Fighter to Watch

Chasing New Heights: APFC 5’s Datrelle Kozeluh

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Mixed Martial Arts is a sport that allows for and crafts some of the most inspirational stories in professional sports competition. Whether it be the story of Francis Ngannou battling through the poverty-ridden streets of Cameroon or Chael Sonnen having to wash the dishes when the maid did not show, the early years of a fighter’s life can bring forward motivation, fortitude, and strength. For Datrelle Kozeluh, the environment around him would not deter his dreams of a career in MMA.

Chasing New Heights: Datrelle Kozeluh

Kozeluh was born in Chicago Heights, Illinois. The environment is less than ideal for anyone chasing a dream. The violent crime rate in Chicago Heights was more than twice the rate of the U.S. average in Kozeluh’s senior year in high school. From run down and abandoned businesses to a serious street gang presence, Chicago Heights is not the place of dreams.

This would not stop Kozeluh. The now 24-year-old mixed martial artist was born into a family of martial art practitioners. Kozeluh would also find a strong group of friends that would push each other to achieve something more than what “The Heights” had to offer.

Establishing the Foundation

Kozeluh would begin wrestling at seven years old and would wrestle through his senior year of high school at Bloom Trail. This would serve as his foundation into the sport of MMA. The 3x All-American wrestler is now a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt.

The bantamweight fighter fought his first amateur MMA fight at eighteen years old and would win via first round TKO. “DKO” would wrap up his amateur career with a record of 8-2-2 and make his professional debut EAFL: Elite Fight Night 1, defeating Cody Schieve.

APFC 4 and Upcoming Fight

Kozeluh would fight for the third time professionally at APFC 4: Night of Champions. Kozeluh was initially slated to fight Darius Miller but his opponent was forced to pull from the fight after receiving a medical suspension from his last fight. Instead, Kozeluh would face Earnest Walls, securing a first round submission and extending his perfect professional record to 3-0.

On June 11th at APFC 5, Kozeluh is once again slated to face Darius Miller.

“I am training twice a day. My diet is 100% where it needs to be. I am running a lot and shadowboxing. I am giving it all I got and plan on turning it up even more towards the end of camp….Darius Miller, this f—king guy. I’m gonna go kill this kid. I’m gonna call my shot right here. I’m probably twice as fast as him and I’m longer than him. I’m going to utilize my range, striking, speed, and angles. I’m gonna make him shoot out of the gate and I’m going to ground and pound him or find the rear naked choke. You know what? F—k the choke. I’m gonna ground and pound finish him in round one.”

Datrelle Kozeluh will fight Darius Miller in a bantamweight contest on June 11th at APFC 5. The event will be aired live on UFC Fight Pass.

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Brian Knight is a contributing writer and active editor for MMASucka since November 2020. He is currently authoring his first book.

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