As Patrick Walsh prepared for his quarterfinal showdown against Anton Berzin, a knife could have cut through the tension in the Ultimate Fighter 19 house.
The fallout from Roger Zapata’s controversial win over Team Edgar’s Ian Stephens was mounting anixety between the teams.
“The smallest things started setting us off,” Walsh explained in an interview with MMA Fight Corner. He mentioned how Eddie Gordon overreacted when someone used a burner on the kitchen stove that he had claimed as his.
“Just smaller things that wouldn’t get us on edge, but with everyone being so upset about the loss, just little things were getting to us.”
The Massachussetts native admitted he normally approaches fights calmly and with his mind at ease. When he sought victory over Berzin, his mental state was much different.
“I definitely had a little bit more animosity going into this fight,” Walsh said. “Knowing Ian just got robbed, and just being frustrated with everything, all the tension in the house, I was glad I could release some of my own testosterone in the cage and not in the house with someone. Everyone was just so high strung after that fight, I felt I could to go to bat for the team.”
Walsh drew from his wrestling background to overwhelm Berzin. He unleashed some ground and pound when he saw the openings. Knowing Berzin possessed strong Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills, Walsh worked with Frankie Edgar and his assistant coach Ricardo Almeida on how to defend and escape submissions. His efforts came in handy. Berzin worked to secure chokes, triangles and an armbar to finish him. But Walsh fended off the submissions from start to finish.
What he learned from Edgar and his staff on TUF 19 without a doubt helped him step up his game.
“Back home in Boston, I have good guys,” Walsh said. “It was really good to have these well-rounded guys in the house to train with as well as some of the best coaches. And again, I can find Boston coaches. I can find different coaches, but not many well-rounded MMA coaches. You know, and I had 4, 5, or 6 coaches at the time and I was able to pick their brain.
“It definitely changed my game in the house. It allowed me to develop a better strategy and all I had to do was listen. They did all the rest of the work. So it was pretty good.”
A wrestler since eighth grade, Walsh would practice anywhere he could, anytime he could. If there was a mat in a gym, Walsh could be found on it. Before he even attended high school, he’d stroll into their practices to excel further in his craft. Wrestling became his obssession.
The 25-year old hoped to channel one of his idols in his fight. UFC Hall of Famer and TUF 19 assistant coach for B.J. Penn’s team, Mark Coleman.
“Mark Coleman’s just someone that I consider a mentor that I never really met,” Walsh stated.
He once met him in passing his freshman year at Ohio State University, which was also Coleman’s alma mater. But Walsh felt he reconnected with him and got to know him while working on TUF 19. After his win, Coleman even commented that Walsh’s style was a lot like his own.
“Talking about the fact that that was the style that I wanted, than him comparing himself to me, that was just something that was amazing,” Walsh gushed.
Patrick “The Beast of the East” Walsh dedicates himself wholeheartedly to accomplishing his goals. His father’s only intentions for his son were that he do what makes him happy and that he pursue his dreams with everything he has.
Coming from a family of fishermen, Walsh doesn’t shy away from hard work. In fact, he stuck by his father’s guidance on his Ultimate Fighter journey.
“My father always said I could do whatever I want, as long as I was the best at it. He’s a commercial fisherman. He grew up with nothing. He didn’t even have a high school education. He went off and he was fishing and he made the most of what he had. My father gave me every opportunity I could ask for and what I love right now is fighting, and I’m just trying to be the best.
“Life lessons, just whatever you want to do, just make sure you’re passionate about it and you’re the best at it. [Fighting’s] something that I found that I really enjoy and hopefully, I’ll be the best.”
If he conquers his next opponent in the semifinals, Walsh will progress in the Ultimate Fighter season 19 tournament. Only then will we see if his fighting spirit and commitment to his dreams were enough to warrant a 6-figure contract with the UFC.
The Ultimate Fighter season 19 airs every Wednesday on FOX Sports 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET. Every week, we’ll speak with the winners from the show on MMA Fight Corner.