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Aaron Wilkinson:

Ultimate week

Wilkinson buoyed by wins for Bisping, Broughton and Phan

Aaron Wilkinson - Aaron Wilkinson Posted 22nd October 2010 view comments

Before moving on to the next episode of The Ultimate Fighter, it's probably work talking a little about the UFC extravaganza that happened in London this past weekend, when the UFC Fan Expo and UFC 120 both came to town. I was able to attend both events and it was great to see so many fans come out and support this wonderful sport.

I had a really good time at the Expo on the Friday and had the chance to meet a lot of UFC fans, which is always nice. A lot of them actually recognised me and approached me for autographs and pictures, which was a pleasant surprise. They'd obviously seen my face on The Ultimate Fighter and it was nice to get some recognition like that. I wasn't actually aware that so many people had been watching it.

Bisping: Executed his game plan perfectly

Bisping: Executed his game plan perfectly

I knew that a lot of hardcore fans followed the show, but it seemed like everybody had seen my face at some point during recent weeks. It was great to know that people out there are interested in me and are keen to know about my career.

As for UFC 120 on the Saturday, I knew how Mike Bisping was going to go about the job - as I'd seen him a lot in training - but he executed the game plan perfectly and didn't leave anything to chance. He beat Yoshihiro Akiyama comfortably over three rounds, it all came together for him on the night and I couldn't be more pleased for him.

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I don't think Mike's boxing has ever looked that good before, and he definitely reached a new level against Akiyama. I don't think many people could have matched Mike for pure boxing on Saturday. He controlled the fight from the off and has now put himself right in contention for a shot at the UFC title.

I was also delighted for Rob Broughton, another of my team-mates at the Wolfslair, and someone who else scored a win at UFC 120. Rob beat Brazilian Vinicius Queiroz by rear-naked choke in the third round, and it was great to win in that kind of fashion on his UFC debut.

Submitted

Anyone who has ever seen Rob fight or train before will tell you he always brings it and delivers. You can never count that guy out. He's got fitness and heart for days and he's always in with a chance. I was made up for him on Saturday night, because not a lot of people gave him a chance against Queiroz. The Brazilian looked bigger and better and he was supposed to come over here and expose another British heavyweight.

As it happened, Rob broke his heart, outlasted him and eventually submitted Queiroz with a choke in the final round. If you'd have asked 100 people beforehand who was going to win the fight, I'd imagine 99 would have picked Queiroz. Rob thrives on those sort of situations. His cardio is immense and, to be honest, I don't think many heavyweights will be able to keep up with him.

Moving on to the next episode of The Ultimate Fighter, and it was an absolute pleasure to meet Chuck Liddell during a training session. I think everybody that follows the UFC is a fan of Chuck in some way. He's one of the most popular fighters in the planet. There are not many people that have been around for as long as he has or been as successful as he has.

It was a great honour to meet him during the show and also be given the opportunity to ask for his opinion on certain subjects and fighters. We were asking him how he trained, how he kept his passion and enthusiasm going after so many years, and just picking his brain on all things MMA. He is one of the true icons of the sport and one of the guys that started it all for us, so it was priceless to be able to chat with him the way we did.

Inspired by time spent with Chuck, it was the turn of Spencer Paige and Nam Phan to step into the Octagon and decide who progressed to the next round. To be honest, I liked both Spencer and Nam. From what I gathered, Spencer was quite big on boxing and was into it just as much as he was MMA. I know he'd done a lot of boxing before finding mixed martial arts. He was a decent guy and easy to get along with, as was Nam and most of the guys in the house.

Team Koscheck were all confident in Nam's ability to win that fight, simply because he boasted an edge in overall mixed martial arts experience. Spencer was talented and dangerous with his hands, but Nam was the more well-rounded fighter. Spencer was game to stand and trade, but we sensed Nam had other ways of winning the fight.

Relentless

It was a really good fight overall, and Nam carried out his game plan impressively. As we expected, Spencer never backed down or gave up, even when he was clearly in pain, and that's what made it such an entertaining fight. Nam managed to keep up a relentless pace throughout and that's what won him the fight by decision. It was nice to see a competitive, back-and-forth fight like that on the show.

It was great for Team Koscheck to finally grab a win and also to see Nam progress, but I was still hurting over my own defeat. I didn't let it on - as this was Nam's moment to celebrate - but I was still deeply disappointed in my loss. As much as I liked seeing Nam progress, the show was, ultimately, more about individual progress than team progress. Nam winning that fight didn't exactly help me, though I was still made up for him.

Looking back, Koscheck went a bit too far with the way he celebrated Nam's win. I didn't join in with the banging on the wall and goading the other team. That's not the way I go about things. It was unfair on Spencer and it was unfair on any fighter that loses. It was just a really bad move on Koscheck's part. I know he wanted to get under GSP's skin, but there were other ways of doing it...

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