Connect with us

Pitt Wrestling

Pitt Wrestler Geoff Magin Takes on Top Ohio Amateur MMA Prospect Nick Nash



Pitt wrestler Geoff Magin

Pitt redshirt junior wrestler Geoff Magin is readying himself for potentially the biggest fight in his amateur MMA career. He faces off against top Ohio MMA fighter Nick Nash in a light heavyweight bout this Saturday, July 15 at Brawl in the Burgh 17 at Monroeville Convention Center.

MMA stands for mixed martial arts and includes different modes of fighting, but the basics include grappling, striking and ground fighting. The sport takes different techniques from a variety of combat sports from across the globe, including boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, ji-jitsu, karate, judo and more. The most popular MMA fights take place in the UFC, where the fighters compete against each other in the “cage” or also known as the “octagon.”

Pitt wrestling coverage on Pittsburgh Sports Now is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Wrestling Club.
Pittsburgh Wrestling Club

Magin is from Sewickley, Pa. a suburb of Pittsburgh, 12 miles northwest of the city. He wrestled at nearby Quaker Valley High School, finishing with a record of 88-29 over three seasons and also played lacrosse.

He then wrestled at Franklin & Marshall, normally a Division III school for most of their athletics programs, but Division I in wrestling. After one season there in 2019-20, COVID-19 disrupted the 2020-21 season, making it harder for Magin to train and forcing classes online only.

Faced with the prospect of a lack of a serious school environment and less time to train, Magin chose to leave Franklin & Marshall and focus on training for MMA, giving him the chance to compete in something.

Magin fought in three fights, which occurred from November 2020 to May 2021. He won his first two fights, but lost his last one in a unanimous decision to CJ LaFragola.

LaFragola outwreslted Magin in that fight, which forced Magin to realize that he needed to work on his wrestling.

Wrestling under Stout PGH, he spoke to Mike Wilkins, his MMA instructor at the gym, about getting back into the sport. Wilkins got him in touch with Pitt assistant coach Drew Headlee. Eventually, Magin found his way back into a Division I wrestling room and has spent the last two seasons working on his craft.

Magin faced a long period of two years between his most recent fight and the one prior. He didn’t fight in 2022 because he tore his ACL, forcing him to miss competition for an extended period of time.

Despite not having the chance to fight, he didn’t waste any time trying to get back into shape. He lifted upper body twice a day to improve his strength, never missed a single session of rehab and did two to three sessions per day of it last summer.

He spent the last wrestling season with some great wrestlers in the upper weights. Nino Bonaccorsi finished with a National Title and an undefeated season at 197 pounds, the first for the program since head coach Keith Gavin did it at 174 pounds in 2008. Mac Stout and Dayton Pitzer are also set to start for the Panthers at 197 pounds and 285 pounds, respectively. Stout finished as a freestyle All-American at the USA U-20 level and Stout had a ranking as high as No. 5 in the country as a heavyweight last season.

“I mean they’re awesome,” Magin said. “They’re all really, really talented…They’re all really, really solid and they push me every day…you can’t help but get better when you’re with guys like that all the time…nothing really compares to a Division I wrestling room. You can’t replicate that intensity anywhere. So, just having that as preparation has been a huge help. “

Magin finally made his way back to the octagon in May this year. He faced off against Chase Stafford at New Line Cagefighting 16 in Bridgeport, W.V. on May 13. He easily took down his opponent, using great wrestling technique to get on top of Stafford. He delivered blows to Stafford’s head and won the fight in the First Round, as the referee chose to stop it.

While Magin had fun getting back to competing, it took him a while just to get a fight. After recovering from his ACL, he tried to get an agreement with another fighter, but 14 potential opponents said no or backed out of the fight.

“I think it’s, especially at the amateur level, not everyone has a good wrestling background and they come into the sport late,” Magin said. “I think they wanted a matchup that was going to be winnable, honestly.”

Throughout the summer, Magin has been practicing around the clock to stay in shape and ready for his next challenge. He has two practices a day with Pitt wrestling and then goes to the Stout PGH gym in the Strip District at night to train MMA.

He also competed at the USA Wrestling National U-23 trials in June, competing against the best wrestlers in the country. He wrestled in six matches and finished in fifth place.

“I really enjoyed competing, so it was good to have another competition to look forward to immediately after that first fight,” Magin said. 

Magin is also close with fellow Pitt wrestler and Stout PGH fighter James Lledo. The redshirt sophomore is also fighting this Saturday, taking on Manuel Bell in his third amateur MMA fight. 

“James is one of my best friends, outside of that stuff,” Magin said. “He’s a super talented wrestler. Really good upper body. He can pin anybody. He’s had a lot of great wins in wrestling and beat a lot of tough ranked guys. He brings a certain feel that a lot of guys don’t have, even at the Division I level. So, working with him has been great because he brings it every time, he trains all the time, never wants to miss a session and he really pushes me.”

The rest of the Pitt wrestling coaching staff have been incredibly supportive of Magin and Lledo as they compete as amateur MMA fights. Magin is especially fond of Gavin, who has imbued great words of wisdom when it comes to wrestling and competition in general. He also spends time working on jiu-jitsu with volunteer assistant coach Jake Wentzel, who wrestled at Pitt himself.

“They really let us go with this MMA stuff,” Magin said. “They love it. I think they enjoy that we’re trying to compete at something and do well in the offseason. They’ve been great about letting us fight.”

Heading into this fight on Saturday, Magin said that his strength is in his striking ability. He combines his striking ability with his wrestling to be as lethal of a fighter that he can be. He is excited about the prospect of fighting a great opponent in Nash and is confident he can come out with the victory.

“I’m not underestimating my opponent at all,” Magin said. “I’m ready to bring a 100% of what I have into this fight. I haven’t been training anything specifically for him because I think I’m better than him in every area. I’m just focusing on being best that I can be and then going for the finish and wherever it goes.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
Click to comment
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get PSN in your inbox!

Enter your email and get all of our posts delivered straight to your inbox.

Like Pittsburgh Sports Now on Facebook!
Send this to a friend