Area fighter Shallcross prepares for bout in Tampa
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 3:37 p.m.
Seven years ago, Rory Shallcross met a professional mixed martial artist from Ocala named Carlos Gonzalez.
A tough guy who also was a bit full of himself, Shallcross got a good laugh when he strutted into a local MMA gym with Gonzalez for an impromptu practice session.
"I came in with a chip on my shoulder," Shallcross said. "I just knew I was going to beat them all down."
That afternoon, he found himself tapping out to armbars, kneebars, heel hooks and chokes in addition to being finished by punches. Shallcross came away with a new understanding of just who he was and a realization as to who he wanted to be.
"I know (all of the fighters) could see the attitude I had," Shallcross said. "They pretty much beat me down over and over again to teach me a lesson.
"That didn't scare me off, though. It made me want to come back and learn, so that one day I could do what they could."
It took five months of near-daily beatings before Shallcross got his first training victory. That moment, he said, gave him a "sense of fulfillment" that he now carries into a professional career.
And on Thursday night, the 2003 Interlachen High School graduate will get his biggest break to date when he competes on the Bellator 94 card from the USF Sun Dome in Tampa. There, Shallcross (2-5) will face Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner Ivan Delvalle (1-1) in a 170-pound fight that will air on spike.com just before the televised card begins on SpikeTV at 10 p.m.
Shallcross said he hopes this will be the first step on his way to making MMA a full-time career. For now, he works for Exactech in Gainesville, helping to make bone replacements before heading over to F2 Arena & Darkside Athletics six evenings a week to train.
In the cage, Shallcross said he admires the fighting styles of UFC legends Anderson Silva (the company's longtime middleweight champion) and Chuck Liddell (the retired former light heavyweight kingpin), adding "they are elite strikers and always make it fun for fans to watch."
That type of action is something he is promising against Delvalle.
"I tell everyone don't blink because it's going to be fast," Shallcross said. "I plan on making an impact."