By Greg Hunt, Isanti County News—
Stepping into the cage for his first Mixed Martial Arts fight, Matthew “the Bulldog” Gordon of La Crosse, Wis. came out a winner on a pro/am card held in Rochester March 31.
Gordon, a former State champ folkstyle & freestyle wrestler and member of a State champion football team from La Crosse Aquinas High School, cited a key reason for his early success was the training he received from Brad Laffin, Tony Grygelko, Randy Rasmussen and Ron Lyke.
Laffin, a North Branch native, and Stacy-native Grygelko both had their success in the Golden Gloves rings under long-time trainer Lyke (both had previous stories on their boxing careers in the NEWS and Post Review). Rasmussen operates the North Branch MMA gym, which is part of Gordon’s training regimen.
“I went into that first fight confident in my skills because of the training. I was well-prepared and able to use everything I learned,” said Gordon, a full-time student at St. Mary’s University in Winona.
Facing former Kenyon-Wanamingo wrestler Nolan Buckingham in the 170 Welterweight division at Rochester, Gordon landed a left uppercut late in the first round that stunned Buckingham who was saved by the bell. Gordon came out strong in the second round, forced his foe to the mat and recorded the TKO at 1:40 to get his MMA career off to a great start.
“Matthew has all the tools. He’s got all the tenacity from being an All-State wrestler and rugby player. He’s in great shape and certainly fits the nickname, ‘The Bulldog,’” said Laffin, who also is finishing up his studies at St. Mary’s U where he met Gordon.
“I’ve always kind of liked to fight and enjoy the combat-oriented sports. I’ve really got to thank Brad, Ron, Tony, Randy, Jamie Herrick and Nick Ganst of Brutaal-Genesis Events for all they’ve done for me, along with all the support I’ve received from family and friends who are in the ‘Dog Pound’– my fan group,” finished Gordon.
In addition to working with Rasmussen at the MMA gym, he puts time in at Mike’s Gym in Coon Rapids and Impact Martial Arts. He also will add to his MMA repertoire by learning jiu jitsu at the Mario Roberto Academy in Rochester.
Gordon’s next card will be at the Four Seasons Arena in Owatonna on May 18, with another possible event following on June 2 at The Myth in St. Paul.