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Eric Nicksick was at Dan Ige's side for his short-notice co-main event with Diego Lopes at UFC 303. As the trainer of former UFC champions Francis Ngannou and Sean Strickland, Nicksick has gained a lot of recognition in MMA circles.

At UFC 303, the trainer faced an unprecedented challenge, as Ige had just four hours to weigh in, rehydrate and, well, develop his fight strategy. Their goal was to fight instinctively, which, to be honest, worked pretty well.

“50k” showed his resilience by withstanding Lopes’ explosive strikes and constricting ground work in the first two rounds, taking the Brazilian down in the third round. However, a last-minute change suggested by coach Nicksick negatively impacted him and may have cost him the UFC 303 co-main event.

Eric Nicksick looks back at a mistake that likely cost Dan Ige a round against Diego Lopes at UFC 303

Nicksick and Ige appeared in the UFC 303 recap episode of Anik & Florian Podcast uploaded on the DraftKings YouTube channel. Nicksick recalled the fight and admitted that he shouldn't have asked Ige to throw a head kick.

“To be honest, I had a few sleepless nights because I messed up in the first round. In the second round, I called for the same side head kick. Something I thought because no one had ever seen Dan do it.”

Nicksick expected the side head kick to surprise Lopes, as Ige had only recently added the move to his repertoire. “50k” followed that instruction two minutes into the second round. The kick connected, but also helped Lopes get a takedown.

“It was the same side up when Dan turned southpaw. And he threw it and the shin landed on this guy's head, but we got taken down. And I looked over at Kai and I thought, I just screwed us. Dude, my gut feeling, I thought, I just screwed this man, my heart hurt.”

Despite the takedown and the three-minute control time, Ige constantly fought from his back and prevented his opponent from forcing him to submit.

Unfortunately, due to the takedown, the judges scored the round in Lopes' favor. And although Ige comfortably won the third round, he lost by unanimous decision 29-28 on all scorecards.

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