When David Mitchell looks at the opponent scheduled for his UFC Fight Night bout in Austin, Texas, tonight, it's almost like he's looking in the mirror.
Like Mitchell, T.J. Waldburger is a well-rounded jiu-jitsu specialist who has won most of his fights by submission. Waldburger, 22, is eight years younger than Mitchell and hails from Texas, not Northern California. But they have much in common after that.
"He even sort of looks like me," Mitchell said by phone as he prepared for tonight's bout at the Frank Erwin Center. "I was checking into my hotel and the lady at the desk said, &‘Are you TJ?' I said, &‘No, I'm the guy he's fighting.' I'm Jewish, and he has sort of a Jewish name. It's kind of eerie. We're both purple belts as well."
Mitchell came to mixed martial arts later than some, but his rise has been rapid. He takes an 11-0 record — with nine wins by submission — into his biggest bout. Waldburger is 12-5. Fighting at 170 pounds, both are making their UFC debuts.
Mitchell trains with David Terrell and Billy Olson at Nor Cal Fighting Alliance in Santa Rosa. He is currently the Cage Combat champion at 185 pounds, and the Tachi Palace Fighting champion at 170.
"I'm pumped to be here in Austin," Mitchell said. "I'm super grateful, and excited to be representing the gym."
At least five UFC Fight Night bouts will be broadcast on Spike TV tonight. Mitchell's fight may make it onto the tube, time permitting.
SR MAN WINS TRIATHLON
Bill Marshall of Santa Rosa won the male 70-74 division on Sunday at the World Triathlon Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Marshall, 70, had a combined swim-bike-run time of 2 hours, 26 minutes, 55 seconds — some 56 seconds better than the second-place finisher. Marshall, who said he's been competing in triathlons for 27 years, was among 12 men who finished in the 70-74 age-group category.