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Saturday, November 22, 2014
Local wins Ring of Combat MMA title
Richvillaphotography.com
Andre Harrison, center, with Ring of Combat promoter Lou Neglia of Bellmore to his immediate right, proudly displayed his championship belt.

The state of New York may not have its act together when it comes to allowing sanctioned Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts — it is legal in each of the other 49 states with Connecticut most recently coming on board — but Bellmore resident Lou Neglia has made sure local fighters have a regular opportunity to step into the octagon and hone their craft. His Ring of Combat promotion features quarterly fight cards at the Tropicana in Atlantic City and has served as a launching pad for more than 80 fighters who have leaped into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

“The main focus [of the promotion] has always been and always will be to focus on new talent,” Neglia said, whose 46th show is scheduled for Sept. 20.

“I’ve been dealing with Lou for a long, long time and he always does the right thing and helps get the guys to the next level with competitive fights,” Keith Trimble of the Bellmore Kickboxing Academy said. “Lou does a great job of getting guys prepared.”

Of the more than 80 fighters that have jumped to the UFC after fighting in Neglia’s Ring of Combat promotion, some have already risen to the top of the food chain, including former Baldwin wrestling star Chris Weidman, who pulled off one of the biggest upsets in UFC history on July 6 by knocking off one of the all-time greats, Anderson Silva, in Las Vegas to earn the middleweight championship. Uriah Hall, the runner-up in the last season of the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter reality show and Wantagh’s Al Iaquinta, a finalist in the reality show in 2012.

Trimble currently has three alumni Ring of Combat Alumni and current UFC fighters fighting out of his camp – Costa Philippou, Gian Villante and Ryan LaFlare — and the newly crowned Ring of Combat featherweight champion, 145-pound Freeport native Andre Harrison, who’s establishing himself as a fast-riser in the sport. Owner of a perfect 6-0 mark as a professional MMA fighter, Harrison, a former Red Devil wrestler, has developed into a well-rounded fighter with his last three wins coming via stoppage or submission.

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