Combate Americas – Copa Combate Tournament Preview

Combate Americas Copa Combate
Credit: Combate Americas

Combate Americas is set to host one of the biggest tournaments of the year: The Copa Combate, live from Cancun, Mexico, on November 11.

Combate Americas continues to push their envelope in the world of mixed martial arts as they hold their one-night tournament: The Copa Combate. Led by UFC co-founder Campbell McLaren, Combate is hosting the tournament which will feature eight bantamweight fighters competing for a $100,000 grand prize.

Last week the promotion released the bracket for the tournament and it looks to set up the most recognizable fighters on the roster against each other. The biggest name in the tournament is John “Sexy Mexi” Castaneda who has the most wins by any fighter for Combate Americas and is coming off a decision victory at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series this past August. While it was believed that Castaneda would be awaiting a call from the UFC, Castaneda said in an interview that Combate offered him an impressive deal immediately after his fight in August before the Octagon reached out to him.

While Castaneda is heavily favored in his first bout against Kevin Moreya, the real test could come in the second round should he face Marc “Lufo” Gomez from Spain. Gomez has the most professional experience out of any of the participants with a record of 20-10. Gomez is looking to snap a two-fight skid when he faces Colombia’s Andrés “Doble A Leal” Ayala in the first round.

On the other side of the bracket, Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios from Texas looks to continue his run when he faces Carlos “Lobo” Rivera from Mexico. Palacios has quietly accumulated one of the best records in Combate Americas with five victories and is on a six-fight win streak including contests outside the organization. Rivera could be a sleeper in the tournament as the Mexican has gone on both a five and three-fight win streak in his career and his coming off a win in March.

In the final quarter, Mikey “El Terrible” Erosa representing Puerto Rico looks to pull off the upset when he faces the more experienced Macelo “Pitbull” Rojo of Argentina. Rojo is currently riding a four fight win-streak and made his debut with Combate Americas this past March.

Due to the nature of the tournament, there are hybrid rules in the earlier rounds. The quarterfinals (first round) will consist of a single five-minute round fight. The semifinals will be three three-minute round contests. The final will be a standard three-five minute round fight. As an added precaution, no elbows are allowed in both the quarterfinal or alternate bouts in the hopes that there will be no cuts that prevent a winning fighter from continuing.

While the winner of the tournament is not for an official championship, it is highly speculated that the winner will be facing recent big name signee Eric “Goyito” Perez early next year in a bout that could feasibly be for the inaugural title. Perez enters Combate after an impressive 7-2 UFC run and was on a three-fight win streak inside the Octagon.

In other action, 20-year-old Melissa “Super Mely” Martinez takes on the older and more experienced Gloria “Gloriosa” Bravo in the co-main event as the men’s finalists prepare for their bout. In preliminary action, alternate bouts will take place in the event of an injury in the tournament. Levy Saul Marroquin will be facing Alejandro Abomohor and Felipe Vargas will fight Jose Calvo. Considering the unpredictability of MMA, such as Daniel Cormier winning the Strikeforce Grand Prix, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that one of the alternates enters the main draw. Finally, Sheila Padilla will be fighting Lisbeth Lopez Silva in atomweight action to round out the card.

The tournament features fighters from across the United States and Latin America, putting a substantial amount of national pride for all the participants.  Combate Americas already airs in several countries throughout Latin America and for the first time will be airing on Telemundo and NBC Sports Network in the United States. As the promotion continues to build on their already impressive roster, the Copa Combate looks to be the jumping off point for one of the fastest growing organizations in the world.