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February 22, 2012

Featured Fighter: Eddie "The Sultan" Saldana

Name: Eddie Saldana
Age: 29
Height: 5'8"
Fight Weight: 185 lbs
School: Sityodtong Muay Thai Academy
Record: MMA 4-2 professional
City/State Born: Salem, MA
Achievements: list any kickboxing, mauy thai, boxing, nagas, any type of awards. 2nd place Naga HW Blue Belt where I earned my purple belt after placing. AGC No Gi Advanced 1st place, Naga Intermediate No gi 2nd place

1. When and Why did you get into MMA??

I first got in to MMA at the age of 17 years old when I first trained. I was getting a tattoo done and the tattoo artist was a MMA practitioner. He asked if I had ever done any type of training and I explained that I had done karate as a kid but that was it. He invited me to join his club and give MMA a try. I came down and trained for approximately 6 months. It was like a "fight club". There were some pretty crazy skilled guys there and we would train pretty heavy beating the crap out of each other, haha. He showed me some basic grappling moves and some striking, but I was pretty green at the time. Later on, I had to stop training because I was a varsity lacrosse player at my college and couldn't afford to get injured.

After I graduated college, I bumped in to a friend, Eddie Felix, who was training MMA at Dragon Warrior Mixed Martial Arts. I've always been a martial artist and I had trained a little bit of MMA at the fight club gym in Lynn, MA, so I decided to give it a try again. I joined DWMMA in Woburn and began training heavily. I had my first fight in April of 2006 and I continued to do so. After a year or so of training at DWMMA, I had met Bobby Diaz where he introduced me to Muay Thai. I was so impressed with his skill level that I wanted to pursue Muay Thai much more. He mentioned that I should look up Sityodtong Muay Thai in Somerville with Kru Mark Dellagrotte. I contacted the gym, came down and started training there and have remained there ever since.

2. Do you have a background in martial arts, boxing , wrestling etc?

I started Tang Soo Do as a kid at the age of 7 years old. I dabbled in several different martial arts over the years including Tae Kwon Do, Kenpo Karate, Kung Fu, Wing Chun and a few other styles.

3. What's your nickname, how did you get it?

My nickname is "The Sultan". One of my first BJJ coaches, Rodney Hargrove, who is a black belt under Roberto Maia adorned me with the nickname. I loved it and have used it ever since. He said it was based on my name and my personality. He said I carried myself with presence like a king and therefore the name was fitting. I was lucky to have such a cool coach who came up with such a cool name instead of coming up with a goofy nickname, haha.

4. What are your ultimate goals in the sport?

My ultimate goal is to become a champion in my weight class. It's a pretty generic goal, but it's my goal nonetheless.

5. What do you think about your next opponent?

I believe my next opponent is a tough Muay thai fighter out of Anderson's MMA in NY. He's tough, gritty and has KO power. He's certainly a challenge and I'm honored to fight him.

6. How do you see the fight going/being finished?

I see us having an awesome battle that will definitely be pleasing for the fans. I don't like to make predictions because you look foolish if things don't go your way. I'm a seasoned, experienced fighter through tons of training at an incredible academy and I'll be ready for battle.

7. What weight do you walk at/how much do you cut to fight?

I walk at 205 lbs or so and I diet and cut to 185 lbs.

8. What's your favorite part about fighting?

I love the challenge of an MMA fight. I love doing battle in front of family, friends and my training partners. I'm just looking to make my team proud.

9. What's the worst part about fighting?

The worst part about fighting is the fact that you are constantly 1 loss away from being "nobody". All of your hard work goes right out of the window. I hate the idea that you are only as good as your last fight.

I also kind of hate that it's the "cool" thing now to be a fighter. I meet people all the time who running around telling everyone that they are fighters, many of whom just do it to pick up girls, etc. It comes with the territory of the sport going mainstream.

10. Anyone locally or in the big's that you really would love to fight, and why?

I know its kind of a vanilla answer, but I don't have anyone in mind I'd like to fight as of yet....I'm certainly keeping my eyes on the top fighters in my weight class and looking to fight some of them....Hopefully for a title in the near future. This is my first fight back in over 3 years so I'm just looking to get back out there and get going.

11. What do you feel is your best weapon in your fights?

I'm comfortable everywhere so I feel that this is an advantage. I don't mind going to the ground or staying standing. I'm a 3 stripe purple belt in BJJ and I'm working towards my purple mongkol under Kru Mark Dellagrotte.

My best weapons are my tenacity and my creativity. I have a very non traditional style because of my unique background and skills. I move in ways that confuse a lot of people because I do things they are not used to seeing.

12. What is your favorite foods that you miss while cutting weight??

I really miss pizza and cheeseburgers, haha. After this fight, I can't wait to go get a thick and cheesy couple of slices from Pini's Pizza in Somerville. They have unbelievable pizza. I'm also looking forward to a cheeseburger from Kelly's Roast Beef.

13. What is your most memorable moment to date in MMA??

My most memorable moment was when I had fought Bob Balaschi out of Lauzon's MMA because it was the last fight where the late Kru Eric Armington was in my corner. He was so excited about one of the big punches I landed in that fight because he thought it showed our "gun slinger" mentality that we both loved. I miss him tremendously and it's an awesome memory to think about that day and having him there with me.

14. How else do you spend your time when you are not training??

I love to dance house and BBoying. I love to go to huge house clubs and battle all night long in the circles. Other than that, I love watching movies and listening to music. I'm a huge music lover. I have over 25,000 songs as well as over 400 podcasts at over an hour each. I'm going to continue expanding my library but I need a new computer to do so. Ran out of space, haha.

15. What do you do for a living besides fighting??

I have a Mechanical Engineering Technology degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. I work as a Mechanical Design Engineer.

I'd love to take this opportunity to thank my coaches, Kru Mark Dellagrotte, Kru Neil Legallo, John Johnston, Jake Steinmann, Juliano Coutinho, AKA Banana, Chris Eldridge, Mike Gresh AKA Loco Lobo, Tim Barchard and Kevin Landry. They've all helped shape me in to the fighter I am today. And of course all of my training partners down at Sityodtong Muay Thai. I genuinely love my team and I genuinely feel like we are a family. We watch UFC's together, have family get togethers and generally just spend a lot of time together. We are a family and that's the best feeling in the world.

Lastly, I'd like to thank my strength and conditioning coach, Tim Leary, who has been absolutely instrumental in getting me in great shape for this fight as well as my nutritionist Scott Bottorff who educated me in the world of nutrition. They have been HUGE in helping me for this fight. I'm SUPER prepared and I'm SUPER excited to do battle on the 25th. 

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank my sponsors for this fight. Life is Hard, Fighting is Easy, La Morena, Tatiana's Restaurant and Lounge, Advanced Backup Solutions,, I'll see you guys on the 25th at Mohegan Sun!!

--Thanks Eddie for an awesome Featured Fighter.  It was a great read and I think everyone will enjoy learning more about you.  Good luck to you on your 7th pro fight!  We will be there cheering you on.  For anyone who wants to buy a ticket or a Sultan Walkout shirt click here.

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