Michigan native Tim Eschtruth (4-1) has never fought outside his home state. Eschtruth, who trains at the Scorpion Fighting System, has not had to travel very far for his five pro fights. On June 2 at RIZIN 16, he will get his wish to travel far away from home when he has his first fight not only outside Michigan but the United States. He will be taking on decorated Greco-Roman wrestler Erson “Badman” Yamamoto (2-4). Erson is the nephew of legendary fighter Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto and son of Miyuu Yamamoto.
Start as an MMA Fighter
Eschtruth started late in the MMA game. Now 37, he had his first amateur fight at 31, an age when fighters tend to be on a downswing and even contemplate retirement. Previous to his MMA career he was a competitive judoka, competing in local and national tournaments. He is now a 2nd degree black belt in judo, a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a green belt in Tae Kwon Do.
One day a friend asked how his judo could fare in a fight. He told his friend “I don’t know. I’ve never been in a fight before.” There was only one way to find out. He met with a local promoter who booked him for his first amateur fight and Eschtruth won. “It’s been quite the experience ever since,” he said.
Signing with RIZIN
Just like all fighters, Eschtruth dreamed bigger. His coach put out feelers for Eschtruth to fight outside the U.S. The opportunity almost happened with a fight in Russia, but it didn’t pan out (and perhaps for the best given the shadiness of Russian MMA). RIZIN reached out to Eschtruth’s team and he was game from the start. “It’s a chance to get my name out there, a chance to do something with my life,” he said. “This is my chance to show the world what I got.” The fight will be the biggest crowd he has ever fought for but, he’s not looking at it any differently. “It’s going to be a big adrenaline rush… I’m going to treat it like any other fight.”
Erson Yamamoto is an incredibly strong fighter who can take you down at will if he decided to. Eschtruth is prepared for those takedowns.
“He’s tough,” he said. “I have been training with guys who are pure wrestlers.” He then stated he is watching Erson’s previous fights and practicing in a boxing ring since the fight will not be in a cage. “It’s no different than a nogi judo match for me. It would be interesting to see how it works between the two of us.”
When Eschtruth isn’t tapping people out in professional MMA fights, he likes to spend time with his daughter. He usually takes her out hunting, fishing, or shooting paintball. He is also a gamer. One of his go to games to play is Warhammer 40K. Just like fellow fighter Josh Barnett, Eschtruth is a bag fan of the tabletop strategy game.
“I am the biggest geek ever,” he described himself.
Erson Yamamoto vs Tim Eschtruth takes place at RIZIN 16 June 2nd 12:20AM ET/Jun 1, 9:20PM PT. The show will take place at Kobe Memorial World Hall and be available for international viewers through FITE.tv.