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Former THS wrestler prepares for MMA pro bout
Costa pic2
Ty Costa throws a front kick as he warms up on Thursday. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Professional debuts are usually planned months in advance, giving fighters ample time to train and prepare themselves for their opponent as well as their introduction to the highest level of Mixed Martial Arts competition. Turlock’s Ty Costa has been fighting for two years but he’s only had two weeks to get ready for today’s 145 pound fight with Mario Soto. Still, the former Bulldog wrestler exhibited a calm confidence as he wrapped up his training on Thursday, making it clear that he intends to win.

Costa’s chances are pretty good considering his background. As a high school wrestler, he won a section championship as a senior, placed 7th in state as a junior and qualified for state three years in a row. At Midland University in Nebraska, he qualified for nationals four times and was a NAI North Regional champion. In addition to his wrestling career, Costa has more than 10 years of boxing experience, a sport he picked up from his father.

“It’s kind of a coincidence really; I didn’t start boxing or wrestling to get into MMA,” Costa said. “I’ve always been fascinated by fighting and martial arts in general.  I want to make a career out of it but it’s really just been a hobby of mine.”

Costa was introduced to MMA by longtime friend and current Team Voodoo teammate Brandon Bettencourt. Since his introduction, Costa has gone 2-0 as an amateur while impressing his coaches with his rapid improvement and ability to adapt to new situations.

“We’re able to motivate each other,” Costa said of his teammate. “I’m always learning new things and it always helps to have someone that really knows you.”

With the comfort and guidance afforded to him at Team Voodoo, Costa feels more than prepared to face Soto, a member of Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male. If all goes as planned, today’s fight will be the first step towards a long term MMA career.

“He comes from a pretty good camp so I expect it to be a good fight,” Costa said. “I want to fight in the UFC eventually so I have to stay dedicated, keep making the right decisions, and not get caught up in the excesses of life.”

Costa and Soto will square off today at the Amador County Fairground in Plymouth.

“It’s hard to have an exact strategy because so many things can happen in the cage,” Costa said. “My plan is to play it smart and utilize my wrestling when I can.”