Harper MMA alum update: The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat


The Visigoth takes another victory: Harper wrestling alum Dominic Gallo now boasts a 2-0 MMA record after his victory in Hammond, Indiana on April 23. (Photo courtesy of Anthony Pettis’ Fighting Championship)

This past weekend two former Harper wrestlers competed in notable mixed martial arts competitions. One of them had the most thrilling night of their career — and one of them the most agonizing.

Curtis Blaydes, 32, fought as one half of the main event for UFC’s Fightnight in Las Vegas last Saturday. He suffered a gut wrenching loss to a Russian power puncher, Sergei Pavlovich.  

Blaydes was in a No. 1 Contender’s fight for the third time in his career, and for the third time he came up short. His two previous attempts at a contender spot ended via KO/TKO, similar to this attempt. 

Although he hasn’t said anything public since his loss, the frustration and confusion was evident as he walked out of the cage with his coaches. 

At thirty-two years of age, Blaydes is still considered a young heavyweight. Heavyweights typically last longer due to no weight cuts and the fights being quicker.

In Blaydes’ division, Jon Jones is slated to fight Stipe Miocic for the championship and the option for retirement seems imminent for both – causing many fans to speculate in many ways for what could come for the heavyweight division.

Currently, the future for Blaydes is up in the air. He’s still ranked as a top five fighter, and in this heavyweight division where the pickings are slim, you’re always a couple wins away from the top.

Dominic Gallo, 26, fought for Anthony Pettis’ Fighting Championship this past Sunday. He won his second ever bout in impressive fashion versus Bishop Slabaugh. He dominated and won by unanimous decision, even winning 30-26 on one of the judges cards. 

Similar to his first rodeo, Gallo entered the cage with an intense and hungry look on his face.

This time around, Gallo landed suplexes in about every round. He tossed Slabaugh over his head and rag dolled him. 

As well as his dominant wrestling skills, he also showed improvements in the striking and jiu-jitsu. He used more submissions to open up ground strikes, and on the feet he caught his opponent with a power jab and dropped him to start the third round. 

After the victory Gallo was overcome with joy. He flexed all over the cage, as to show he’s not afraid of anyone.

The future is bright for the young prospect as he continues to train 5 days a week with professional fighters at a renowned gym, the Midwest Training Center.

In every MMA contest there’s two people who are putting everything on the line. Every fight is the equivalent to the superbowl for that person.

There’s no fixed pay or off-season in this wild sport. A win could mean endless opportunities; a loss could mean losing sponsors, fans and maybe even half your paycheck.