Niagara Gazette — NORTH TONAWANDA — After one round Saturday night Frankie Scalzo had been taken down twice and, by his own analysis, was down on the scorecards.
Fighting for Victory MMA's first-ever title belt (T-NT Fight Series Lightweight Championship), the Niagara Falls native knew he had to avoid Dylan Freedman's take downs the rest of the way and go on the offensive. He did just that and finished off his opponent with a guillotine choke early in the third round to become the first Niagara Falls MMA fighter to win two amateur title belts.
"In the first round I knew he was going to go for the take down and I saw it, but I just honestly couldn't stop it," Scalzo said. "The dude is a beast. He got that power double on me and got my body horizontal and took my legs from underneath me. I knew that first round was close, so going into the second round I went in like I was down a round."
Scalzo came out and stuffed a take down attempt by Freedman almost immediately. That small victory seemed to energize Scalzo after a difficult first round spent mostly on his back.
Swooping in after another failed take down by Freedman, Scalzo rocked the Rochester-based fighter with a solid left hook. Freedman immediately shot for another double leg takedown, and landed it, but Scalzo went for a guillotine and had it in pretty deep.
Scalzo cranked on Freedman's neck for about two minutes, but couldn't lock his legs in time to sustain the choke. The round ended shortly after the failed choke attempt but Scalzo knew he found a weakness in Freedman's game.
"I was clipping him with shots and he then he dove in for that double (in the third round)," Scalzo said. "As soon as he shot the double with his head out I'm thinking, 'Man I got him.' So i cinched in that guillotine, got it tight before I locked my legs in and started pulling up on it. Then I knew he wasn't going anywhere."