Disappointment comes in many forms, but for Brandon Bettencourt it came in the form of a dislocated shoulder a little over three years ago. In the genesis of his amateur MMA career, Bettencourt found himself on the losing end of his first sanctioned fight against Mike Ruiz due to injury default when he threw out his shoulder in the opening seconds of round one.
The injury — one of many to his shoulder over the years — sidelined the former Turlock High wrestler for more than a year, a time period that was expanded by a back injury sustained at work. But injuries and the painful process of rehabilitation paled in comparison to Bettencourt’s desire to compete in the cage once again, leading the Turlocker to return to MMA five weeks ago. Now, after winning via unanimous decision in his comeback fight, Bettencourt is ready to continue his quest for fighter’s glory on Saturday with a fight against Daniel Wehner at HFP4: Finished No Judges Required.
“I knew I was going to get back in there eventually, no matter what,” Bettencourt said.
“The love of competition, always testing myself,” he added about his reasons for returning to the cage. “I was like, ‘You know what, I want this too bad and nothing can stop me from attaining my goal.’”
Part of the Skrap Pack who train at El Nino Gym in San Francisco — UFC fighter Gilbert Melendez’s gym—Bettencourt has not only been sharpening his skills for tomorrow’s fight, but for a journey he hopes will take him out of the amateur ranks and into the pros.
“I definitely want to, God willing, get past this guy and hopefully get another one this year then go pro,” Bettencourt said. “I’m feeling 100 percent, so I’m going to try and make a run at this.”
Standing in his way is Wehner, a fellow Bantamweight from Oakdale with a 0-1 record. Wehner, who fights under the Last Stand MMA banner, also has a background in wrestling and grappling, making the fight a matchup of similar styles.
“I’m ready to rock,” Bettencourt said. “I’m going to go in there and put the pressure on him. Just a non-stop, relentless attack. I’m going to get the W one way or another.”
Bettencourt looks to extend his 1-1 record in the sixth fight of tomorrow’s card which also includes fellow Turlock fighers George Youhanna and Todd Neubert. The fights will be held at the Merced Fairgrounds with doors opening at 4 p.m. and fights beginning at 5 p.m.