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Aug 20, 2019 5:42 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Southampton's Own Julius Anglickas Is Knocking On UFC's Door

Julius Anglickas at Hill Street Boxing in Southampton. DREW BUDD
Aug 20, 2019 5:47 PM

When Julius Anglickas first stepped foot on U.S. soil nearly 15 years ago when he was only 13 years old, nothing came particularly easy for him.

Emigrating from his native Lithuania to Southampton to live with his mother and his older brother, Gabe, Anglickas faced a language barrier, as he couldn’t speak English. Being an avid basketball fan, he tried out for the Mariners basketball team, but he was subsequently cut.

Fueled by the urging of a new friend, Anglickas decided to give wrestling a try, and he found his calling. Anglickas’s sheer size and muscular stature at such a young age made him a prime candidate for the sport, and it was something that opposing wrestlers, and coaches, quickly took notice of.

And when he demonstrated that he actually had a knack for the sport, Anglickas rose through the Suffolk County Division II ranks, and, in a blink of an eye, was a force to be reckoned with.

Anglickas easily won county titles his junior and senior years, and placed fifth and fourth, respectively, in New York State — considerable feats in the tough Division II landscape upstate. After graduating from Southampton in 2009, Anglickas made the jump from high school wrestling to college wrestling, finding himself at SUNY Brockport for his first two years of college, before transferring to Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis. After earning his bachelor’s degree, wrestling started to fade away, so Anglickas did what many collegiate wrestlers do after they graduate: He entered the ever-growing world of mixed martial arts.

“I just wanted to keep competing and take another extra step. Fighting was the next step,” he said. “I had to switch up my wrestling. I kept wrestling the way I knew how, and I was put in chokes and different stuff. I had to be shown a different side of wrestling. I didn’t know about the jiu jitsu part.”

But just like wrestling, MMA eventually came easy for Anglickas as well.

While earning his master’s degree in physical education at Lindenwood University, after just a few months of boxing training, Anglickas won the prestigious Golden Gloves in 2015 in the heavyweight division. With a solid background in karate already, thanks to former wrestling teammate and good friend Neko Gettling, Anglickas was ready to enter the octagon, where he’s continued to see success.

Anglickas, now 28, is 7-1 in his professional fighting career, having won the Legacy Fighting Alliance’s light heavyweight championship in February. The biggest fight of his young career, though, came this past Tuesday, August 13, when he battled Karl Reed as part of “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series,” a weekly show that airs on both UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+ and is competed at UFC’s home base in Las Vegas. Similar to the popular show “The Ultimate Fighter,” White scouts unsigned talent for the UFC through the Contender Series, and if he likes what he sees, he signs fighters. Through the first seven episodes and 34 bouts on this season’s show, 23 fighters who won their Tuesday night fights were signed to the UFC.

Anglickas defeated Reed by submission with a rear-naked choke at 3:25 of the third round, and even though he won, Anglickas did not get the UFC contract, the only winner of the night not awarded one. It was a huge blow to Anglickas initially, but with a few days to gather his thoughts, he said it wasn’t the end of the world.

“I felt there were really two fights going on that night — the actual fight and then the contract,” he said. “That night I felt like I lost both battles, but the next day I felt much better. I won the fight, which was the most important thing. It was a good, tough fight. I learned a lot.

“People will call. I’m on the radar. Bellator, [Battlefield Fight League] are interested,” Anglickas added. “I’m still training to beat people up.”

As for the fight: “[It] was tough. We were both so equally matched. I was watching on YouTube and a lot of people were saying how it was such a perfect match and no one had a clue how to pick the fight. We had the same records, we both lost to the same guy, and we were good in our own specific way. I had a hard time deciding how I was going to take the fight. We’re both smart fighters, and I think if we both scrapped that it would possibly cost us the fight, so I think we both came out a little tentative.”

White, who was seated cageside the night of the fight, was quoted in Newsday as saying he didn’t think Anglickas took Reed out in the first round when he should have.

“He’s 7-1 right now, he’s only 28 years old, he’s in his prime. There’s a lot of things I think this guy needs to work on to fill in the holes and become a well-rounded fighter,” he said. “Great record, he’s at the perfect age now to fix some things. I think he’ll eventually get here, just not tonight.”

In response to White’s comments, Anglickas said, “I can’t be mad at him. I can’t have a free ticket. It motivates me to do better. Obviously, he wants more, and more would be me being a better fighter. I think if I had gotten a contract, I wouldn’t be as motivated to change myself and become better. He did say I’m on the radar, he likes me. I’m going to get there, it’s just going to take a few tweaks. Being the only one that wasn’t picked, that’s motivating me, so I’m just going to concentrate on being the best I can, and the rest of it will take care of itself. Me knowing that makes me not stress over it.”

With one of his biggest fights of his young career now behind him, Anglickas returned to Southampton this past Sunday, where he’ll take a few weeks off from major training until he returns to St. Louis on September 3. With no off days in the sport, though, Anglickas worked out with Avery Crocker and his class at Hill Street Boxing, this week, and he plans to work out at Hamptons Jiu Jitsu as well.

Anglickas was joined on Monday by one of his most staunch supporters in Gettling, now 29, who moved to Rhode Island three years ago but came back to see his old friend and help him train. Even though he lives off the island now, Gettling was still able to put together a watch party of Anglickas’s fight last week at North Sea Tavern, which was heavily attended.

“After we branched out and he went to Brockport and Missouri, I made sure that was the guy I stayed in contact with because I knew he was going to kill it,” Gettling explained. “When I got word he was moving into MMA, I was like, ‘Oh, this is going to be it, it’s perfect.’ He’s going to be the next big thing. I try to make sure when he’s out in Missouri, that I have an ear to the ground on Long Island, so I can put things together, have people watch his events, things like that.”

Gettling is helping put together another event at the North Sea Tavern for this Thursday, August 22, from 7 to 10 p.m. Anglickas will be in attendance for a meet and greet, taking photos and signing autographs. Proceeds of the event will go toward Anglickas’s training.

“It was good to see everybody showing support for him [last week], as they should,’ he said. “We don’t have too many people that are in the position that he’s in right now. Everybody should catch the wave.”

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