When Andrew Valdina first stepped out onto the mat for the Dracut Middies in his freshman year of high school, he had no idea it would put him where he is now. Yet, as he makes his amateur MMA debut Saturday night in Cage Titans, he can't deny how much he has to thank wrestling for putting him in this great opportunity.
"I owe almost all the credit of getting to this point of making my MMA debut to wrestling. It gave me that mindset of giving 100% to everything I do," said Valdina.
When Valdina got into college wrestling he always felt there was an inkling of a possibility of MMA being his fate. "I knew at the start of my college wrestling career I would take the path towards mixed martial arts. I just had to wait and be patient for my college wrestling career to come to its conclusion before I got to this junction," he said.
What's even more interesting about Valdina's journey to the mat and then the cage is it all started on the hardwood. "The reason I got into wrestling in the first place is because I got cut during basketball tryouts. So it was a blessing in disguise for sure."
Heading into his fight Saturday (Plymouth Memorial Hall, 6 p.m.) where he will take on Jake Bagley, Valdina is feeling extremely confident, especially about the fact that his wrestling will help control the fight.
"If I want to take my opponent down. I will take him down," he said. "His wrestling is good, but I feel mine is better. I'm definitely looking for the finish no matter what."
Valdina has every right to feel confident about his wrestling abilities. For Dracut he was a Division 2 North sectional finalist and Division 2 State qualifier, before moving onto Bridgewater State where he was a three-year captain and four-year starter for the Bears.
This paired with being UFC fighter Randy Costa's partner. He already has quite the resume before even having one amateur fight.
Valdina hopes to make his former wrestling pals and others proud on Saturday night. "I hope to make Dracut wrestling, Bridgewater State wrestling and my friends and family proud on Saturday night," he said.