(Ring of Combat Champion Ryan LaFlare)
Ring of Combat 43 took place in Atlantic City on January 25 and once again Long Island had a very strong showing. In fact, both title fights on the card featured champions from
"Strong Island." In the co-main event, 145 pound champ Deividas Taurosevicus looked very sharp in defending his crown against the very tough Frank Carabello. Deividas took Carabello down in the first round, and secured a reverse triangle from which Carabello could not escape. The official result was a submission win via the reverse triangle, but from where I sat, it looked like Deividas was cranking the arm as well. Either way, it was yet another dominant performance by Deividas, who has fought in Bellator and the WEC before making the ROC his home. He runs his own gym, Taurus MMA, on Long Island.
In the main event, Ryan LaFlare, who was 6-0 going into the fight with all six wins coming inside the distance, added to his win streak with a third round armbar submission victory. This was the first time LaFlare saw the third round in a fight, which is understandable since he was coming off a 2 and half year layoff. Ryan dominated the action on the feet and on the ground, but his opponent, Andrew Osbourne, showed great toughness in taking Ryan farther into a fight than he's ever been. Osbourne has a great chin, excellent submission defense, and a lot of heart. After the layoff, this was the kind of fight that LaFlare needed to shake off the ring rust. Ryan trains out of Bellmore Kickboxing and Long Island MMA, and he puts the "Strong" in "Strong Island."
Another Long Islander, Robbie Plotkin, made his MMA debut on the card as well. He fights out of the Serra Longo fight team, and showed real promis with a first round submission of the very tough Whitney Francois. Plotkin is a fighter to keep your eye on for sure.
On the main card, two more Long Island fighters, Chris Wade and Andre Harrison, both looked sharp in their victories. Harrison, an excellent wrestler, showed off his punching and kicking power by stopping the fight via strikes in round two. Andre, who improved to 5-0, fights out of Bellmore Kickboxing and Long Island MMA, and has been improving in every fight. Already an excellent grappler, Harrison's stand up is really coming along. He is on the road to an excellent career in MMA. As is Chris Wade, who also fights out of Bellmore Kickboxing and Long Island MMA. Wade took on the popular and ferocious New Jersey fighter Mike Medrano, who trains with the Miller Brothers at AMA Fight Club. Medrano took the fight to Wade, who showed great composure in winning a three round unanimous decision. Like Harrison, Wade is 5-0. He too is a great wrestler, and his stand up just keeps getting better every time out. Both of these guys could be headed to the UFC or Bellator in the future. And they will have earned it.
Before you start asking yourself if the card only featured Long Islanders, I can tell you it did not. Because New Jersey's own Frankie Perez Jr., extended his undefeated win streak to five, with a submission victory over the very tough and experienced Alfred Walker. Frankie, who has finished 4 of 5 opponents, had Walker in all kinds of trouble throughout the fight. Walker's submission defense was excellent but not enough to prevent a head and arm choke in the second round. Frankie, a member of the fighting Perez family, is another fighter on the fast track to stardom. He was this site's Prospect of the Year, and he has a bright future ahead of him. Frankie trains out of the Ricardo Almeida camp, and he can be seen at most MMA events in New Jersey, where he DJs the events. Keep your eye on this kid, he's going places.
Here are the official results from Ring of Combat 43.