The New Castle native prepares to enter the cage at the Bellator MMA event

He may train in Florida these days, but at Bellator 289 on Friday night, it will be Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia when Western Pennsylvania native Dalton “Hercules” Rosta takes on Philly middleweight Anthony Adams in a mid-card fight.

“I always watched UFC growing up — Brock Lesnar, Forrest Griffin, Tito Ortiz, all those guys,” said Rosta, 27, a New Castle native who trained at the Mat Factory in Lower Burrell before joining American Top Team in August 2020 and heading South to its training facility in Coconut Creek, Fla.

Rosta’s goal in his younger days was to go pro in either football or mixed martial arts. After wrestling and playing football for Laurel High School in New Castle, Rosta was able to spend time wrestling for Seton Hill University and playing football at Youngtown State in Ohio.

Rosta also began jiu jitsu training when he was 12, and a chance meeting led to his entry into mixed martial arts.

“I’d attended a seminar in 2017 at a local gym, and my jiu jitsu coach had me do training and mat work with (Mat Factory owner) Isaac Greeley,” he said. “After we were done, he invited me to the Mat Factory to train.”

Greeley said Rosta’s drive and work ethic are unmatched.

“He’s super-motivated, and everything he does is to improve his craft,” Greeley said. “To be where he’s at and to look like a specimen the way he does, it takes years of hard work.”

Rosta comes by his “Hercules” nickname honestly and said he pushes himself during training.

“It’s hard work every day,” he said. “I get up every morning to work hard, train hard and do my diet, sleep and recovery all the way from cold therapy to saunas to acupuncture. I come in and train hard two to three times a day.”

That work has led to an undefeated 7-0 record that Rosta will bring to Bellator 289 when he goes up against the 9-2 Adams.

“I want to do everything right so that when I step in the cage, there are no ‘what-ifs,'” he said. “I know I put everything into this and it’s up to me to capitalize on that in the cage.”

Rosta has achieved four knockouts on the way to his perfect record and is ranked fifth among fighters in Bellator’s middleweight division. He still trains at the Mat Factory when he’s back in the Pittsburgh area and hasn’t forgotten his hometown roots.

“Everybody’s always talking about, ‘Oh, it must be nice to live down in Florida.’ The weather’s nice and everything, but I miss Pittsburgh and I miss Pennsylvania so much, so when I get the chance to go home, I always do,” he said.

Bellator 289 will take place with preliminary bouts at 5:25 pm Friday on Showtime. The main card will get under way at 9 pm, live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Calif.

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Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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