Patrick Walsh on CES 30 opponent Jesse McElligott “I’m going to get the finish”

61f9e7fc98b11beda1f7427d58379565Patrick Walsh was making his UFC debut close to a year ago and it looked like had a promising career with the Las Vegas based promotion. But after going 1-1 in the octagon, the Massachusetts native found himself with his UFC walking papers this past April. “I definitely was [shocked]” Walsh told MMAOddsBreaker. “The conversation was kind of weird, with [Joe Silva] pushing me to fight at 185 pounds. I went down; I thought it was one of those things where I could say I could try it, if it doesn’t work out maybe I can go back to 205 pounds. [Instead] I went down and I’m cut. It was definitely something I was surprised with. But again they want to have the best quality fighters in the world. It’s really competitive and they have to make cuts. That’s just where I fell in.” Walsh (5-2) is known primarily for his stint on Season 19 of The Ultimate Fighter where he made it to the semi finals before losing to eventual tournament winner Corey Anderson. Unlike some past competitors on the show, Walsh admitted he’d gladly do the reality series again if he was given another opportunity. “It was a really interesting experience; I would definitely do it again. I was able to get paid to train full time and have some of the best coaches in the world. I was definitely happy about the whole experience but definitely a unique one. Fighting and training is easy. Doing it with life in the way is what’s difficult. They took away all the distractions. It was a little rough not having TV, radio, stuff like that. It really took all the other stresses in life away.” After a successful UFC debut  – where he defeated Dan Spohn by unanimous decision at the TUF 19 Finale – the 26-year old reluctantly moved down to middleweight on the suggestion by UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. In hindsight, the drop to 185 pounds proved more difficult then he imagined. “It was a really tough cut for me, my last fight making 185 against Daniel Kelly. It was the first time I had ever been that low. It’s something that I wasn’t sure about what weight class I’d be doing to. Joe Silva kind of threw it on me to fight 185lbs, I was probably 240lbs when I took the fight. Cutting that much weight threw me off a little bit. But what are you going to do.” On August 14th Walsh returns to the cage at light heavyweight, when he takes on Jesse McElligott at CES 30. It’s the first time Walsh has competed for the Rhode Island based promotion since 2013. He’s excited not only with the fact he’ll be fighting on AXS TV but also because he was slated to fight his opponent a few months prior but the matchup fell apart. “It’s still a great opportunity to fight on TV. I definitely didn’t want to jump right down to the local promotions, easy to jump on and get quick fights.  CES does a really good job and the TV is a huge factor in my exposure. Keeping the fans I still have, that watched the Ultimate Fighter that will be able to tune in and watch me compete. My first fight [after the UFC was] going to be with World Series of Fighting, they were coming into town, and it was the same opponent [McElligott]. It ended up falling through because of a suspension that I was under, due to me missing weight in my prior fight. Which I actually didn’t even know about, I thought you were supposed to be informed if you were suspended. That came up when I was booking a fight. I was kind of set on a bigger promotion. CES is right in there, trying to make that next tier with WSOF, Bellator being on TV. They’re pushing into those kind of ranks. Especially somewhere where I can fight with driving distance from my hometown. That was definitely something that came into a factor. My friend and family will be able to go.” Walsh looks to avoid back to back losses for the first time in his career, and feels competing at 205 pounds is the proper weight class for him. “I’m more comfortable at [light-heavyweight] it’s less stress. You get to think less about cutting weight, more about the fight. I’m lifting; I’m much bigger than I was before. I think I’ll even be leaner than I was at 185 pounds. I hoping it only take me a few fights to get back. I’m just eating more often and just smaller meals. I weight 231 lbs today so I’m not too small, I definitely have to lean up a little bit. It’s just about being as big and as strong as possible at the right weight. Really adjusting those diet habits. McElligott (5-2) is coming off a loss to David Branch at World Series of Fighting 20, where he was finished for the first time in his career.  With both fighters coming off losses, Walsh believes this is a favourable matchup for him. “I’ve seen one of [McElligott’s] last fights against Kevin Haley, who’s definitely a good opponent. He was able to kind of pick him apart and beat him up. Surprisingly he was really athletic and mobile. I believe he’s a brown belt in jiu-jitsu and he’s got some decent hands. I did not see his last fight [with Dave Branch at WSOF 20] but I plan on looking that up. Since I have seen him fight live, I think I match up well. He’s got some great skills. I just think I’m going to be too strong, too explosive. I just have this kind of knack for grappling where that’s his strong suit but I think I’m better.” In preparation for this matchup Walsh has been training at Victory Combat Academy – a gym that he owns and manages. In addition he splits time at Redline MMA in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with UFC welterweight John Howard.  While he hasn’t ruled out a return to middleweight, Walsh just wants to earn a finish in this fight as he looks to inch closer to a UFC return. “I would like to end the fight on the feet, with my hands. But I’ve got some pretty slick submissions. I’m not sure exactly what I’m going to catch him with, but I’m going to get the finish. I think it’s possible for me to do well [at middleweight] I just need more time to adjust to that weight class. Whatever [weight class], I really hope that someone gets hurt [in the UFC] and I’m on the injury list. That way I can jump right back in the big show.”   You can follow Patrick on Twitter @PatWalshMMA and he would like to give a shoutout to his gym Victory Combat Academy. You can listen to the full audio version of this interview on an “Extra” edition of The Parting Shot Podcast (44 mins in) 

Written by James Lynch

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