While the entertainment aspect of professional wrestling continues to be a global attraction, the combat practice is central to the third-largest city in Los Angeles County’s mixed martial arts scene. At high school and college level, wrestling has gained utmost importance, alongside other sports, including football, soccer, and track and field. So, let’s consider the reasons for wrestling’s growth and consider what the future may hold.
Becoming the Combat Art of Choice
Fundamentally, one of the reasons for the grappling-orientated style’s contemporary success within Santa Clarita surrounds the city’s social embrace of combat techniques. In 2015, Brian Peterson launched a wrestling-centered gym within Santa Clarita that seeks to teach aspiring competitors the methods needed to succeed at numerous levels. Having begun practicing wrestling at the age of 15, Peterson has since amassed over 20 years of martial arts experience. During that time, the former Kage Combat featherweight champion became a head fight team coach for John McCarthy, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship referee, at his Ultimate Training Academy, as per Pederson Grapplers.
Although the 21st-largest city in the state of California acknowledges and appreciates professional wrestling for its entertainment, the successes of up-and-coming athletes showcase the growth of the practice as a combat art form. For example, and at the time of writing, Trent Munoz, who competes out of Santa Clarita, has a record that stands at 24 wins and five losses, according to his profile at Track Wrestling. Furthermore, in the 2020 State Girls Wrestling Championships, America Lopez won the 170-pound bracket via decision, becoming Valencia’s first state champion.
The Foundations for High Aspirations and Future Influences
Furthermore, aside from following a purely wrestling based sports career, local fighters have begun to use their pre-existing combat knowledge to help them thrive in other sectors. Fighting out of Santa Clarita, 19-year-old Israel Galvan one day hopes to make it into the UFC and become the organization’s flyweight champion. In seeking to make this dream a reality, the five-foot-three competitor is shaping his style around his wrestling foundations. His grappling-orientated approach has already been clear to see in his nine-fight MMA career, with two of his seven victories coming via submission.
Even though Galvan is using his pre-acquired techniques to venture into MMA, his reliance on grappling and ground-based pressure is a testament to Santa Clarita’s wrestling roots. In recent years, such an approach has proved fruitful within the UFC, as showcased by athletes such as Daniel Cormier, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and, in the company’s early days, Indiana-born Stephan Bonnar.
Much like Galvan, the now 43-year-old Bonnar achieved most of his early wins outside of the UFC through submissions as he leaned on his prior skills in grappling practices, particularly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Crucially, it’s partially because of the runner-up on The Ultimate Fighter 1 that MMA is now immensely popular in Indiana. To showcase this, and in clarifying the sports betting possibilities in Indiana, DraftKings Sportsbook, which is one of several listed operators at BonusFinder, a casino review platform, offers deposit and sign-up bonuses when betting on numerous sports, including MMA.
Santa Clarita’s Wrestling Statute is Growing
Ultimately, few can argue against suggestions that the 21st-largest city in California is beginning to thrive within the local wrestling scene. Although there are no guarantees that any of the existing local competitors will make it to the sport’s pinnacle, their undeniable growth provides a reason for long-term optimism.