YPSILANTI — Timothy Eschtruth will always remember the first round of his first professional Mixed Martial Arts bout.
But it’s what came in between Round’s 1 and 2 that propelled the Kingston High School grad to a 1-0 record.
“That first round was rough, there was a lot of ring rust,” Eschtruth said “And I was trying too hard to get the knock out, I was forcing a lot of stuff and I knew better than that.”
Eschtruth survived the first round of the fight, Friday, Oct. 21 at the WXC College Throwdown at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center. The bout didn’t make it to the third round. Eschtruth got his opponent, Thomas Fudoli of Detroit in a choke hold, and won by submission in the bantam weight match.
“(In between rounds), once my coach relaxed me and got me back into focus, then I went out in the second round and did my thing,” said Eschtruth, a 34-year-old Kingston graduate. “I got him in a rear-naked (choke hold), I threw him on the ground, got my hooks in then choked him out.”
Eschtruth carried a 17-5 amateur record into his first professional match. The 5-foot-6, 130 pounder has been training in MMA for about seven years, but before that, trained in judo and jiujitsu. The father of two resides in Saginaw and trains at three different locations — Che Ko Tae Kwon Do in Bridgeport, Brett Spardella MMA in Clare and Scorpion Fight System in Brighton. In addition, he trains other fighters, works full-time at Stone Crest Assisted Living in Freeland and is going back to school to get a teaching degree.
Eschtruth may have won his debut, but his prospects weren’t good early.
“I took an illegal knee to the face and that kind of really sent me to another world,” said Eschtruth. “I was on the ground, and you can’t knee the face when you’re on the ground so I was in La La Land and it took a little bit for me to regroup.”
Eschtruth said he didn’t receive a concussion from the blow, and after regaining his equilibrium in between the first and second rounds — and following the advice from coaches James Gray and Mark Kanaar — came out and forced Fudoli to tap the mat.
Eschtruth is uncertain when he will fight his second professional bout.
“We’re probably looking towards January or February,” he said. “I thought about fighting in November but my coach said ‘let’s think about cleaning up some of those holds.’ And it makes sense.”
Eshtruth’s fight was one of about 18 professional and amateur bouts held last week at the WXC College Throwdown, which was the first MMA event on the campus of EMU in about five years.