Pitt Wrestler James Lledo Wins Second Amateur MMA Fight To Stay Undefeated
WASHINGTON, Pa. — Pitt redshirt sophomore James Lledo found himself in a tough fight in Brawl in the Burgh 16 at Hollywood Casino at the Meadows on Saturday, April 15.
Lledo came into this fight having competed in just one prior, which he won against Derrick Brown II last July on an armbar decision 28 seconds into the second round. He took on Ken Burrs in a middleweight fight on Saturday, with both fighters coming in at around 185 pounds.
Both fighters had their undefeated status on the line and fought throughout the three periods with that in mind. Lledo quickly used his strengths as a wrestler to pick Burrs up and put him down early in the first round. He got some punches in before Burrs rose up to his feet and kneed him a few times.
Lledo countered with a great takedown, throwing Burrs from the side and holding him down for the rest of the round, while also landing some punches on top.
Burrs punched Lledo right in the face to start the second round, sending him to the back to the floor. Lledo managed to rise up and again countered the punches, by using his wrestling skills to keep Burrs at bay.
He chose to switch up his plans and landed some punches directly in Burrs’ face, before once again taking a punch to the face himself that sent him down to one knee. Lledo kept fighting and dragged Burrs to the floor. He stayed on top of Burrs the rest of the round.
Lledo said after the fight that he had to stay on his feet throughout the second round, despite taking punches right in the face, because the ref told him that he would stop the fight.
Both fighters launched punches at each other to begin the third round, with few making great contact. Burrs, a former wrestler at Waynesburg, tried to get Lledo on the ground and initially succeeded before Lledo got back up. Lledo then grabbed Burrs’ left leg and put him on his back for the remainder of the period.
Lledo won the fight against Burrs as all three judges ruled in his favor for a unanimous decision. Lledo screamed when they announced his victory and joined in celebration with his family, friends and Pitt wrestlers who came to support him.
Pitt wrestler James Lledo uses a strong third period and wins his fight against Ken Burrs to improve to 2-0 in his amateur MMA career, just 10 days after his mother passed away pic.twitter.com/GZ9PC90WIq
— Dominic Campbell (@DOMISMONEY) April 16, 2023
“It was just a war,” Lledo said on his fight. “I told myself to win every position and I told myself I knew I was going tired. That’s how every competition goes. You’re going to be tired, but you still have to be willing to win every position.”
The past few weeks for Lledo proved incredibly difficult outside of fighting. He had to return home to Lower Merion, Pa., a suburb outside of Philadelphia and to be with his family the past two and half weeks prior to the fight.
The reason he went home was to be with his mother before she died just 10 days before his fight. While no one would’ve said anything to Lledo for backing out of the fight, he never once thought about doing so.
“That’s one of the worst things that can happen to someone, and I lost my best friend,” Lledo said about his mother. “I could use it as an excuse or motivation and regardless of my feelings, she wouldn’t have wanted me to stop chasing my dreams. So, I’m going to keep doing that because I know that’s what she would’ve wanted.”
Tapology has increased Lledo’s ranking as a fighter on Tuesday, as he is now the No. 19 amateur middleweight in Pennsylvania and the No. 43 amateur middleweight in the US Northeast.
Lledo said that he’ll keep fighting this summer and will work to improve on his all-around skills. He also said that despite feeling tired, he loved the fight and is ready for more.
“I definitely needed to get that one out of my system,” Lledo said. “Just cause it’s been such a hard time leading up. I’m back and I’m gonna keep going. Just try and get at least three [fights] in before September. I’m going to keep improving and keep getting better and keep doing what’s been working for me.”