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Austin wins mixed martial arts match
RUMFORD -- When Eric Austin bided his time before striking and it paid off in a mixed martial arts match recently at Fight Night V.
The Rumford native remained unbeaten with a unanimous decision in going the distance against Steve Sabel of Ellsworth before 2,300 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. It was Austin's second venture into the raised cage, having made his debut at the Colisee in September.
"He wouldn't come in close," said Austin, regarding Sabel's strategy in the 135-pound Bantom Division. "I wish he had (pressed forward), but for every step forward he was taking two back. I just couldn't risk walking into a punch or knee."
Austin, who also won a unanimous decision against Noah Hall, who was ranked No. 5 in New England at the time, needed to battle through three three-minute rounds.
Austin, who won a state wrestling championship in the early 1990s for Mountain Valley, has relied on that background to persevere. But he is fully aware that MMA encompasses so much more.
In the third round, Austin avoided Sabel's leg kicks and grabbed a leg for a single-leg takedown. Austin mounted Sabel on the mat, but the combatants returned to their feet and went toe-to-toe. Sabel had forced Austin against the fence in the waning seconds.
The three judges scored it 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 in Austin's favor. "I couldn't breath throughout the third round," said Austin, nursing a tender nose. "I had got hit by his foot when I grabbed his leg in the first round. After the fight, I expelled a lot of blood."
Austin had controlled the fight in the first two rounds, initially with a single-leg takedown and staying on offense. The middle stage started with punching, but Austin secured a leg and drove into Sabel to force the action to the mat.
"I was able to land more punches," said Austin. "He was able to hit me once early on, but then I adjusted to what he was trying to do."
MMA fighting features several different styles, so each competitor must be prepared to adjust their own execution throughout the battle.
There are a variety of ju-jitsu submission techniques that a competitor can employ to force an opponent to tap out to including rear naked choke, arm bars, d'arce chokes, triangle chokes -- both traditional and inverted, oma plata, gogo plata, heel hooks, knee bars, twisters and more. It's one of the beautiful aspects about the sport -- the limitless and complex moves that a competitor can win with.
New England Fights will return to the Colisee February 2, 2013.