Niagara Gazette

Sports

February 2, 2013

Niagara Falls native earns first MMA championship belt

Niagara Gazette — Frank Scalzo is used to moving around. 

He can rattle off quite an address history of the places he's lived in and around Niagara Falls growing up. He's versatile and able to go with the flow because of it, and those characteristics have translated into his mixed martial arts career.

Scalzo recently won the 155-pound Art of Combat championship belt at the promotion's third event in Binghamton by beating the No. 1-ranked fighter in the Northeast, Dickie White, by guillotine choke.

The Niagara Falls High School graduate said it was a dream come true.

"It was a great feeling," Scalzo said. "I worked super hard for it and I knew all I had to do was go out and perform, and that's what I did."

Scalzo played football growing up and wrestled a bit in college, but he wasn't very motivated. After he graduated in 2008 he decided he wanted to get in better shape, and in his effort to get healthier, he found mixed martial arts.

When he walked into his first gym to begin training, he weighed in at 205 pounds. Six months later he competed in a grappling tournament at 142 pounds and since has fought in four different weight classes in MMA. 

Don Lilly, Victory MMA promoter, took on Scalzo after he had started 2-2 in his fighting career. He hasn't lost since, going 3-0 as a member of the Victory camp.

"He's one of the hardest workers that are in the gym," Lilly said. "When the doors open at 4 o'clock he's usually the first person I see. He's a helpful guy, he'll take new guys aside and work with them, and he does it on his own. He never wants to come out of the cage."

Scalzo has made the typical progression in style throughout his career. He started with a wrestling base and has slowly worked brazilian jiujitsu and striking into his repertoire, and now feels comfortable wherever a fight goes.

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