When it comes to underappreciated submission skills, Ty Kalista (5-4) is a name that needs to be brought up.
The 24-year old jiu-jitsu brown belt is coming off his most impressive win yet, as he took down Mike Olaya in under a minute via twister at Titan FC 69. (Watch that clip above)
On Saturday night, Ty Kalista returns to the cage to take on Lucas Alexander (5-2) in the co-main event at Combat Night Pro 22.
Kalista kicked off his martial arts journey as a jiu-jitsu practitioner at age 12. Following his early start, he earned tons of respect in the jiu-jitsu game. At age 15, Kalista and his family moved from Georgia to the Dominican Republic, due to his father’s work obligations. The culture of the Dominican Republic forced Kalista to fall in love with the country and see a future for himself there.
“I stayed in the Dominican Republic after my family left,” said Kalista. ” I love the culture, the language and the training.”
As he competed in tournaments, he began to prove his worth and fighters started bringing him in as a training partner. Just two and a half years ago, one of Kalista’s training partners was forced to pull out of a fight and he was asked to step in on short notice. This would be Kalista’s first ever amateur MMA bout. From that moment, Kalista knew this sport was for him.
As a current jiu-jitsu brownbelt under GF Team and a quarterfinalist as a purple belt in the Pan-Am games, it’s safe to say you don’t want to go to the ground with Ty Kalista. He brings copious amounts of unorthodox techniques, takedown entries and submission attempts to the cage. From triangles to armbars and leglocks to twisters, Kalista will put on a jiu-jitsu clinic if you grapple with him.
Not only does Kalista have a superior grappling game, but he also explained how he trains he striking daily and is improving there as well. One thing Kalista doesn’t do is take time off between fights. He made his pro debut in August of 2018 and has fought a total of nine times in just a year and ten months. Also, this upcoming fight will be his second fight in three weeks.
“I love to fight,” he said. “Win, lose or draw, I love it.”
The regional scene in the Dominican is one that absolutely flies under most people’s radar. The talent in that country is vastly underappreciated and goes unnoticed. The unfortunate part of Dominican MMA is the lack of quantity. The country does have many high level fighters, however they all fight each other. With that being said, there is no easy fight on the Dominican regional scene or even in the Caribbean in general.
“There really is no easy or build up fights there,” Kalista explained. “The competition is tough.”
Kalista looks to bring that Dominican toughness to Jacksonville on Saturday night against Lucas Alexander. As usual for him, this won’t be a walk in the park. Kalista is aware he might be at a striking disadvantage however; he will use his tricky style to negate the abilities of Alexander on the feet. As he feels like somewhat of an underdog in this bout, it’s safe to say he’s been there before and proved everyone wrong. He plans to do the same come Saturday.
“He’s a good striker so I know it will be striker vs. grappler,” he said. “My plan is to go in steal all of the hype and go back to the D.R.”
Looking ahead of Saturday, Kalista expects to continue to take as many fights as possible. His long term goal is to be the best in the world and with the skillset, mindset and experience he has, nothing less is expected. Not to mention the entertainment factor he provides. His style of fighting is one that can be extremely successful and without a doubt he will earn his blackbelt in the near future.
As Kalista seeks to dethrone the hype train of Lucas Alexander on Saturday, whether you are cage side in Duval or watching at home, I’d advise you to not blink because this could be done quick.