David Michaud picked up two of the most important wins of his MMA career last month, and they both came on the same night.
Michaud defeated both John Howard and Glaico Franca at PFL 7 in Las Vegas to advance to the finals of the PFL welterweight tournament. He will meet Ray Cooper III on Dec. 31 at Madison Square Garden.
Michaud, a former UFC lightweight now competing at 170 pounds, said he found fighting twice in one night pretty difficult.
“You gotta be mentally strong,” Michaud told Bloody Elbow. “I knew going in you can’t let yourself get too hyped up.”
Both of Michaud’s fights went the distance. The Howard fight was two rounds because it was in the quarterfinals, while Franca was three. There was a significant amount of wrestling in Michaud’s first fight of the night, which wasn’t ideal, he said.
“I was really hoping I’d have a little easier first fight, try and get a quick finish and save some energy, get some good rest between rounds,” Michaud said. “Didn’t happen that way. It was a pretty tough first fight. A little bit grindy, had a lot of wrestling in it, and that’s going to wear you out more than just a striking fight. But the good thing about that is you’re getting a little bit less damage on your head, so you can probably take a better shot in the second fight not having been in a war.”
Michaud’s win over Franca was a war. He really had to dig deep, especially in the final round, to earn the decision in that fight. The fact that he and Franca had already fought that night certainly didn’t make it any easier for them. Michaud said he knew going into the event that the second fight would likely come down to heart and toughness more than skill and technique.
“I think that’s kind of how it goes,” Michaud said. “As you get more and more tired, the technique kind of goes out the window a lot of times. It gets a little bit grittier, a little bit more of a street fight, a little bit more of a dog fight. But it’s not like I was thinking, ‘I’m gonna get out there and we’re just gonna throw it all out the window and see what happens.’ That’s never the thought. But in that third round, I was tired. Got kneed, got cut, and just went for it, I guess.”
PFL presents its fighters with a unique challenge of fighting twice in one night. Not only is it difficult to simply fight two athletes in the same night, but fighters have to be smart when it comes to their training camps, too. Michaud said he prioritized Howard during his training camp, of course, but did keep the Franca vs. Andre Fialho fight in mind.
“I was definitely training for the two fights,” Michaud said. “I had John Howard in my mind at first, but I knew that next fight would be a guy that was about six-feet tall, likes to throw a lot of straight strikes. … What I was doing was getting some rounds in with guys that were John Howard shaped, and having them spar me like he was going to. Then I’d take a break, get 45 minutes off — do everything kind of how I figured fight night would go — then jump in there with a taller, longer guy.
“I wanted to keep that second fight in mind because the main goal is win the championship. I didn’t want to just think about one guy. But if you don’t win that first fight, nothing else matters. That’s the only fight that really matters at that point in time. If I lost my first fight, I only get a quarter of the pay that I ended up getting.”