Santa Barbara- S County

Santa Barbara MMA fighter makes professional debut for Bellator

Local MMA fighter makes pro debut

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A Santa Barbara mixed martial artist makes his long awaited professional debut next week for Bellator Fighting Championship.

This weekend, Bruno Casillas, 35, put in some of his final sparring sessions in preparation for his fight with Bellator, a rival promotion to the popular organization Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), on April 27 at SAP Center in San Jose.

"I love this sport. It gets your adrenaline going. It's just you and your opponent, either you beat them up or they are going to beat you up," said Casillas.

Casillas graduated from Dos Pueblos High School and was always active but didn't start training to fight until 10 years ago.

For the first year of his amateur career, he trained and fought without a coach until Michael MacDonald of Valhalla Martial Arts in Santa Barbara came along.

MacDonald spotted Casillas at a local show 9 years ago and was shocked at Casillas' tenacity in the ring. After the fight was over, MacDonald approached Casillas.

"I handed him my business card, and we've been together ever since," MacDonald said.

Their bond has helped Casillas reach his potential and prepare him for the big stage.

Casillas, a light heavyweight fighting at 205 pounds, won't know much about his opponent when he steps into the cage next weekend, but he said, "It doesn't matter, a fight is a fight."

Bellator: MacDonald vs. Fitch will stream live on DAZN, a sports streaming service at 7 p.m. PST.

 Preliminary action will stream on and globally on the Bellator Mobile App.

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