New Wyoming Area wrestling coach Steve Mytych delivers a punch to his opponent Samo Beharovic.
T-Rex Harris is in control while holding Chase Owens on the ground of their MMA fight at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre last Saturday.photos by Josh Horton
Two fighters with ties to the West Side of Greater Pittston went to battle last Saturday as part of the Martial Arts Super Sport (MASS) “Inauguration” card at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre Twp.
Both walked out of the cage as winners.
Wyoming Area wrestling coach Steve Mytych and West Pittston’s Rex “T-Rex” Harris both earned victories in the first Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event to be held in Luzerne County.
Mytych, who was just hired a few weeks ago as the Warriors new mat coach, defeated Samo Beharovic by way of triangle chokehold tapout. With the victory, he improved to 3-0 as an amateur MMA fighter.
Harris, a rising star in the sport of MMA, fought in the co-main event of the night, making his professional debut against Chase Owens of Freeland. Harris, a former Wilkes University grappler, made his debut a memorable one by forcing the referee to stop the fight after Owens was injured.
Mytych fought up a weight in the 145-pound division against the 6-foot Beharovic. However, being 10 pounds lighter and at least three inches shorter was far from a disadvantage for Mytych.
In the first round, Mytych wasted no time taking Beharovic to the ground. Once on the ground Mytych threw thunderous punches and knees to the body. Once Beharovic was winded, Mytych put Beharovic in an arm triangle for the win by submission
Mytych even admitted he may have generously listed himself at 5-foot-7 going into the event. But, the three-time NCAA qualifier at Drexel University, used his smaller figure to his advantage in the third fight of the night. He knew his opponent would be bigger, so he planned to attack his legs and get him on the ground where he clearly had the wrestling advantage.
“When I saw him at weigh-ins, he was actually 6-foot-1 and I am only 5-foot-6. Well I’m lying a bit, I’m actually 5-foot-5,” Mytych said with a chuckle. “I knew he was going to have the reach on me, so I didn’t want to exchange a punch and have him catching it.”
So rather than punch his way to victory, Mytych decided to grapple his way to victory like he has done many times over the course of his life.
“I figured I was in great shape and I was going to go for the takedown and get him on the ground and wear him down a bit if it got that far,” The all-time leader in wins at Drexel said. “As soon as he extended I went low for the takedown and got him on the ground. I wasn’t letting go, he would have been there for the whole period.”
Mytych was the assistant wrestling coach at Bloomsburg and felt his win was a great way to start off his time back in the area. He is hoping to earn a spot in the 2012 Olympic Games.
“It was a great way to come home, the fans were great and my team (Wyoming Area wrestlers) was here cheering me on,” said Mytych said. “I just want to thank my family and Jim Hettes for supporting me day in and day out.”
Harris’s match was much longer than Mytych’s.
Harris admitted he came out too fast and got a little excited. But, after a tough first round, he responded with a stellar second round. He didn’t allow Owens to get off the mat and used a combination of killer knees to Owens midsection and mat shattering takedowns to earn the victory.
Round 1 started swiftly as both fighters took turns trading shots to both the head and the body. Harris blocked a kick from Owens later in the round picking him up and then slamming his head to the ground twice. Harris continued to throw punches and elbows to the back of Owens’ head. Eventually the two fighters stood back up and continued swapping punches with one other.
In Round 2, Owens had Harris locked in a rear naked choke but Harris showing great heart and determination simply overpowered Owens. Both wrestled on the ground, Harris throwing multiple punches to the back of Owens’ head.
In Round 3, both fighters looked exhausted. Harris dominated the round, throwing punches to Owens’ face and multiple knees to his ribs. Once Harris brought Owens to the ground, he threw multiple punches to his face.
The fight would be stopped by the referee at 4:39 in the final round due to an injury to Owens’ ribs, allowing Harris to secure the win by TKO.
“That was one of the toughest matches I have ever had. I think I got a little bit too excited too fast,” Harris said. “I come from a background where I don’t give up and I don’t ever quit regardless of how the fight is going.
“The fight was definitely my toughest match but that means nothing to me. I knew I was going to win”
Jim Hettes of Swoyersville – who signed a four-fight deal with major league MMA outfit UFC after the fight - won the card’s main event and improved to 8-0 as a professional. James Cianci of Clarks Summit won with a one-punch knock out, and is now 3-0 as a professional.