Coach Mike victorious in MMA return; Ready to go Pro
Miller Brothers MMA & Fitness youth martial arts coach Mike Pagano returned to MMA with his bout against Andres Encinales at Spartyka Fight League XXVIII: Pride, and dominated all three rounds to leave the bout with a unanimous decision victory. The victory improved Mike’s record to 8-1 and marked his final bout as an amateur.
“I’m no newcomer,” Mike said after the fight. “I’m ready to go pro. It’s been a long time coming.”
Taking on the Spartyka Fight League Featherweight Champion Encinales, Mike’s devastating grappling skills proved to be too much for the champion. Mike scored a takedown in all three rounds, and once he had his opponent where he wanted him never gave Encinales a chance to get out of Mike’s comfort zone, using his strong top game to keep Encinales pinned down while Mike rained down punches from above.
The fight meant more than just a long-awaited return to the cage for Mike, however, as we was also fighting in honor of his friend Grant Shanaman who passed away in November. Mike, a veteran of the United States Army, used the opportunity to raise awareness for a cause close to his heart, veteran suicide and Mission 22’s fight to end it.
“This fight is for a dear friend of mine who recently passed away due to suicide,” Mike told the fans in his postfight interview. “He was a great guy who had a big family. The war is real – it’s not just overseas it’s at home.
“You just don’t know what’s happening behind closed door. Grant was the happiest guy I knew. Please look up one of my sponsors, Mission 22, they are a non-profit organization who do a lot of work for veterans who are in trouble.”
Coach Mike and his assistant Frank, himself a Marine veteran, recently participated in a 24-hour grappling marathon for Mission 22 which raised nearly $2,000 for the organization.
The bout continued Miller Brothers MMA’s East Coast dominance in 2017, moving the team to 6-0 in East Coast promotions from New Jersey to Virginia. Next up will be Dead Serious MMA 25, where Tyler Bayer returns to the cage looking to keep the momentum going.