West Haverstraw resident heading to national MMA competition

Chino continues to breed champions and Rockland BJJ MMA

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

IMG_20140520_023931 IMG_20140522_004234 (1)MOUNT IVY – After a year of training and conditioning for his first major fight, West Nyack resident Elvin Garcia, 17, is beginning to make his foray into competitive mixed martial arts.

On May 10, Garcia defeated his opponent Lemy John, 26, to secure his first win with Aggressive Combat Sports, a national MMA competitive body. Though it is his first bout as a 135lb bantamweight, Garcia has competed in Brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ) for several years.

“I’ve been training every day for the past year, but I’ve been in it for two years,” Garcia told the Rockland County Times.

Garcia, who trains with BJJ master Chino DeLaPena at Rockland BJJ MMA in Pomona, explained much of his training revolved around both BJJ and muay thai, a striking martial art similar to kickboxing. The combination of these two styles is common in MMA, where fighters often mix and match techniques to see what works in competition.

The fight itself was composed of three two minute rounds. It did not last long. After some stand-up exchanges of punches, kicks and knee strikes, Garcia successfully brought John to the ground and submitted him with an arm bar.

According to Garcia, the training for his next match will likely focus on evasion and perfecting his jiu jitsu. He stated he will seek to keep the game on the ground and away from John’s punishing leg strikes which he said winded him prior to the submission.

In spite of any potential risks, Garcia remains optimistic and determined and said the win gave him added comfort with his ground game.

“I feel confident,” Garcia stated. “I know what to work on. More dodging knees, kicks to the head, and stuff like that.”

Garcia has another bout against John on September 7, after which he hopes to grow and learn more in the sport by traveling and facing new opponents.

Rockland BJJ MMA has been a breeding ground for many MMA champions since DeLaPena, a Garnerville native, opened it several years ago.