‘The White Anderson Silva’ Brian Ebersole (51-16-1) is back in action this weekend at UFC Fight Night 68. He faces Russian fighter Omari Akhmedov (14-2). I recently had the chance to ask Ebersole a few questions regarding his camp, change of opponent, Russian fighters and more.
Alan Murphy: This is the first time in a while you haven’t done camp at Tiger Muay Thai. How has this change been on you and where have you been training?
Brian Ebersole: It has been definitely different not having spent time this camp in Thailand. The travel was just too much, this time. I had started my camp in Melbourne, where I’ve spent a lot of my time the last few years training with Coach Ed Bavelock and his team at Kimekai MMA. I roughed it, sleeping on the gym mats and spending a fair amount of time alone — able to hit a bag and do strength and conditioning at my own leisure, often late at night.
And because my opponent changed during that time, I was able to avoid some travel as mentioned. I was matched with Jouban then Akhmedov, a wrestler, and I was lucky enough to have had a former college wrestling teammate reach out and offer to host some of my training. With the opponent change and my mate being similar build and skill set I have spent the final 6 weeks in Chicago.
So I had former Eastern Illinois University wrestler, Kyle Bracey, as my main training partner. We made Izzy Style Wrestling (Addison, IL) our home base for martial arts training. Clay Guida had recommended a striking coach, Mike Valle. And that’s where Mike just happened to be working from. What a bonus! A great striking coach working out of the gym owned by one of the best High School Wrestlers of my generation!
I lucked out this camp, being able to get around good people, spending my weekdays in the city of Chicago (not something I’ve ever done), and being within driving distance of my hometown so I could weekend with family. It has been great.
AM: As you mentioned you had a change of opponent. How did the change affect you your preparation?
BE: It truly made it a bit simpler, mentally. Jouban does a few more things than Omari. Not that he’s more dangerous, better, or anything, he is just more diverse in his attack, in my opinion. Fighting Omari, he’s just really good at the fundamentals with his power, balance, wrestling, and the grind. He won’t be throwing up an active rubber guard, that’s for sure.
AM: Omari is among a number of Russian fighters that are making strides in the UFC, some of whom also train at Tiger Muay Thay. What are your thoughts on them in general and their backgrounds as fighters?
BE: They have great grappling bases with their wrestling and sambo. They have a tough road to gain any notoriety because the competition at the amateur level is strong. And they are known for being tough guys. I expect that there will be more of an influx in the near future and surely some champions will emerge, Khabib Nermagomedov out of AKA perhaps…?
AM: Omari is 2-1 with his one loss coming against Gunni Nelson. Have you taken anything from this fight as a way of possibly beating him?
BE: Not really. Gunnar Nelson can beat any WW in the world, he has such a phenomenal ground game. He was able to attain mount and hold it against Omari, something I think Gunnar can manage to do to many in the division.
AM: Last time we spoke you described your original opponent Alan Jouban as “tall, tan and handsome”, how would you describe Omari?
BE: I wouldn’t use the same adjectives. I’d say something along the lines of: stout, 5 o’clock shadowy, and angry-faced.
AM: Thank you for your time, Brian.
BE: You’re welcome. Your readers can follow me on twitter – @TwasEbersole.
(Title Photo via Tiger Muay Thai)