By Anthony Caruso III
On Saturday night, Global Proving Ground held GPG 26 Subway Series at The Coliseum Fight Club in Voorhees, N.J. The winners from the card advanced to the New York show that will take place in December.
James Jefferson, the GPG President and CEO, said the date will be announced in the next week. He added they’re negotiating with three sites.
“We’re waiting on our date in New York,” he said. “The winners will go to New York, then they’ll come back in January or February 2017. The winner of the tournament will get a two-year contract to fight in the Global Proving Ground pro league.”
There were several fighters, who were making their debuts on this card.
“We’re excited to have some of the best coaches and schools in the Northeast with numerous fighters in the UFC sending us their debuts,” Jefferson added. “They know we’re getting them on regular television. The fact that we can get amateurs and pros on TV so fast gives them a better chance to get noticed by the UFC or Bellator.”
Victor Azeredo defeated Ross Motta in the main event. Azeredo won with an armbar submission in the second-round.
Lirim “Lenny” Rufati needed only 14 seconds to defeat Anthony Bryson in the first-round. Rufati was born in the States in 1988, and moved to Europe briefly. He then came back to the States and served our country.
Rufati graduated from Rowan University with honors in 2010.
“That’s actually the fastest knockout in GPG history,” Jefferson said. “He has an interesting story. He served in the US Army. He’s overcome a lot of troubles in his life to get back on track. He’s lost about 60 pounds training for MMA and now he has his life back in order after being disciplined from training in the MMA. He’s with a great school and he’s very happy with where he is today.”
James Lodge had his fight with Paul Dimaculangan stopped after the first-round. Lodge’s right upercutt caused Dimaculangan’s eye to shut – and the doctors on site would not allow him to continue.
Mark Romero won in the second-round with an Americana on Dean Johnvin’s arm. The 1:42 submission caused Johnvin to be in pain for several minutes after the fight.
Michael Dupye needed a 29-28 unanimous decision to beat Hector Iglesias. Dupye had three takedowns in the third-round, as he got a debut win.
Robert Astacio defeated Ricardo Batista with a guillotine choke in the second-round.
“That’s an interesting story,” Jefferson said. “Ricardo Batista and Robert Astacio had a street beef in Camden, N.J. They was literally going to be a street fight between the two, but I stepped in – and I told them that it wasn’t acceptable. One was already training – that was Robert Astacio – and I told him that he can’t have street fights, so we had challenged Batista to go get a coach and train – and follow our Code of Conduct – and in the end, they hugged it out.
“They accepted the win and the loss. We avoided a street fight becoming a potentially worse situation. This is the manta of what Global Proving Ground is about by discovering great warriors, but the fans have a voice. Our Code of Conduct is that two men are trained and battle with rules than being bulled, hurt, or murdered on the streets.”
David Juliano picked up his second win, as he previously won at GPG 25. He defeated Seth Althouse via a split decision.
Two judges had Juliano winning 30-27, while one had Althouse winning the fight 29-28.
“There were good fights last night,” Jefferson said. “I’m very happy with the card.”
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