Dodd Ready for Mid-Term Striking Exam at EFC Gladiators This Saturday
When it comes to wrestling, New Jersey Phys. Ed teacher and mixed martial arts fighterWill “The Thrill” Dodd (1-0) gets an A.
But when Dodd climbs in the cage this Saturday night (November 30), at the Parsippany PAL, in one of the supporting bouts of The Darwish Brothers’ next epic MMA show: EFC GLADIATORS, he will be looking to work on his new-and-improved striking skills… a mid-term exam in stand-up fighting, so to speak.
Tickets for EFC GLADIATORS are priced at: $45, $65, and $125 Cageside and are on sale now at the EFC website: efcmma.com.
“I’ve been really working on striking and I feel even more prepared than I did for my first fight,” said Dodd. “It’s coming along nicely, so I feel confident about that. I want to see where my stand up is. I feel really good because of all the work I put in.”
A longtime wrestler and a wrestling coach, 26-year-old Dodd and a partner started a wrestling class at the EFC gym last March. The idea to try mixed martial arts came from the persistence of EFC head and event co-promoter Hani Darwish.
“I was teaching wrestling classes for kids, and that was pretty much my only job at the EFC. As time went on, Hani talked to me and asked if I was interested in training MMA and seeing how it goes. I’ve always been interested in fighting and boxing and things like that, so I said ‘Definitely.’ As time went on and training was going well, he said he was able to get me a fight in August. I didn’t hesitate and took the fight. I just kind of hit the ground running with it. I won my debut by arm triangle in round one. ”
Dodd says it’s not common knowledge he’s a fighter at the middle school in Plainfield, New Jersey, where he’s taught gym for the past three years, but those who do know have been very supportive.
“It’s not a widely known thing at work. Some of the kids I teach know. They get a kick out of it. I was trying to get kids into signing up for wrestling for the school, so I printed out some pics of UFC fighters who wrestled in high school and college and put myself in with some of the other fighters. They said, ‘wait a minute, that’s you!’ A few of them wished me good luck on my fight coming up.”
“Will has come along quickly because of his hard work,” said Hani Darwish. “He really is a sponge when it comes to new techniques and skills. He has a very strong wrestling background to begin with and now he’s rounding out his skills very well.”
Dodd says he didn’t expect his life to take this path, but now that he’s tried it, he’s in for the long haul.
“When I first started I thought I’d have one fight and try it, just to say I did it. But, the feeling I got when I won was something that can’t be replaced. I fell in love with it. Now, I want to take it as far as I can. Obviously I’ll go step by step, but once I feel I’m ready, I would be interested in turning professional and having a career.”
But for now, he continues to study and prepare for all the tests and exams he will have during his evolution into a cage fighter.
“On the ground, I could finish a fight pretty quickly. But in this fight, I’m going to be trying to stay on the feet and see where I’m at. It’s definitely been a big learning curve, but I train every day. Some days are harder than others, but every day I’m doing something. I’m always trying to learn and improve.”
That’s the mark of a good student.
In the EFC GLADIATORS main event Saturday, outspoken EFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Christopher “The Neighborhood Legend” Vallaro (6-2), of Ardon MMA in Brooklyn, will defend against undefeated Robert Bodden (2-0) of Spartan Fitness in Deer Park, New York.
In a very special added attraction Montsir ”Monster” Mohammad will return for a showdown against undefeated Andres Velasques (2-0) of New Jersey’s Pure MMA.
The Parsippany PAL is located at 33 Baldwin Road, Parsippany, NJ 07054. On fight night, doors open at 6 pm and the first bout starts at 7 pm.
On November 30th, “Reading to Rumble” will take place from the Santander Arena (formerly the Sovereign Center) and will be broadcast LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv!
In the main event, WBA #10 ranked contender Travis Kauffman (26-1)will take on late replacement Jason Barnett (14-14) for the WBU International Heavyweight title.
Kauffman has put together an impressive 8 straight victories since his sole blemish, a very controversial loss to Tony Grano, in 2009. Kauffman, a workhorse has been working hard to prepare for a bout with Manuel Quezada, who fell out as an opponent recently. Travis knows, if he is able to score a highlight reel KO over his opponent, it could help raise his #10 ranking in the WBA. The rise of ranking in turn could lead to a title shot which would be accompanied by a hefty pay day.
The last minute opponent change hasn’t worried Kauffman a bit. Kauffman, who was sparring with Bryant Jennings, Tomaz Adamek, and Patrick Farrell for the with Quezada stated “Change isn’t going to hurt me because of my experience. I can handle whoever they put in front of me.”
His opponent Barnett, has done battle with a who’s who in the Heavyweight division. Stringing together 2 back to back victories, Barnett is looking for an upset because a win could lead to an even bigger pay day. Barnett has shared the ring with top rated fighters such as Mike Perez, Luis Ortiz and recent Prizefighter finalist Jason Gavern. Barnett, has been known to cause an upset or 2, when he stopped John Poore (21-3) and previously undefeated Erik Leander (8-0) back to back in 2009 & 10.
Both men carry significant KO power so don’t expect this fight to go the distance. This fight could be over in the blink of an eye, so whether you in attendance at the Santander Arena or watching at home LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv, don’t leave your seat!
In the co-main event, Frank Santos De Alba (9-1-2) will take on upset minded Osnel Charles (9-7-1)over the course of 6 rounds.
Frank Santos De Alba, is a fan favorite in the Reading area and is very highly touted. After suffering his only loss in his pro debut, he battled back going 9-0-2 in his next 11 bouts. The crafty southpaw has a tendency to out box his opponents but has been known to score a knockout on occasion. Not one to disappoint Santos De Alba plans to put on a great performance against his toughest opponent to date in Charles.
“When I step in the ring it is very exciting. My fans and family always have my back and I always like to put a show on for them when I step in the ring” explained De Alba.
Even tough Santos De Alba never saw his opponent fight he is aware that it will not be an easy task at hand. “I never had the chance to see him fight but from what I am told he likes to box a lot and has been in there with some very tough opponents”.
His opponent Charles, a once very promising prospect, has recently hit a rough patch in his career going (0-4-1) in his last 5 bouts. He dropped decision loses to some of the east coasts top prospects such as Allan Benitez (6-1), Naim Nelson (8-0), Rod Salka (16-2) & Anthony Cacace (7-0). His last victory was in 2011, a scintillating 1st round KO of the favored Anthony Flores (9-3-1). Even though he hasn’t tasted victory in 2 years, he knows it can all be turned around in 1 fight. “This is my championship fight. I have to be back on top and there is no choice about it” exclaimed Charles.
Most people would be concerned about fighting in their opponent’s backyard but it does not seem to faze the confident Charles. “That is the way I like it anyway. I have to make a statement in his backyard.” Yea he is popular prospect but who has he fought?” asked Charles. “Look at the people I fight and look at the people he has fought. That should say it all.”
Promising prospect Khalib Whitmore (3-0), who is trained by Nazim Richardson, will see action against Mark Baltimore (1-2). In just 3 fights Whitmore was nominated for GFL’s “2013 Prospect of the Year”. Batimore is a tough fighter, but Whitmore will be looking to impress the Reading crowd as well as the fans watching at home LIVE WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv.
Rounding up the card will be welterweight’s Evincii Dixon (2-3-1) against Rafael Montalvo (3-4. Featherweight Wilfredo Morales will be making his pro debut against Jesus Gonzales (1-3). Also lightweight Travis Thompson (4-11-2) will take on Emil Rodriguez (0-3). Finally, fan favorite Keenan Collins (15-8-3) takes on an opponent TBA.
Watch this event LIVE & WORLDWIDE on GFL.tv! Order once & re watch for LIFE on GFL On Demand!
By Jay W Bennett – NewsandSentinel.com
PARKERSBURG – It could be quite the week for professional boxers Mike Sheppard and Dustin Echard.
Sheppard, the Wirt County High School teacher, is the main event on Tuesday night’s FOX Sports 1 television show that starts at 9 p.m. He’s set to face Antonio “Magic Man” Tarver on the “Golden Boy Live” card at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
Echard, who last fought on Aug. 3 at the Fish Bone Gill and Grill where he dominated a six-round unanimous decision versus Shawn Laughery, will put his 7-0 (5 KOs) mark on the line Saturday night against Tom Hanshaw Jr. (2-1, 2 KOs). Echard’s fight is on the undercard of the Paul Spadafora/Johan Perez 12-round main event for the WBA super lightweight interim world title at the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester, W.Va.
“This is what people dream about. I’m just happy for the opportunity. It’s like an opportunity for a lifetime,” Sheppard said of the chance to put a halt to Tarver’s thoughts of finding success in the heavyweight division.
Morgan “Big Chief” Fitch knows his next fight is the biggest of his professional boxing career.
And he is the first to say just admitting that is an understatement.
Fitch (11-0, 5 KOs), a super middleweight, will be putting his undefeated record on the line against Darnell Boone (19-21, 8 KOs) on the undercard of the Redemption show Saturday night at the Mountaineer Casino Racetrack and Resort in Chester, W.Va., headlined by the Paul Spadafora vs. Johan Perez for Perez’s WBA light welterweight interim title bout.
Don’t be fooled by Boone’s overall under .500 record.
After all, he is the only fighter who has ever knocked down Andre Ward, the No., 2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and he also owns a knockout victory over current WBC champion Adonis Stevenson.
Boone knocked Stevenson out in the second round April 16, 2010, to hand him his only defeat.
Stevenson got revenge by knocking out Boone in a six-round slugfest March 22 this year.
Boone also fought and lost twice against WBO champion Sergey Kovalev, one being a split decision.
Even though Fitch is unbeaten and Boone has a sub-.500 record, Boone is ranked higher than the Charleroi resident in the current world rankings.
“He’s a very tough guy who is coming to fight,” Fitch said of Boone. “He’s been in there with some of the best fighters around.
By Greg Gulas
Youngstown’s Darnell “Deezol” Boone is fighting in a familiar place. And in a familiar situation.
On Saturday at Mountaineer Racetrack and Casino, the 1999 Wilson High graduate will fight his 20th undefeated foe when he takes on “Big Chief” Morgan Fitch (10-0, 5 KOs) of Pittsburgh in a six-round super middleweight bout.
Boone (19-21-3, 8 KOs) is 6-11-2 against undefeated fighters.
“I love fighting someone that is undefeated simply because I want to prove to them that they are not invincible,” said Boone, who will fight near his hometown for the first time since 2007. “I enjoy being the underdog, probably because I have become accustomed to that role during my professional career. When you beat someone with an unblemished record it just gives you a great feeling.”
The fight is the undercard of the 12-round main event for the interim WBA super lightweight championship bout, which pits Paul “The Pittsburgh Kid” Spadafora (48-0-1, 19 KOs) against Johan Perez (17-1-1, 12 KOs) of Caracas, Venezuela.
Boone is 3-6-1 in his last 10 fights but his manager, Jeremy Simpson, said Fitch has never faced someone as tough as Boone.
“This will be the biggest test for Fitch of his young professional career,” Simpson said. “Darnell was really never managed correctly through the course of his career and there’s no doubt in my mind that he would have been a world champion had he had the right guidance from the start.
“Darnell is a true professional in that he gives you 110 percent, no matter if it’s in training camp or in the ring. I never have to worry about whether or not Darnell is in shape or ready to fight. My job is to get him the right fights at the right weight and I believe middleweight, but no higher than super middleweight, is where we need to be.”
Paul Spadafora’s troubles behind him, but not forgotten
PITTSBURGH —As he attempts his latest comeback, both in life and in the ring, Paul Spadafora is adamant that he has changed, promising that his numerous bouts with personal troubles, including jail time and substance abuse, are behind him. But they aren’t forgotten.
By choice, Spadafora is permanently reminded of them — symbols of his “demons,” as he calls them, surround a tattoo labeled “truth” on his left forearm.
“Every time I look at that tattoo, I look up to God, like, ‘Damn, I’m blessed, man.’ Like, I ain’t supposed to be here,” Spadafora, 38, told Channel 4 Action Sports’ Ryan Recker.
But “The Pittsburgh Kid” is here and prepping for a WBA title fight next month against Johan Perez. He told Recker that’s been made possible by a second chance afforded him by his new management team.
“A couple of years ago, nobody wanted to be in my life, so I’m just looking forward to this opportunity,” Spadafora admits
Cage Fury Fighting Championships (CFFC) delivered another tremendous night of MMA action with CFFC XIX Sullivan VS Lane. Pro MMA fighters from around the country competed on a 14-bout card, with 11 finishes and 3 title fights, held at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa as CFFC returned to its roots and home base of Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In the main event, CFFC Welterweight Champion George Sullivan (12-3) defeated Julian Lane (4-1) via TKO in round 2 to retain his championship. It was a furious fight as both Sullivan and Lane came at each other from the opening bell. There was a lot of close fighting, including some great clinch work where each man would land a punch or knee and then take one. During one exchange, Lane went for a standing guillotine and was punched inadvertently below the belt by Sullivan who was trying to defend the choke. The fight continued with both fighters picked it up again throwing strikes with Lane throwing high kicks and looping punches while Sullivan looked for the overhand right. In round two, Sullivan found a home for his overhand right that rocked Lane as Sullivan followed it up with a stiff left jab. Lane fired back with looping punches, one of which clipped Sullivan. Lane went for a takedown but it was stuffed by Sullivan who pounded away with punches at Lane’s midsection. The fighters broke their clinch and Sullivan teed off on Lane with accurate punching until finally Lane took a step back against the cage where Sullivan landed hard left hoods to Lane’s head as the ref stepped in to stop the fight. Sullivan retained his title in impressive fashion and should get a decent look from the UFC or Bellator after this performance.
In one co-main event, with the CFFC Featherweight Title on the line, Artur Rofi (6-0) beat Lester Caslow (8-7) by side choke submission in round two to win the vacant Championship. Rofi is an experienced grappler with 5 of his 6 wins coming via submission. It was a back and forth high paced first round, but in the second when the fight hit the mat, Rofi went for broke and passed into side control where he secured a side choke and victory becoming champion in the process.
In another title Sean “Shorty Rock” Santella (12-3-1) defeated Anthony Figueroa via decision to defend the CFFC Flyweight Title. It was a strong, dominant win by Santella who initiated most of the action with takedown after takedown where Santella controlled the fight. Santella spent a large percentage of the night in top position where he also went for several submissions including a triangle that Figueroa fought out of where most others would have tapped to. Santella’s striking was also top notch as he landed sizzling strikes that kept Figueroa at bay. But Figueroa was a durable fighter and would not stay down. Santella is one of the premier fighters at 125 lb and can hang with anybody in world in that division.
Be sure to catch all of the action anytime on video on demand as CFFC XIX Sullivan VS Lane brought down the house exclusively at GFL.tv. See the established and rising stars on the East Coast competing in front of some of the most rabid fans of MMA.