Ring of Combat 40 is set for Friday night at the Tropicana in Atlantic City (and I think on GoFightLive for all you hermits out there who are under house arrest), and the card looks to be its usual brand of kickass-ness. How kickass? Well, I'm not ashamed to say that I just got back from the local emergency room where I got my ass x-rayed because it was hurting, and the doctor was able to discern imprints of a foot all over my cheeks - which he deemed was a result of having looked over the ROC 40 card. That, folks, is the epitome of kickass. Anyway, the following list of ROC 40 match-up can directly be attributed to the source of my pain:
-Carlos Brooks vs. Danny Babcock - A tall and lanky striker from the TSMMA camp, Brooks specializes in opening cans of whoop-ass and pouring the contents all over opponents like an Indy 500 winner spraying the crowd with champagne. Babcock is a Florida-based hardcase with all kinds of wins on his record, so this one should be cool to watch the way watching two SUVs crashing into each other head-on would be cool to watch. Fun fact: both men were supposed to face ROC champ Tom DeBlass at some point, but fate had DeBlass fighting in a recent UFC instead.
-Marvin Eastman vs. Dmitry Zabolotny - Holy crap, UFC vet Marvin Eastman?! This guy has been around wrecking dudes since forever. Heck, I was cageside when he headlined in the WFA, which was in Las Vegas back in 2001. Zabolotny may be some tough Russian with experience taking on underfed bears in St. Petersburg, but... Marvin Eastman! Damn!
-Daniel Akinyemi vs. Brett Linebarger - Linebarger has been grinding foes into putty for some time now, and more than earned his reputation as a tough cat once the cage door shuts. Akinyemi, however, has two modes when he fights: "smash" and "HULK SMASH". Although his last fight ended with Uriah Hall giving him some heelhook love, Akinyemi was in HULK SMASH mode and was dispensing a beating throughout. I see the same violence being visited upon Linebarger, only with no last-second submission save.
-Chris Wing vs. Stephen Govan - Wing has long been a rising star in the Northeast circuit, and while a loss via KO to the ultra-tough Jesus Martinez at Matrix Fights and a decision loss to Levon Maynard at a Bellator may have affected the sheen on his luster, Wing's still a talented dude with a killer hook from Hell. The Virginia-based Govan is skilled submission guy, and should pose something of a threat if he can bring Wing into his realm, but I don't see Wing letting that happen. Fun fact: both men hold wins over underground legend James Funaro - Wing via a KO and Govan via a sub.
-Nabih Barakat vs. Mervin Rodriguez - Team Serra/Longo young buck Nabih had a rough time in his last ROC outing, falling to Edson Barboza at ROC 28 before Barboza moved on to the UFC and began slaying opponents there. This time around, Nabih will be facing someone with some pretty sharp grappling in Rodriguez, so while the threat of a knockout isn't as great, in all likelihood, this one is going to be a grueling test of wrestling and jiu-jitsu technique. Will Nabih pass the test? That's hard to say, for though Rodriguez tends to lose against top-level grapplers, Rodriquez only loses to top-level grapplers.
-Adam Fearon vs. Yusuf Yoldas - Old-school Northeast warrior Fearon is so gritty, after his fights attendants have to come into the cage and vacuum up piles of sand. Case in point: his win at MMA Mayhem back in 2010, which took place at Six Flags Great Adventure; his opponent may have tapped out to a guillotine, but immediately afterward, the dude coughed up mud. Anyway, Yoldas is some kung fu guy who has yet to find a "W" in the cage, and I seriously doubt Fearon is going to give it to him.
-Ed Gordon vs. Ryan Contaldi - Undefeated Team Serra/Longo big boy Gordon's nickname is "Truck". That's all I have to say on the matter.