Official tryouts for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter are set to take place on April 27th in Las Vegas and there will be no shortage on Canadian talent for the 155lb and 170lb selection process. Leading up to this audition of a lifetime, I’ll be featuring a recurring article on MMAOddsBreaker where I put the spotlight on those Canadian fighters making the trip down to Sin City later this month. Name: Shawn Albrecht Age: 29 Height: 5’9 Weight Class: Featherweight (competing at 155lbs at TUF 22 tryouts) Record: 11-6 (8 TKO/KO’s, 2 Sub., 1 Dec.) Fighting Out Of: Fort St. John, British Columbia (Fivestar Training Centre) Last Fight: Won via Unanimous Decision over Mike Adams (BFL 34) Fun Fact: Learning to speak Russian in his downtime Albrecht’s foray into mixed martial arts was an interesting one. While most competitors choose MMA as an outlet for stress or discipline, the B.C. native got involved simply for revenge. “[In Grade 11] I got beat up outside a party once and got a pretty bad jaw dislocation.” Albrecht told MMAOddsBreaker. “I was determined to get back at this guy; so I went to join a gym because I couldn’t throw a punch to save my life. Actually I was [involved in] dance in high school and the local dance teacher was married to a kickboxing instructor and he was teaching some classes. So I hit him up and from there it progressed. Then I joined an actual gym one day and starting doing some tournaments, won them and I kind of just kept going with it.” The current head coach at Fivestar Training Centre began his professional MMA career in 2006 and had the luxury of fighting locally in British Columbia. When many pundits think of Canadian MMA, they often look to the provinces of Quebec, Ontario or Alberta as a source for up and coming talent. However as Albrecht explains, B.C.’s local scene has been thriving for years. “A lot of people don’t realize that the [Vancouver’s] lower mainland is actually like a hotbed for MMA. There are a lot of guys training down here right now. There are a lot of awesome teams and there’s awesome lot of up and coming fighters. Like Lions MMA, has a huge fight team now, we still got our huge fight team at West Coast BJJ, the 10th Planet guys, Titan MMA; Bibiano [Fernandes] is out there, so many guys on the lower mainland to train with. Battlefield [is] kind of like the top promotion, they’re always putting on great shows, I mean their last champion Matt Dwyer made it to the UFC.” On April 27th Albrecht has the opportunity of a lifetime as he looks to make the cut for season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter. Often times we hear stories from former cast members about not only how physically demanding the tournament can be, but more importantly how mentally taxing the experience can become. Albrecht is all too familiar with the mental side of mixed martial arts, as he’s endured his own battle with depression, which almost derailed his MMA career. “In the past, when I was kid growing up [I dealt with depression] and it kind of came back pretty hard a couple years ago; I suffered from pretty bad anxiety. I was supposed to have this big breakout fight with the World Series of Fighting [WSOF 7: Karakhanyan vs. Palmer]. Everything was going awesome and then I just had a really bad nervous breakdown right in the middle of the cage, during the fight after the first round. Everything just went to crap from there, so it’s nice to finally get back and conquer some demons.” As we all know in MMA timing is everything. Albrecht admits he’s in a great place both physically and mentally. He just hopes that get’s displayed in the selection process. “I feel awesome mentally and it’s finally all starting to come together. Like the skill in the gym is matching the skill that’s being displayed in the cage, which was always a big thing hampering me for a long time. Kind of not performing as well as should have been. Maybe lost a couple of fights that I should have won against some good people. This is the best I’ve felt in my ten years of fighting.” Like most fighters who have tried out for the popular reality series in the past, Albrecht will be fighting up a weight class just to make it on the show, as the casting is only for lightweights and welterweights. Fighting primarily as a featherweight throughout his career, Albrecht feels like he won’t be undersized in the competition. “It’s [actually] easier to make weight because they don’t t give you a lot of time to make weight [during the competition]. When you’re walking around 160-170lbs it’s not easy to make 145lbs on two, three days’ notice. So 155lbs is a little easier for the show, then after that I’d probably go back down to featherweight.” Also making the trip to Las Vegas for the tryouts is 22-year old Jeremy Kennedy, a prospect who Albrecht coaches on a regular basis. Despite the fact these teammates could end up fighting each other in the tryouts or on the show, Albrecht says at the end of the day it’s all business. “I guess it is what it is right? I’ll have to come up with some certain rules, like no wrestling or something, only use our rights hands, and make it kind of interesting [he laughs]. We’ve joked about it and laughed about it. Hopefully, it would kind of be ideal right? [But] If me and Jeremy both make it and we get on the show, then I’m sure we can put aside our long friendship for 10 minutes of glory, At least at the end of the day we both would have made it and that’s the whole point right?” Ahead of the tryouts, Albrecht mentioned that he spoke with Canadians Duncan Wilson and Brad Stewart, two fighters who previously tried out for The Ultimate Fighter in the past. A key element in proceeding through the selection process is being unique. With that said, Albrect revealed one wild idea to get the UFC’s attention. “Maybe I can get into a fight somebody in the lineup out there; I have to talk to Jeremy [Kennedy] because [he’s] going down with me. Maybe we can stage some fight, something funny to get recognized.” You can follow Shawn on Twitter @ShawnAlbrecht145
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