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Monessen man set for MMA show

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Brandon Lauderback of Monessen will participate in his second MMA fight Nov. 26 at Southpointe.

Brandon Lauderback has been training Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) at Octane MMA, located in Charleroi, for nearly two years now.

In that time, he’s learned a lot of useful skills for competition. But, more importantly, Lauderback has found himself.

“MMA is a way for me to express myself that I haven’t found in any other sport,” said Lauderback, a Charleroi native now living in Monessen. “I’ve learned discipline and respect. It’s made me a better person.”

MMA combines aspects of many martial arts, including boxing, muay thai, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and wrestling.

On Nov. 26, Lauderback, 21, will put his newfound skills to the test when he takes on Vladimir Jean-Phillipe in an amateur 170-pound MMA fight as part of the Pinnacle Fighting Championships 9 event held at Southpointe in Canonsburg.

This will be Lauderback’s second fight. His first was a split-decision loss to Andrew Schrader, a fight his coaches felt he actually won.

“We felt Brandon did enough to win that first fight. A slew of people told us they had him winning on their scorecards, but the judges saw it differently,” said one of Lauderback’s coaches, Jason Weslager.

Since that last fight, Lauderback and his coaches have gone back to the drawing board and completely revamped his training.

“I felt I was a little small for 170. Coach (Chaz) Sztroin put me on a weightlifting program to gain muscle and peak for the day of the fight,” Lauderback said. “I feel a lot stronger leading up to this fight. We’ve also worked on all aspects of MMA and it’s made me a more well-rounded fighter.”

While Lauderback’s upcoming opponent holds a 1-2 amateur record, he knows better than to take any fight lightly.

“I knew a little bit about my last opponent, and I kind of underestimated him,” he said. “I was overly confident and it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. This time I’m a little more grounded and completely ready for whatever my opponent throws at me.”

Sztroin agrees with his student’s sentiments.

“I think Brandon is mentally ready to go,” Sztroin said. “His biggest strengths are willingness to learn, and his discipline. Those things are going to take him a long way.”

And Lauderback has a long way to go to reach his ultimate goal.

“I want to become a pro fighter within the next 2 years. But, I know I just have to take it one fight at a time,” he said.

Lauderback said he thinks his upcoming fight will be worth watching.

“I’m always looking to finish the fight,” he said. “If we’re standing, I’m looking for the knockout. If we’re on the ground, I’m attacking submissions. I won’t let it go to the judges again.”

For tickets to the fight, call Octane MMA at 724-483-1830 or email [email protected]. General admission tickets are $40 and the card features seven amateur and seven professional fights.

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