SFC: Blitzkrieg - Wahle vs Mueller
The people's main event at Saturday's Shamrock FC: Blitzkrieg is a tussle between two rising bantamweights.
Undefeated Garrett Mueller, welcomes Cort Wahle to the pro ranks.
Mueller (2-0), coming off a win at Bellator 138 last June, and Wahle have the tangibles needed to make a run at this thing.
Twenty-one year old Wahle was a high-energy kid in Godfrey, IL, when he fell into taekwondo at the age of seven. He soon literally and figuratively hit the tournament scene and piled up the trophies in the process. By the time he reached 15, Wahle grew both tired and bored, primarily due to rule changes within the sport. One day he found himself inside Wood River's War Room MMA Academy, though he had a hot-shot striking background, Wahle was rightfully humbled that day. He had found his place.
At 17-years-old, fighting up a weight class and against a 25-year-old, Wahle made his MMA debut and the taekwondo champ somehow won by submission. Soon after, the War Room welcomed Vaghi black belt and MMA coach Jon Menke into the mix and he and Wahle soon built a successful teacher-pupil relationship. Wahle put together a 5-2 stretch with his only loses coming against Erion Zekthi and Cortavious Romious. Four of his five wins were by finish.
"I wouldn't be anything near what I am today were it not for (Menke)," Wahle said. "Everything changed."
Wahle has crafted a fan-friendly style. Spinning shit is part of the equation. But he's convinced deep down that he has even more video-game-esque offense to offer.
"I have always held back for on reason or another. Whether it was nerves or afraid to make a mistake and get caught being a flashy ninja," Wahle said. "My stand up is one of a kind. It's funky mixed with traditional. I enjoy it and my coach loves it."
It should make for an engaging dance partner for Mueller.
"He's a good, all-around fighter," Wahle said. "I want a challenge so I can show all of what I am capable of doing. I'm more than excited about it. My main goal is to do me. I know I can win I just have to let myself work and not worry about the other things."
Saturday will be Wahle's first trip to 135.
"I knew I could do it and I wanted something new," he said. "This is probably the weight I will continue to fight at."
Even when he's in full-blown fight-camp mode, Wahle packages in the time to teaching kids classes at the War Room.
"It's a real, traditional taekwondo class," Wahle said. "You know, it's real cool when you get the super athletic kid who can do spinning wheel kicks, but when a 7-or-8-year-old walks in with just the worst coordination and after eight or 12 months training you see the things they are able to do with balance and coordination and movement, it feels good to know you took part in that."
Mueller will turn 27 the day he steps on the scale for SFC: Blitzkrieg.
Mueller grew up in the farm town of St. Thomas, 12 miles south of Missouri's capital, Jefferson City. He started wrestling at five-years-old and evolved into a state-qualifier in high school.
"I never liked baseball, never liked football. My mom said you are going to do this," Mueller said. "It sparked an interest and I stuck with it and it's one of the best things I've ever done."
Mueller was an army reservist and spent time overseas around 2010-11. He then landed a shift at a factory and soon became too aware of the work-then-party lifestyle cycle.
"I wanted to break loose of the trend," Mueller said
Mueller soon found a home at Howard's ATA in Jefferson City. There, he and current SFC bantamweight champion, Jordan Howard have built a combat kinship.
"Even though he's a year younger, it's like he's the big brother," Mueller said. "He keeps me in line, humbles me, keeps me going to the gym. Jordan is a good friend to have around."
Mueller has also partnered with Patrick Smith's Smith Pit, home of UFC middleweight Jake Collier, rising lightweight Dakota Bush, and a load of heavyweight grapplers.
"Joining up with Jordan obviously and now with Jake, it is the best decision in my MMA career," Mueller said.
Mueller stretched out his amateur career, running up an 18-6 mark.
"I fought for free too much," Mueller said. "But that being said, I'm glad I had that many fights. I have been there. I have been in the bad positions and I know how to get out."
Wahle vs. Mueller will be part of the main card at SFC: Blitzkrieg Saturday at the Lumiere Casino. The event is sold out but can be viewed via online pay-per-view. For more information visit shamrockfightingchampionships.com.
"From a style standpoint, this will be good for the fans," Mueller said. "We're both aggressive. He's a striker with decent ground. I've noticed he doesn't like having someone right up in his face. In the late rounds I think my experience is going to show."
Photo courtesy of Jimmy Range Photography