Video: NCAA wrestling champ Austin O’Connor bashes opponent’s head into canvas, wins debut

The flow of high-level collegiate wrestlers headed through the pipeline into MMA seems never-ending.

Two-time NCAA Division I wrestling champion Austin O'Connor is the most recent wrestling standout to make the jump. It was a successful first outing Sunday at Fury FC 91 in Houston, as O’Connor (1-0) defeated fellow pro lightweight debutant Camden Fontenot (0-1) by TKO in Round 3.

As expected, O’Connor manhandled Fontenot in the grappling department. At one point, he even slammed Fontenot’s head into the canvas, utilizing the floor as a weapon. In Round 3, O’Connor dragged Fontenot to the canvas, got into back mount, and finished the fight with ground-and-pound punches.

The fight was O’Connor’s first, as he elected to surpass the amateur ranks and jump right into the pros. O’Connor’s career is currently guided by former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.

Born and raised in Illinois, O’Connor joined the University of North Carolina wrestling team in 2017 after four straight state championship victories in high school. He won an NCAA championship in 2021 at 149 pounds and another one in 2023 at 157 pounds. He also was a five-time All-American and three-time ACC champion.

Due to a lack of an ideal weight class in the Olympics, O’Connor turned his attention toward MMA following his sixth and final year of eligibility.

In preparation for his professional debut, O’Connor cross-trained at Valle Flow Striking (VFS) Academy in Besenville, Ill. and American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, Calif., while also working as an assistant wrestling coach for University of Illinois wrestling.


Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie