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Thursday, Nov 18, 2004

A Prelude To Combat

A Prelude to Combat
By Jim Genia

The match-ups are competitive. The skill levels are high. And the action is almost always crowd-pleasing. On November 20th, Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat returns to the Rexplex Sports Complex in Elizabeth, New Jersey, after a seven-month hiatus – and with it comes all the thrills and excitement we’ve come to expect from this top East Coast MMA show. Here’s a brief look at some of the fighters on the card:

Kurt Pellegrino
Kurt Pellegrino – Ricardo Almeida/Team Renzo
He sports a jiu-jitsu brown belt and is the current Reality Fighting lightweight champ. Yes, Pellegrino (aka, "Batman") has got some serious submission and ground-and-pound skills – but at Ring of Combat 7 he’ll be facing the unorthodox striking of Jay R. Palmer (a star from the early SuperBrawl events in Hawaii). How will Batman’s jiu-jitsu stack up against Palmer’s Tae Kwon Do?

Carlos Moreno
Carlos Moreno
The undefeated Ring of Combat champ, Moreno has won all of his bouts via either KO or TKO courtesy of his insanely heavy and accurate hands. At Ring of Combat 6 he stopped Erik Shaver in the second round with a single punch that fractured Shaver’s eye orbital. At Ring of Combat 7 he’ll face grappler Tom Muller. Will Moreno’s fists of stone bring an abrupt end to this match too?

Tom Muller
Tom Muller – Serra/Longo Competition Team
He’ll likely be giving up a lot of weight (in their last fights, Muller weighed in at 209 lbs. and Moreno at 260 lbs.), and while he may have some stand-up skills, he’ll most certainly be outgunned on his feet. But don’t count jiu-jitsu brown belt Muller out just yet. Every time he’s stepped into the ring, he’s submitted all of his opponents with the same rear choke – and he’s made it look easy. This will be the first time Muller has faced a striker of this caliber and it will be the first time Moreno has faced a submission specialist of this caliber. Who will come out on top?

Dante Rivera
Dante Rivera – Ricardo Almeida/Team Renzo
Each time he steps into the ring he looks better and better, and now he’ll get a shot at a championship belt. However, standing in Rivera’s way is Pitt’s Penn slugger Jose Rodriguez – a man more than capable of ending a bout with one punch. Will Rivera – a solid ground-and-pounder – crumble under his opponent’s heavy hands? Or will his star continue to rise?

Hazem Ibrahim
Hazem Ibrahim – Ricardo Almeida/Team Renzo
For a while it seemed Ibrahim was unstoppable. Powering out of submissions and pulling off bout-ending slams, his intensity and strength seemed to be limitless. Then came Shannon McGee, who handled Ibrahim on the ground flawlessly to score a TKO victory at Reality Fighting 5. At Ring of Combat 7, the man who once seemed too powerful to be beaten makes his return (under the flag of his new team – Team Renzo). Will Ibrahim go back to his winning ways?

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Atlantic City Aftermath:
3 Fighters Test Positive for Marijuana Use
By Loretta Hunt

Following a trio of mixed martial arts events that took place in Atlantic City, New Jersey over the month of October, three fighters have allegedly tested positive for marijuana as part of their mandatory post-fight drug testing. Urinalysis results collected by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) revealed the presence of the illegal substance in three individuals spanning two professional mixed martial arts events, including two fighters from October 15th’s EUPHORIA Mixed Fighting Championship "The Road to the Titles" and one competitor from October 22nd’s UFC 50: "The War of ’04." Following NJSACB protocol, which does not regularly make the medical and/or monetary details surrounding its athletes public record, the sanctioning body has opted to keep the identities of these participants anonymous, although they will all be listed on "administrative suspension" under fightfax.com, a website that tracks boxers’ records and statuses, and has been utilized by the Control Board as of late for mixed martial artists as well.

According to Nick Lembo, counsel for the NJSACB, all 20 EUPHORIA participants were tested for "performance enhancers, narcotics, stimulants, pain killers and other banned substances." The following weekend, all 14 UFC competitors were administered the same battery of tests. All samples in question were again retested two times each at an independent laboratory, said Lembo, with cut-off levels for the presence of marijuana set "much higher" than that of passive ingestion. No competitor(s) tested positive for anabolic steroids.

"Due to the fact the three fighters tested positive for the same substance in the span of one week of competitions, October 15 and October 22, the New Jersey Athletic Control Board would like to remind the mixed martial arts community that all contestants must submit a urine specimen for drug testing at all MMA events held in New Jersey, regardless of the size or scale of the promotion," stated Lembo. "The MMA community should be aware that drug testing practices are not standardized throughout the United States." Currently, the Nevada State Athletic Commission conducts drug testing for title and/or main event fights, as well as "random" testing for an average additional 1 to 3 bout(s).

The two EUPHORIA participants were notified of their status by written notice dated November 10th via certified and regular mail, while the UFC contestant’s notification was dated November 15th. Citing first violations for all three individuals, each letter proposed intent to suspend the competitor’s New Jersey license for 90 days and outlined the appeals process. Under NJSACB regulations, which mirror the same guidelines utilized for professional boxing, a second violation would result in a 180-day suspension and require graduation from an approved supervisory treatment program. A third violation would result in a 2-year ban without the right to appeal.

Although not required, all three competitors will have 15 days to respond to the allegations from the date of notification receipt. "Any suspension will not go into effect until the time that the fighter has let his time to appeal expire, notifies us of his or her choice not to appeal, or receives an actual appeals decision," explains Lembo. Lembo also added that any victorious competitor testing positive for a banned substance afterward would be subject to his bout’s official results being changed to a "no decision" or "no contest." However, none of the three competitors currently under allegations won his bout.

From the event’s promoter:

XFO 4 features International flavor
Palaszewski, Strzelecki fight for event’s first title

XFO poster
      LAKEMOOR, Ill. — After enjoying its first sellout crowd, the Xtreme Fighting Organization was faced with trying to improve upon what was without a doubt its most competitive and successful event in its brief history.
      No problem.
      Promoters decided to make a few key improvements to its mainly Midwest-based lineup for its Dec. 3 event in Lakemoor, Ill.

  • Japanese standouts Naoyuki and Hiroaki Kotani will make their first appearance in the event, and Team Tompkins of Canada returns to give the show an international touch.
  • The first XFO title fight is scheduled, with Bart Palaszewski and Virgil Strzlecki battling for the lightweight crown.
  • Chael Sonnen of Team Quest, an Olympic alternate in wrestling, has been brought in to face local standout Terry Martin of Combat-Do.

      "We’ve tried to make improvements… to give the fans something different each time out," said co-promoter Jeff Curran. "I think we’ve got some really interesting fights with some top-level competition."
      Naoyuki Kotani, the champion of Tokyo’s ZST event, will take on UFC veteran Phil Johns of Silverbacks. Hiroaki Kotani, a veteran of the famous Shooto organization, will face Alex Gasson of Canada.
      For the second straight show, XFO will feature a women’s bout. Alisa Cantwell of Madison, Wis., returns to face Ryanne Dee of Detroit.
      "Besides all the new faces, we’ll also have most of the local favorites that have been regulars on the show," Curran said. "Guys like Mark Wallen, Clay and Jason Guida, Jay Estrada and Gabe Lemley will all be back for us."
      The card will probably feature 12 bouts, but the final two depend on outcomes of the Ironheart Crown event this weekend.
      Tickets for the show start at $25 and can be purchased by calling Curran Martial Arts at 815 356-0454. Doors open at 6 p.m. with the first bout starting at 7:30 p.m.
      For more information, including directions, checkout the XFO website at http://www.x-fighting.tv/.

The lineup:

XFO Lightweight title
Bart Palaszewski vs. Virgil Strzelecki

Feature bouts
Naoyuki Kotani vs. Phil Johns
Hiroki Kotani vs. Alex Gasson
Terry Martin vs. Chael Sonnen

Women’s bout
Alisa Cantwell vs. Ryanne Dee

Main Card
Tyrell Roberts vs. Charles Trice
Jason Guida vs. Mark Wallen
Jay Estrada vs. Sonny Leong
Gabe Lemley vs. Dave Budney
Clay Guida vs. Vito Woods

From the event’s promoter:

Williams Ready To Rock Saturday

2003 K-1 USA champion, Carter Williams (36-9), will return to mixed martial arts rules competition when he faces fellow American Tom "Green Beret" Howard (0-2) during "Rumble on the Rock 6" this Saturday, November 20th at Honolulu, Hawaii’s Blaisdell Arena.

A three-time mixed martial arts contestant, Williams picked up his last victory in the genre of combat sports that permits warfare on the ground as well as in the stand-up position on February 9th of last year. During the opening round of a matchup staged at California’s Colusa Casino, he pounded out Dan Quinn with an onslaught of strikes. On July 12, 2002, Williams secured a win over contender Gary Marshall by way of armbar.

Last May, the 24-year-old Californian, who has gained widespread recognition for his uncommon mix of knockout power and foot speed, shot to stardom by claiming wins over three consecutive opponents as an 18 to 1 underdog during the annual, spring K-1 USA tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. After earning a judges’ decision victory over defending tournament champion, Michael McDonald, Williams went on to score knockouts over Yusuke Fujimoto and six-time world kickboxing champion, Rick "The Jet" Roufus, respectively.

Williams continued to prey on the ranks of martial arts fighting’s heavyweights only a month and a half after his victory in Sin City when he defeated three more opponents, including 2000 K-1 USA runner-up, Thomasz Kucharzewski, to take hold of an International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) single-elimination tournament championship in Villa Park, Illinois.

The return to the squared circle by one of K-1’s brightest young forces will be followed by the long-awaited showdown between former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight crownholder, B.J. Penn (8-1-1), and undefeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, Rodrigo Gracie (5-0). In other Rumble on the Rock 6 action, Royler Gracie (3-2-1), will face Kazuyuki Miyata (7-1-4) while UFC heavyweight veterans Wesley "Cabbage" Correira (13-6) and 6 foot 9 inch Wes "The Project" Sims (5-5) will attempt to reignite their careers during their respective bouts.

Tickets for Saturday, November 20th’s Rumble on the Rock 6 event are priced at $30, $60, $65, $100, $150, and $200, respectively, and can be purchased online at www.ticketmaster.com as well as at all Ticketmaster locations.

posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm
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