You only make your professional debut in a given sport once and it’s something you’ll always remember. On Saturday the former NCAA Division I wrestling national champion Mark Ellis, out of the University of Missouri will him professional MMA debut on the ProElite: Arlovski vs. Lopez main card.
In 2005 Ellis won the Missouri state wrestling title as a senior at Raymore-Peculiar High School. At the University of Missouri, Ellis won the heavyweight crown in 2009 as a junior when he defeated Konrad Dudziak of Duke. The championship made him only the second Missouri wrestler to win a national title, the other being Bellators welterweight champion Ben Askren.
The standout wrestler moved directly from College to MMA last year, signing with Zinkin Entertainment and began training in San Jose, California at AKA (American Kickboxing Academy). Ellis couldn’t have picked a better place to begin his training, AKA is arguably the best gym for a wrestler breaking into MMA. With UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, Josh Koscheck and former Olympian / Strikeforce heavyweight Daniel Cormier as sparring partners, Ellis has a wealth of knowledge to learn.
After signing a multi-fight, long-term deal with ProELite, Ellis will take on the former University of Hawaii linebacker Jake Heun (1-0) in his debut. Coming to AKA having no Jiu-Jitsu or striking just the wrestling background, Ellis is a work in progress. At Saturday’s ProElite: Arlovski vs. Lopez fans will see firsthand how much progress Ellis has made.
Get more great MMA news, recaps and analysis over at MMA Valor.