Copa Combate Preview
Combate Americas returns on Saturday, November 11 to host Copa Combate, featuring a one-night, eight-man tournament that will make the winner a $100,000 richer. Also on the card is a bout between Melissa “Super Melly” Martinez against Gloria “Gloriosa” Bravo and three other matches.
The tournament features the featherweight division and this group will bring the fireworks. Below is a preview of the eight combatants participating in the tournament.
Marcelo “Pitbull” Rojo
Rojo has a record of 12-4 including a win in his last appearance at Combate America against Billy Molina. At 29 years old, Pitbull has a wealth of experience on his side, his first pro fight was in 2011 and he was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter, Latin America 3. On the show, he lost in the semifinals to finalist Claudio Puelles by decision.
In his two fights on the show, Rojo showed he is a technical striker with good footwork and good reactionary takedowns. In his loss to Puelles, he also showed a lot of grit and heart to survive several bad positions. However, Pitbull did show a vulnerability to takedowns and being held down for significant portions of a round. He did show some aggressiveness off his back but also looked too willing to stay on his back when he had opportunities to scramble out of it. Though he showed technical skills in all departments, he too often took risks when he shouldn’t have such as a superman punch off the cage which led to him being taken down late in a round.
Rojo is a serious threat in this tournament because of his experience and technical striking but I worry he will be taken down or take an unnecessary risk.
Micael “El Terrible” Erosa
Erosa looks like he is incredibly strong which will be an advantage for him in this tournament. At 12-5 he has a solid record. I watched two different fights and saw two different fighters but one constant problem. In the first fight, he was patient and used smooth striking to set up a takedown, but in the second round when he was taken down he was controlled and eventually submitted. In the second fight, he was more aggressive and threw wider punches but still was controlled on the ground.
Erosa will put up a fight but will have a hard time making it out of the tournament’s first round when he fights Marcelo “Pitbull” Rojo.
Marc “Lufo” Gomez
Gomez is a very solid fighter in all aspects of the sport, however, I haven’t seen him show an area of expertise in one specific area. In his win against Toni Tauru in 2016, he showed phenomenal takedown defense and good striking. Gomez seemed to lack the power to put away Tauro but showed enough talent to contend with good opponents. He has shown he is susceptible to being finished. In his career, Gomez has been finished five times (one due to injury stoppage) including his last appearance in the cage.
“Lufo” will put up a good fight but, in my opinion, he will have trouble with several of the opponents in the tournament.
Andres “Doble A” Ayala
If you are looking for a slugfest make sure to watch a fight with Andres “Doble A” Ayala. Ayala throws with power with almost every shot, he uses many wide shots and often keeps his hands low. Though with an 11-5 record, he lands much more than he’s been hit. He has shown solid grappling but with his wild swings, he leaves himself open to takedowns.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Ayala caught someone with a power punch to win a fight in the tournament but, I see him having trouble with some of the more patient and experienced fighters.
Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios
Palacios has one of the best records in the tournament and has shown tremendous power in his fights. He brings the fight to his opponent and goes for the knockout. His first five wins were all by finish though his last four were by decision. The only trouble I see for him is that he is likely to get into a brawl which is fun to watch but it’s possible his chin could be tested.
Kevin “El Frio” Moreyra
Kevin “El Frio” Moreyra is the least experienced fighter in the tournament with a 4-1 record. He has the look of a top fighter and in the only film, I could find. Moreyra did show technical skills in all aspects of the game.
He isn’t as aggressive as most in the tournament. In his fight against Romel Orosco, he seemed frustrated against a much smaller opponent but ended up pulling out the victory with a split decision.
If he fights up to his skill set, Moreyra will be competitive but I see him struggling against his first-round draw, John Castaneda.
John “Sexi Mexi” Castaneda
“Sexi Mexi” is one of the better-known fighters in the tournament after competing on Dana White’s Contender Series. He will look to continue his momentum and pick up $100,000 in the tournament. Castaneda has a high skill level in every area of the game in addition to 16 fights worth of experience. He has shown that he is hittable but has worked through tough times in fights against high-level opponents such as when he defeated UFC veteran, Chris Beal.
The matchups in the first round are:
Marc Gomez Sariol vs. Andres Ayala
John Castaneda vs. Kevin Moreyra
Ricky Palacios vs. Carlos Rivera
Michael Erosa vs. Marcelo Rojo