Bart Palaszewski (36-15), at the tender age of 29, has fought over 50 fights in the last decade, but something was always amiss.
The Team Curran fighter has climbed his way into the ranks of the WEC and the UFC, but has always lacked in one of the most important areas in MMA: wrestling.
In the old school days of the sport, Palaszewski represented Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and didn’t really think much of wrestling. Due to Palaszewski not taking his wrestling seriously enough, he would suffer injuries along the way, and now the 29-year-old wishes that he wasn’t so set in his ways when he was getting slammed on his back.
“I would’ve definitely liked to have gotten into high school wrestling,” Palaszewski told MMAWeekly Weekend Radio.
“In past fighting it was the striker vs. grappler thing and I came in as a striker and a jiu-jitsu guy vs. a wrestler. Back in the day I used to say, ‘(expletive) wrestling,’ and now it’s kicking me in the ass. In my age, I’ve gotten some injuries over the years from going in the beginning and getting slammed, it sucks. But if I could go back I’d definitely hit up wrestling in high school and college. My grades would suffer, but the knowledge of wrestling would be enough for me.”
These days it’s hard to imagine anyone in the big shows without a strong wrestling foundation, but Palaszweski has persevered and did well in his career throughout his IFL days and then on to the WEC and now the UFC.
The gritty veteran is now on a path to right his past wrongs and Palaszewski has enlisted the services of top ranked bantamweight and former three-time Pac-10 wrestler Scott Jorgensen. While it’s taken some time for the Team Curran fighter to warm up to wrestling, he admires Jorgensen’s style and hopes to one day showcase an aggressive style of wrestling himself.
“He’s a top ranked dude and he’s a good wrestler. I like his style and I think his style of wrestling would match really well with my stand-up. He likes to go out there and just brawl and take people down and then just go and beat them down on the ground. There’s guys who have defensive wrestling who just want to stand up with you, which is what I’ve tried to do over the years, and then there are guys who just try to lay on you and then are guys who are in between who love to beat people up on their feet, score big takedowns, and beat them up on the ground as well.”
Only time will tell if Palaszewski has repaired the chink in his armor with Jorgensen, but one thing is for certain, he will never overlook his wrestling training ever again.
Follow Andrew Gladstone at @gladstone1 on Twitter.
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