Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition

Fighter honors his dad

- By Jason Stromberg Staff Writer

Mixed martial arts fighter Aaron Rajman, of Boca Raton, invests his time in the sport because he knows that’s what his father would want for him.

When Gabriel Eric Rajman lost his battle with lymphoma cancer recently at age 46, his 19-year-old son decided it was time to do a mitzvah, or good deed.

“He (was in my corner) for my first fight,” said Rajman, who trains with his coach and mentor, Rian Gittman, at the American Top Team facility in Coconut Creek. “He had a lot to do with my mental training.”

As the undefeated (8-0) MMA lightweigh­t amateur champion, Rajman will honor his father’s memory by making an off-card appearance during the upcoming “Alpha Dog Fights 10: MMA KO’s Cancer” benefit event in West Palm Beach.

Open to the public and with donations benefiting the American Cancer Society, this MMA show will take place Oct. 6 at The Box Expo Center. “I’m not going to be fighting on that card, but what I will be doing is promoting ALS (amyotrophi­c lateral sclerosis awareness),” Rajman said. “I don’t want to fight then because I don’t want to be doing too much, or having any distractio­ns. Those are excuses.”

Two weeks later, Rajman will showcase his talents during an MMA show in Fort Lauderdale. At 5-foot-9 and 145 pounds, Rajman will let his actions do the talking in the ring Oct. 20 at Club Revolution, where he will take on Carlos Rodriguez.

Rajman has risen through the ranks to become the WFO Lightweigh­t Champion and Internatio­nal Sanctioned Karate Associatio­n Lightweigh­t Champion.

“He’s already been hit by a lot of guys, but he just keeps on developing. His striking was once his weakness, but man, is it coming quick,” Gittman said. “That can take years to develop. You have to stay in the pocket. The hardest part is to take a hit inside the pocket, but he’s doing that, and using multiple combinatio­ns of punches and kicks.”

Rajman made it work to his advantage during his latest fight against undefeated Kyle Chalk on Sept. 1 at The Box Expo Center. There, the No. 1 ranked lightweigh­t (145 to 154.9 pounds) MMA amateur fighter in Florida, according to amateurmma­, won by arm bar submission in only 1:20 into the first round.

Rajman said the key to success is to keep it simple.

“You see guys get knocked down because the joint lock is totally new,” he said. “It’s like being a basketball player and having a football player’s technique. Just because he’s tall doesn’t mean he’s going to win. I use technical art, as opposed to aggression.”

With four championsh­ip titles as an amateur, Rajman is considered an MMA technical submission specialist who caps most of his fights off within the first round due to submission­s. Rajman also is a blue belt in Brazilian jujitsu and is a seven-time NAGA champion, a two-time Copa America champion and an American Top Team Grappling Tournament champion.

Gittman believes it will only be a matter of time before Rajman turns pro and showcases his favorite arm lock to the rest of the world.

“When a guy is unknown and too good, nobody wants to fight him,” Gittman said. “When a guy is known and proven, everybody wants to fight him.”

Email Rajman at aaron_ to help in his charity event.

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