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Cloudy,68°
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Local wins Ring of Combat MMA title
(Page 2 of 3)
Richvillaphotography.com
Andre Harrison, center, with Ring of Combat promoter Lou Neglia of Bellmore to his immediate right, proudly displayed his championship belt.

Harrison earned his championship belt on June 14, stopping Matias Vasquez in the final minute of the first round via strikes. “My counterstriking definitely made a difference,” Harrison said. “It forced him to try and grapple with me.”

“You can see the confidence in him when he steps in the cage,” Trimble said of Harrison, whose recent run of stoppages comes after three straight victories by decision to open his professional career. “After the third fight we sat down and I said to him that if you just go for the takedown and [get] wins by lay and pray, the UFC is never going to come calling. You’ve got to step up your game and start finishing people.”

Harrison, slated to make his first title defense on the Ring of Combat’s September card, has proven to be a quick learner, and it’s the passion, work ethic and ability to adapt in the eyes of Neglia, a former World Kickboxing Champion himself, that help shape successful fighters. “You have to have a passion for what you’re doing,” Neglia said. “If you don’t have that passion, you’re never going to succeed in the sport.

“This new group of fighters is so well-rounded, and he fits into that category.”

A wrestler by trade, there was a slight adjustment for Harrison, though his style on the mats helped make for a smoother transition to getting hit than most fighters have. “When I was a wrestler, I was more neutral and liked to be on my feet a lot more,” he said. “Being on my feet, I always led with my head so I was always taking headbutts and stuff.”

“You either have it or you don’t,” Trimble said of fighters being able to not only dish out punishment, but taking it as well. “Either it’s not going to bother you, or you get hit and you’re scared of it. It looks a lot easier than it is to a lot of people.”

Harrison’s camp, which starts with Trimble as the lead coach who also specializes in striking, includes Spiro Vlantis (strength and conditioning) and Joe Scarola of the Gracie Barra Bazilian Jiu-Jitsu School.

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