Hoopa Valley

Mitchell wins his pro debut at Bear River; Bell, Cosce announce next fights

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Austin Mitchell made his pro MMA debut at the Bear River Casino on Saturday night, and didn’t disappoint.

Mitchell, a local favorite in the MMA scene from Del Norte who was formerly known as Austin Moore, wasted little time getting the better of Kasey Sanders in a 185-pound fight, ending the contest in the opening round with a guillotine choke.

It was one of 10 fights on the card at the latest Bear River fight night and one of three pro fights.

Other local fighters in action included Tyler Watkins and Bo Banducci, who each fight out of the Lost Boys Gym in Arcata along with Moore.

Watkins, who is expected to turn pro soon, won his kick boxing fight against Jummah Muhamed out of San Francisco with a strong performance.

“He dominated,” fight promoter and Lost Boys trainer Brian Wilson said of Watkins. “He used his length. It was a really great fight for Tyler.”

Banducci made his amateur fight debut at the event, fighting at 135 pounds and losing on a third-round TKO.

“It was a good fight for him,” Wilson said of Banducci, who pushed his opponent to three rounds. “He got some good experience, but just came up short.”

The fight night was another big success with close to a sellout crowd.

“All the fights were very competitive,” Wilson said.

Bell, Cosce announce next fights

In other local MMA news this week, local pro fighters Cass Bell and Orion Cosce each announced their next fights on Tuesday.

Bell, who fights out of the Institute of Combat and is 4-0 as a pro, will head to Hawaii to compete at a special Bellator “Salute the Troops show” on December 20.

His opponent has yet to be announced.

Cosce, meanwhile, will be back in action early in the new year, headlining the next Bear River fight night on January 25.

Cosce, a former Hoopa High wrestler who trains in Sacramento and fights out of the Lost Boys Gym, is 5-0 as a pro.

His brother Louis, who is also 5-0 as a pro,  was scheduled to fight at the Bear River fight night over the weekend, but was forced to pull out due to a minor injury.

Louis hopes to be back in action sometime early in 2020.

“We’ll be seeing him early next year,” Wilson said.

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