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Tuberas born to fight
Central Valley grads/brothers set to begin professional MMA careers in 2014
Former Hawk wrestlers Victor Tubera (red gloves) and Mike Tubera are making the jump to the professional ranks as mixed martial arts fighters. Victor (lightweight) and Mike (flyweight) both won titles at the amateur level. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Former standout wrestlers at Central Valley High School, brothers Mike and Victor Tubera are enjoying success in a different sport now.

Victor and Mike will make their professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debuts on Thursday and Sept. 13, respectively.

"Our goal is to get to the big show-the UFC," Victor said.

"I feel like we're ready to take that next step," Mike said. "It's something we've always wanted to do."

Mike totaled eight wins, four losses and one draw while competing as an amateur in the 125-pound flyweight division.

Mike's last amateur fight was on Saturday against Lakeport's Shane Boyd at the Konocti Vista Casino & Marina.

Tubera claimed the IFC Night of the Warriors VIII championship with a second-round triangle submission.

"If I stuck to my wrestling background, I wouldn't have any losses," said Tubera, 24. "I'd be elite right now. I've become more of a standup fighter. I'm a kickboxer, a brawler. I got a lot of power."

Mike's first pro fight will take place on the West Coast Fighting Championship card at McClellan Air Force Base.

Grizzly Flats' Steven Gruber (3-1) will try to exact revenge against Tubera.

Tubera knocked out Gruber in the first round with an elbow at the amateur level last year.

Unbeaten with a 5-0 record in the lightweight division at the amateur level, Victor wrestled for two years at Modesto Junior College prior to transferring to Chico State.

"I was a wrestler in high school," said 22-year-old Victor, who will graduate next spring with a degree in psychology.

"That's what got me off to a good start. "I've been working on my standup. That was my weak point. I'm a well-rounded fighter now."

Victor has won twice by knockout and three times by submission.

Victor captured the IFC 155-pound amateur lightweight belt on the Night of the Warriors VII fight card on May 17. Tubera defeated Ukiah's Mike Martucci by first-round formal submission (broken rib).

Victor's first pro fight will be against fellow newcomer Albert Arreola of Lemoore at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino. Tubera (6-1) holds a six-inch height advantage over Arreola (5-7).

"I've been scouting him," he said. "He has a good wrestling background. That's why I've been working on my striking a lot. I'm ready to go the distance if that's what it takes. He's a grinder. I know he's going to be in great shape. I feel confident. Mentally, I'm ready. I've had a reach advantage over all of my opponents."

Mike and Victor both train at Ceres Karate and Bad To The Bonz Boxing Club.

"I didn't work this summer so I could train," Victor said. "I train six to eight hours a day. The new place is breaking me out of my bad habits that I had. I have a bunch of fights under my belt. I definitely think I'm ready for elite competition."

No longer a hobby, the Tubera brothers are striving to make names for themselves at the pro level.

"With me being the youngest, I'd try to fight him," Victor said. "He'd punk me. He made me tough. He got me into fighting. We train together. He knows me better than any of my coaches. I'm on the edge of my seat with his fights. I'm pretty young still. By the time I'm 27, I should be right up there with the best of the best."

"As a big brother, he makes me proud," Mike said. "He's young. He's still in college. I'm excited for him. We've been training together non-stop in the gym. We go on runs every night. We corner each other's fights. He's pushed me to a whole another level."