Active on the Northeast scene as both a fighter and promoter, Dan Bonnell is extremely familiar with what his area has to offer in terms of talent. Read ahead as Five Ounces of Pain‘s newest team-member offers his take on why a few of his regional peers are set to turn heads in 2011 starting as soon as tonight at UFC 125…
Holidays or not, several of the Northeast’s best fighters are sweating it out in local gyms stemming from the south shore in Rockland, Massachusetts to as far north as Bangor, Maine. Most notably, Team Irish owner, “The Irish Hand Grenade” Marcus Davis, makes his lightweight debut tonight at UFC 125 against the heavy-handed Jeremy Stevens. Also featured on the card is Plympton, Massachusetts’ own Josh Grispi out of South Shore sport fighting in Rockland. Grispi fights the very tough Dustin Poirier en route to his long-awaited fight against featherweight champ Jose Aldo, who he had previously been scheduled to fight before Aldo suffered an injury.
Furthermore, Framingham resident Jorge “El Conquistador” Rivera finds himself in “the hunt” in his bout with the brash Michael Bisping when the UFC makes its return on February 27 to the land down under and invade the Acer Arena in Australia. Also set for pending action, new Team Bombsquad member, and heavyweight force in the Northeast, Christian Morecraft battles Sean McCorkle after both fighters suffered a loss to Stefan Struve this year. Morecraft is slated to meet McCorkle on March 26 at a UFC Fight Night event.
Also notable, Rick Hawn, who was named 2010′s Northeast “Fighter of the year” by the Boston Herald, makes his second appearance for Bellator this March when he enters the coveted welterweight tourney featuring some of the world’s best MMA athletes. The Olympic Judoka is currently residing in Dracut, Mass. and training out of Sityodtong, Renzo Gracie NH, and Pedro’s Judo will face Jimmy “Judo” Wallhead in the first round of the tournament. Bellator Fighting Championships has recently announced this fight will be aired on MTV 2. Also representing the northeast and needing no introduction is Hawn’s teammate sharing time in camp at both Sityodtong and Renzo NH, Daniel Gracie has signed with Bellator and will fight in the Light Heavyweight tourney the same night. Lastly, Ithaca, New York’s Kenny Foster, representing the Team Bombsquad earned his right to a spot in the featherweight tournament March 20. Foster earned his birth in the tournament with a win over Lester Caslow of New Jersey at Bellator 33.
Rounding things out, M-1 Global has recently picked up the following fighters and look to add them to their next show tentatively scheduled for late March. Greg Rebello (Sityodtong) of Middleboro, Tom Moreau (Moreau Training Center) Londonderry, New Hampshire, and Andres Jeudi (Sityodtong) Somerville, Mass.. The aforementioned fighters are all looking to commit to one last local fight before making their debut on the big stage.
Clearly, as evident by their presence across the MMA landscape, 2011 is poised to be a big year for fighters calling the Northeast home