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Grajales wins MMA debut

Another former college mat star is off to a successful start in his mixed martial arts career.

Eric Grajales, NCAA All-American wrestler at University of Michigan, won his debut match in amateur MMA competition at World Class Fight League's WCFL 14: Resolutions event at the DoubleTree Hilton Tampa Airport Hotel Saturday night.

Eric Grajales defeated Manny Rodriguez
Grajales earned a submission victory over Manny Rodriguez by mounted guillotine in the third round.

"Thanks to everyone that made it out last night and watched online!" the former Wolverine wrestler posted on Twitter. "It was a great experience, but now it's time to get back to the mat and get ready for the next one."

"It was a great first experience, and I'm really glad to finally get done with the first fight, but more than anything it was awesome to compete again in my hometown," Grajales told InterMat. "I haven't had this kind of opportunity since high school and I was just overwhelmed with how much support I got and the amount of fans from the wrestling community that came out to watch, it was a truly amazing experience."

The World Class Fight League describes itself as "Florida's premiere amateur MMA competition" at its official website. "We feature a variety of talented MMA fighters that travel across the US to compete in our exclusive invite-only events! Our fighters are selected after they prove themselves to be aggressive, fearless, and highly skilled."

The WCFL website goes on to say, "Now, with the state of Florida requiring that all MMA fighters have a minimum of 5 amateur MMA fights, the WCFL is the proving ground to see who will make a solid career out of MMA. WCFL fighters have been offered professional contracts and turned pro as a result of fighting for World Class Fight League!"

A native of the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, Grajales first made a name for himself in wrestling at nearby Brandon High School, a highly-respected, nationally ranked program. He was a four-time Florida state champ (2006-2009) who compiled a perfect 217-0 record in high school. For his on-the-mat success Grajales was named the Tampa Tribune's 2009 Male Athlete of the Year.

Grajales then headed north to Michigan, where he was a three-time Big Ten championships placer, earning runner-up honors at 149 pounds at the 2011 conference championships. The Brandon, Fla. native earned All-American honors in the 149 bracket the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City. Grajales built an 89-42 career record as a Wolverine.

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PSUhomerinVA (1) about 3 years ago
Way to go Eric - another Big 10 star taking it to another level.