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Oakmont’s Wrestling Coach 2-0 in MMA

Justin Castrillo used his skills on the wrestling mat to earn a 36-second submission in the cage.
By: Craig Baracco - For the Press Tribune
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Nearly eight hundred fight fans from around the region packed the main ballroom at Thunder Valley Casino on Saturday Night for the latest edition of Gladiator Challenge mixed martial arts (MMA) called St. Patty Whack. Practitioners of MMA — a combat sport that combines punches and kicks with ground fighting and grappling — came from around the state to compete in last weekend’s event in Lincoln. 

Thirteen pairs of fighters entered the cage, matching up at weights from 135 to 300 pounds, clashing to the cheers and boos of the enthusiastic crowd many of whom were there to support a particular fighter on the card.

One of the crowd’s favorites was lightweight 155-pound fighter Justin Castrillo, who is also known in the local community for his role as head wrestling coach at Oakmont High School. 

Castrillo put his knowledge on the mat to good use against his opponent, Trevor Peek of Lincoln, as he took him to the ground with a double-leg takedown right out of the high school wrestling playbook in the opening seconds of the match. He made short work of his opponent and claimed the win in just 0:36 seconds. 

“I faked a jab and shot in for a single-leg takedown and got him down against the fence,” Castrillo said. “He was going for a guillotine choke, but he was a little out of position. So I got a couple shots in and responded by postering up and tried to reverse me with an underhook. But I don’t think he really expected to walk into the choke I put him in.”

Before the fight Castrillo cut 20 pounds off his frame and entered the bout with confidence. After his initial takedown, he applied a front headlock and an Anaconda choke to seal the deal. Castrillo’s grasp left Peek unable to escape and unable to breath and he was forced to tap out, or give up, awarding the submission win to Castrillo.

“The Anaconda choke is also used in wrestling and it cuts off circulation pretty quickly,” Oakmont’s leader explained. “I held it for about three seconds and I thought he was going to blackout. I could feel him shaking, like he was contemplating whether he was going to tap or not.”

Castrillo, who trains with MMA Gold Fight Team in El Dorado Hills, improves to 2-0 as a professional fighter. His crew and his friends and family were in attendance to watch the fight as were nine current and former Oakmont wrestlers, one Granite Bay and one Folsom wrestler, two grapplers from Ponderosa and two from Inderkum. Stephanie Howorun, the head coach at Christian Brothers, was also there to show support.

“It was really cool to see the wrestling community come together and support me,” Castrillo admitted. “It wasn’t just my kids. It was the community as a whole. That was cool to see.”

Roseville’s own Cory Layton was also on the docket Saturday night and also emerged victorious in his fight with CJ Bains of Pomona. Layton forced his opponent to give up with a Kimora, or an elbow lock, just 14 seconds into the match. Layton trains with the Carnage Fight Team in Orangevale and improved his record to 4-2 this year with the win.