From left to right: UFC superstar Frankie Edgar; retired, former UFC champion Matt Serra; Ring of Combat (ROC) promoter Lou Neglia and undefeated, reigning UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. All three UFC icons were discovered while competing for ROC.
Chris Weidman, Frankie Edgar, Matt Serra, and other icons
pay tribute to the “American Idol of MMA”
Ring of Combat 50 airs live on PPV Friday, January 23
Free GFL PPV pre-show begins at 8:30 pm EST
NEW YORK, NY (January 20, 2015) – The statistics don’t lie. With more than 90 UFC athletes bred from his stable over the course of the last 15 years, former world champion and Ring of Combat (ROC) President Lou Neglia has proven, more so than any other Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) promoter, that he has a keen ability to identify future fighting superstars and world champions.
Just days before the live pay-per-view telecast and GoFight Live (www.gfl.tv) stream of Ring of Combat 50, featuring seven championship bouts and four undefeated rising stars, including 2007 NCAA Division I National Wrestling Champion and lightweight (155 pounds) finisher Gregor Gillespie (3-0); bantamweight (135 pounds) phenom and former Golden Gloves boxing champion Julio Arce (6-0) and brutal middleweight (185 pounds) KO artist Oluwale “Holy War Angel” Bamgbose (3-0) on Friday, Jan. 23 at the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., a host of Neglia’s greatest discoveries reflected on their experiences in the promotion that catapulted their careers into the next stratosphere and that has been aptly dubbed the “American Idol of MMA” by MixedMartialArts.com.
Chris Weidman: Undefeated UFC Middleweight Champion and four-time ROC veteran
“Ring of Combat is the best fighting organization in the world at getting fighters ready for the UFC. I had some of the toughest fights of my career there, which gave me the experience of fighting the best, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without Lou Neglia and Ring of Combat.”
Frankie Edgar: Former UFC Lightweight Champion and two-time ROC veteran
“(ROC is) one of the premier organizations, not only across the country, but especially here in New Jersey. It’s been great for east coast fighters to showcase their talents, and a great platform for guys to make a name for themselves and get into the UFC.”
“Lou’s been a great guy and supporter of MMA. Being a former fighter himself, he knows what it takes to get guys to the top, and he’s helped a lot of guys out tremendously.”
Matt Serra: Retired, former UFC Welterweight Champion and four-time VATV (Neglia’s former promotion) veteran:
“Lou Neglia is a stand-up guy and a good friend of mine. Prior to the UFC, I only fought in Lou’s promotions. He always treated me great and has been a real solid guy with my fighters. He has the best up and coming show on the east coast.”
Costas Philippou: UFC middleweight and nine-time ROC veteran
“ROC is very organized. I knew in advance who I was fighting, when I should be in Atlantic City, and they even told me where to do my medicals, so I could do everything in one place.”
On the day he got the call from the UFC: “One day my manager called and offered me a short notice fight for the UFC. When I asked Neglia, he not only released me from my contract, but he was genuinely happy for me, that I was getting a shot at the big show.”
Al Iaquinta: UFC lightweight, The Ultimate Fighter: Live cast member and seven-time ROC veteran
“My overall experience was a great one fighting for Lou and Ring of Combat. I feel that I was brought along and matched fairly in my bouts. I had a few very tough fights, which prepared me for my future in the sport.”
On making it to UFC: “I tried out for The Ultimate Fighter, made it through the tryouts and was asked to be on the show. It was a great opportunity for me…Lou was very happy that I had been asked to be on TUF and was being given the chance to prove that I belonged in the UFC.”
Eddie Gordon: UFC middleweight, The Ultimate Fighter season 19 winner and nine-time ROC veteran
“I loved and still love ROC. It’s the best regional promotion out there and it prepared me for the UFC.”
“My best memory from ROC was winning that light heavyweight belt before walking out to the cage, feeling and feeding off the energy of the crowd. Team Truck always packed the house!”
On making it to the UFC: “While I was with ROC, I had a buzz that the UFC was interested in me mainly because of my great teammates Chris Weidman and Al Iaquinta. They both were doing great. I had to keep winning and training, and then I got the call to be on The Ultimate Fighter, which I won.”
“Lou Neglia is the man. He always believed in me, and said (since) my first amateur fight for ROC that, if I kept working hard and listening to (trainer) Ray Longo, that I would make it to the UFC, and he was right.”
At a suggested retail price of $17.99, the live cable television pay-per-view broadcast and the live GFL.tv online stream of Ring of Combat 50 begins at 9 p.m. EST/6 p.m. PST on Jan. 23.
Additionally, a live, free-of-charge preview show featuring two preliminary card bouts from the event begins exclusively on GFL.tv at 8:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. PST.
The 25-year-old Arce, who hails from Queens, N.Y., will put his title on the line in the co-main event against battle-tested Thomas Vasquez (7-2) of Horn Lake, Miss.,
Gillespie, a four-time All-American wrestler for Edinboro University, will square off with Justin Stewart (0=0) of Greene, N.Y.
Bamgbose of New York, N.Y. will battle Devon “Bam Bam” Morris (1-3) Niles, Mich. for the vacant Ring of Combat national middleweight title. To date, the 27-year-old Bamgbose has conquered all three of his opponents by way of first round TKO.
In the main event, 25-year-old Jeff Lentz (9-4-1) of Mays Landing, N.J. will square off with fellow up-and-coming finisher, 26-year-old George “Lights Out” Sheppard (15-9) of Newport News, Va., for the promotion’s vacant, national lightweight championship.
Lentz has earned 6 of his 9 career victories by way of (T)KO (4) or submission (2), while Sheppard has notched 11 of his 15 career wins to date via (T)KO (9) or submission (2).
Unbeaten Randy “Rude Boy” Brown (2-0) of Queens will lock horns with Mike Winters (7-4) of Cortland, N.Y. for the vacant Ring of Combat national welterweight (170 pounds) strap.
Ring of Combat flyweight (125 pounds) champion, Matt “Razor Sharp” Rizzo (7-2) of Levittown, Penn. will risk his title against Corey Simmons (5-6) Defiance, Ohio.
Phillipe “The Filipino Assassin” Nover (8-5) of Brooklyn, N.Y. will square off against Dan Cion (4-1) of Farmingdale, N.Y. for the Ring of Combat East Coast lightweight title.
Kenny Foster (11-8) of Selden, N.Y. will battle Mike Santiago (12-9) of Wood Dale, Ill. for the Ring of Combat East Coast featherweight (145 pounds) belt.
Doors at the Tropicana Resort & Casino showroom open at 8:00 p.m. EST.