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Gym and studio shots of Monster Energy athlete / Bellator fighter Austin Vanderford. Shot by Kyle Carlson in Coconut Creek, Florida, on October 25, 2021.

MMA Athlete

Austin Vanderford

United States United States


Make way for a true force of nature! Fighting out of Portland, Oregon, Austin Vanderford may be known as ‘The Gentleman’. But when that Octagon door slams shut, gentle is not a term that applies. Just ask any opponent who’s been on the receiving end of a triangle choke submission on a near-perfect fight record: Vanderford brings an unparalleled amount of aggression and versatility into the cage. Perhaps it’s because he built his foundation all the way up North as a two-time Alaska State Wrestling Champion in high school. After earning honors as a two-time NAIA All-American wrestler at college in Oregon, Vanderford crushed his MMA pro debut in 2017 and claimed the CageSport Welterweight title at lightning speed. After a victory on Dana White’s Contender Series 13, he found a home with the Bellator MMA franchise in 2019 and soon became the top contender in the Middleweight division. His run to the top continues: Married to former UFC strawweight Paige VanZant, Vanderford lives and breathes fighting. Constantly refining his skillset with Gracie Barra Portland, Vanderford is ready to face the next fight. And no, it’s not going to be gentle!