Austin Vanderford, a 2008 graduate of Ninilchik School, made a step forward in his quest to fight in the UFC by landing with Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, according to the Alaska Sports Blog.
Vanderford won two state wrestling titles at Ninilchik before going to Southern Oregon University in Ashland. As a senior in 2012, he won the title at 184 pounds at the NAIA National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
Even after winning that title, Vanderford said he didn’t feel like he was done competing yet and that has manifested itself in an MMA career. He went 4-0 as a amateur before becoming a pro in March 2017.
The Tuesday Night Contender Series was created by White, the UFC president. Vanderford’s first fight will be July 17 against Angelo Trevino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Vanderford, a welterweight, had his most recent fight Dec. 16, 2017, against Kenny Licea. In the second round, he got a submission on a rear-naked choke to move his pro record to 3-0. As a pro, Vanderford also defeated Ben Fodor by unanimous decision on Oct. 14, 2017, and defeated Sal Renato on a technical knockout due to punches on March 11, 2017.