James Lledo tears up the mats for the University of Pittsburgh’s wrestling team.

Now, the Pitt product will take his talents to the cage.

“I’ve always been really interested in the sport [of MMA] and I’ve been watching it since I was a little kid,” Lledo said on a recent episode of the Pittsburgh Combat Sports Podcast. “I definitely understand a lot more grappling exchanges than striking, but it’s been going really well. I know where my strengths are, and it’s definitely something that I’m interested in because of everything I have to learn and the opportunity ahead.”

Lledo makes his mixed martial arts (MMA) debut Saturday, July 9, at Brawl in the Burgh 12, where he will face Balance MMA’s (Philadelphia) Derrick Brown II inside the Hollywood Casino at the Meadows’ Event Center at a 195-pound catchweight.

And what a matchup this promises to be. 


Lledo’s wrestling is obviously polished, slick, and effective, but Brown believes his striking and fighter mentality will make the difference on fight night.

“I’m just very ready to go out there and put on a fight and show that I’m here now –– against anybody,” Brown said on the podcast. “Expect fireworks. I don’t expect to be on the ground longer than 30 seconds at all. I plan on at least going out there and trying to get a knockout. I’m looking for one –– not going out and forcing one at all.”

To round out his MMA game, Lledo currently trains with Mike Wilkins, Will Morrill, and company at Stout PGH.

“It actually was one of my teammates, Geoff Magin [who introduced me to Wilkins and Stout PGH],” Lledo said. “Me and him have been friends for a while now. He’s actually fought under this promotion before and he’s been training with Stout. I made it aware to him that I do have goals in MMA … He hooked me up with them after the NC State vs. Pitt dual, and I met Mike and he seemed like a really cool guy.

“I went down and trained with him, and I’ve been there since.”


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About the author : Hunter Homistek

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