KANKAKEE — Jacob Igartua took away some lessons Saturday night after losing his first career title fight against Payton Brezinski at MoreMMA XV.
Brezinski got Igartua to tap with a rear naked choke with eight seconds left in the second round to win the 125-pound title belt. It was the first loss of Igartua’s amateur career.
“He was the better man tonight,” said Igartua, a 2013 graduate of Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School. “I’ll take it as a man. He was better tonight, but there is always another time.”
Igartua and Brezinski stuck to their fighting styles as wrestlers. Though Igartua landed some kicks, Brezinski ran the ground game and used his fists to set up the choke that sealed the match.
“He’s tough as nails,” Brezinski said of Igartua. “I didn’t expect the head kicks. He didn’t throw a lot of those in his previous fights. I knew he was a tough wrestler. I was on the same card as him during his last fight. I saw him win with a rear naked choke.
“I visualized that choke all week. That’s what I wanted to do to prove my will. I could tell he was tired after that first round. He cut a lot of weight. Once we got to the ground, I threw some pop shots. Once he gave me his back, I sank it in. It was a wrap.”
Doug Keast, Igartua’s coach at Genesis Martial Arts and Fitness, considered the fight a learning lesson.
“He went against a great fighter,” Keast said. “It doesn’t take away from Jacob. It gives something to Payton. The nice thing about a loss is it gives you something to learn from. Now, we know what we need to work on.”
Losing is part of growing. Brezinski lost his previous match before winning his second belt against Igartua.
“My last fight didn’t go well,” Brezinski said. “My weight cut didn’t go well. I had some hiccups, but I think that was the best thing that ever happened to me. That loss motivated me to never let it happen again.
“Losing is going to happen. It’s better to get it out of the way now. We’re amateurs. It’s about growing. I’d love to train with Jacob someday now that we got the fight behind us. That’s what it’s about — just getting better every day.”
Igartua’s teammate, Nico Jefferson, who gave Igartua and Brezinksi the main event, also offered encouraging advice after the fight.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if his very next fight is for a title,” Jefferson said. “He definitely got pushed, but now he knows what he needs to work on. I lost my first title fight, and now I have five belts. There are going to be more opportunities.”