One of those reaping the benefits – Combat Zone MMA – roars back into action Friday night at Salem’s Rockingham Park for their 35th event. Yours truly will be on hand to cover the event with a full post-event writeup.
While it’s not exactly Red Sox vs. Yankees, the event is headlined by Massachusetts native John Benoit (10-2) vs. New York native Don Carlo-Clauss (7-2) in a lightweight bout.
The 11-fight card features four pro bouts and seven amateur contests. While it may be light on household names, regional events traditionally have enthusiastic crowds filled with families and friends from all camps, making for a unique and intimate environment.
Top O’The Card
Benoit comes into Friday on a two-fight win streak, last submitting John Hersey via 1st round choke in September. The 27-year-old is a Renzo Gracie NH student and it shows with five career wins by submission.This will be his Combat Zone debut as he’s mainly competed for Mass.-based World Championship Fighting.
Carlo-Clauss returns to Combat Zone for the first time in over two years. He also comes in on a two-fight win streak, albeit two split decisions. The 30-year old last competed in May.
The co-main event features American Top Team member Will Santiago – making his professional debut after a 3-0 amateur record – against 0-3 Glenn Reeves at 185 pounds.
Santiago isn’t the only talent making his pro debut as Lisbon, NH-native Nate Ainsworth jumps from the amateurs to take 1-1 Adam Toussaint. Ithaca, New York’s Derek Lamb also makes his pro debut against Derry, NH native Nicholas Santos who is looking for his first pro victory at 0-3.
The lone female fight on the card features Shannon Harney vs. Heather Lambert.
Combat Zone has been in business for years and have run solely in New Hampshire since the fall of 2008. The group already has dates established for their next three events following Friday night, showing stability and providing their fans with an immediate next event to plan for.
Tickets are still available for the event with doors opening at 6:30 pm for an 8 pm bell time. Amateur bouts are three 3-minutes rounds, while the pros fight under traditional unified rules.
With Combat Zone live Friday, Strikeforce Challengers on Showtime Friday and UFC 121 Saturday night, it’s going to be another MMA packed weekend.
Sounds great to me!
Josh Nason is a freelance journalist whose work has been published in FIGHT! Magazine, Bleacher Report, Manchester Magazine, WrestlingObserver.com and more. While MMA and email marketing are passions of his, he also writes on music, TV and life in general.