Executed perfectly, Walker understood what was on the line if he missed the kick. Not only is a botched tornado kick an impossible landing to predict, it’s an awful look and it would result in a permanent removal of one of his most crowd-pleasing strikes. “Put ‘Em To Sleep” couldn’t have that.
“Bill Newcomb always tells me, ‘keep it basic; basic wins fights,” Walker said. “’If the flashiness is there, do it, but if you miss, I don’t want to ever see you do it again in a fight.’ He’ll always give me confidence but it’s like, ‘if you mess up one time, I don’t want to see you throw that kick again ever.’”
With possibly only one chance to get it right, it was all laid out perfectly. Collette was backing away from the pressure, temporarily shelling up to outlast the barrage, backed into the corner and biting on the fake knee.
It landed with Tekken-like perfection and in the true spirit of martial arts, Walker’s only celebration was backing away and bowing to his opponent.
“The big kid inside of me was trying to come out of me like, ‘Jump, run around the ring or climb up on top of the turnbuckle and raise your hands.’ But then the humbleness of me was like, ‘No. That’s not how your coach brought you up. Muay Thai is about showing respect.’ You don’t show joy in somebody’s pain and agony,” Walker firmly stated.