Sanabul Fight Buzz notes: Interview with Tim Welch Skip to content
Sanabul Fight Buzz notes: Interview with Tim Welch

Sanabul Fight Buzz notes: Interview with Tim Welch

Full interview can be found here 


Introduction - Tim Welch

(0:00 - 1:49)

  • Tim Welch is Sean O’Malley’s long time head coach for striking, grappling, and mma.
  • Recently, Tim blew out his Achilles (tendon) completely, but is already in a boot, walking around, and able to hold pads. He is currently keeping up with his rehab and nutrition to get back to 100% as soon as he can (which he is hoping is in March 2024). He is also taking peptides and getting stem cell treatment from Ways2Well.


Sean O’Malley vs Chito Vera rematch

(1:50 - 6:23)

  • Tim wasn’t surprised when the UFC booked the rematch between O'Malley and Vera. He says that this fight is one he wants to get back, but one that will be difficult. He compliments Chito and his team on their durability, toughness, work ethic, and training style. Despite this, Tim believes that Sean will be ready  for a “5 round war” and will be the first one to knock Chito out.
  • Looking back on their first fight, Tim doesn’t believe a lot has changed since their first fight, despite the improvements each fighter has made since then. In the last 10 years, Tim understands a common approach of whoever Sean faces. He believes Chito will take a similar approach:
    • Look to put heavy pressure on Sean and get his back toward the cage. 
    • Take a kick heavy approach to try and wear on Sean’s legs and forearms throughout the fight
    • Wrestling and grapple where/when he can (which Tim  says will be quickly neutralized by Sean)
  • Regarding verbal back and forths, Tim thinks there may be some jabs traded, but that it won’t phase Chito who will be focusing on the task at hand. If he does fight angrily on emotions, Tim says it’ll be a quick night for him, as Sean will capitalize on the openings that emotions can reveal.
  • Tim also says, “We’ll see if he shows up because he didn’t show up against Cory Sandhagen (referencing their fight where many believe that Cory Sandhagen dominated Cito, despite what the scorecards say) and this is going to be a much bigger platform, with a lot of pressure, in the big cage, and he’s fighting someone who's way faster than Cory Sandhagen and better in a lot of areas” (4:08 - 4:22)
  • If Tim had to make a bet on the fight, he says that he’d put money on Sean O’Malley winning via submission in round 3. 
    • Many people don’t believe Sean has a good grappling game, since he is mainly known for his striking. Just because he hasn’t used it (or needed to use it yet), doesn’t mean it’s not there.
    • Tim says Sean is confident in his strong grappling game, which loaded with secretive tricks.
    • He sees Sean stunning Chito with strikes, causing Chito to shoot into a grappling exchange to buy time to recover. From here, Sean will submit him


Tim on watching film and researching opponents

(6:24 - 9:34)

  • Tim says he hasn’t done as much research on Sean’s past opponents, compared to the amount that he did going into the Aljamain Sterling fight at UFC 292.
    • He did a lot more on Aljo to prepare for his funky, unorthodox style.
    • He says he will probably do less on Chito because he has a much more basic and conventional fight style
  • Tim says that he would usually watch the opponent’s most recent fight(s) and look for their tendencies and what worked for them in this last fight. 
    • The reasoning for this is because if people do something that works, they will more than often try it again in the future, so being prepared for this can only help
  • Tim’s advice for fighters, when it comes to doing research on their opponents:
    • Focus on your strengths and focus on your gameplan.
    • Do as much research as you want, but don’t worry too heavily on what you’ve seen from their past fights and their game plan because it could change.
    • “You gotta focus on what you can control and when those negative thoughts come into your head, you’ve gotta be able to counter them right away with something” (9:26 - 9:32)

Tim’s thoughts on recent fights / fighters

(9:35 - 17:20)

  • Arman Tsarukyan
    • Athletic, super explosive, young, healthy, durable, good team
  • Leon Edwards vs Colby Covington
    • For Leon, it’s a completely different fight than with Kamaru Usman. Usman is an orthodox power striker, who doesn’t really change levels, despite his great wrestling.
    • On the other hand, Covington is a southpaw volume striker who changes levels a lot and aims to mix in his suffocating wrestling game
    • One of Tim’s friends went to college with Covington and says that Colby has freakshow  endurance - a dangerous weapon in a 5 round fight. In long practices and matches, he was always the one pushing the pace
  • Alex Volkanovski vs Ilia Topuria
    • Ilia is extremely well rounded, smart, and composed. If Ilia wins, it could set up a fight with Sean O’Malley for the 145lb title
    • Unsure of whether or not his last fight (tko loss to Islam Makhachev via headkick + punches) will affect Volkanovski
      • Some people may really be changed by a loss like that, mentally and physically, but with how great Volk is, Tim is curious to see if his recent loss affects him
  • Shavkat Rakhmanov vs Stephen Thompson
    • While it may seem easy  to try and mimic guys like Wonderboy and Suga, facing them is a completely different story.
    • Shavkat trains with very high level fighters and under really great coaches at KillCliff FC, so he think Henri Hooft (head coach at KillCliff) will definitely prepare him well. He picks Shavkat over Thompson, especially if there’s a grappling exchange
  • Vicente Luque vs Ian Garry
    • Luque is one of Tim’s favorite fighters to watch, due to how well rounded he is
    • With the controversy surrounding Garry, Tim thinks it’s interesting to see how he handles it, but ultimately picks him to win by decision
    • With the amount that Garry moves around and trains at different gyms, Tim says that from a coaching perspective, it might not be in a fighter’s best interest to keep moving around
      • Coaches won’t be as familiar with you and fighters may not have complete trust in a coach they’ve known for weeks compared to one they;ve worked with for years.
      • On the other hand, training with a lot of different trainer partners can give a fighter unique looks and teach them a lot, so it’s really dependent on the fighter.
    • When it comes to rising star power, Tim says that everyone is different, especially the way they become famous (Covington’s approach vs O’malley’s approach), so they will have to find out different ways to handle it that suits them best. This applies to Garry

Closing remarks

(17:21 - 17:53)


Tim Welch Instagram (@timwwelchmt)

Tim Welch Youtube (@TimWelchMT)

Tim Welch snapchat (@timwwelchmt)

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