Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bouts to Watch at Ring of Combat 21

Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat 21 is almost upon us. The event, slated for September 12th in Atlantic City with a live broadcast on HDNet Fights, will feature welterweight and light-heavyweight championship contests, but there are definitely a few other bouts on the card worth a closer look. Who is destined to shake up the Northeast rankings? Who will emerge as the East Coast's next big star? What match-up is going to rock your world? Man, how should I know. Just keep an eye on these fighters and fights:
  • At light-heavyweight, IFL vet Brendan Barrett will be taking on striker Constantinos Phillippou. Barrett's got an impressive resume and a wealth of skills in all areas, but Phillippou is part of Team Serra/Longo's next generation of badasses - and he came really close to earning a decision against 205-pound top dog Ricardo Romero in his MMA debut. Expect these two to trade some serious leather.
  • At welterweight, BCX champ Greg Soto returns to action (he's been sidelined with a shoulder injury for a while) to face Doug Gordon. Soto is a wrestling machine, a capable jiu-jitsu guy, and a handful for anyone, whereas Gordon is strong as hell, not shy about dispensing a beating, and by far Soto's toughest test to date. This one is going to be all about who can stay on top and impose their game plan.
  • At middleweight, Team Serra/Longo vet James Gabert returns to battle Team Tiger Schulmann brawler Nissim Levy. Both men are skilled on the ground, but if they were presented with a buffet that included big plates of armbars, leglocks and chokes, they'd choose healthy portions of "punches to the face" and go back for seconds and thirds.
  • At welterweight, New Jersey MMA pioneer Jose Rodriguez will square off against ROC Tournament of Champions winner Marc Stevens. Rodriguez has heavy hands, Stevens has great wrestling, and by the end someone is going to wind up bleeding or unconscious. Maybe both.