Friday marks the return of Ring of Combat to the hallowed halls of the Tropicana in Atlantic City, and with this, the 31st installment of this most holy of fight promotions, comes the promise of epic fights. And by epic, I mean epic multiplied by flux capacitor divided by a solar flare. The cast of characters includes:
- Uriah Hall – A TSMMA middleweight and star prospect, Hall’s only had a few MMA bouts yet has already established himself as one of the most dangerous strikers in the Northeast. Watching him fight is like watching a firing squad wait for a condemned man to finish his last cigarette.
- Chris Weidman – Some kind of wrestling god before he turned to MMA, Weidman is the antithesis of Hall in that he’s a beast on the ground. So of course the two are facing each other. But just how good is Weidman? Well, despite limited training in submission grappling, he earned a spot in the last Abu Dhabi tournament, and those he beat still send him their lunch money – via Western Union!
- Louis Gaudinot – There’s a flyweight belt up for grabs, and Gaudinot, the TSMMA kid with the green hair and the deadly spinning backfist, is facing top Mid-Atlantic grappler Jesse Riggleman for the prize. The only time Gaudinot loses is when his opponents hold him down (literally, no ground and pound or sub attempts, they just hold him down). But with the Team Tiger Schulmann fight team currently in high-gear thanks to a union with Pellegrino MMA and teammates Hall, Lyman Good and Nick Pace (and until last weekend, Jimmie Rivera) all in preparation for the toughest fights of their careers, you can bet Gaudinot is going to be razor sharp.
- Rich Ashkar – Ashkar got dropped by slugger Mike Medrano back in 2008, but that’s the only blemish on an otherwise very impressive record. In his last bout (a year and a half ago) Ashkar out-wrestled top-ranked Tom Gallicchio to pound out the win. An impressive performance against the veteran Doug Gordon would label Ashkar as a “bad mamma-jamma”.
- Chris Wing – He transitioned from stud amateur to rising pro star at ROC 30, so at ROC 31 fans will get one more data point on the Chris Wing timeline to see if he’s the real deal. Training partner Chris Liguori summed it up nicely: “When I have nightmares, it’s about swarms of killer bees or Chris Wing. And when they’re both in my nightmare, the killer bees are coming out of Chris Wing’s mouth.”