STOCKTON — Most football coaches will celebrate for a while after winning a significant championship and then get ready for the next season. Soledad High head football coach Frankie Berlanga is unlike most football coaches as he chose to get ready for another battle as soon as the football season ended.
Fresh off winning the Central Coast Section Division IV football championship over Westmont in San Jose, Berlanga decided to begin some serious training as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter. On Saturday Berlanga completed his goal by fighting in Stockton in an MMA event.
“Fighting an MMA fight was on my bucket list,” said Berlanga. “I began training after football because I wanted to fight before the spring football season. I trained at the Kugtar Brazilian Jiu Jitsu studio in Salinas that is run by Vince Vanderlipe. I worked on my conditioning, cut weight, and worked on kick boxing, wrestling, and Jiu Jitsu. The Kugtar team was in my corner for my fight.”
Berlanga started his training at 5’9 183 and cut his weight down to 155 pounds to fight 20-year-old Tony Gonzales, a young fighter with four fights of experience. Berlanga’s hard work paid off as he was able to earn the victory over Gonzales.
“I used everything I had to win the fight,” said the 34-year-old Berlanga. “I went in against a younger guy with experience and accomplished my goal and getting in the ring and doing well. I had my team of supporters there at the fight including my trainers and my family. It was my first and last fight.”
Berlanga guided the Aztecs to a 10-3 record last season in his sixth year as head coach at Soledad. The Aztecs will be out to defend the CCS title they won by starting spring ball in the next few weeks.