Domenic Gagliardi stepped into the octagon Saturday night and gained a huge victory in his Mixed Martial Arts career.
The 28-year-old Bristol resident took on undefeated Stafford Springs native, Mark McLaughlin in the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The fight started with Gagliardi landing several punches and knees making his opponent stagger early.
“In the first few seconds I hit him with a huge over hand right, setting him back into the cage and was able to climb on top,” Gagliardi said. “I then threw a few short elbows to his head but he managed to get back to his feet.”
After McLaughlin recovery he was able to get Gagliardi’s back to the cage. McLaughlin tried taking him down, but Gagliardi knew just from his first attempt that he couldn’t.
“I figured I’d stay calm and let him burn energy trying,” Gagliardi said.
Gagliardi then caught McLaughlin with some hard knees to the ribs, which broke them apart. As they broke they both swung haymakers at each other and McLaughlin landed a left hook.
The crowd went wild for McLaughlin’s move, but it only infuriated Gagliardi and caused him to only want the victory more.
Gagliardi moved to the mount and faked a jab, landing heavy leather. McLaughlin worked a sub from half guard, but Gagliardi then got the back and performed the rear naked choke. That move gained Gagliardi the victory 4 minutes and 10 seconds into the first round.
“My opponent came out and I never took my eyes off of him,” Gagliardi said. “I was just going to start by feeling him out, but went there to fight and the crowd wanted to see a show,”
This was a welcome win, not only for Gagliardi but also for his corner men, William Seaver, Jake Pajor and John Roderick, who came up with a game plan that led to victory.
Yet, this fight was never suppose to happen for Gagliardi, because four months before he had hung up his gloves.
“I had no intention of fighting again,” Gagliardi said. “Being that I’m older and have a lot more responsibilities now, I had to think about it. But the opportunity to fight in my home state is what made me take the fight.”
Ten years ago Gagliardi had no idea where this sport would take him. He always knew that he might never make a living at it or be the best fighter, but he gave MMA his best shot.
“Ten years ago I had no idea about this sport and ten years from now I have no idea where I’ll be,” Gagliardi said. “I’ve always been one to live in the moment and concentrate on what’s in front of me.”