Jimmy Drago, Ring of Combat 84

Jimmy Drago, Ben Coyle shine with dominant finishes at Ring of Combat 84

Ring of Combat 84 went off last night in our normal comfy spot in the Showroom at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino Resort in Atlantic City, NJ. The fight card was packed with lots of entertaining bouts and some beautiful violence.  I was at the commentary table with former UFC stand-out “Raging” Al Iaquinta and Professor Jay Regalbuto as Louis Neglia Jr and Frankie Perez put together another exciting event with a packed house.

Jimmy Drago and his horde of fans blew the roof off the building in the co-main event as he dominated the 4-1 Tyler Stewart at 170 lbs. As Drago sprinted to the cage, the intensity level in the building escalated.  Jimmy’s fan base is one of my favorites as the Local 40 Ironworker garners tons of well-deserved support from so many of his friends, and family.  They give maximum effort just like the guy they are there to see. Being at the cage, you could just feel it.  Drago wasted little time getting his point across as he mixed in elbows, knees, punches and multiple head kicks that found their target frequently.  He softened up the very tough Stewart and then threw him to the canvas and finished with ground and pound violence just 3 minutes and 50 seconds into the very first round.


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Drago moves to 6-2 and is putting himself in position for a possible opportunity on this season of Dana White’s Contender Series. He’s become one of the toughest and most entertaining mixed martial artists in the region.  I’m rooting for him to get that chance, but if not, I will welcome him back to ROC with open arms.  That crew always puts on a show worth the price of admission.

Jimmy Drago, Ring of Combat 84

Ben Coyle, fighting out of Marquez MMA in Philadelphia, is a rare breed at flyweight.  He has more power than anyone I’ve covered at 125 lbs.  I call him the flyweight Bodybagz (Joe Pyfer, also his teammate).  Coyle moved to 4-4 and IMO should be 5-3 except for a bogus DQ on a running, jumping knee that the officials called a downed opponent.  This night his challenge was the 2-0 Devin Nguyen.  Coyle was relentless and continually landed that overhand right that closed the right eye of Nguyen and also compromised his left eye.  This turned into a mauling and Nguyen should get credit as he withstood multiple strikes that would knock most people out.  The referee had no choice except to stop the fight at 3:54 of round 2 as Coyle continued to batter his opponent despite being kicked and kneed in the groin several times leading to two points being deducted from Nguyen.  Now Coyle has 4 straight finishes and is peaking.  It might be hard finding his next opponent after this performance.

In the main event, Angel Alvarez took down the reigning 155 lb ROC champion, John “the Don” Caldone via unanimous decision and will be taking his belt back to Florida with him.

Aaron Kennedy (4-2) faced adversity from the jump as he rushed in for a takedown as the fight started and caught a knee that rocked him and cut him as he was bleeding pretty good just 20 seconds into the fight against “Prince” Ahmed Khamis (2-2). Kennedy was able to persevere through that first round which he clearly lost.  Round 2 was another story as Kennedy mixed in level changes to score a couple take-downs as well as landing some brutal knees of his own.  As we headed into the final round, this one was up for grabs. Kennedy continued the momentum and was able to secure a pillow choke and get the tap at 2:38. Kennedy has now won 4 in a row after starting his pro career with 2 losses.  He’s been very impressive.

John “All Day” O’Dea moved to 3-1, but it wasn’t without trouble.  Ricardo Jiminez used a sneaky left hand to score on some exchanges and also had the back of O’Dea, who had to fight defensively for much of round 2. All Day is another fun fighter to watch and could be moving closer and closer to a title fight in the loaded featherweight division.

“Yo-Rock” Yorrick Anderson is a guy that I have placed a little checkmark next to.  After a clean 5-0 amateur career, he started off his professional journey with a 3rd round TKO (punches) against another debut fighter in Dillon Yarka. The featherweight division is loaded and now has another talented, hardworking, well-schooled member representing Renzo Gracie Academy NY.  Yo-Rock looks like he’s here to stay.

Anderson’s teammate Eliab Evangelista also added a win to move to 2-0 against the very dangerous Cole Cameron.  Evangelista worked for the takedown and land some ground strikes and the referee stepped in to stop this one at 4:30 of round 1 at featherweight.

David Rice was workmanlike and was able to scramble and win much of the exchanges as he and Nichlas Navarro grappled for much of their contest at middleweight.  Rice moves to 2-0 and Navarro falls to 0-2 after the unanimous decision scoring.

Alberto Borgwardt dislocated his kneecap and referee Giovanna Scano did a tremendous job stopping this one before he took damage from Andrew Stock as his leg was visibly damaged just 32 seconds into the fight.  Great work from the ringside physician was able to pop the knee back in, but the damage was done.  Borgwardt was able to walk out on his own, but with a noticeable limp. Stock got his first win and evens his record at 1-1.

Robert Casale moved to 2-1 at lightweight as he looked great and finished Jonathan Alvarez at 2:30 of round 2 with strikes.

Official results:

Main Event: ROC 155 lb Championship 
Angel Alvarez (7-2) wins via UD 30-27 30-27 30-27 over John Caldone (6-3)

Jimmy Drago (6-2) wins via TKO (strikes) 3:50 Round 1 over Tyler Stewart (4-2) – 170 lbs

Aaron Kennedy (4-2) wins via submission (pillow choke) over Ahmed Khamis (2-3)  2:38 Round 3  -140 lbs

Ben Coyle (4-4) wins via TKO (strikes) over Devin Nguyen   3:54 round 2  – 125 lbs

John O’dea (3-1) wins via UD 29-28 29-28 29-28 over Ricardo Jiminez (1-5-1) – 145 lbs

Robert Casale (2-1) wins via TKO (punches) over Jonathan Alvarez (1-2) 2:40 round 2  – 155 lbs

Eliab Evangelista (2-0) wins via TKO (strikes) over Cole Cameron (1-2) – 145 lbs

Andrew Stock (1-1) wins via TKO (doctor stoppage/knee dislocation) over Alberto Bogwardt (1-1) :32 round 1  – 160 lbs

David Rice (2-0) wins via UD 30-27 30-27 30-27 over Nick Navarro (0-2) – 185 lbs

Yorrick Anderson (1-0) wins via TKO (punches) over Dillon Yarka  (0-1) – 145 lbs

Ring of Combat returns to the Tropicana on September 20th and December 6th.  Stay right here at MyMMANews where we do regional MMA like no other.

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'Beautiful' Bob Meloni
More than 15 years experience in the PA/NJ regional MMA circuit. Commentator/post fight interviews/pre-fight show host @ Art of War Cage Fighting and Ring of Combat The story of the fighter is what Bob loves about the sport. From the lowest level, to the highest, he only cares about the two warriors who do battle once the cage doors close. Everything else is secondary. Without their blood, sweat, and tears, he would not be here enjoying every minute.