Betzold wins Amateur MMA World title at FILA Non Olympic Styles Worlds in CanadaCompetitors in the Amateur MMA event of the FILA Non-Olympic Styles World Championships pose with a Save Olympic Wrestling sign in London, Canada. Photo courtesy of Rusty Davidson
Matt Betzold strapped on a headguard and gloves, took off his left prosthetic leg, and hammered his way to a World Title in the 62kg (136.5 lbs) class of Amateur Mixed Martial Arts Thursday. The event was the second of four non-Olympic styles being contested this week in London, Ontario. Denver, Colorado's Nick Marr added a silver medal at 71kg (156 lbs).
Betzold won three fights, two by TKO, before dropping a tied match to Japan by last point scored criteria. The strength of his victories over opponents from Romania, Canada and Italy earned Betzold a place on the top step of the podium. Japan took the silver medal and Romania the Bronze.
An elated Betzold spoke humbly of winning his World Title.
"I know it can be rough for these guys to fight a guy like me", he said. Betzold lost his left leg, below the knee, early in life. "I've spent some time training with (Anthony) Robles. At times, I'll put my leg on and get tall, just so I can feel what it's like to fight guys like us. It can be pretty frustrating. The Japanese guy was really smart in his approach. He scouted me well."
Betzold has also been a successful No-Gi Grappler, winning a number of World silver medals for Team USA in the past.
Marr, son of Head Coach Sheldon Marr came back from large deficits to win his first two matches. He defeated Italy in the first round and Romania in the second, before losing to Canada's Adrian Brown in the final.
Host Canada won the team title, ahead of second place Romania. Italy was third. The U.S., with two entries and two medals, finished fifth, in the center of the nine-team field. Russia was fourth.
Friday's competition will be in Gi Grappling. The United States enters a strong delegation. The World Championship for non-Olympic Styles concludes Saturday with No Gi Grappling.