Julio Arce defends, Outlaw, Dvalishvili win titles, Sabatini dominant at ROC 58
Photos and article by ‘Beautiful’ Bob Meloni
Louis Neglia’s Ring of Combat 58 was held February 24 at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In the main event, Julio Arce made a strong statement that he should be joining a few of his teammates in the UFC.
Round one was a close one as former champion and challenger Frankie Buenafuente had a couple of takedowns but Arce stood up very quickly and didn’t sustain much damage. Arce is so slick and controlled on his feet. His style is very sly. In round two, the defending champ hurt Buenafuente with a knee, was able to take the back and work for the RNC and get his hand raised. After the fight, Frankie told me that he did get rocked by the knee and felt like it was the key moment that led to his defeat.
Arce is now 11-2 and has shown tremendous strides in his wrestling and ability to keep the fight where he wants it and use his lethal striking game. Tiger Schulman MMA is really doing a great job of helping their fighters improve their games and they continued the winning last night.
Merab Dvalishvili is a monster at 135. His striking improves every fight, but his grappling has been unstoppable thus far. He dominated against a very tough Sukhrob Aydarbekov and finished with a nice transition to an arm bar to win the 135 lb belt at 4:14 in round two. The Serra-Longo trained fighter is a legitimate prospect.
Sidney Outlaw won the 170 lb title and gave Taj Abdul-Hakim his first loss. Outlaw was able to execute extremely well with his game-plan and took Abdul-Hakim down, thoroughly out-wrestled him and won his first championship.
Patrick Sabatini (145) may have been the most impressive fighter of the night. He took on 4-1 Michael Lawrence and was in control from the opening bell. I had round 1 as a 10-8 round as Sabatini was on top of Lawrence for the majority of the round and landed numerous strikes and several close submission attempts. In round two, the dominance continued and Pat was able to lock in the RNC at 2:49. If Arce does not get his UFC contract, Sabatini would be a very worthy opponent as he moves to 6-1. That’s a fight I would love to see.
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Other Ring of Combat 58 results:
155 lbs. – Nick Fiore wins by UD over Travis Foster
170 lbs. – Wendell Sneed wins by UD over Hugh McKenna
155 lbs. – Jerome Mickle wins by majority decision over Sambet Naimanbayev
135 lbs. – Phil Caracappa wins by UD over Tommy Espinosa
140 lbs. – Brandon Urquijo wins by UD over Dom Biondo
145 lbs. – James Gonzalez wins by triangle choke 3:12 of round 2
175 lbs. – Willie Hosch wins by UD over Mike Elshamy
Commentator for Art of War Cagefighting. More than 15 years experience in the PA/NJ regional MMA circuit. Commentator/post fight interviews. Television/media/event production. USKA Fight Sports media and production.
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.