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January 31, 2019

Combat Zone 69: Armageddon Preview; Zecharia-Smith v. Spero

*Amateur Welterweight Title*

Travis Lizotte

Manchester, New Hampshire - Combat Zone 69 Armageddon will take place Saturday, February 2nd from the Armory at Doubletree Hotel in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire. Calvin and Jameson Kattar kick off their 2019 calendar of events with the return of some familiar faces at the promotions annual Super Bowl weekend brawl. Combat Zone allums litter the Professional portion of the Main Card as fellow allums; Jeff Silva (3-3) and Andy Aiello (4-3) showdown at a Catchweight of 130 pounds and Andres Rodriguez (2-0) and Carl Langston (0-1) meet at a Catchweight of 140 pounds. Combat Zone fan favorites Nick “JC” Alley (4-3; v. Jay Ellis) Terrance “T-Bone” Jean-Jacques (2-1; v. Jesus Cintron) and Kenny Murphy (1-2; Charalampos Grigoriou) mark a trio of Team Link Hooksett warriors; who fill out what is to be a marquee main card. All five Professional bouts will lead up to an Amateur Main Event as Amateur Welterweight Champion; Duncan “The Highlander”  Zecharia-Smith (4-2) defends his Combat Zone strap for the first time against Combat Zone veteran; Dave “The Pitbull” Spero (5-2) who ends a four and a half layoff for a chance at Combat Zone gold. First bell sounds at 7 pm local time as Combat Zone 69 gets underway from the Armory, in downtown Manchester. For tickets visit
Click below for the complete Combat Zone 69 fight card as well as a breakdown of the entire Main Card. However, entire fight card has not officially been finalized, this is the breakdown to the best of my current knowledge...


Amateur MMA bouts:

Am. 155 - Justin O’Connor (3-2, Lauzon MMA) v. Matt Brady (2-1, FTA)
Am. 145 - Dan Ward (1-7, Spero’s MMA) v. Joshua Greenlaw (0-2, Independent)
Am. 205 - Isaiah Able (0-2, Team Link Hooksett) v. Jeff Reynolds (0-0, Triumph BJJ)
Am. 170 - Mohammad Al Kinani (5-1, Evolution Athletix) v. John McAndrews (6-2, Gate City)

Professional MMA bouts:

Nick Alley (4-3) v. Jay Ellis (15-83)
Catchweight - 175 pounds
Nick “JC” Alley
Fighting out of: Hooksett, New Hampshire
Affiliation: Team Link Hooksett
Record: 4-3 (1 Knockout, 3 Submissions)
Last fight: First round Submission (Triangle Choke) of Jesus Cintron at Combat Zone 67.
Jay Ellis
Fighting out of: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Affiliation: Independent
Record: 15-83 (3 Knockouts, 12 Submissions)
Last fight: First round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) loss to Evan DeLong at KOTC: Starbound 2.
Breakdown: Bellator veteran and Team Link Hooksett OG; Nick “JC” Alley looks to make it back to back wins since returning home to the Combat Zone cage as he welcomes journeyman Jay Ellis back to New England, once again on short notice. After Alley’s initial opponent Steven Chesnik pulled out of the fight, Combat Zone was left to find a last minute replacement to oppose Alley. Enter Jay Ellis, the man listed in the contacts of many promoters as; “last minute replacement” Ellis seems to find himself work nearly every weekend at weights from 145-170, Ellis will be making the professional walk for a remarkable 99th time Saturday night. Alley needs to waste little time in this fight, putting pressure on Ellis early, I look for Nick to try and test the chin of Ellis from the get go and if the fight goes to the ground; Alley owns some high level submission techniques that could test Ellis’ will wherever the fight plays out.       

Jeff Silva (3-3) v. Andy Aiello (4-3)
Catchweight - 130 pounds
Jeff Silva
Fighting out of: Methuen, Massachusetts
Affiliation: PMA
Record: 3-3 (3 Submissions)  
Last fight: Second round Submission (Armbar) of Chad Kelly at Combat Zone 67.
Andy “The Raging Korean” Aiello
Fighting out of: Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lauzon MMA
Record: 4-3 (2 Knockouts)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Zachary Burhans at CES 53.
Breakdown: Aiello v. Silva is a matchup of striker versus grappler; Aiello, the striker, has gone toe to toe with some of the best Flyweights in New England holding signature wins against Zachary Burhans, Remo Cardarelli and Dan Cormier. Aiello opened the eyes of many New England fans at CES 53 when he stepped in on less than 36 hours notice and battled with the aforementioned Burhans to a Unanimous Decision victory. Silva, the grappler, looks to make it three straight submission wins as he hopes to add Andy Aiello to his current list of victims that already includes Jesse Pires and Chad Kelly. The line on this fight is simple, if Silva can avoid the hands of Aiello long enough to get the fight to the ground Silva could score the upset, if not Aiello could make it an early night for the streaking Silva.   

Andres Rodriguez (2-0) v. Carl Langston (0-1)
Catchweight - 140 pounds
Andres Rodriguez
Fighting out of: Boston, Massachusetts
Affiliation: NEMMA/ Sityodtong Boston
Record: 2-0 (1 Knockout, 1 Submission)  
Last fight: First round Knockout of Rob Fuller at Combat Zone 67.
Carl Langston
Fighting out of: Portland, Maine
Affiliation: Youngs MMA
Record: 0-1 (7-9 as Amateur)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision loss to Ernesto Ornelas at NEF 33.
Breakdown: Stylish striker Carl Langston returns to the Combat Zone cage for the first time as a Professional, having gone 2-2 in his four Amateur fights with the promotion. Langston will throw down with red hot Sityodtong prospect; Andres Rodriguez who’s six second knockout of Rob Fuller at Combat Zone 67 stamped his spot in the promotional record books as well as he spot as top Featherweight prospect here in New England. Langston, hopes that a jump up in weight will return some of the power to his hands that he had trouble displaying in his pro-debut against Ernesto Ornelas. Rodriguez however, looks to show the veteran Langston that he is not the man you want to stand and bang with, as Rodriguez looks to extend his undefeated professional streak to three fights, with yet another first round finish.

Kenny Murphy (1-2) v. Charalampos Grigoriou (2-1)
Kenny Murphy
Fighting out of: Hooksett, New Hampshire
Affiliation: Team Link Hooksett
Record: 1-2 (Victory by Decision)  
Last fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Jeff Perez as Combat Zone 63.
Charalampos “The Ferocious” Grigoriou
Fighting out of: Paphos, Cypress
Affiliation: LAW MMA
Record: 2-1 (1 Knockout)
Last fight: First round Knockout (Punch) of O’Brayan Ramirez at Ring of Combat 62.
Breakdown: Once top Flyweight prospect and former Cage Titans Amateur Flyweight Champion; Kenny Murphy has had a rough go of it since turning pro in 2014. Murphy was knocked out by Chad Kelly in his pro debut and followed that up with a decision loss to Dan Cormier at Premier FC 21, Murphy notched his first professional victory at Combat Zone 63 with a Unanimous Decision win over Jeff Silva, some 18 months ago. Murphy looks to return to form, as one of the more talented strikers in New England’s Flyweight division as he welcomes Charalampos Grigoriou to Combat Zone and the New England Flyweight division. Grigoriou, a striker in his own right, possesses the stand up skills to test the tools of Team Link Hooksett’s Kenny Murphy, this fight has all the makings of a striking clinic and is my early pick for fight of the night.   

Terrance Jean-Jacques (2-1) v. Jesus Cintron (0-4)
Terrance “T-Bone” Jean-Jacques
Fighting out of: Hooksett, New Hampshire
Affiliation: Team Link Hooksett
Record: 2-1 (2 wins by decision)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Jahnell Parkinson at Combat Zone 68.
Jesus Cintron
Fighting out of: New York
Affiliation: Independent
Record: 0-4
Last fight: First round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) loss to Gerald Meuse at Combat Zone 68.
Breakdown: Newly gifted father and top New England Light-Heavyweight Prospect; Terrance Jean-Jacques found himself on the outside of Combat Zone 69 looking in just days ago, before Jesus Cintron stepped up two weight classes and on short notice to replace Jean-Jacques original opponent; Crowsneck Boutin. Terrance’s power wrestling is some of the best in New England at 205 and will pose a very big problem to the vastly undersized Jesus Cintron. Cintron; a boxer by trade, will carry with him that always present “puncher’s chance” as he looks to notch his first professional MMA victory. It will pay no dividends for Terrance to keep this fight standing as I see this fight going to the ground early where Terrance will search for the finish of his professional career.  

Main Event:

Title beltDuncan Zecharia-Smith (4-2) v. Dave Spero (5-2)
Title belt*Amateur Welterweight Title*Title belt
Duncan “The Highlander” Zecharia-Smith
Fighting out of: Gray, Maine
Affiliation: Evolution Athletix
Record: 4-2 (3 Submissions)  
Last fight: Second round Submission (Kimura) of Justin Boraczek at Combat Zone 67.
Dave “The Pitbull” Spero
Fighting out of: Plaistow, New Hampshire
Affiliation: Spero’s MMA
Record: 5-2 (1 Knockout, 2 Submissions)
Last fight: First round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) of Sean Seaburg at Combat Zone 50.
Breakdown: Smith versus Spero is the quintessential battle of generational grapplers. In the “old school” is the 40 year old Dave Spero, Spero likes to use his striking to close distance, once inside Spero tends to force the issue wearing down his opponents until a submission presents itself. In the “new school” sits the 25 year old Champion; Duncan Zecharia-Smith, Smith is very much a counterstriker on the feet as the BJJ practitioner looks for any opportunity to get his fights to the ground, even if it means pulling guard. Once on the ground Smith is methodical, willing to take not only time, but damage, in order to deploy his dangerous submission techniques. Always composed; Smith is not likely to cave early to the pressure of Spero, as I see this fight going into the Championship rounds if not to the judges table. I look for this fight to take place predominantly on the ground, as these guys look to test one another’s grappling prowess, with Duncan’s Welterweight strap on the line.