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Elgin ultimate fighter Tommy Speer set for fight of his life

By Ben Pherson

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN

LAS VEGAS — After weighing in for a big fight, most mixed martial artists pose for a stare-down photo opportunity.

But Mac Danzig took a different approach Friday at the Palms in prepration for tonight’s "The Ultimate Fighter" finale. And Elgin native Tommy Speer didn’t appreciate Danzig’s antics.

Danzig did not raise his fists and would not approach Speer, who said Danzig’s cold shoulder will provide him with more motivation for tonight’s fight.

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"He’s been Mr. Nice Guy to me all week, and then he pulls that," Speer said. "Whatever. That’s Mac."

Speer was in an overall ornery mood early Friday evening after a long day of cutting weight for his 170-pound showdown with Danzig. Speer weighed 177 pounds when he woke up Friday morning. But he worked out at "The Ultimate Fighter" (TUF) training center and was able to sweat out the final seven pounds by the time he stepped on the scale at 4 p.m.

Coaches Matt Hughes, Matt Pena, Marc Fiori and Rochester’s Mario Roberto, who teaches jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts at Fourth Street Gym, put Speer through a series of workouts at the TUF training center. Speer hit the punching bag, rode the exercise bike and then did sit-ups. And he repeated that routine for two hours.

Speer took four pounds off during those workouts, then sweat out the final three pounds in the sauna at the Palms.

"Normally seven pounds isn’t a big cut at all, but the (TUF) gym wasn’t hot enough. I could feel my body getting cold, so it was harder to sweat," Speer said.

Everything is now locked and loaded for Speer’s big fight against Danzig, which will take place tonight. Live TV coverage of the season six TUF Finale begins at 8 p.m. on the Spike Network. A Spike film crew was in Speer’s hometown of Elgin in October, putting together a biography piece that will be broadcast just before the fight.

A contingent of Speer’s family and friends joined him in Las Vegas on Friday. Speer estimated 10 family members and countless friends were there to support him.

Speer’s family, which runs a dairy and crop farm outside of Elgin, was missing just one member — Speer’s brother, who stayed home to manage the farm.

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"He stayed back so my dad could come," Speer said.

As for the fight, Speer said he’s not nervous at all. He feels he’s prepared.

"My coaches have me completely prepared. I don’t see anything surprising me," Speer said. "I’m guessing Mac is going to want to stand with me, but I won’t be surprised if he takes a shot (at a takedown). I’m just really confident."

Speer said he hasn’t been able to enjoy his time in Las Vegas — yet.

"I’m out here for work. This is a job right now. The tough part (cutting weight) is over, now I just have to fight. After (tonight), I’ll probably be able to enjoy things a bit, maybe spend time with family and friends."

The sportsbook at the Palms has Speer as a slight underdog for the fight.

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