Tucson High School graduate Levi Escobar, a four-year letterman in wrestling with the Badgers, improved to 2-0 in his professional MMA career with an impressive victory Friday night in the Combate Global event at Miami.
Escobar, who trains out of his father Martin’s De Brazil Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Tucson, defeated Mario López with a rear naked choke at 1:00 of the first round. Escobar and López weighed in at 159.8 pounds.
Escobar overcame a back injury two years ago and the uncertainty of COVID-19 last year that affected his training to achieve the win. He posted this message on social media leading up to the bout:
“I want to thank all my coaches, teammates, familia & supporters who helped me prepare for this one I can tell you all I am definitely ready to put on my best performance yet. Coming down from 198 to 160 in a few months wasn’t easy but I made it happen. 2019 I was out with a herniated disc, 2020 the tragic COVID Pandemic ruined our plans but by the Grace of God we made it back to the big show and made it all the way to beautiful Miami and I am … ready!!! The last two years couldn’t stop me so I am going to make my opponent pay!!! It’s our time Tucson I want to thank you all for your love I definitely have been feeling blessed all week long and that’s thanks to you guys who sent me messages, I appreciate you all. It’s my time now and I’ll see you all on the other side.”
Four years ago, I wrote a detailed feature on Martin Escobar and the development of his De Brazil Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Martin Escobar, a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu who was a Tucson Police Department officer for 21 years and a detective in the Pima County Attorney’s Office, has been instrumental in his son’s development.
Levi Escobar mentioned to me of his father’s facility: “Just being there, I better myself as a fighter, competitor, teacher, instructor and as a human being. When I’m there, I don’t think about anything else going on in the world. I’m just there, present in the moment. I want to take it further than where it’s now. I want to make Tucson a mecca for Jiu-Jitsu and MMA training. I want to make it where people think, ‘He’s going to be a pro fighter if he goes there to De Brazil.’”
Levi Escobar, 25, has taught at his dad’s academy since he was 13.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District