Vanderford moves to middleweight, wins Bellator fight by TKO

August 24, 2019
Austin Vanderford MMA

Austin Vanderford

A step up to middleweight didn’t slow down professional MMA fighter Austin Vanderford of Ninilchik.

The 29-year-old bloodied and battered previously undefeated Joseph Creer of Georgia to win by second-round TKO at Bellator 225 in Samford, Connecticut.

Vanderford improved to 8-0 as a pro, including 2-0 in Bellator.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Alaskan beat the 6-foot-4, 185-pound Creer, snapping his six-fight unbeaten streak.

This win was another step in his rise in the MMA ranks after a decorated background in wrestling as a champion in college and high school.

Vanderford, of Ninilchik High fame, was a two-time state champ in Alaska and a NAIA national champ and two-time All-American at Southern Oregon University.

Vanderford is nicknamed ‘The Gentleman’ in part because he doesn’t taunt other fighters, preferring to focus on his game plan inside the cage.

“For me to call people out would be too much not being myself,” Vanderford told MMA Junkie earlier in the week. “If there’s a fight that makes sense, absolutely. But just to call somebody out just to do it, is not what I was taught to do and is not the person I am.”

In a sport where a lot of fighters promote themselves and challenge other fighters on social media, Vanderford stays silent. It’s refreshing, actually.

But don’t misconstrued his kindness for weakness.

Vanderford is plenty ambitious and aims to take on the top fighters in the middleweight division. Whenever that is.

“Any of those guys is a tough fight and takes a lot of preparation, but I think the camp that I’m at and just what I do as a fighter, I do think they’re all great matchups,” he said. “Those are all fights that I look so forward to testing myself against.”