Watch one Ring of Combat event, and you'll quickly understand why this promotion is responsible for talents such as Chris Weidman, Matt Serra, Al Iaquinta, Aljamain Sterling, Jimmie Rivera, Mike Trizano, and countless others.
The production is top-notch. The commentary is insightful and polished.
But the fights... Oh, those fights.
Featuring the finest talent in New York, New Jersey, and beyond, Ring of Combat's fight cards stack 'em high, and Friday's Ring of Combat 65 was no different.
Featuring three title fights, a UFC vet, a Contender Series vet, and red-hot undefeated prospects, the card brought something for everybody on paper—and it was even better in execution.
Bill Algeo vs. Scott Heckman
Let's start at the top.
The night's main event pit Ring of Combat featherweight king Bill Algeo vs. resurgent vet Scott Heckman.
At 10-3, Algeo's record coming into the fight impressed, but it becomes even better when you consider two of those losses came to current UFC fighters in Jared Gordon and Shane Burgos.
Heckman, meanwhile, owns wins over the likes of UFC bantamweight Brian Kelleher and former The Ultimate Fighter competitor Jeff Lentz. He came into the fight on a seven-fight winning streak, largely in the Maverick MMA promotion, where he earned the featherweight title.
In the first round, we saw what Heckman brought to the table: grit and determination. He grounded Algeo a few times, but Algeo consistently worked back to his feet, where he held a distinct advantage.
In Round 2, Heckman got back to work, forcing Algeo against the cage with the clinch, but Algeo defended well and took over. After controlling the cage and finding his rhythm, Algeo methodically worked Heckman's back against the fence and unleashed one of the best knockouts of the year.
If you liked Yair Rodriguez vs. Andre Fili, you'll like this one.
Watch it right here:
Phil Caracappa vs. Louis Gaudinot
If you only watch one fight from Ring of Combat 65, make it this one.
Undefeated 26-year-old bantamweight champion Phil Caracappa faced UFC vet Louis Gaudinot in the night's main event, putting on one of the best fights ever inside the Ring of Combat cage.
That's not just me hyping the fight—Ring of Combat promoter Lou Neglia declared it one of the "five best" fights in the promotion's storied history.
I could tell you how Caracappa nearly finished Gaudinot in Round 1. I could tell you how Gaudinot threw his mouthpiece at one point. I could tell you how Gaudinot stormed back in Round 3 and came this close to stealing the fight.
I could tell you how Caracappa spit hot fire on the mic post-fight.
I could tell you all this... or you could just watch it yourself. Trust me: the fists, knees, elbows, and shins speak louder than my words. Watch it.
Sidney Outlaw vs. Krzysztof Kulak
Sidney Outlaw gives me strong Ben Askren/prime Jon Fitch/Jake Shields vibes.
The 11-3 Ring of Combat welterweight champ is a pressure-first fighter, and he smothers his opposition with a relentless and powerful top game.
This has been his strategy since day one and yet—few can stop it.
Current UFC mega prospect Gregor Gillespie is one of the three men to solve Outlaw's puzzle, showing just how good you gotta be to stifle his attack.
Facing longtime vet Krzysztof Kulak at Ring of Combat 65, Outlaw put on a "business as usual" performance.
Kulak has faced the likes of Alexander Gustafsson and Aleksei Oleinik throughout his career, but he had no answers for Outlaw Friday evening.
Outlaw's last three wins are now:
- Decision over Michael Cora during Contender Series Season 1
- Decision over Raush Manfio at Titan FC 50
- Submission over Kulak at Ring of Combat 65
Was that the finish the UFC has been waiting for to finally give Outlaw the call-up?
With seven finishes in nine fights (and the two decisions being two of the best fights on the card) it's tough to single out just three more fights, but forced to pick, here's what you should check out from Ring of Combat 65.
First two are free...
Thomas Powell KOs Liam Anderson
Gone in 30 seconds.
Thomas Powell wasted no time getting in Liam Anderson's face, cornering him, and unleashing the fury.
After kicking off his pro career at 0-2, Powell has now bounced back with back-to-back knockouts inside the Ring of Combat cage, looking better and scarier each time. His stock is on the rise, and he's one to keep an eye on moving forward.
Christopher Daukaus Crumples Edwin Smart
Watching heavyweights stand toe-to-toe and engage in some good old-fashioned swangin' and bangin' will never get old. I'm sure of it.
Ring of Combat 65 brought a prime example of just that Friday evening when Christopher Daukaus took on Serra-Longo's Edwin Smart.
In what basically turned into a hockey fight, it was Daukaus who eventually caught Smart with his hands down and ended the fight in a flash.
Said Yokub Rolls
Saidyokub Kakharamonov went 3-0 as an amateur then 5-0 as a pro before falling to Omar Nurmagomedov just weeks ago at PFL 7.
He needed to rinse the taste of defeat from his mouth, and that's exactly what he did against Giorgi Kudukhashvili at Ring of Combat 65.
Yokub showed why he's still considered one of the top bantamweight prospects in the U.S., controlling the fight and finishing things with style.