Here's how MMA website Sherdog.com opened its description of Winn's latest MMA win: "Accomplished wrestler Deron Winn continues to impress, as he dominated longtime veteran Tom Lawlor for three rounds in a light heavyweight tussle" at the first-ever MMA event put on by boxing legend Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif. Saturday night.
Despite giving up 5" in height and a decade of MMA experience, Winn earned a unanimous decision over Lawlor, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27, to improve his overall record to 5-0.
"Winn brutalized 'Filthy Tom's' face for the first two rounds, using solid boxing while opening cuts under both eyes," Sherdog.com reported. "Lawlor never managed to find a rhythm offensively, and Winn made it worse in the third with a pair of easy takedowns. Lawlor (10-7) threatened with a guillotine in the final round, but Winn was too savvy to be tapped."
Deron WinnBloodyElbow.com wrote, "Deron Winn turned in an excellent performance here against the accomplished Lawlor. Winn dominated on the feet for the first round and a half, bloodying Lawlor up with his fists. Midway through round 2, Lawlor seemed to come alive, scoring some shots of his own, but it wasn't enough. In round 3, Lawlor tried to make it a slugfest, and had some success, only to see Winn switch gears and use his wrestling to take it down. Lawlor had a nice guillotine in the 3rd, but once Winn escaped that, he kept on the pressure until the final second."
Winn's bout vs. Lawlor was his first to go the distance, having dispatched his first four MMA opponents with first-round TKOs.
"I just want to let LA know -- mark your calendars, this is the day you witnessed a star be born," Winn said after the victory. "I really wanted to show off my power tonight. Tom is a vet -- he can run his mouth, but he's a tough fighter. For a guy like me, I knew I had to connect my punches to knock him out. After I landed a couple, I realized I was going to have to rumble with him."
Later Saturday night, Winn posted the following on his Facebook page: "Toughest test of my life tonight. Thank you to everybody involved in my journey and success. I love you guys so much. When I'm training, working hard and everything behind the scenes.. i do this for us, for my family, for all my close friends, my wrestlers at all ages I love you guys and thanks for inspiring me to push myself to the limits. This is only the beginning."
Both Winn and Lawlor brought amateur wrestling backgrounds to this MMA event. Prior to launching his MMA career eleven years ago, Lawlor, 35, was a three-time NCWA (National Collegiate Wrestling Association) mat champ, winning titles in 2003, 2004 and 2005 at University of Central Florida. Winn, 25, was a three-time Missouri state wrestling champ for Liberty High School outside Kansas City. Winn then enrolled at St. Louis Community College, Meramec where he was a two-time NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) champ. At the 2008 NJCAA Nationals, Winn was named the Outstanding Wrestler at the championships.
Winn continues to compete in amateur wrestling. In fact, on Nov. 30, Winn will face Michael Macchiavello, 2018 NCAA Div. I champ at 197 pounds for North Carolina State, in the premiere event of American Wrestling League in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.