Don't sell Sell short!
Story by Robert Kravantka
Photo: Chris Cozzone
Pete “Drago” Sell looks for his second win since moving down to the welterweight division, this Saturday night when he steps into the Octagon against Matt “The Immortal” Brown. Both fighters have a similar fighting style that is sure to deliver an action packed event when the two collide in Columbus, Ohio at UFC 96.
Both fighters possess a willingness to stand and bang, and as the cliché goes, styles make fights. Brown, training under Jorge Gurgel in Ohio, will have the home crowd behind him at UFC 96 while Pete’s looking to make a name for himself in the welterweight division.
Both fighters are in need of stringing together some wins in the Octagon. Brown’s record of 11-7-0 vs. Drago’s record of 8-5-0 will, no doubt, only add to the potential aggression these two fighters will unleash when they meet.
“Both Matt and I are guys that are going to get hit and come right back,” says Sell.
Sell believes he has an advantage in the experience department. When asked about any pressure with his match with Brown being on the main card, Sell laughs.
“That question makes me laugh. I took the Phil Baroni fight on two weeks’ notice, and that was a main card event at UFC 51. Talk about pressure – that was my first fight in the UFC.
“I feel I have been there and done that. Going through the peaks of winning six fights in a row, and then having a three fight losing streak, my experience has made me callous to this game. I don’t think I’m going to be surprised by anything Matt Brown does inside the Octagon.”
After riding six consecutive wins, Sell suffered through three consecutive losses against solid competition in the middleweight division. The first loss came to Scott Smith via a punch, which was a featured fight in the UFC “Ultimate Comebacks” DVD. Sell delivered a vicious body blow that crippled Smith. As Sell rushed in, he was met with a devastating right that Smith was able to throw. Both fighters were on the mat. To understand the warrior mentality in Sell is to hear his take on that fight.
“I have no problems with that. We both hit each other real good. Hey, if it was a boxing match, I would’ve been up by an 8 count. I’m not sure he could say the same.”
While other fighters might not be the same fighter, or become less aggressive, Pete Sell chalks it up to being in a fight, and not making excuses.
The second fight was a decision loss to Thales Leites, who is currently set to battle for Anderson Silva’s belt at UFC 97 in April.
Following the loss, Sell met Nate Quarry for the second time, and lost via a knockout in the third round. Most gave a distinct advantage to Sell on the ground vs. Quarry, but it was his willingness to stand and trade with Quarry that makes Sell’s fights exciting.
After the loss, Pete dropped down to the welterweight division where he won a decision over Josh Burkman. Sell discusses dropping in weight class.
“I have been stronger and quicker,” he says. “At 185, I was a strong fighter, but now at 170, I just feel I’m one of the strongest in the weight class. At 170, I’m more at the top of the class. I have such low body fat; I’m weighing in at 170, but hitting the Octagon at 185.”
Look for Drago to use this size advantage on Matt Brown, and to wear Brown down. Through the years in the UFC, Sell has known the benefits of both stand up wars, and quick decisions.
“Decisions help to elevate your game,” says Sell. “It makes you tougher to go a three round. That makes you better in the long run. At this level of competition, decisions aren’t failures. Sure, it’s nice to get a quick win, whether a knockout or having someone tap out. There, it’s no discussion. You won. I believe in my career, I have experienced both, and that has made me a better fighter.”
Sell offered his prediction for the fight:
“Looking to take Matt Brown out, whether by knock out or submission. I need a big win under my belt, I’ve been training hard, I’m going to push him, and I am ready for him. It is time to cash in on all my hard work in camp and training.”