MMA pro debut
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Matt Breiner, of Lehighton, will make his professional Mixed Martial Arts debut this Saturday at the World Cagefighting Championships at the Rodeway Inn Grand Ballroom in Allentown.
He's built his reputation as a methodical tactician who knows when to lure his opponents in for the strike.
As he prepares to step up in the ranks, Matt Breiner is confident that same systematic approach will continue to be his calling card for success.
A native of Lehighton, Breiner will make his professional Mixed Martial Arts debut this Saturday at the World Cagefighting Championships at The Rodeway Inn Grand Ballroom, 1151 Bulldog Dr. Allentown.
The Event is titled "The Future is Now", and is sponsored by Allentown Beverage and Budweiser. Doors and the bar open at 6 p.m., with the first fight scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
A standout football player at both Lehighton Area High School, and Kutztown University, Breiner will face William "Mack Truck" Baptiste from North Carolina.
Breiner, who compiled six wins and one loss as an amateur fighter, said he's looking forward to making his pro debut.
"I'm pretty excited," said Breiner, 27. "I never would have thought I would get this far."
Breiner said he's become a real student of the game.
"You really have to be patient and try to pick your spot," he said. "You've got to know when to strike, how to strike, and know your angles."
Just several days before his fight, Breiner said he's fully aware of what's at stake.
"The window of opportunity is so minute," he said. "You have to cash in all your chips and go for broke."
A self-described striker, Breiner said he's worked extremely hard on his punching and kickboxing skills in an attempt to round out his overall fighting ability.
It helps that the bloodlines run deep for Breiner, who happens to be the nephew of former Northern Lehigh wrestling coaches Todd and Brent Herzog.
Breiner, who trains at Ratpack Fighting Systems in Palmerton, said he enlisted the help of his uncles, who previously allowed him to practice with the wrestlers on the team, one of whom is his cousin, former NL wrestling sensation Ty Herzog.
"It was great to be able to have that bonding experience," he said. "A lot of the credit goes to Northern Lehigh wrestling, and the Ratpack trainers."
Additionally, Breiner also thanked Ratpack owners Nick and Sandy Masington, as well as his family, friends, and co-sponsors, for their support.
"I'm extremely grateful and thankful," he said. "I don't think any action other than me winning can show them."
Breiner began his MMA career in 2009, and this past December, won the WCC Amateur Heavyweight Championship when he defeated Pittsburgh's Chris Pearce with a first round submission.
Along with Breiner, Bethlehem's Christopher Pintado will also make his professional MMA debut at the event, at which time both will retire their WCC amateur championships.
Pintado, a standout wrestler for Bethlehem Liberty High School, has gone on to have a stellar amateur MMA career, as he won the WCC Amateur Welterweight Championship from Sean Diehl of West Virginia. Pintado will face Michigan's Erick Lozano, who won his debut pro fight in only 42 seconds via KO.
In addition, Tamaqua's Dustin Wentz will attempt to remain undefeated as a pro when he tangles with Mark Krumrine of Harrisburg.
The card, while subject to change, will feature between 10-12 bouts. Tickets range from $35 for general admission to $65 for front row, and can be obtained in advance by going to www.wccmma.com.
For more information, call (570)-778-6215.