Pitt Wrestler James Lledo Begins Amateur MMA Career With Dominant Victory

Pitt’s sophomore wrestler James Lledo began his amateur MMA career on Saturday night at Brawl in the Burgh 12 at the Event Center at Hollywood Casino at the Meadows. He faced Derrick Brown II of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and dominated the match, winning by submission (armbar) in the second round only.

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“I went there trying to stay as calm as possible and once in the ring it was all gas, no brakes,” Lledo said. “It was the story of the fight. It just didn’t stop, and that’s what I’m proud of.

Lledo announced his decision to fight as an amateur in MMA last month, fighting outside the Stout PGH gym. Lledo continues to train for wrestling in Pitt, while spending time training in Stout. He plans to wrestle as an amateur in college and then turn pro once he finishes his wrestling career at Pitt.

Lledo completely took control of the fight from the start as he started off with a huge takedown from Brown. He then held Brown in a chokehold, giving him no opportunity to respond.

Near the end of the first round, Lledo stood up and allowed Brown to respond. Brown threw a weak punch, and Lledo almost immediately picked him up and threw him to the ground, holding him until the bell rang.

Brown started the second round with a weak punch which Lledo dodged and pushed him to the ground. Unsatisfied, Lledo asked Brown for a better fight, as he signaled with a wave of his hand to get up.

After Brown got up, Lledo dodged a punch, landed one to Brown’s head, then resumed for another takedown. Lledo managed to get him another choke and in 28 seconds, won the match by submission (armbar).

Lledo said he used his training and wrestling experience to prepare for this fight, but once in the ring he felt completely overpowered. Lledo also said he didn’t have a technical plan, but rather prepared mentally by choosing to go right after Brown and be relentless.

“Well, I focused a lot on my training, my wrestling and using all the techniques I know to make sure I was going to go out there and do what I wanted,” Lledo said. “There were definitely some nerves going into the fight, but once I was in there, I felt unstoppable.”

Lledo plans to fight one more time this summer before the Pitt fight begins this fall, but has not announced when that fight will take place.

Robert J. King