Neko Gettling Preparing for His Third Professional MMA Fight Coming Up on July 1 - 27 East

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Neko Gettling Preparing for His Third Professional MMA Fight Coming Up on July 1

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Neko Gettling knocked out his opponent in his previous fight  in 1:40.   ERIN SIMMONS/@eelskie

Neko Gettling knocked out his opponent in his previous fight in 1:40. ERIN SIMMONS/@eelskie

Neko Gettling getting ready for his last fight.   HILL STREET BOXING

Neko Gettling getting ready for his last fight. HILL STREET BOXING

Neko Gettling with his trainer Alan Quinonez and father Thomas Gettling and Avery Crocker.    HILL STREET BOXING

Neko Gettling with his trainer Alan Quinonez and father Thomas Gettling and Avery Crocker. HILL STREET BOXING

Drew Budd on May 23, 2023

Neko Gettling is hoping to provide the fireworks in his third professional mixed martial arts fight on July 1.

Billed as “Fireworks in the Cage” by the New York MMA Pro Fights promotion, Gettling, 32, is set to face off in the co-main event against Angel Villalba in an arena close to home for the Southampton native: the Hauppauge Radisson.

The 2008 Southampton High School graduate will be looking to improve his professional record to 3-0 in what will be his first fight against someone not named Philip Simpson.

Neither of Gettling’s first two fights got out of the first round as he knocked Simpson out on both occasions. Last October, in his first-ever pro cage fight, Gettling fought off a series of punches from Simpson, found an opening in which he kneed him in the body, then wrapped him up in a guillotine choke that forced Simpson to tap out.

As Gettling put it, Simpson “talked his way” into their next fight, in February, claiming he had “destroyed” Gettling “in the hands” before getting choked out. Gettling said for their next fight he’d go, “no takedowns, no submissions,” and that’s exactly what happened. Gettling circled in with a left hook, then dropped Simpson with a right hand in 1:25 to win his second pro fight.

“It felt great,” Gettling said of the knockout. “The first time out I felt like I was kind of slow to get on the gas pedal, but with the build up to the second fight, I really got in my own head and made sure to reestablish myself and I felt like I was able to do that, which was great. I felt like I dominated and knew exactly what he was going to do.”

Gettling splits his time between Rhode Island, where he’s lived with his family for the past five years, and his former hometown, where he comes back to train at Hill Street Boxing with trainers Avery Crocker and Alan Quinonez.

He’ll usually land in Southampton on a Thursday or Friday, train over the weekend, then head back north to Rhode Island. It’s the type of traveling schedule most fighters are used to these days, he said.

“Coach Alan’s got a big beard, his mitt work and fight IQ are ridiculous, and he’s actually one of my dad’s students, so he understands my fight style,” Gettling said, referring to his father, Thomas, who owns and operates a dojo in Southampton. Gettling is proficient in a number of fighting styles, being a black belt in karate and having a long varsity wrestling career at Southampton. Of course, he also continues to train in boxing at Hill Street Boxing as well.

“Avery, he’s been my big brother,” he said of one of Hill Street’s main trainers.

Gettling also trains with a good friend and former teammate at Southampton, Julius Anglickas, who also went the professional MMA route recently. Gettling plans to meet up with Anglickas in his current hometown of St. Louis to train with him next month.

“Having access to Julius, who is a great fighter in his own right, has been great,” Gettling said. “Julius is still fighting and doing really well.”

Gettling is going to put all of his fighting styles to use for his upcoming fight, he said, with Villalba being heavy disciplined in kickboxing. In fact, all of his professional fights have only been in kickboxing, Gettling said. With both fighters being almost the same exact build — both are 170 pounds, with Gettling an inch taller at 6 feet — they’ll be looking for whatever edge they can get.

“I really only feel like testing myself standup and see how fast I can turn him into a wrestler,” he said of his fight strategy. “Although I really feel like putting it altogether. I’m a real student of the game, having studied every art underneath the sun and having watched MMA since the early ’90s with my dad, having worked at Hill Street in Southampton, being a polished wrestler under some of the best coaches like Lester Ware, so I really feel like I was made to mix this stuff up.

“And that’s how I see the next fight going. If I walk in there and he boxes better than me, I’m going to kick him in the legs and make him wrestle,” Gettling continued. “If I don’t strangle him out early, then we can mix this up. But he isn’t going to shine better than me. I’ve got all the gameplans in the world to negate that.”

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