By: William Holmes
Ring of Combat XXXVI comes to Atlantic City featuring three preliminary fights, nine main card fights, and three title fights. It was a packed venue at the Tropicana and there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Main event featured UFC veteran Pete “Drago” Sell against Ring of Combat welterweight champion Elijah Harshbarger.
Preliminary Card Quick Results:
145lbs: Tom English (0-1) defeated Alex Bruzzese (0-0) by decision.
145lbs: Jimbo Hoffman (1-0) defeated Mike Benoit (1-1) by rear naked choke in the first round.
155lbs: Frankie Perez (0-0) defeated Andre Shuler (0-0) by rear naked choke in the first round.
Main Card Results:
155lbs: Brian Smiley (2-4) vs. Mike Prokop (2-1)
Fight starts off with Smiley shooting for a takedown and Prokop quickly stuffing it. Prokop quickly locks in a standing guillotine and gets a submission 26 seconds into the first round.
Prokop defeats Smiley by standing guillotine in the first round.
205lbs: David Colabella (1-1) vs. Keith Berish (1-0)
As both fighters enter the cage, Berish is the obviously taller fighter. COlabella presses Berish against the cage with a single leg takedown attempt, and Berish is able to avoid the takedown and land hard shots. Berish drops Colabella with a hard right hand and jumps on top of his fallen opponent to land some hard ground and pound forcing the ref to stop it in the first round.
Berish defeats Colabella by TKO in the first round.
240lbs: J.A. Dudley (3-6) vs. Eddie “Truck” Gordon (0-0)
Dudley starts the fight charging in on Gordon, who applies a bodylock and slams Dudley to the mat winding up in side control. Gordon transitions from side control to north/south position, then takes Dudley’s back with double hooks locked in. Gordon threatens with a rear naked choke but Dudley is able to reverse position and land on top. He does nothing with the advantageous position and the referee stands the fighters back up. Dudley lands a takedown but Gordon is able to pop back up. First round ends with both fighters swinging on their feet. 10-9 Gordon due to rear naked choke attempt.
Second round starts with Gordon landing two hard right crosses that hurt Dudley. Follows up with a takedown and ends up in half guard top position. He eventually gets full mount, and lands some ground and pount. Near the end of the round Dudley reverses position and lands some heavy body shots. Close round to score but 10-9 Gordon.
In the beginning of the third round Dudley is visibly tired. Hard right hook followed by a takedown by Gordon. Gordon has side control against the cage and lands knees to the body. Referee stands both the fighters up, and Gordon lands a hard uppercut and shoots in on a double leg. Gordon eventually gets back control and finishes the fight strong with strikes. 10-9 Gordon.
Eddie Gordon wins the fight by decision.
145lbs: James Jenkins (2-0) vs. James McLean (6-3)
Jenkins starts the fight off with a bodylock on McLean against the cage. Jenkins lands in side control. Both fighters get back to their feet and McLean lands two hard strikes. McLean with a takedown but does not do much with it. McLean takes the round 10-9.
Second round starts with two strikes by McLean. Jenkins gets a takedown and lands on top, and eventually able to transition to back control. Jenkins threatens, but McLean is able to get back to his feet. Jenkins lands some combinations standing up and gets another takedown. Jenkins transitions from full guard, to half guard, then back to full guard. Jenkins finishes the round landing some hard left hand strikes on top position. Jenkins should win this round 10-9.
Jenkins begins the final round by landing a 1-2 combination to the head of McLean and lands a quick takedown. While on top Jenkins lands some strikes, and McLean is able to scramble into a single leg attempt. McLean picks up Jenkins in a fireman’s carry attempt and performs a professional wrestling Samoan drop that gets the crowd on it’s feet. Jenkins reverses and is able to finish the round on top position landing strikes. Jenkins wins this round 10-9.
James Jenkins wins by decision.
190lbs: Brandon Saling (3-0) vs. Casey Manrique (3-1)
Manrique hits Saling with a hard overhand right in the very beginning, and Saling answers with a hard right and Manrique is able to pull guard. Saling is on top landing short shots. Referee stands the fighters up, and Manrique lands cleaner shots on Saling. Manrique clinches a muy thai plum and lands some knees to the body. Manrique gets side control and lands knees to the body. 10-9 Manrique.
Second round starts off with Manrique landing a hard left hand, but Saling is able to take the fight to the ground and threaten Manrique by taking his back. Manrique reverses, takes the back of Saling and sink in double hooks, and gets the rear naked choke tape.
Manrique by rear naked choke in the second round
170lbs: Erik Oganov (10-10) vs. Whitney Jean Francois (1-0)
Whitney Jean Francois comes in like a bat out of hell and lands some hard shots on Oganov early in the first round. Oganov bruises up quickly, and is taken down. Oganov however is able to pull off an armbar and get the first round tap.
Oganov by armbar submission in the first round.
130lbs: Marissa Caldwell (1-1) vs. Munah Holland (2-1)
Holland looks shredded at 130lbs. Caldwell starts the fight off with a two punch combination, and Holland answers by pressing Caldwell against the cage. Holland is on top landing some hard shots. Holland is pretty much landing at will on Caldwell on the top position. Holland finishes the round with a hard uppercut and slam. Holland dominated with a 10-8 decision.
Second round starts off with Holland rocking Caldwell’s head back with some beautiful combinations. She mercifully finishes Caldwell with a nice multi punch combination in the second round. This fight got the crowd extremely excited.
Holland wins by 2nd round TKO.
205lbs: Rob Wince (20-15) vs. Ryan Contaldi (6-3-1)
Wince starts the first round by throwing a few lazy jabs, and Contaldi answers with a hard left followed by a high kick. Contaldi lands an uppercut that hurts Wince and attempts a takedown which takes some time to finish. Contaldi finishes the first round on top landing short elbows and body shots. 10-9 Contaldi.
Second starts with Contaldi landing a counter let hook while Wince is coming in, followed by an eight punch combination. Wince shoots in on a single leg, but eats a few hammer fists and is not able to finish the takedown. Front kick lands by Wince followed by some hard knees. Contaldi take the fight to the ground and lands some hard shots, and transitions to back control. Wince has a cut below his right eye. 10-9 Contaldi.
Third round starts with Wince landing some nice uppercuts. Contaldi gets a takedown and transitions to side control landing some ground and pound. Referee stands the fighters back up and Wince’s cut is streaming down his face. Hard kick to the leg by Wince. Could score it 10-9 for Wince, however Contaldi wins the fight.
155lbs: Gabriel Migliosi (2-1) vs. Al Iaquinta (3-0-1)
It is obvious at the start of this fight that Iaquinta has a large following. Iaquinta starts off with a high kick attempt, and hard left hooks. Iaquinta is showing good head movement in the beginning of this round. Fighters are exchanging ferociously and Migliosi has a cut on the back of his head. Iaquinta was getting the better of the exchanges until Migliosi lands a hard elbow and drops Iaquinta. Iaquinta is eating strikes on the ground but is able to survive. Both fighters are now bleeding and Migliosi lands a hard right following by a jumping knee. Great first round, 10-9 for Migliosi due to knockdown.
Second round starts off at a fury, with Iaquinta landing a two punch combination. Both fighters are exchanging combinations, and Migliosi lands a beautiful back elbow. Both of these fighters are exchanging blows, and it is very difficult to keep up with the action. Migliosi appears to be getting tired and Iaqunita is landing the cleaner shots, and Iaquinta takes advantage of Migliosi being tired by landing a perfectly timed takedown. Towards the end of the round Migliosi reverses to land on top position. Great second round, scored it 10-9 for Iaquinta.
Third round starts and both fighters are just dripping sweat. Iaquinta lands a takedown and immediately throws some ground and pound. He transitions to back control but Migliosi is too slippery to hold and both fighters get back to their feet. Iaquinta answers by immediately slamming Migliosi to the ground. Migliosi lands two hard knees and gets his own takedown, but Iaquinta pops right back up. Iaquinta finishes the fight with a takedown to back control landing shots. 10-9 Iaquinta.
Al Iaquinta defeats Gabriel Migliosi by split decision victory.
135lbs: Tito Jones (7-4) vs. Sean Santella (7-2-1)
This fight is for the Ring of Combat East Coast Bantamweight championship. Santella starts off the fight but shooting in for a takedown, picking up Jones, carrying him across the ring and slamming him, but Tito pops right back up. Fight is pressed against the cage with Tito landing some decent shots on Santella. A groin shot by Tito stops the fight temporarily. Santella throws a high kick but misses. Neither fighter is landing much, but Santella lands a hard takedown and attempts another. 10-9 Santella
Second round starts off with Santella getting a takedown. Santella however is leaking blood. Tito transitions from bottom position and Santella gets a front headlock, and then gets side control. Shot knees by Santella on bottom. Tito executes a sweep reversal and both fighters stand back up. Tito lands one hard left hand and gets off a few combinations, but nothing else. Santella wins 10-9.
Third round starts off with Tito landing a jab, and both fighters trade leg kicks. Side kick to the body by Tito, and Santella answers with a nice chamber kick. Tito is landing more often than Santella, one shot at a time, and stuffs Santella’s takedown attempts. I scored it 10-9 Tito, but not enough to win the fight.
Santella wins by decision
135lbs: Aljamain Sterling (2-0) vs. Claudio Ledesma (4-1)
This fight is for the Ring of Combat national championship at Bantamweight. Fight starts off with both of them trying to find range, and Ledesma lands two leg kicks. Ledesma shoots but Sterling stuffs the takedown. Sterling grabs the ankle of Ledesma and takes LEdesma down. Body triangle by Sterling is locked in, and transitions to full mount and back to back control. 10-9 round Sterling.
Ledesma starts off the second round by landing two leg kicks, and takes the fight to the ground with Ledesma on top. Sterling reverses into full guard, and lands some hammer fists. Both fighters get back to their feet but Ledesma gets another takedown and lands some hard kidney shots. Back to their feet and another takedown by Ledesma landing in a weird scissors position. 10-9 round Ledesma.
Third round starts off with LEdesma shooting in and eating a knee. Sterling shoots, and pulls himdown against the cage. ELdesma reverses on top and pulls a guillotine momentarily. Sterling is on top and lands some shots. Ledesma gets back up to his feet but Sterling takes him back down. Ledesma attempts a triangle but it is too little too late. 10-9 Sterling.
Sterling wins the title by split decision.
170lbs: Pete “Drago” Sell (8-5) vs. Elijah Harshbarger (6-2)
The main event of the night is a welterweight title bout between UFC veteran Pete Sell and current ROC champion Elijah Harshbarger. First round starts off with a bidy kick by Harshbarger, with a right elbow to a takedown combination. Harshbarger gets in a front headlock, and lands some knees to the body. Harshbarger lands a lot of shots on top. Drago is able to get back to his feet, but Harshbarger maintains the body lock and lands a face first slam. Harshbarger shows some very good jiu-jitsu in maintaining top control, and Drago’s eye is closed. Harshbarger dominates the round, could score it 10-8 for Harshbarger.
Second round starts off with Drago taking Harshbarger down immediately, and transitions from side control to north south position. Drago maintains top position while Harshbarger constantly scrambles, and eventually gets into a crucifix to triangle while on top position and attacks the arm to get an armbar submission. Beautiful submission by Pete Drago Sell to capture the Ring of Combat welterweight championship.
Pete Sell by submission second round.
Three Stars of the Night
Pete Sell : Pete Sell was getting dominated in the first round, but stayed alive and came back in the second round to pull off a beautiful submission victory. Pete Sell showed that he is still an elite fighter, despite some tough losses in the UFC.
Gabriel Migliosi and Al Iaquinta: This was by far the best fight of the night, and should be a fight of the year candidate. Both fighters went back and forth in non stop action that was very difficult to keep up with if you were a reporter. Migliosi should have no shame in losing this fight, as he still opened up some eyes with good technique. Iaqunita got stung a few times during the fight, but was able to maintain his composure and pull out a victory. Both fighters get a star of the night.
Munah Holland: Holland proved a fight is a fight, whether it is a woman fighting or a man, and that women fighting can get the crowd just as excited. She dominated her opponent, and received a loud ovation at the end of her fight.