Lower Burrell fighter makes MMA inroads
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It didn't take “The Honey Badger” long to seek out his prey.
Lower Burrell's Dominic Mazzotta is climbing the ranks of mixed martial arts.
Mazzotta, who began competing in MMA as a featherweight amateur (145 pounds) in October 2010, suddenly is set to make his professional debut.
His next-level fight will be Jan. 26 against Doug Hodges at Stage AE at “Gladiators of the Cage, North Shore's Rise to Power.”
Mazzotta, 25, has compiled a 7-1 record — with five wins by submission — while fighting for the North American Allied Fight Series. In his last fight, he won the NAAFS Featherweight title, defeating Wes Hanson by unanimous decision.
“It was pretty emotional,” Mazzotta said. “Before the new year started, my goal was to win the title. When I won the title, my hard work paid off.”
Mazzotta is up for two awards — the 2012 Amateur Fighter of the Year for Ohio and the 2012 Submissioner of the Year. Mazzotta trains at The Mat Factory in Lower Burrell, where he specializes in Taekwondo, wrestling and Jiu-jitsu. He has a brown belt in Taekwondo.
Issac Greeley, an assistant wrestling coach at Burrell High School, is Mazzotta's wrestling coach. Greeley also is in Mazzotta's corner during his fights.
“A couple of years ago Dom came into our Jiu-jitsu class, and he came up to me and said ‘I want to roll with you,' ” Greeley said. “I told him ‘You know Taekwondo, you're learning Ju-jitsu but, you have to spend time learning wrestling.' ”
Mazzotta spent the next two years training with Greeley, wrestling against high school- and college-level wrestlers.
He has trained at the Jorge Gurgel Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Cincinnati, sparring with Strikeforce and Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters.
Before fighting Hodges, he will travel to New Jersey to train with former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and former Bellator Fighting Championship lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
Mazzotta isn't star-struck by his sparring partners.
“I have not met someone I couldn't hang with,” Mazzotta said. “It's going to be awesome; I'm expecting not to get dominated. I'm expecting to in there and give (them) a good workout.”
Mazzotta hopes to make it to Bellator.
“I've sparred with guys in Bellator,” he said. “I know what level they are at, and I'm not far from that level. I just have to get the pro fights in and keep getting better.”
D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Burnett pitches well in farewell, but Pirates lose to Reds
- More employers adopt generous leave policies
- Pa. spends millions on death penalty cases that rarely end in execution
- Starting 9: How can the Pirates catch the Cardinals in the future?
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Steelers film study: Team finds success blitzing members of secondary
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
- Kessel addition, better health could have Pens scoring like it’s 1990s
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell shrugs off Ravens WR’s comments
- Pitt holds off Virginia Tech in ACC opener