The New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame is extremely proud to announce the inaugural class of inductees to the New Jersey Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

This class will be honored at the Induction dinner gala to be held at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Meadowlands on December 7, 2012.

Tickets to the awards dinner can be purchased by calling 201-538-4843 or online at www. njmmaawards.com.

Discount hotel room rates at the Crowne Plaza can be also obtained by calling 877-227-6963 and mentioning the Hall of Fame dinner.

New Jersey has always been on the forefront of combat sports, and some of the biggest bouts in MMA, kickboxing and muay Thai history have taken place at various venues around the state.

We are very proud to announce the formation of the New Jersey State Martial Arts Hall of Fame. New Jersey has had a boxing hall of fame since the 1960′s and, in a similar sense, we hope to recognize and honor those involved in combat martial arts such as MMA and Muay Thai. New Jersey is building a rich tradition in non-boxing martial arts and our goal is to recognize these individuals and entities.

Our goal is to honor those involved with New Jersey martial arts and to celebrate with them, at an evening with family and friends. Our focus is on those directly involved in New Jersey martial arts.

This truly is a historical moment in our State’s combat sports history as our intent is to have the New Jersey State Martial Arts Hall of Fame continue for many years and serve as a record for those outstanding individuals involved in martial arts in our State.

We hope you will join us on December 7, 2012. Mark your calendars now and purchase your tickets early so you can be sure to be a part of New Jersey martial arts history. Call 201-538-4843 or visit www.njmmaawards.comand get your ticket and join us in a historic night for New Jersey and for martial arts.

It is certain to be a terrific night with friends, fun, and music.

Here is the list of winners:

Dana White may have been disappointed with the main event at the UFC on FX 4 show in Atlantic City last week, but he gave a glowing review of the NJSACB, the organization that oversees MMA in the state of New Jersey.  In a video interview, White said:

"I love this commission here.  I think it's the best commission in the country."

Although the UFC holds most of their shows in Las Vegas, Dana has been very critical of the NSAC's handling of fights.  Among other complaints, he feels that Las Vegas referees let fighters "lay and pray" and are not quick enough in standing them back up, something that is not an issue when the fights take place in New Jersey.  Speaking of the NJ referees at this most recent event, Dana said, "they stood guys up when they needed to be."

It's great to see the NJSACB get respect from the president of the UFC.  I've been touting Nick Lembo and company for years on this website, because as a NJ MMA ring announcer--and NJ Martial Arts Hall of Famer--I get to see first hand how exceptionally they oversee MMA in the state.  From the reffing to the judging, to all the behind the scenes aspects of the sport, the NJSACB is clearly the best commission in the country.

It's no wonder that MMA is thriving in the state.  Last year the NJSACB host 34 Mixed Martial Arts events, which consisted of 199 professional matches and 151 amateur matches.  Under Lembo's leadership, the NJSACB has helped grow the sport not only in New Jersey, but in the rest of the United States as well.  New Jersey was the first state to sanction MMA, and they've been leading the way ever since.  Kudos to them and to Dana White for showing them the respect they deserve.

Here's the video interview:

 

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UCC

Universal Combat Championship returns with UCC 5 on Thursday, June 28, at the Teaneck Armory located at 1799 Teaneck Road, in Teaneck, New Jersey.

UCC's last event, UCC 45, took place back in April of 2011, and fans have been inundating promoter Chris Sblendorio with requests for another show.   UCC 4 was a standing room only affair, and treated fans to some of the finest professional MMA available on the East Coast.

Sblendorio has been busy running live music events, which was the cause for the delay in bringing back MMA, but he knew the time was right for a return.

"After hearing from a lot of people, we felt that it's time to get refocused on the UCC and start bringing it back," he explained.

And it's back with a vengeance.  Like the first four UCC events, this card is stacked with top MMA talent.

"We have Kenny Foster and Rene Nazare from Bellator," Chris said.  "They're both Bellator semi-finalists at 145 and 155.  We're very excited to have both of them fighting on this show.  And their opponents are pretty tough too.   Kenny is fighting Maratbek Kalabekov, from Greg Jackson's camp.   He's 14-2 in Russia, I believe, and this is his first fight in the U.S.  We also have Mike Stewart from the Ultimate Fighter."

In addition, there is a lot of local talent on the card that is sure to bring in the fans, as advanced tickets show.  Not only that, there are a few musical surprises in store for fans, which is also creating a buzz.

"Ticket sales are going great," Chris said.  "In addition to booking a fight card, I also booked DJ Yonny and  David S. from 92.3 Now.   They'll both be DJing at the event.   That's actually helped out ticket sales a lot because the event gets promoted on 92.3."

Sblendorio's idea to combine music and MMA is a unique and successful formula.  He tends to think outside the box, or in this case, the cage.  Even his choice of date is unique.  Most promoters limit their events to Fridays or Saturdays, but Chris picked a Thursday date for this show.

"I have a very different business model than other promoters," he explained. "I'm totally comfortable with doing a fight on a Thursday.   I've actually kicked the idea around before.  With the mix that we have set up, it's a great situation.   Obviously, the key MMA demographic is 18-35 male and female.  If you ask most nightclubs or even bars for that matter, they do better on Thursday nights than they do on Fridays or Saturdays. "

The Teaneck Armory venue is also an interesting choice, one that offers New York fans an easy commute.

"This is a new location for us," Chris said. "It's easy to get to from New York.  It's right along two major highways, 80 and 4, and on top of that there's a ton of parking at the venue."

With his new focus on the UCC, Sblendorio sees big things for the promotion's future, including an expansion overseas.

"Part of the reason I put the event on a Thursday is that we're actually working towards something long term like a television deal possibly," he said.  "I'd like to get to television within the next year with our format.  The format we're going to start using is going to include music and fighting, whether it be DJ's or live performance rock bands or something along those lines.  We're also very close to coordinating a deal in Germany.  We're looking at doing a possible fight in Germany in November.   That's kind of what our plans are for the future, just keep expanding.  We're looking at doing a show in Philadelphia probably in the late fall, and we're looking at a couple of European dates as well."

Spendorio's unique approach to MMA and his stacked cards are sure to keep MMA fans happy all over the world.  For ticket information and the complete card, visit UCCFights.com.   Doors open at 7:30PM at the Teaneck Armory, June 28, 2012.

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Nick Catone is back after an achilles tendon injury, and he fights on June 22 on the UFC on Fuel 4 card, which takes place in Nick's home state of New Jersey.  His last fight was a victory over Costa Philippou, back in March of 2011, and he's been chomping at the bit to get back inside the Octagon ever since.

I saw Nick the other day at the Ring of Combat show, and I talked to him about his upcoming fight with Chris Camozzi.  It's a tough fight, but Nick is 100 percent healthy, so expect to see fireworks.  A healthy Nick Catone is going to be a very tough fight for any UFC MW, and I look forward to seeing Nick working over his opponents in the cage.

In addition to being a UFC contender, Nick runs his own MMA school in NJ, and he trains a large group of up and coming fighters.  He's at just about every show in NJ, cornering his fighters, and is truly one of the good guys of the sport. 

Here's the video interview:

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Asylum

Asylum Fight League's tagline is "These fights are insane" and for some crazy reason each and every show lives up to that billing.  Last Saturday night's Asylum Fight League 38 event was no exception as all 10 fights had the crown out of its mind with excitement. The evening was topped off by a great main event that crowned a new Asylum 154 pound champion.

The Asylum shows take place at the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel.  This venue is really nice, and the acoustics are outstanding.  It's one of my favorite places to ring announce because my booming voice can be heard clearly in all corners of the place.  Plus, it's just a beautiful site to hold fights.

Perhaps that's why the fighters dig so deep in their fights, and leave everything in the cage.  Promoter Carl Mascarenhas always puts on competitive fights and is an excellent matchmaker.  Saturday's card had it all, with knockouts, subs and close decisions ruling the day.

In the main event, Mike Reilly out of Devideius Taurousvicous's camp, blew out very tough Julio Gaspar to win the crown.  Mike's performance was, well, insane, and the crowd was on its feet from the opening bell.  Reilly is definitely a guy to keep your eye on, and I can't wait until he defends his belt. I'm already looking forward to the next Asylum.

If you missed the show live, check out the replays on MSXN.tv.

Here are the official results from all the fights.

Lou Neglia's Ring of Combat is known for being the final stepping stone for fighters on their way to the UFC. Nearly 80 ROC fighters have gone on to fight in the big leagues, in organizations such as the UFC, Strikeforce and Bellator.  Last Friday night, everyone on the card fought as if UFC matchmaker Joe Silva was watching ringside.

In the prelims, my teammate Ben Syers stepped up big after both his and Frankie Perez's opponents dropped out.  Ben was scheduled to fight Marvin Eastman's son, but a knee injury forced Eastman to withdraw, leaving Ben without an opponent.  That fight was to be contested at 145 pounds.  In the 155 pound division, Frankie Perez's fight also fell apart when his opponent dropped out.  Lou Neglia then suggested that Ben and Frankie fight, and both fighters agreed.  Frankie came in with a big size advantage, but Ben is a warrior and he wanted to make his pro debut at any weight--he wouldn't have refused a heavyweight opponent.

Frankie, who was my 2011 prospect of the year, showed why he is so highly touted in stopping Ben in the second round due to strikes.  Ben showed his great heart and determination in the fight, but Frankie was just too much for him.  Although he was disappointed with the loss, Ben made a lot of fans by stepping up and taking the fight, and he is already looking for his next fight.

The main card was filled with great fights, which is the hallmark of the Ring of Combat.  In the night's most exciting fight, heavyweights Liam McGeary and Walter Howard went toe to toe in a slugfest that had the crowd on its feet.  In the first round, Howard caught McGeary with a punch that planked the giant British fighter, but only for a second.  Right after he hit the canvas, McGeary popped back up and the action continued, with both men landing brutal leg kicks and headshots.  In the second round, McGeary quickly took control and landed bombs on Howard, getting the stoppage at 41 seconds in.

Long Island prospects Andre Harrison and Chris Wade both looked impressive in the victories.  Wade fought the very tough Villi Bello, a Muay Thai fighter whose ground game is improving in leaps and bounds under the tutelage of Carmine Zocchi.  Villi gave Wade a tough fight, but Chris's relentless takedowns and grappling ability won the day.   In Andre Harrison's fight, Harrison showed a great chin--William Metts tagged him with a good shot, but Andre shook it off and did his thing, stopping Metts in the first round.  Both Wade and Harrison are guys to keep your eye on.  They train at two great camps on Long Island, Bellmore Kickboxing and Long Island MMA.  I expect both of them to fight for ROC titles in the future.

Another great main card bout was Lester Caslow vs. Brian VanHoven.  Lester is one of the sports colorful characters (as his blue hair in the fight can attest to) and he and VanHoven warred for two and half round before Lester sunk in a gullotine for the victory.  At the time Lester C.A. Slow was on his back and it seemed as though he wanted the ref to stand the fight up.  Good thing the ref didn't because it was right after that Lester sunk in the choke.  Always a party when Lester Caslow fights.

This Ring of Combat featured four title fights.  The first featured Ed "Truck" Gordon, a Serra-Longo fighter, against Tiger Schulmann's Carlos Brooks. It was a classic striker vs. grappler match, and although Brooks had his moments during the stand up, it was Truck's takedowns and ground game that won him the fight and the ROC LHW title.

Next up was Jimmie Rivera vs. Justin Hickey.  Rivera had previously fought Dennis Bermudez on the UFC's TUF show and was defeated, but he came back strong against Hickey, dominating the stand up exchanges and working Hickey over on the ground.  Justin showed great heart by being able to survive the onslaughts of Rivera, who cruised to a dominant decision victory.

In the 145 pound division, the night's most shocking fight took place.  Highly regarded and undefeated James Jenkins, another Serra-Longo fighter, was expected to continue his unbeaten streak against Guillermo Sarment.  But Sarmnet was having none of it, and he landed a big shot on Jenkins very early in the fight that hurt him badly.  Before Jenkins was able to fully recover from the blow--which would have knocked out most fighters--Sarment pounced on Jenkins and caught him in a gullotine for the submission victory.  It was an incredible performance by Sarment, and he is now the Ring of Combat 145 pound champion.  As for James Jenkins, he's a young fighter and a very gifted one, and I believe he'll be back stronger than ever.  I feel that Jenkins is championship material and that he'll own the ROC strap one day in the near future.

The night's final fight was for the vacant ROC MW crown.  It featured Uriah Hall, a Tiger Schulmann fighter, against Nodar Kudukhashvili, from the Republic of Georgia.  Georgians are some of the world's best wrestlers and Nodar had his moments on the ground, but it was Hall's stand up skills that was the difference in the fight.  Hall once again wears the ROC strap, and it was well earned.  I believe that Hall could be the next ROC of fighter to get the call into the UFC.

Overall, another great ROC card.  If you missed the action live, check out the replays on GoFightLive.  Here are the official results from all of the bouts:

Asylum Fight League 38 is just days away!  Have you gotten your tickets?  If not, you'd better hurry.  Last show was a sellout, and delivered one of the best MMA fight cards of the year.  This Saturday, June 16 at the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Asylum returns.  As always, I'll be in the cage hosting the show, as the East Coast's top amateur fighters punch, kick and grapple their way to victory.  Do not miss this show!  Check out the Asylum Fight League website for ticket info.  See you at the Nugget!
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Ring of Combat XLI takes place this Friday, June 15 at the Tropicana Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  The XLI part is quite fitting, seeing how well LI is represented on this card.  The ROC is run by promoter Lou  Neglia, who resides on Long Island, and the card is stacked with local talent.

Fighting Friday are Ed "Truck" Gordon, James Jenkins, Andre Harrison, Chris Wade, and my teammate at Team Renegade, Ben Syers, who is making his pro debut against Marvin Eastman III.

With Tom DeBlass vacating his ROC HW and LHW titles, this card has major title implications, and it will be another great one, so come on down and check out some fantastic MMA action.

If you can't make it to the venue, you can check out the show on GoFightLive. I'll be doing the commentating and should have some special guests with me, so be sure to tune in.  See you at the ROC!

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I will never forget Randy Smith's words back in 2008, immediately following a knockout loss.  He told me, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  In the years since, Randy has backed up those words, and his efforts have now earned him a shot at former UFC champion Tim Sylvia.

Smith will be fighting Sylvia on June 16 at New England Fights in Lewiston, Maine.   If Tim thinks he's got an easy fight in front of him, he's got another thing coming.  The Wolf is far better than his record, and he brings a lot of firepower into the cage with him.  I would not be surprised at all if Randy shocks the fight world by beating the former UFC champ.

Randy is coming off a loss to the UFC's Tom DeBlass via heelhook.  But Tim Sylvia is more of a bomber than a submission artist, so this fight is sure to be fireworks for as long as it lasts.  For more info about this card, check out the NEF website.

Good luck, Randy "The Wolf" Smith!

 

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