked up a close victory against Yousef Wehbe of team Baghdad to secure the first victory for Team Elbe.
Moving forward with the 2nd fight selection, Team Elbe selected Khalid Aljohani to face Sabil Rahali of Team Baghdad.
One of the things not captured on the television program, is that everyone arrived for filming on different dates. While ‘Ramazan’ of Egypt went home due to an injury, several other fighters left the house during the early parts of filming and were replaced by new prospects.
Yousef was one of the late replacements on the show, and actually arrived in Abu Dhabi only 2 days before his bout with Youness (From Thailand). As a coach, arrival into Abu Dhabi played into my decision making while selecting opponents–and with Team Elbe picking up a close victory, I felt the need to stick to the same game plan.
During evaluations we saw Sabil as one of the lower ranked Middleweights, and decided to target him as an opponent. The first fighter I talked to about facing Sabil, was in a similar situation as Yousef, having arrived only a day earlier for filming. He explained he was still a bit jet lagged from the trip, and would prefer to face a higher ranked opponent, later during filming, once he had a chance to recover from the travel.
After a short discussion with my coaching staff, we decided it was a good idea to match up Sabil with someone else, for which Khalid eagerly stepped forward to the challenge.
Sabil really tried to play the physiological battle with Khalid, and I think that played a bit of a role in pushing him out of our game plan. Overall from the first day of training to the day we left the house, I would say Khalid improved the most out of all the competitors.
Sabil and myself had our own problems during filming, and even though he won his first match, I was eager to see him face one of our higher ranked middleweight fighters.
With control of the fight picks Baghdad decided to matchup Ezzeldine Vs. Bandar (CrazyCuts). I was familiar with Bandar, as I had seen him in his other reality TV show appearance with Desert Force and knew of his history of being a ‘dirty fighter’
Going into the third matchup of the show, I was excited to see how our game plan with Bandar would play out against Team Baghdad’s top rated 155lbs fighter. Could we keep Bandar’s head clear and focused long enough for him to win in the cage? Bandar is one of those guys who loves the ‘fight’ in ‘fighting’ however really needs a coach to help him understand the ‘sportsmanship’ behind ‘sports’.
Needless to say, this next fight is going to be highly anticipated for the season.