October 20, 2012Print
The first-ever active duty member of the United States Armed Forces claimed his first preliminary round win of the competition, as Staff Sgt. Colton Smith won a majority decision over Eddy Ellis on The Ultimate Fighter® Fridaysepisode six – “One Mission” – that aired on FX on Friday evening.
The victory gets Team Nelson, coached by UFC® heavyweight Roy Nelson, back in the game, as they cut the gap down to one. Team Carwin, led by former UFC interim heavyweight champion Shane Carwin, continues to lead with a 3-2 advantage after five preliminary bouts.
Smith, 24, a Ranger-tabbed infantryman from Fort Hood, Tex., is also a Combatives Instructor who teaches hand-to-hand combat to soldiers being readied for deployment. The father of two, 3-1 in his professional mixed martial arts career, is also a former congressional escort who has been to over 25 different countries before landing in Las Vegas for the show.
“Eddy is a great mixed martial artist but I knew coming in I would prevail, especially faced with adversity like I did in round one. I felt very accomplished but realized I wasn’t on top of my game in the first round and made the fight a lot harder on myself. I know I need to be more awake in round one in the future and implement my game plan from bell to bell in order to be victorious. I am a big believer in being a team player and I realize winning for Team Nelson could change the tide of the entire season.”
A die-hard Ultimate Fighter fan, Ellis, 28, has been signing up for the show since season two. Upon finally getting his chance, the 17-15-1 MMA fighter and avid bull-riding rodeo fan wasn’t overly impressed with his performance.
“After the fight, I felt disappointed with my performance. It seemed like I couldn’t find my rhythm, even during the first round I got caught up in the excitement. In the second round, things were still chaotic in my mind. I wasn’t able to settle down and implement my fight. I would have collected myself after catching him, settled down, thought clearly, and finished an obviously hurt opponent.
“The mood on Team Carwin after my fight was surprisingly lifted not because I had lost but because I had really fought. The first few fights were rather lack-luster so after watching me go out hard and exciting, it made the other guys want to do the same.”