By Matt Parrino firstname.lastname@example.org
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — NORTH TONAWANDA — The jump to the professional ranks of Mixed Martial Arts isn’t a question of if for Tonawanda’s Scott McGregor, the question is how soon until he makes the jump.
After another dominant performance at TNT Fight Series: Dynamite Saturday night at the Sportsplex, McGregor said it may be time to make the move.
“My last four opponents (I’ve finished) all in the first period. I like to finish them and I’m going in there with that mind set every time,” McGregor said. “I’m going to keep saying it: I’m going to finish anybody I come into contact with.”
The former Warriors’ wrestling standout, who improved to 4-1, did what he does best once again against Austyn Lizotte: get the fight to the floor and work his ground and pound.
McGregor came out with a superman punch and immediately shot for the takedown and got it. He then finished the fight shortly after with some fierce punches from the top that left Lizotte down on the mat for several minutes after referee Gene Mills pulled McGregor off him.
“(Lizotte) was good at turning in, he’s got long legs and it was hard to pass his guard,” McGregor said. “He almost had me in an arm bar at one point, but I postured up and laid the hammers down.”
McGregor continues to display extreme patience once he gets his opponent down on the mat — into his world. He said it’s important not to rush because that’s when mistakes can happen.
“When you try to jump the gun you can get caught with something so you have to be patient and wait for that one shot,” he said. “Then I hit him right in the eye and I saw it close up and I turned it up even more.”
Pete Mazzeo (6-0) was victorious in the main event, capturing the TNT Featherweight title. He won a unanimous decision over Corey Lauth (3-4), utilizing his wrestling advantage to control the fight.
“I”m practically speechless. I’m so thankful to God, my opponent and my team,” Mazzeo said.
Mazzeo wanted to test Lauth in the standup, but he also knew when the time came he needed to get the fight to the ground.
“I felt like I landed shots, closed the distance and got the takedown every round,” he said. “It’s a lot easier said than done to pound a guy out on the ground, and Corey did a great job. He didn’t want to go out.”
Mazzeo came out the aggressor and landed some nice shots in the early part of round one. Then he landed a takedown and immediately assumed side control. Lauth held him off for a while but Mazzeo started to land shots from the guard and busted Lauth open over his right eye.
Mazzeo won the second and third round, but Lauth took the fourth after sweeping Mazzeo and landing some solid ground and pound.
Lauth didn’t give up and held off a Mazzeo takedown early in the fifth and final round, and landed good shots while Mazzeo kept working for the takedown on the fence. Finally Mazzeo got Lauth down once again and finished the round on top.
Eric Valez, fresh off a Golden Gloves tournament championship, improved his MMA record to 3-0 with a convincing decision victory over Dave Whitman.
Velez dominated all three rounds, using his wrestling to control the fight. He scored multiple takedowns in every round and proceeded to rain heavy hammer fists throughout the fight. He said that he wanted to stand with Whitman because he felt his standup was being disregarded before the fight, so after some action on the feet he went back to his comfort zone.
“I just started doing this stuff 13 months ago,” he said. “When I started I weighed 174, I was smoking a carton of cigarettes every week, drinking pop and eating chinese everyday. I was fat.
“When I came here I lost 40 pounds. I won the jujitsu grappling tournament, I went 2-0 in MMA, I won the golden glove tournament the first time ever I tried. … I wanted to stand with him because I knew he thought I had no standup. … I beat him at his game and then I wrestled.”
Victory’s Sam Cappy (1-1), from Kenmore, came up on the short end of a split decision, losing to Tyler Thigpen in his debut appearance.
Cappy had his moments in the fight, hitting a knee to the head in the clinch, a superman punch and an overhand right, but when the judges rendered their decision the 20-year-old didn’t do enough to win the fight.
Victory MMA head trainer Erik Herbert, who called Cappy a “prodigy,” hopes the young fighter can learn from the loss and come back stronger.
“It’s absolutely a learning experience,” Herbert said. “He’s 19 years old and he’s never wrestled before, he’s never done anything; he came here and lifted weights. So he didn’t have a background to go off of.”
It was a tough night for Lockport and Niagara Falls, as Mike Lawton (Lockport) and the Falls’ Awad Dubashi and Gabreal Hooks both suffered defeats.Contact Tonawanda News Sports Editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.