The newest entity in MMA, MMA Pro League, is just days away from their inaugural event with an exciting lineup of fights that pits fighters from Team New Jersey, which is led by head coach Dan Miller of the Miller Brothers, against Team Pennsylvania and their head coach, Daniel Gracie of the renowned Gracie family.
The fighters square-off this Saturday, September 15 at the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in bouts streaming live on FloCombat.com (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Tickets for the inaugural installment of “MMA Pro League At The Hard Rock” are available at Ticketmaster.com.
The MMA Pro League event will see Claudio Ledesma taking on Andre Bernardo in a bantamweight fight, Gabriel Ruiz in a featherweight clash against Cody Hier and a light heavyweight contest that pits Emmanuel Walo against Rafael Celestino.
Featherweight action will feature Mike Pagano in a bout against Zedekiah Montanez, plus Kevin Sears takes on Ahmed Samir in a heavyweight attraction and a bantamweight affair that sees Turpal Khamzayev battle Joseph Penafiel.
Rounding out the exciting inaugural night of MMA Pro League fights are Mark Kolker facing Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov in a middleweight fight, a lightweight showdown between Shan Cella and Francisco Muniz and a welterweight matchup between Justin Osborn and Andy Jimenez.
Ledesma is a native of West Orange, NJ and currently holds a 14-7 record as a professional fighter. Bernardo is originally from Botucatu, Sao Paulo, Brazil and has a professional record of 8-4.
Ruiz fights out of Woodland Park, NJ with an 0-1 record as a professional fighter and an amateur record of 5-2-1 in the flyweight division. Hier is originally from Daison, MI. He later moved to Philadelphia to train at Gracie Gym. Hier has a record of 1-1 as a professional fighter in the bantamweight division.
Walo was borni n Cleveland, OH and spent the first few years of his life there before moving to Liberia at a very young age. Walo eventually returned to the U.S. to join the United States National Guard and was stationed as a guard in an Iraqi prison. While in Iraq, Walo was exposed to mixed martial arts and quickly fell in love with the sport. When Walo returned home, he began training and made his professional debut in December 2010. He has accumulated a professional record of 12-2-1. Celestino is from Brasilia, Brazil and has a 5-2 record as a professional fighter in the Middleweight division.
Pagano, a United States military veteran, is originally from Fayetteville, NC. He later moved to New Jersey to train with Dan Miller’s Miller Brothers MMA. Pagano is also a trainer at the gym and serves as the head instructor for the gym’s Little Spartans youth martial arts and anti-bullying program. He is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with an 0-1 record as a professional fighter. Montanez is a mixed martial arts fighter based in Pennsylvania. He has a 3-2 record in the featherweight division.
Originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sears is an eleven-fight MMA veteran who owns seven wins after a strong amateur career. Representing his native Egypt, Samir won his only professional MMA fight by knockout and owns an 11-1 record as a professional boxer.
Bantamweight brawler Khamzayev was born in New Jersey and turned professional in May of this year when he lost his debut. He takes on Orlando’s Penafiel, who won a decision in his professional debut in April.
Kolker will represent New Jersey, but was born and raised in Alabama. He made his professional MMA debut in June 2017 with a decision victory. After amassing an amateur record of 4-0, Kamchybekov will make his his professional MMA debut on Saturday night.
A 23-year-old from New Jersey, Cella will return to action for his second professional MMA fight. Muniz is originally from Caguas, Puerto Rico. His preferred discipline is Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Muniz has fought five times in his native Puerto Rico, attaining a record of 4-1.
Osborn is originally from Tennessee before representing New Jersey. He emerged victorious in his professional debut in August. Fighting out of New York, Jimenez was 3-0 in amateur MMA bouts and will fight for the first time professionally on Saturday’s card.