SALEM, NH- The battle between two mixed martial artists stepping up into the professional ranks for the first time is the new co-main event of Combat Zone 44 at Rockingham Park on Friday night, while the marquee fight remains the highly-anticipated featherweight bout featuring the brilliant Calvin Kattar against undefeated Brazilian Gabriel Baino.
Kattar (13-2-0) is widely perceived to be just one more win away from advancing to the bigger stage and brighter lights of the UFC or Bellator MMA, which are the sport’s two largest promotions in the world. Kattar is riding a five-fight win streak and had notched six KO/TKOs, three submissions, and four decisions including three which were unanimous while dispensing with some extremely tough and accomplished opponents. Baino (5-5-0) won one of his fights by unanimous decision but none of his other adversaries have lasted through the second round.
In the co-main event, John Healey of Wakefield, NH and Team Iron Jaw brings his 4-3-0 record as an amateur into the cage against the 5-1-0 amateur record of Mike Burke from Laconia, NH and Lakes Region Valley Tudo when each begins his pro career in the lightweight ranks.
“I know he likes to guillotine (choke hold) people and throw in some strikes, but my game is different,” said Healey, 22, who decided he wanted to be a mixed martial artist at age 12 after watching Chuck Liddell knock out Tito Ortiz in UFC 47. “I’m a boxer and a kick boxer. I’ve got great hands and a great ground game with my Jui-Jitsu, Muay Thai and wrestling. I’m a complete fighter.”
The main and co-main events will be preceded by seven amateur matches. One of the more intriguing is between Dominic Cofone, whose record is unblemished in three fights, against Kirk Florian (0-1-0), the younger brother of former UFC star and current UFC sportscaster Kenny Florian.
“When I fight people do expect a lot from me because of my last name,” said the 29-year-old Florian, but I’m the youngest of six kids so it’s been that way since I was a little kid. This will be my first fight in New Hampshire and I don’t know all that much about my opponent. He’s undefeated so he’s definitely someone to be taken seriously. But I’ve been training well and I’m ready.”
Doors for Combat Zone open at 6:30 p.m. and the first fight is scheduled for 8 p.m. Tickets, which may be purchased on the websitewww.combatzonemma.com or by calling 603-360-3846, are $40 for general admission, $50, $75, $90 and $120 for ringside seating. Parking is free.
The full card, subject to change, is:
Friday, June 14, 2013
Rockingham Park Salem, NH
Calvin Kattar 13-2 (Wai Kru) vs Gabriel Baino 5-0 (Team Link)
John Healey 0-0 (Team Iron Jaw) vs Mike Burke 0-0 (Lakes Region Valley Tudo)
Paul Gaffney 1-0 (Team Link) vs Gerry Lyndon Wells 0-0 ()
Kristian Lombardi 0-1 (Team Fury) vs Dan Connaughton 0-0 (DefensiveEdge/Best Way)
Tollison Lewis 3-6 (Balanced Ground MMA) vs Wayne Ahlquist 1-5 (Lakes Region Valley Tudo)
Dominic Cofone 3-0 (Balanced Ground MMA) vs Kirk Florian 0-1 Florian Martial Arts Center)
Scott Gorgone 2-0 (Mass BJJ) vs David Sousa 1-1 (IntenZe)
Fernanda Arujo 0-2 (Defensive Edge) vs Kim Russell 0-0 (Balanced Ground)
Jay Perrin 2-1 (Team Triumph) vs Matt Denning 1-1 (CMBJJ)