News: Southern California champion: Miramar Marine prepares for California State Championship
Story by Pfc. Maxwell Pennington
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. - When Staff Sgt. Fransisco Castro, a warehouse chief with 4th Marine Aircraft Wing Site Support and a Tucson, Ariz., native, began competing in mixed martial arts, he had trouble finding the pieces to the puzzle for a victory.
Then Castro joined the Miramar Grappling Club, where he found the missing pieces from his new trainers, and is now set to fight for the California State Amateur MMA Championship at 145 pounds.
“When we found him he was 0-2,” said Sgt. Christopher Riedel, a supply warehouse non-commissioned officer with Marine Aircraft Group 16, boxing coach at the club and a Hanover, Pa., native. “He had a good ground game, but he didn’t have any striking or submission game, so we helped him.”
Castro has wrestled since his freshman year in high school, winning the Arizona state championship his senior year and posted only one loss during his near-perfect season. Castro also wrestled for the Marine Corps Wrestling Team from 2001-04.
Since training at the club, Castro has gone 5-1 in his MMA fights.
“He’s a real MMA fighter now,” said Sgt. Ryan Reed, a KC-130J mechanic with Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352, MMA instructor at the club and a Bandera, Texas, native. “He does everything now - boxing, submissions and [striking and grappling on the ground].”
Castro’s four straight wins has earned him the Southern California Championship Title at 145 pounds, and he is set to fight the Northern California Champion on Dec. 3 for the California State Amateur MMA Championship.
“I think everything happens for a reason,” said Castro. “I was supposed to lose those two fights, and now I am getting ready to fight in the state championship. It’s better I have those losses in the beginning and not down the road.”
Richard Parra III, the Northern California champion, won most of his fights by knock out, and trains with Chuck Liddel, a former Ultimate Fighting Championship Light Heavyweight Champion of the World.
“The best thing to do with [Parra] is take him down to the ground and not give him a chance to throw [power punches],” said Castro.
Castro spends his time conditioning by doing workouts with medicine balls, agility ladders and running. Castro also focuses on MMA training by doing workouts on heavy bags, sparring three two-minute rounds with different fighters, working with partners practicing submissions and his boxing coach Riedel, who works with him on his striking using defense and mitt workouts.
“You’re going to have to push through rounds in the fight, so if I have fresh fighters thrown at me each round in training, it just pushes me that much more,” said Castro.
Preparing for this fight is a familiar stage for Castro, and he knows what it takes to win in the spotlight.
“I won my last four fights and have to win one more for the state championship,” said Castro. “It reminded me of high school, I have to win five matches in a row to win the state championship. Each day I try to push myself that much harder, because whoever I am fighting wants to win that fight too.”
The California State Amateur MMA Championship fight will take place Dec. 3 at the Four Points Sheraton in San Diego.
This work, Southern California champion: Miramar Marine prepares for California State Championship, by Sgt Maxwell Pennington, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.