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Mitrione Eager for a Scrap in Sweden this Saturday

Sorry, Bing Crosby, but being home for Christmas in his dreams simply was not good enough for Matt Mitrione. “Legitimately, one of the biggest reasons why I took the fight with [Roy Nelson]: I needed to be home for Christmas,” reveals Mitrione. “I needed to be. I was gone for so much. I missed my kids‘ birthdays. I missed so much that I needed to be home for Christmas. This fight came up and it let me be home for Christmas and spend time with my kids for New Years. It made the biggest the difference for them. For my kids and my family, it was humongous.”The 34-year-old father of three spent the majority of last year roughly a thousand miles Southeast of his Indiana home, training with the Blackzilians in Florida. Originally, Mitrione was set to make his seventh Octagon appearance in August against England‘s Rob Broughton, following a short time off to deal with injuries and rehab. After a few scrapped and rescheduled dates with Broughton, Mitrione was paired against another Englishman in Phil De Fries at UFC 155 on December 29. All told, Mitrione had been away from home for nine months and away from the cage for 14 months; when offered to fill-in for Shane Carwin against Roy Nelson at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale – Mitrione jumped at the fight.“It did not matter if it was four days before I fought Phil De Fries or the two weeks it was, I needed to fight,” explains Mitrione. “I needed to compete. I needed to get in there and do something. I needed the money too. I hadn’t fought for so long. I was also gone for so long; I was in Florida for nine months. I have three kids! I made sure to go down there early in March to rehab because I had some surgeries. I went down in March to do two months of rehab and two months of training, and the fight got pushed back and the fight got pushed back again and again. It kept getting pushed back one month at a time, so it wasn’t enough time to go back to see my kids. I just stayed down here the whole time.”The scrap was short and sweet and, for the first time, Mitrione was on the wrong end of it. The former defensive tackle for Purdue University‘s Boilermakers has only laced up a pair of MMA gloves for a professional bout inside the Octagon. At 5-2, Mitrione finished four of his first five opponents with his patented punching power and took a lone tangle the distance in a Fight of the Night unanimous decision win over Joey Beltran at UFC 119. Aggression appeared to be Mitrione‘s middle name until the uncharacteristic stale decision loss against Cheick Kongo in October 2011. After sitting out nearly all of 2012, Mitrione wanted a firefight and, win or lose, he had the right dance partner to give him one. “Once the fight happens, I bring the fight to Roy,” tells Mitrione. “I’m obviously aggressive and pushing the pace and I got caught up in the emotion of the moment and I got caught by a punch I didn’t see. I didn’t lose consciousness, I just got knocked down, and I was like ”Ëœwhat the hell just happened,‘ and Roy’s on top of me – the fight is over. It showed that I brought the fight to Roy. It was exciting because it was my seventh fight in my life and I’m fighting in the main event against a guy who is in the top seven in the world. Seventh fight in my life! That’s pretty damn exciting. It’s something that, as a man, will get your blood pumping again and be like ‘holy s**t’ let’s do something in here. It’s a moment in your life. I was excited when it came up. Roy’s a friend, I respect him, but it’s time to see what happens. Roy’s a real ‘Ultimate Fighter’ and he showed that. I made two mistakes and he took advantage of them and capitalized on them and that’s what happens. You make the wrong choice at the wrong time and you’re going to get caught; that’s what happens in our sport. It was exciting. Even though it only went three minutes, it was still damn exciting.”Up next, Mitrione will look to get back on the winning track and get back to regularly slated Octagon competition at UFC on FUEL TV in Sweden with a familiar European opponent in De Fries. This Saturday, the Sunderland submission specialist with a 2-2 UFC record will most likely drag this fight to the floor looking for the finish. The purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu has moved training camps to sunny California to improve his overall fight game with Alliance MMA. Earning eight of his nine victories via tap out, De Fries is at his most dangerous on the ground, and he would like to take the knockout artist Mitrione off his feet. “I think Phil is a good fighter and a good grappler,” asserts Mitrione. “What he does, he does well. He gets guys up against the wall, he doesn’t get reversed very much against the wall, and he’s got a decent grappling game. He isn’t afraid of going for submissions, he can hold guys for positions, he’ll go for elbows, and he tries to finish fights. I think he’s a good fighter. I’m really excited to get in there with him. If it goes to the ground, I…

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