By Matt Parrino
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — Scott McGregor is only three fights into his amateur mixed martial arts career, but the Tonawanda fighter is a T-NT fight series veteran.
Tonight McGregor faces Niagara Falls’ Jermaine Sneed on the main card of the third T-NT fight series event hosted by Victory MMA. The 21-year-old McGregor lost a controversial decision in his first fight in the series, but redeemed himself with an arm-bar submission victory over Anthony Jerome at the second T-NT card in September 2012.
McGregor has enjoyed training for this fight and is looking forward to stepping into the cage in front of family and friends.
“I’m pretty pumped, I haven’t fought in a while,” he said. “I was supposed to fight at 140 originally but now I’m at 145, so I don’t have to cut any weight which makes training a lot more fun.”
Sneed is fighting for the first time, but McGregor expects him to fight smart.
McGregor has a solid wrestling foundation, and he’s relied on that base in his last few fights. Sneed is a brown belt in Brazilian jiujitsu, however, so McGregor will have to be careful on the ground if he ends up on top or on his back in the fight.
“Sneed is a brown belt in jiujitsu, which is pretty significant,” said Eric
Herbert, McGregor’s trainer at Victory MMA. “(This fight is) going to show how far Scott has come with submissions and stuff like that. No one wanted to fight him so it’s tough to find a matchup. He’s beaten some kids from some pretty big schools so it’s getting hard to find a match ups.”
McGregor is going to test his stand up at the start of the fight, and see if he can do some damage with his boxing. Since he started training MMA, he’s gradually started to implement new facets to his arsenal and he believes he is more than just a wrestler at this stage in his career.
“When I first started training I was pretty much focused on ground game because I had experience from wrestling, but I’m more in the boxing ring than a lot of other places now because you have to be well rounded,” he said.
There’s a lot of pressure on McGregor to impress in front of family and friends, but he said that winning feels even better at home because of the reception he gets from his fans.
In the main event, Niagara Falls’ Frankie Scalzo (5-2) will look to add to his title collection after capturing the 155-pound North East belt in January against Dylan Freedman.
Freedman is a strong wrestler, according to Herbert, who knows fighters that have wrested him before. Herbert is expecting him to try and wrestle Scalzo for all 25 minutes of the fight, which is for the Victory lightweight championship — the promotion’s first title belt.
Herbert doesn’t think Freedman’s wrestling will be good enough to get the fight to the ground because of Scalzo’s strong takedown defense.
“I definitely know he’s going to want to take it to the ground,” Scalzo said. “He’s hungry and he’s trying to make a name for himself in the sport. He had a couple fights he won by submission. I feel like he’s going to be more of a grappler submission style and that’s perfect for me because I’m going to keep him standing, keep him up on his feet and wear him down.”
Scalzo has been working more on his takedown defense in the camp leading up to the Freedman fight. He wants to keep the fight standing because he feels he holds the advantage with boxing.
In the co-main event, Victory MMA’s 3-0 female fighter Valerie Aspaas will compete on her first T-NT card. She’s facing Angie Reinhardt out of Binghamton, and the bout is only the second of its kind in the history of New York state.
Herbert expects a war.
“Women’s MMA right now is the hottest market possible,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many promoters are calling for females so that they can say one day that they used to fight for them. The girls that are coming up are hungry, there’s more girls doing it.
“The girl she is fighting is super tough. It’s a big fight. I honestly truly think those two are going to go to war. Not as a promoter, I just think they both want what they are seeing on TV and I think they are both going to go for it.”
The doors open at 7 p.m. and the fights are scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. A few hundred tickets are expected to be available at the door.Contact sports editor Matt Parrino at 693-1000 ext. 4117 and find Tonawanda News sports on Twitter @tonanewssports.