Making the move down to middleweight is inevitable for Dalton Rosta.
Unbeaten as a light-heavyweight under the Bellator banner, Rosta [2-0] is anxious to make his middleweight debut as a professional. The 24-year-old first signed with the promotion as a light-heavyweight in February 2019.
He anticipated making his middleweight debut twice since joining Bellator. The first time came at Bellator 231 in October 2019, but the promotion scheduled the bout at 205 lbs.
He expected to fight at middleweight for Bellator 242 on May 9, but Bellator postponed the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s unclear when he’ll be back, but his natural weight class is no mystery.
“Sooner or later, it’s happening,” Rosta said.
“I’m worried about where I’m going to be the best at.”
Rosta’s vision for his career always involved fighting at 185 lbs. The Pennsylvania native planned to fight at light-heavyweight as an amateur. Cutting to middleweight made more sense as a professional based on day-before weigh ins
According to Rosta, 215 lbs. is the heaviest he weighed in his career. He also said he currently walks around at 200 lbs. at the most.
He tried creatine and mass gainers to put on weight before his amateur debut, but nothing worked.
“As soon as I started hitting it real hard about eight weeks out from the fight, it all came right off. Four weeks before my fight, I was weighing 199 lbs.,” Rosta said. “My last fight, I drank a half gallon of water before I stepped on the scale, just so it looked good.”
Rosta made the middleweight mark once before at the amateur level. It resulted in a first-round technical knockout victory against Quentin Shumard at Big Guns 25 on Sept. 30, 2017.
He remains unbeaten as an amateur and professional with a combined nine victories by either TKO or KO. Rosta made quite the statement so far in his career with his combination of wrestling and power.
The Bellator prospect is even more confident in his strength at 185 lbs.
“When I fought at 185 and watched the film, even though I wasn’t as polished skill wise as I am now, I was lighter on my feet, my movements were quicker and I look more energized,” Rosta said. “If anything, the guys will be naturally smaller. I think they will be easier to knockout at 185 than they are at 205.”
Rosta’s anticipated middleweight debut was postponed due to the cancelation of Bellator 242. The promotion postponed all events scheduled for the entire month.
Despite having no opponent slated, he prepared to hit the scale at 185 lbs.
“When we were in talks with Rich Chou, the matchmaker about what weight class, at first, he wanted us to go at 205. Me and my coach wanted me to go 185,” Rosta said. “He [Chou] was saying that’s tricky because of how the roster is right now.
“It was looking more likely than not.”
Finding his place
Rosta burst onto the scene of Bellator’s light-heavyweight division with back-to-back finishes. He stopped Cody Vidal in the first round of his professional debut at Bellator 219 on March 29, 2019.
He followed up by putting Claude Wilcox away via TKO in the second round at Bellator 231.
There are 25 fighters currently on Bellator’s middleweight roster. The title is currently vacant, although Douglas Lima and Gegard Mousasi were slated to fight for the strap at Bellator 242.
Rosta is still just two fights into his professional career, but already making a splash in Bellator.
He is waiting for his chance to prove himself in the middleweight division.
“Looking at the division and knowing how I perform at 185, my style, my capabilities, my skill set, Rich Chou could honestly throw me in the top 10 at 185,” Rosta said. “I want to show everyone I can compete with anyone in the top 10 first before I get my shot at the belt.”
Connor Northrup once covered municipal meetings and promised himself never again. He is now combining his passion for Mixed Martial Arts and reporting all into one.