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April 22, 2015


[Combat Zone Press Release]

SALEM, NH (April 21, 2015)- Lisa Dellarusso debuts as an MMA fighter on Friday night in Combat Zone 53 at Rockingham Park against Hannah Murello, but she’s already won the biggest battle.

“I finally left a long-term relationship where my boyfriend at the time wasn’t supportive of what I wanted. I had always wanted to start martial arts training but was never in a position where I was able to do so,” said the 28-year-old Derry resident. “As soon as I got the courage to leave and was more independent, I made this choice for myself. It was something I said I have to do, or at least try to do. It would be a regret I’d always have if I didn’t.”

At the time she was 23, which many consider as ancient for a woman to begin preparing for a career in the cage, but she let neither ageism nor sexism dash her dreams.

After extricating herself from the relationship, she walked into Professional Martial Arts Academy in Derry, immediately knew it was the right fit, and signed up for classes. As soon as she started training, she became even more convinced this was her passion.

But she wasn’t home free.

“I’ve experienced a lot in my life. But I thought ‘Can I do this?’ Can I start this at the age that I am? I’m not one of those people who has been training since they were two, or whose parents owned a gym so they’ve always been around it. This is something I chose to do as an adult. For me to start at twenty-three and want to pursue this as a career took a lot of confidence. I had to really push myself and force myself to never give up, and not even think that way. I had to develop the confidence to pursue it even though I had the fear and so many doubts about whether I could,” she said.
Dellarusso left not only her boyfriend, but her career to pursue MMA. She quit working as a medical esthetician and became a bartender to arrange her work schedule around her training, and has been at Whippersnapper’s in Londonderry for the past 2 ½ years.

At 5’6” and 132 pounds and ripping with muscles she could easily vault over the bar and help the bouncers, but the customers give her no trouble. After seeing her come to work covered in bruises and with cuts on her face, they realized that she’s got MMA credibility.

“A lot of the regulars know I’ve been talking about this for a long time and they are coming on Friday night to support me. They want to be involved, which is great,” she said.

In her corner will also be the current man in her life, Kyle Adams, who won his MMA debut in Combat Zone 52 at the racetrack and is her Muay Thai and karate instructor at PMA. But she doesn’t know yet of he’ll one of the two PMA instructors working her corner for the fight.

“Kyle is one hundred percent supportive and positive about what I’m doing. He’s awesome and a very good training partner, and that makes all of the difference,” she said.
Dellarusso, who had to cut to 120 pounds for the fight, doesn’t know either what to expect from the opening bell as this is also Murello’s first fight.

“That’s why I try to make myself as well rounded as possible and am ready for anything. I’m not trying to limit myself by fighting in only one kind of style,” she said. “I started training in Muay Thai, but have forced myself to become well-rounded. I want to be good in all aspects and in all areas of my game and that’s how I’ve been training. That’s my mentality because that’s the type of fighter I want to become.”

Dellarusso has aspirations to go pro and as a consequence does not drink or party. All of her free time is dedicated to her training and her sport.
“In my mentality, it’s not a sport. This is a very real thing. It’s a survival instinct.  It’s not like any desk job. It’s real life and as real as it gets,” she said. “I’ve had a lot of obstacles, physically and mentally, so I had to overcome them and it took longer than I wanted to get in the cage. Now I’m just more excited and more ready for this.

“I’m treating this as if it’s a title fight.  This has been such a long road for me and I’ve wanted it so badly for so long that it is literally blood, sweat and tears for me.”
The Dellarusso-Murello fight is one of two on the Combat Zone 53 “No Way Out” 11-fight card featuring women. For the first time in the promotion’s long history in New England, the card will have amateur kickboxing and a pankration demonstration in addition to the professional and amateur MMA events.

The main event will be the flyweight amateur title fight between undefeated Mike “The Animal” Scappicchio (3-0) from Plaistow, NH and Carl Langston (7-5) from Windham, ME.
Doors open at 6:30 PM and the first fight goes off at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $40, $50, $75, $90 and $120 and parking at the racetrack is free. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call co-promoter Jamison Kattar at 978-361-6772.

 The Combat Zone 53 “No Way Out” Fight Card, subject to change, is:
Amateur Kickboxing
140 lbs: James Kerivan 1-1 (Boston, MA) vs Chris Vaquerano 1-0 (Beverly, MA)
225 lbs: Steve Walker 0-0 (Boston, MA) vs Owen Finnegan 1-2 (Dracut. MA)
170 lbs: Michael Taddi 0-0 (Boston, MA) vs Erik Tseronis 0-0 (Londonderry, NH)
170 lbs: Jared Wolf 0-0 (Salem, NH) vs CJ Kelvin 0-0 (Gilford, NH)
 Amateur MMA
155: lbs: Ryan Dibartolemeo 3-3 (Leominster, MA) vs Dave Brown 1-0 (Gilford, NH)
125 lbs: Lisa Dellarusso 0-0 (Derry, NH) vs Hannah Murello 0-0 (Nashua, NH)
130 lbs: Kerri Kenneson 0-0 (Hooksett, NH) vs Jeanette Pomales 0-0 (Somerville, MA)
145 lbs: Peter Ishiguro 1-0 (Boston, MA) vs Shawn Malanson 0-0 (Nashua, NH)
 Pankration Exhibition
Dylan Davis 11-1 (Salem, NH) vs Gunner Anthony Wyman 4-1 (Skowhegan, ME)
Professional MMA
180lbs: Tim Caron 2-0 (Manchester, NH) vs Shawn Summey 2-1 (Framingham, ME)
 Flyweight Amateur Title Fight
135lbs: Mike Scappicchio 3-0 (Plaistow, NH) vs Carl Langston 7-5 (Windham, ME)