On one of those early September nights that lets you know fall is closer than you want it to be, a man pushed a car up and down Commercial Avenue in Garden City.
Not a single person driving by stopped and offered to help the man, a former world champion.
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Which is exactly the way Matt Serra wanted it. Why interrupt his training session?
Serra, in one of striking coach Ray Longo's devious athletic endeavors he calls "training," was preparing for his fight against Chris Lytle at UFC 119 in Indianapolis on Saturday. Frank Mir and Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, a pair of former heavyweight champions, fight in the main event.
"That stinks," Serra said of having to move the four-door Jaguar S-Type. "Getting ready to fight in a cage, though, I'm not afraid of getting hit or getting hurt, but I don't want to get tired. You want to push a guy up against a cage, there's nothing like pushing a car."
The car was in neutral, with a person inside to keep the steering wheel straight while Serra pushed the car down the street. Pushing the car in the other direction was Chris Weidman, another Longo protégé who fights for the middleweight title at Ring of Combat 31 in Atlantic City on Friday.
Oh, the car was in neutral? What's so difficult about that? Well, you go push nearly two tons of metal 100 feet, or several yards farther than the average NFL kick return, down the street, then sprint back to where you began and shadow box. Do it 10 times in five minutes and let us know if you don't break a sweat and need a minute to catch your breath.
This exercise of strength and stamina building can only help Serra as he prepares to fight Lytle. The two 170-pounders, both 36 years old, have similar fighting styles. Both are good on the ground and have good power in their hands. Lytle has won his last three fights, including two by submission. Serra beat Frank Trigg in February by first-round knockout.
"We're both well-rounded veterans," Serra said. "That makes it interesting. Wherever the fight takes place, it's going to be a whirlwind."
Serra (17-6) and Lytle (39-17-4) fought once before in the Season 4 finale of "The Ultimate Fighter" in November 2006. Won by Serra via split decision, it was the fight that put "The Terror" back on the UFC map. Five months later, he became the only man in the world to knock out Georges St-Pierre and won the UFC welterweight championship.
"If I'm able to take out Chris Lytle, that will definitely make the higher-ups re-evaluate the situation here," Serra said. "If the little 5-6 of dynamite goes in there and makes it happen, that'll be big."