Sunnyside great Roman Bravo-Young to make MMA debut in UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4

With his storied Penn State wrestling career over, Sunnyside High School four-time state champ Roman Bravo-Young is turning his attention for the time being to mixed martial arts.

Bravo-Young, who went 182-0 during his Blue Devil career and then won two national championships with the Nittany Lions, is scheduled to fight in the featherweight match of the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4 on June 29 at the UFC Apex at Las Vegas.

He will face Alex Perez, who is No. 6 in the UFC flyweight rankings with a 24-7 record.

Bravo-Young stated in a Tweet about the match with Perez, who is seven years older than him at 31: “Stepping in the grappling game until I can wrestle again. June 29th. Let’s go!”

Bravo-Young (101-10 at Penn State) recently joined the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, which will host a U.S. Olympic Regional Training Center. Bravo-Young aspires to represent the U.S. in international competition, including the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Bravo-Young has long made it known he wants to get into MMA fighting after his wrestling career.

After he won his second straight NCAA title last year, he told AllSportsTucson.com that he also wants to use his sports marketing degree toward opening a facility to train youths.

“I’m still going to wrestle as long as I can … switch over to MMA and eventually start my own academy here,” he said. “I’m figuring it out slowly, taking things a step at a time. Giving back as much as I can and changing lives.”

He has trained in recent months with Tucsonan Dominick Cruz, a two-time UFC bantamweight champion. Cruz, a Flowing Wells High School graduate, and Bravo-Young often work out together at Jet Sports Training.

“Roman’s from Tucson, same roots,” Cruz told AllSportsTucson.com. “We grew up in a very similar lineage in wrestling. It fits perfect because when I’m home visiting family, he’s home visiting family and we can train. It’s beautiful.”

The bout between Bravo-Young and Perez is one of the individual matches that features notable MMA athletes that coincides with an eight-man elimination Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament with individual matches that will stream live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass on June 29 at 6 p.m., Tucson time.

In the main event, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) world champion Felipe Pena will go head-to-head with IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi world champion Craig Jones in a submission-only match. The co-main event is between former UFC light heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira and UFC light heavyweight Anthony Smith.


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.

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