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A great ground attack

Sutton's high-level grappling has him primed for Saturday

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

Ryan Sutton may have been birthed in the wrestling room, but he has become enamored with the cage.

Sutton, 25,will face another quality ground and pound specialist in Billy Garris on Saturday night as part of Lumiere Casino's Fight Night. The event is the debut at the casino for long time St. Louis-based Shamrock Promotions.

Wrestling is Sutton' bread and butter as he is the head wrestling coach for Jesse Finney's Hit Squad.

"I get a very similar rush from coaching as I do competing," Sutton said. "Seeing my guys that I've worked with in depth do really well, fires me up. It has paid off a lot. We had guys come in from Brazil with very limited wrestling backgrounds and I was able to work with them and they won some key fights on their wrestling takedown defense and some offensive takedowns. That was very nice."

Sutton's wrestling career started to blossom at Oakville High School where he was a three-time state qualifier and two-time state medalist, reaching 130 varsity wins with the St. Louis Blue Chip Team.Throughout his college career, he held such titles as NJCAA All-American, NCAA Division 1 starter, and three-time FILA University Greco Roman All American.

"Once I finished college I was kind of at a crossroads," Sutton said. "I qualified for the Olympic training center three times for Greco. I didn't know if I wanted to continue persuing that or try some other things. I ended up meeting up with some of Finney's guys and they got me to come in."

What Sutton thought was maybe just an avenue to cross train and stay fit turned into a life changer. "I fell in love with it," Sutton said. "I then I fell into a roll of coaching with the mixed martial arts aspect of it too."

The multiple elements of mixed martial arts keeps Sutton on his toes. "I love that I'm learning new stuff every day," Sutton said. "With wrestling, I got a little burnt out and stagnant. It's an awesome sport but it is repetitive, repetitive.

With his new passion, "There are so many dimensions. I'm constantly learning and being challenged physically and mentally."