Bob and Weave

Sophomore Competes in Cage Fighting Matches


Julian Serrato

Sophomore Julian Serrato poses with his awards.

Charlotte McConathy and Jaida Jones

He steps into the cage, adjusting his mouth guard, and scanning his opponent up and down. They are supposedly in the same weight class, yet somehow, his challenger seems to be towering over him. As the whistle blows, sophomore cage fighter Julian Serrato takes a deep breath, steps forward, and throws the first punch of the fight.

Serrato has been cage fighting since he was a freshman in high school. Cage fighting is an intense fight between two people in the same weight class inside of an octagonal cage.

“The aggression and violence associated with fighting make me feel safer and more sure of myself,” Serrato said. “I definitely enjoy knowing I have complete dominance over someone else, which is why I love cage fighting.”

Serrato moved to Lindale a few weeks ago from a school where he was constantly getting into fights in and out of school. The combination of that and his dad being a pro-fighter before him inspired him to become a cage fighter.

“My dad has always been a big inspiration to me,” Serrato said. “I’ve always looked up to him, and becoming a fighter was just a no-brainer because of him.”

There are two different kinds of cage fighting: MMA fighting and stand and bang. MMA fighting allows for a wide range of striking techniques and combines multiple different types of combat sports.

“MMA fighting can get pretty intense,” Serrato said. “I love the total dominance I can assert during a match.”

Stand-and-bang fighting is associated with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). It is the act of two people fighting until one person simply has to tap out because they cannot keep going.

“I would say stand and bang is my favorite,” Serrato said. “All I have to do is keep swinging until my opponent can’t return punches anymore.”

Cage fighting competitions consist of tournaments, one-on-one matches, and pick-up fights. Awards are presented as medals and belts.

“Fighting is my passion, so I don’t need a hundred different awards to tell me to keep doing what I love,” Serrato said. “But receiving a new belt or medal is always a nice bonus.”

Serrato is also involved in a theater 1 class. He takes the class in order to help with his character while fighting and his persona when talking to his opponents.

“From what I know about cage fighting, you’re basically creating a character as you do on stage,” theater director Kari Mckenzie said. “Even though there’s a lot more physicality that goes into it, the theater is just going to help him hone in on what type of character he wants to play in the middle of his fights.” 

After high school, Serrato plans on ending his amateur career and fighting in a pro-contract fight. He hopes to fight professionally and eventually enter the UFC.

“When he came a few weeks ago, I noticed almost instantly that he wasn’t shy and he was very well-spoken,” Mckenzie said. “He seemed a lot more mature and composed than most high school students, and I know that will help him greatly with the future of his career.”