Vanderford improves to 7-0 with victorious Bellator debut

February 18, 2019
Austin Vanderford MMA

Austin Vanderford

Just because he has a championship background in wrestling doesn’t mean MMA fighter Austin Vanderford of Ninilchik prefers that method of operation in the octagon.

But it sure comes in handy.

The 28-year-old has won three out of his last four fights by submission, including a first-round tap of Cody Jones as part of the Bellator 215 undercard in Uncasville, Connecticut.

“The win felt great,” he told me. “I was able to go out and execute on a big stage and that’s always important.”

Vanderford, of Ninilchik High fame, improved to 7-0 in his professional career.

He beat Jones with an arm-triangle choke; his two previous submissions came by rear-naked choke.

“I have a few go-to’s,” he said of his choke game, “that I’m constantly working on to try and come as close to perfection as I can get.

Vanderford was a two-time state championship wrestler in high school and a NAIA national champion and two-time All-American at Southern Oregon University.

“I use my wrestling when I feel most suitable, but I’m also love to stand up and try and put someone to sleep,” he said.

Of his seven wins, three have come by submission, two by knockout and two by decision.

“Being 7-0 feels amazing but not I’m starving to get to 8-0,” Vanderford said. “I just strive to improve every fight.”