Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why You Should Care About ROC 41 - Reason #1

Ring of Combat 41 is Friday night, and whether you're attending it live at the Tropicana in Atlantic City (like I am) or watching it on GoFightLive (which I will never do again), there are a number of good reasons to give an enormous shit about what's going down.  After all, ROC is one of the Northeast's most prominent stepping stones to the UFC, and it's chock full of dudes who are more than capable of tearing off your limbs and burying them in the sand beneath the Boardwalk.  Still on the fence about caring about ROC 41?  Well, then here's reason number one: Jimmie Rivera.

  • Rivera, you might recall, appeared in the first episode of TUF 14, where fought eventual finalist Dennis Bermudez to earn a spot in the TUF House.  And sure, obviously Bermudez is the one who made it into the house, but for the entire first round of that fight, Rivera beat the dude up.  Like, shook-him-down-for-lunch-money beat up.  Rivera can box, wrestle, and he knows a thing or two about submissions - all of which he showed in that TUF 14 fight.  If Bermudez wasn't made out of iron, it would definitely have been Rivera taking on Diego Brandao for that giant TUF paperweight.
  • Aside from losing to Bermudez, the only other time Rivera has lost was via split decision to Jay McLean in a bout he agreed to at the last minute.  On the flip side, Rivera went undefeated in seven amateur fights, and went on to win eight pro fights.
  • Rivera is fighting some kid named Justin Hickey for the ROC bantamweight belt, and you know how I know Rivera is going to come away victorious?  Because before his TUF bid, he was a reigning King of the Cage champ, and wearing a KOTC crown is kind of a big deal.  Also, Hickey is supposedly a submissions guy, and Rivera's modus operandi is sprawl-and-brawl - the antidote to submission poison.
  • Lastly, the biggest reason you should be paying attention to this weekend's ROC and Rivera is that soon Rivera will be back in the Octagon.  Watch him crush Hickey on Friday and come the next UFC on FX, you'll be able to tell all your friends you "saw that dude fight back in the day - he's a badass".  And you won't be lying.