Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Caged Combat coming to Atlantic City

A MMA doubleheader is coming to the Trump Marina in Atlantic City on June 5 and 6. The event combines two respected MMA promotions, spawning a new name in East Coast entertainment -- Caged Combat.

Caged Combat is the brainchild of veteran promoter Monte Cox and World Cagefighting Alliance promoter Derek Panza.

"This will be fun," Cox said. "You take what I've done over the past dozen years -- nearly 600 shows -- and combine it with what Derek's been able to successfully do in a short time out East and I think we've created something special for the hardcore and mainstream fans."

Cox will use his Extreme Challenge brand in the co-promotion with the WCA.

"I am excited by all the possibilities WCA and Extreme Challenge bring to the MMA community. I believe by joining forces with Monte we are going to consistently produce the best MMA events in the Northeast," Panza said.

The MMA twin bill will have a card full of top East Coast names, including the woman's No. 1 fighter in Tara LaRosa.

Cox's has been a heavy-hitter in the sport for years. As a manager he has a long list of UFC champions, a stable of fighters competing at the highest levels all over the globe and as a promoter he has been on the forefront of the sport since 1996.

His Extreme Challenge promotion has started the careers of more UFC champions than any other -- a list that includes Pat Miletich, Jens Pulver, Matt Hughes, Tim Sylvia, Sean Sherk, Dave Menne and Rich Franklin. Also fighting for Extreme Challenge have been Jeremy Horn, Robbie Lawler and Spencer Fisher.

Panza's WCA has made quite a splash as well, with two events loaded with well-matched cards.

"Matchmaker Gary Marino has a lot of talent to work with," Panza said. "Gary has a reputation for matching the best fights in region, including our last WCA show where an undefeated Paul Bradley narrowly escaped Nathan Coy. Now we add Monte's pool of talent to our team and, well, June 5-6 should be action-packed."

The Friday night card will be headlined by LaRosa, a mainstay on Cox's cards in Atlantic City.

"I think it's important that the fans out there know what they've got in Tara. I mean, here's the world's best fighter. How often do you have that in your own back yard?" Cox said.

Friday's other top bout will pit two up-and-comers in Detroit's Dom O'Grady (8-1) vs. Tom Gallicchio (10-4) of New Jersey's Rhino Fight Team.

Also on the first night of the twin bill event will be Lester Caslow vs. Munil Adriano, Kevin Roddy vs. Marcos Rodrigues and Mervin Rodriguez vs. Vincent Vellucci.

On Saturday, the main event will highlight Douglas Gordon vs. Justin Haskins. Other fights of note include Zack Davis vs. Greg Soto and Jeff Lentz vs. Steve De Angelis. Also scheduled to compete are Zach Makovsky, Samuel Oropeza, Tuan Pham and Greg Killian.

"We tried to take the group of fights and divide them evenly," Cox said. "We have good main events and solid fights on both nights, so fans can either go to both or pick the one they like the most."

Tickets for the event are on sale now and can be purchased at the Marina box office or through Ticketmaster. Both shows begin at 9 p.m. with doors opening at 8 p.m.

"We've been successful with doubleheader shows in the Midwest, so I thought why not try it here on the East Coast," Cox said. "When you have a smaller venue, it's great for the spectators ... but it's hard to put too many fights on the card. This way, it's still great for the fans, but we can also get more than 20 fights, which keeps the fighters active."

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