Armando Gjetja, Sebastian Ruiz win titles, Mark Grey shines – Ring of Combat 80 recap

Photo credits to Angelo Carchesio


Ring of Combat 80 took place last night in their usual comfy home in the Showroom at the Tropicana Casino and Hotel Resort Al Iaquinta, AT McCowin, and myself, were at the commentary table. The card was a fun one capped off with two championship belts given away.

Below are some highlights and full results.

Main Event:  ROC 155 lb championship

Armando Gjetja vs Darius Estell

Armando Gjetja Ring of Combat 80 ROC 80
Armando Gjetja with a filthy kick to the jaw of Darius Estell
Gjetja knocks down Estell with the left hand

Gjetja has been on fire with four consecutive wins and three by knockout.  Estell came in from Michigan Top Team with his 7-4 record trying to spoil the party for the surging Albanian, Gjetja.  From the opening bell, Armando was his typical aggressive self and came out with his wide array of striking techniques.  Throughout the fight, he landed multiple kicks to the body and head.  A few times Estell smiled as to say “you didn’t hurt me” but they were clearly excellent scoring combinations.  Gjetja, a southpaw, also used a nice short elbow several times which slowed down the former Army Special Forces veteran Estell. I thought it was a dominant 3 round victory as did two of the judges scoring it 30-27 for Gjetja, and the dissenting judge scored the fight 29-28 for Estell.  Not sure which fight he was watching.  Nonetheless, the proper fighter was awarded the victory and gold belt.  Gjetja moves to 7-3 and his stock is rising quickly.  One of the most exciting fighters on the regional scene that I have seen recently.

Official score:  Gjetja wins via split decision

Co-Main Event:  ROC 135 lb championship

Sebastian Ruiz (challenger) vs Efren Escareno (champion)

Ruiz wasted little time in this contest.  He moved in with a vicious combination as Escareno was backing up against the cage.  Once Escareno went down, Ruiz continued the attack and the referee had to step in and stop it.

Official score: Ruiz wins via TKO :41 of round 1

Diego Gomez vs Mark Grey 140 lb catchweight

This fight was at 140 lbs due to Gomez taking the opportunity on short notice. Grey was given a couple of replacement fighters to choose from and went with the guy who had the best record, which was Ruiz, who was 7-0 with 5 finishes.  Just hearing that nugget of information immediately made me a fan of Grey.  No easy fights and only wanting the best is his mantra.  Grey (4-0) faced some adversity in the first round as Gomez is a southpaw, and very long and lean.  Gomez did a nice job with his reach advantage and getting back to his feet quickly when Grey did score a takedown.  When round 2 began, Grey wasted no time picking up Gomez and putting him down and keeping him there and scoring.  Grey used his elite wrestling base and controlled the final two rounds comfortably. Gomez would work and work to get to his feet, but  Grey was relentless and kept the non-stop pressure and separated himself from Ruiz as the fight carried on and made it a convincing victory.  Do not be surprised if you see Mark’s name on the upcoming season of The Contender Series.  He’s that good.

Mark Grey ROC 80 Ring of Combat 80
Mark Grey lands his right hand to the temple of Diego Gomez

Taylor Pierce vs John Caldone 145 lbs

This was the fight of the night.  Round one was close until the final 1:30 when Caldone rocked Pierce with some nasty kicks, including one to the dome in the final 10 seconds.  Al Iaquinta thought Pierce was out on his feet, but the round ended near his corner and he was able to get to his bench and get a break.  Pierce showed amazing recovery powers.  In round two, he looked to be the more aggressive fighter and was in control for most of the round.  Round 3 saw Caldone bounce back and handle business.  John kept pushing forward and landing with his jab and more kicks.  A very entertaining fight from two savages.

Taylor Pierce and John Caldone in Fight of the Night

Official score: Caldone wins via unanimous decision 29-28 on all judges cards

Ahmed Khamis vs Billy Markle 140 lbs

This was another non-stop action packed 15 minutes. Back and forth these two kept punishing one another.  Markle fought through catching a big shot to his eye as it started to close.  The fight was so close.  Both men had their moments during this one.  Markle showed a ton of heart and resilience fighting the final two rounds with an obvious lack of vision in one eye.

Ahmed Khamis lands on Billy Markle

Official score: Markle wins via unanimous decision 29-28 on all judges cards

Russ Korbul vs Raymond Ceballos 170 lbs

Korbul bullied his way to his first two wins (2-0).  He gets his hands on you, dictates position and pushes you around.  This was Groundhog Day again.  Ceballos looked great early on as he had Korbul backpedaling.  Korbul weathered that and did what he does best.  The remainder of the fight saw Korbul scoring numerous takedowns.  Once secured, he was using his body weight to make life uncomfortable for Ceballos.  Lots of shoulder pressure and some ground and pound all while having his opponent on lockdown and fighting off of his back for the majority of the fight.  Korbul continues to get better and better.  He may be getting close to a title shot.

Official score: Korbul wins via unanimous decision

David Rice vs David Collins 170 lbs

Rice is a wrestler and it showed as he dominated the fight controlling position and landing some vicious ground and pound. Rice lifted Collins airborne a few times while securing the double leg takedown and just kept doing what he is good at and brought home the win in his pro debut.

Official score: Rice wins via unanimous decision

Ronald Barone vs Elvis Lebron 160 lbs

Barone is making his pro debut.  Lebron is 0-2 but was on the wrong end of two close decisions.  Lebron wasted little time taking control of this fight.  He dominated round one with his striking to level change to the takedown and suffocated his opponent for much of round one.  Round 2 started similarly, but a smooth transition to the back led to the rear naked choke tap-out and Elvis is alive and well and has his first victory.

Official score: Lebron wins via submission (RNC)

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