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1/29/2007 10:53pm,
Travis Lutter gets his UFC moment in the spotlight Saturday against Silva

Mon Jan 29, 12:28 PM

By Neil Davidson

(CP) - Mixed martial arts fighter Travis Lutter paid his dues en route to Saturday's title bout against UFC middleweight champion Anderson (The Spider) Silva.

There have been 12 professional fights and endless hours of training. Not to mention six long, miserable weeks living with 15 other men in the gilded cage of a Las Vegas mansion for Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show.

"I hated it," Lutter said from Fort Worth, Texas. "I think it's the worst thing that I've ever done in my life, being in that house for six weeks.

"No TV, no Internet, no magazines, no books. When they take away all those sources of input, the boredom level is just incredible. And after the first week, you had all the same conversations. Nobody has anything new to talk about, because they don't have any input. And you've talked about basically everything that you're going to get out of them. And then what? You just start to lose your damn mind."

Lutter, 33, didn't make waves in the house. He just kept winning. Still, Silva is an overwhelming favourite to beat him Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas (available on pay per view).

Judging from the odds, Saturday's UFC 67: All or Nothing card has been aptly named.

According to Gamblerspalace.com, you would have to wager $400 on Silva to make $100 while a $100 bet on Lutter would net a $300 profit.

The odds are even worse for heavyweight Mirko (Cro Cop) Filipovic and light-heavyweight Quinton (Rampage) Jackson, two MMA stars who make their UFC debuts in separate bouts on the card. Cro Cop was minus-1600, meaning you'd have to bet $1,600 to win $100 in his bout against Eddie Sanchez. Jackson was minus-700, meaning $700 will get you $100.

Canadian Georges St. Pierre was set to defend his welterweight title Saturday against Matt Serra, who won the 170-pound portion of the Ultimate Fighter show, but the bout was postponed after St. Pierre hurt his knee training.

Season 4 of the reality show focused on veteran fighters looking to turn around their careers in the Octagon, with the two winners promised a title shot.

Lutter (9-3 including 2-2 in the UFC), for one, is unfazed by long odds or whether he is getting the respect he's due against Silva (17-4).

"I don't really think about stuff like that," said the no-nonsense Lutter. "My job is to go there and beat Anderson Silva. And if I get respect, that's fine, and if I don't, that's fine too."

Lutter reckons the chance of his winning is a "high possibility." "If I didn't think that, I shouldn't be fighting."

The fruits of his Ultimate Fighter win included the US$100,000 title fight, a $100,000 sponsorship deal with supplements maker Xyience and a Toyota Scion.

Lutter says the Xyience deal hasn't kicked in and he has yet to get the car. But the UFC has done its part, paying him the $100,000 plus a bonus.

Still, Lutter is not short on wheels. A motorcycle enthusiast, he has three bikes: a JX10R 2004 Kawasaki, a ZX12R 2002 Kawasaki and a dirt bike.

After submitting Montreal's Patrick Cote to win the 185-pound portion of the Ultimate Fighter show on Nov. 11, Lutter returned to his home and gym (the Travis Lutter Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy) in Fort Worth.

There was no vacation. It was straight back to work, teaching and training.

"The worst part of jumping into the training was that I had to train through the holidays," he said.

The good news is Lutter, who has a seven-year-old son, says he has been able to resume a normal life since the end of the show.

"I don't get as much attention as some fighters. Matt Serra, you hear him before you see him," he said dryly. "He gets recognized a lot more than I do. I'm a pretty low-key guy, so people don't really notice me that much."

That's just the way Lutter likes it.

Lutter, who has had the gym since 1998, is originally from South Dakota but left for Texas to study jiu-jitsu under Carlos Machado, the nephew of Carlos Gracie.

"I just wanted to learn," he explained. "I didn't really have any goals or aspirations as far as fighting or anything like that. Because nobody was making any money at the time, heck I wasn't making any money until the last year fighting. It's just something that kind of happened."

A former high school and college wrestler, Lutter said it didn't take him long to figure that he was better at Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

"For whatever reason, I just have a pretty good feel for jiu-jitsu."

Had Lutter not taken up MMA, he figures he would have ended up in law enforcement. He studied criminal justice at Northern State University, a small school in Aberdeen, S.D.

Lutter has been overlooked by many in the leadup to this fight, overshadowed by Silva. With his lean build and glasses, the six-foot Brazilian looks unassuming outside the ring. But he strikes like lightning inside it.

Silva's UFC career consists of two fights and three minutes 48 seconds.

In less than the time most people need for their morning shower, he floored Chris Leben and then toppled Rich Franklin, seeming to cast a spell in the cage over the now-former 185-pound champion.

The Brazilian clamped his hands behind Franklin's neck in a deadly Muay Thai clinch and hammered him with punishing knees. Watch the fight carefully and you can see Franklin's nose spread diagonally across his face after one clinch, with the dazed champion dabbing at it with a hand wondering where it had gone.

Franklin, who required surgery to repair the broken beak after the fight, crumpled soon after. The former Cincinnati teacher is due to return to the ring March 3 against Jason (The Athlete) MacDonald of Red Deer, Alta., in Columbus, Ohio, at UFC 68: The Uprising.

Silva, who prior to cracking heads was an office clerk and McDonald's employee, is a legitimate hard man in the world of MMA. He is renowned for his footwork, technique and the accuracy of his strikes.

"Anderson Silva's a tough guy," Lutter said. "A very dangerous opponent."

They say styles make fights and Silva-Lutter may prove the point. Lutter has a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with seven of his nine wins coming by submission. Silva likes to strike, with 11 of his 17 wins KOs or TKOs.

"It's going to be a war of attrition," Lutter suggested. "Whoever can implement their game plan the best is going to win this fight."

While the 31-year-old Silva is known for his striking, Lutter says he has other skills. UFC fans just haven't seen them yet.

"He's good on the ground. But he's not me," Lutter said.

"He's going to have a hard time dealing with me on the ground."

Notes: Canadian Carlos (Ronin) Newton meets Matt Lindland in a "superfight" on Friday's IFL card in Houston. The rest of the card pits the Los Angeles-based Anacondas against the Silverbacks of Quad Cities, Ill., while the Tokyo-based Sabres meet the Scorpions of Tucson. Lightweight Chris Horodecki of London, Ont., will be competing for the Anacondas. Newton, a former UFC welterweight champion, is coach of the Toronto Dragons. The Houston event is the second stop of the IFL's season. ... MFC 11: Gridiron goes Saturday in Edmonton with Edmonton Eskimos Mike Maurer and Adam Braidwood in action in separate bouts. ... Spike TV says its Ultimate Fight Night card last Thursday drew 2.3 million viewers in the U.S., second only to the Tito Ortiz-Ken Shamrock card for UFC fights on the network. That's more than three times the NHL all-star game audience of some 671,000 in the U.S. on Versus.

Photo of Lutter also at link.

1/30/2007 12:21am,
Silva has a BB in BJJ too, correct?

I'm sick of GSP injuring himself before fights.

1/30/2007 12:24am,
Yup he is.

1/30/2007 12:50am,
It probably won't do him much good against Lutter though, if they go down. From what I've seen Silva doesn't have much in the way of a sprawl, or am I wrong about that?

1/30/2007 1:43am,
Silvas ground game and takedown defense have never impressed me. His guard it built mainly around defense and he rarely attacks with any serious submissions. I dont think hes going to be able to trade technique with Lutter in a ground fight, just the same as you wouldnt expect Lutter to trade punches with him off the feet.

1/30/2007 2:32am,
If Lutter wins, heads will be exploding across the nation....of course he won't win though. But still :)

1/30/2007 3:05am,
Here is what Lutter has to look forward to.


1/30/2007 3:19am,
Travis Lutter.

1/30/2007 1:57pm,
I am looking for Lutter to win this one as well.

1/30/2007 5:32pm,
KO 1st round Silva - knee to the head

1/30/2007 7:04pm,
The Noguiera's promoted Anderson to black belt in BJJ, which is quite the credible source =)

1/30/2007 7:11pm,
I'm still picking Lutter. He fights ugly but he's effective at what he does.

1/30/2007 7:21pm,
wager sent your way phorsty. =)

1/30/2007 7:32pm,
Lutter's advantage is going to be in takedowns versus Silva's in striking. I don't see Lutter being able to finish on the ground and I think he'll take to much damage toget a deciscion off of takedowns.

1/30/2007 11:33pm,
The Noguiera's promoted Anderson to black belt in BJJ, which is quite the credible source =)

Its not to say that Anderson isnt a skilled groundfighter or that he isnt a legit black belt- its a simple question of the type of game he plays.

Throughout different peoples careers in BJJ, they're natrually going to find a particular game that works for them. Some people are good with positions, some are good with passing the guard, others are good with sweeping. A select few are able to do it all. I know of a brown belt that when he fights (gi) he has absolutely no submissions from the bottom at all, and hes about 145lb (kinda rare to see that in the smaller fighters). The same may have happened with Silva- perhaps hes not a big submission guy, but thats the kind of game that makes or breaks you in MMA.

1/31/2007 4:01am,
You can't say that a fighter needs to use submissions to be a skilled MMA fighter. He needs to be versed in them, he needs to practice them, and he needs to practice counters to them. But if you are effective with simply beating the crap out of your opponent then why not? He perfers Muay Thai. His background is Muay Thai + BJJ. The same combination that practically everyone in the sport preaches today. As I said in another thread, would you bet against Liddell just because he perfers to strike? I doubt Lutter will even get him to the ground for more than a few seconds.

I'm gonna call it right here.

Silva, round 1, Strikes.