The tournament pairings for “Copa Combate” have been set, as the one-night, eight-man tournament takes place from Cancun under the Combate Americas banner.
The action airs live on NBC Sports Network at 11:30 p.m. ET.
Below is a press release:
Combate Américas announced earlier the official matchups for the quarterfinal, or opening stage, of the highly-anticipated “COPA COMBATE,” one-night, eight-man bantamweight (135 pounds) Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) tournament that will award its winner a grand prize of $100,000, live on both Telemundo and NBCSN from Cancun, Mexico on Saturday, November 11 at 11:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. CT.
The event, which takes place at Grand Oasis Cancun, marks both the first NBCU simulcast in history of an MMA event, and the first-ever Telemundo broadcast of MMA programming.
“COPA COMBATE” also represents the first time that world-class fighters from the U.S., Latin America and Spain will represent their respective countries in an epic, one-night tournament showdown in which the winner will have persevered through three consecutive bouts.
In the first quarterfinal stage bout in tournament bracket “A,” vicious striker Mikey “El Terrible” Erosa (12-5) from San Juan, Puerto Rico will take on red-hot Marcelo “The Pitbull” Rojo (12-4) from Cordoba, Argentina.
At 36 years old, Erosa is the oldest competitor in the tournament field. A combat sports tri-athlete who also boxes and kickboxes professionally, Erosa is the first recognized Puerto Rican world champion in the sport of MMA.
The 29-year-old Rojo is both the number one ranked bantamweight, as well as the top ranked featherweight (145 pounds) in his native Argentina.
A former semifinalist on The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America reality television series, Rojo has produced 10 of his 12 career wins by way of (T)KO or submission and will enter the tournament riding a four-fight win streak, including two consecutive wins in his first two Combate Americas starts.
On the same side of the tournament draw, wildcard entrant and relentless brawler Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios (9-1) of Mission, Texas, will clash with fast-rising star Carlos “Lobo” Rivera (12-2) of Mexico City, Mexico.
The 30-year-old Palacios, the longest standing member of the Combate Americas fighter roster, has won all six of bouts in La Jaula, the Combate Americas circular cage.
In his last two starts, Palacios, also unbeaten as a professional boxer, earned victories over two different Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veterans – a split decision over Roman Salazar on April 20, and a unanimous decision over Chris Avila on July 27.
Rivera is a 24-year-old member of the famed “Bonebreakers” fight squad. He has produced 8 of his 10 professional career wins by way of (T)KO or submission, and will enter La Jaula for the first time in his career, with three straight victories under his belt.
On the other side of the tournament draw, 25-year-old trailblazer John “Sexi Mexi” Castaneda (14-2) of Mankato, Minn. will battle national Muay Thai champion Kevin “El Frio” Moreyra (4-1) of Lima, Peru.
Tied with Palacios for the greatest number of wins – six – in La Jaula, Castaneda recently re-signed with Combate Americas where he has yet to be beaten, after emerging victorious by way of unanimous decision over Cheyden Leialoha in UFC President Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series on August 1.
Moreyra is an aggressive-minded, 24-year-old who also boasts a 4-1 record as a professional Muay Thai combatant, and is regarded as Peru’s fastest rising MMA star.
In the second tournament bracket “B” bout, battle-tested, number one ranked Spanish bantamweight Marc “Lufo” Gómez (20-10) of Barcelona will collide with number one-ranked Colombian bantamweight Andres “Doble A Leal “ Ayala (14-4) of Bogota.
At just 25 years of age, Gómez has already racked up 30 professional bouts, making him the most experienced of the tournament field and, of his 20 career victories, an astonishing 17 have come by way of (T)KO or submission.
Ayala is a gutsy, 27-year-old striker who also boasts a spectacular finish rate, with 9 of his 11 career conquests having come by way of (T)KO or submission. In addition to his place as the top ranked 135-pound fighter in his country, Ayala also owns a top 10 ranking in Mexico.
The live simulcast of “COPA COMBATE” on Telemundo and NBCSN will feature the tournament’s complete semifinal stage consisting of two bouts that pit the winners of the quarterfinal stage matchups in each tournament bracket against one another, as well as the championship stage showdown.
In addition to the tournament action, Telemundo’s and NBCSN’s live television coverage of “COPA COMBATE” will feature the previously announced women’s strawweight (115 pounds) co-main event between undefeated knockout artist Melissa “Super Melly” Martinez (2-0) of Mexico City, Mexico, and submission expert and Miesha Tate pupil Gloria “Gloriosa” Bravo (4-2) of Santiago, Chile.
The entire quarterfinal stage of the tournament, as well as two tournament alternate bouts and a second women’s bout that will be announced soon, will stream live on the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app and TelemundoDeportes.com. Coverage on NBCSN will be live streamed on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.