After a successful weigh-in, Ring of Combat 47 is set to take place tonight at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The night will consist of five title fights and will also include guest and close friends of Lou Neglia in Chris Weidman, Frankie Edgar and Matt Serra. It is sure to be a great night of MMA.
But one of the East Coast best kept secrets is also on the card. No he is not fighting for ROC gold but if everything goes the way he plans, he will be next in line and could be the next big thing to come out of the Ring of Combat fight circuit.
He is lightweight prospect and New Jersey’s own, Frankie Perez. He is undefeated as a professional with seven wins and he got into MMA by accident. When one of his friends could not go to a local MMA event, Frankie kindly asked for the ticket and he and his dad went to the event. Once he saw first hand what took place, he was instantly hooked. He loved it from the first fight to the last.
Now Frankie trains under professor Ricardo Almeida and along side with the likes of world elite fighters Frankie Edgar, Edson Barboza and Marlon Moraes just to name a few. There is no doubt that training along side such an experienced crew has only benefited Perez which has brought high praise from the Ring of Combat President, Lou Neglia. “Frankie is one of the fighters to look out for,” affirms Neglia. I am very proud that he has stuck with Ring of Combat for his whole professional career. Like all Ring of Combat fighters, each fight is to help build them and prepare them for the elite competition and so far Frankie has passed each test,” continued Neglia.
Frankie is quick to note that MMA is a team sport and his team is why he has been so successful in such a short amount of time. “Ricardo Almeida BJJ has an amazing atmosphere. Everyone leaves their egos at the door and they just come in to learn and help one another. There is no better place I rather be then there. It’s a place that you’re always learning and being pushed by the next guy. We are a brotherhood like no other. We like to call ourselves The Iron Army.”
Frankie can see himself carrying on the tradition of Ring of Combat alumni who have gone on to have successful UFC careers and feels a lot of their success is because the way they are matched in Lou Neglia’s Ring of Combat. “ROC has the most elite fighters around and in order to be the best you have to beat the best and ROC has that,” said Perez. “They have almost 100 guys that went to the UFC and do well even had 4 world champions. They are the organization that will prepare [you] for the major leagues. Can I see myself, NO, I will see myself carry the tradition. I’ve sacrificed a lot and train way to hard not to make it there and stay there,” continued Perez.
At ROC 47, Perez will have his hands full in facing one of the most experienced fighters in his young fight career in Mike Santiago (10-8). “Santiago is a very experienced fighter and I’m excited for the fight,” affirms Perez. “ He has almost 20 fights so he’s seen it all. I’m sure he will test me but every guy does some how. The last guy tested my chin and I passed that one. So I’m gonna say this is gonna be a very fast pace toe to toe fight but I’m ready for anything. I train with the best guys on the planet and have to best coaches so I’ll be ready,” continued Perez.
Lou Neglia feels this is a great fight for fight both Perez and Santiago. With a Perez win, he will most likely fight for ROC gold in his very next fight. “This is a great matchup for both fighters and so much momentum is behind Frankie,” said Neglia. “He is in the running for the Ring of Combat gold so if he wins at the Tropicana I can see him fighting for the title next and after that he will be ready for anyone / anywhere and that includes the UFC,” continued Neglia.
Such high praise from the president at Ring of Combat and a former kickboxing champion himself in Lou Neglia. You would think with being undefeated and one of the hottest prospects on the east coast that would be enough pressure for such a young fighter but not for Frankie Perez. Instead he only worries of letting down those closest to him. “Every fight has a little pressure not just for being undefeated, but not to let anyone down,” said Perez. “I put a lot into every camp and everyone around me has something to do with it so in that case I never want to disappoint my family, friends, coaches and teammates. That’s the only pressure I feel. If I fail I fail them and never want that feeling,” explained Perez.
Frankie does have a lot riding on his shoulders leading into this fight. A win gets him a possible shot at a Ring of Combat title and if history repeats itself, the UFC won’t be too far off. But again, Frankie takes his accomplishments in stride and always takes the time to thank those who helped him get this far.
“First I like to thank my family. No matter how hard it gets they’re always there for me. My friends of course. All my coaches Ricardo Almeida, Mark Henry, Brian Blue, Steve Rivera and Zeek Flores. I’d also like to thank all my teammates who help me prepare in and out the gym. All of my sponsors who support me every fight. And my friends that passed that I never forget Pierre, Lupo, Brittney, Tori and Popek.”
Ring of Combat 47 takes place tonight, January 24th, at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The fight can be ordered for live streaming at www.ringofcombat.com. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster locations or www.ticketmaster.com, www.battlepass.com or the Tropicana Resort box office.