“I don’t know how much he trains at Renzo’s, but when I found out he was, I was happy for him. Ricco has been through some tough times in his life, so I’m thankful he can find peace and happiness with team Renzo, my team, in my opinion the best team. So it doesn’t bother me one bit him training with my team, because, in the end, life is more important than a single competition.” – Tom DeBlass
With the brand of Fight to Win Pro growing every week, constantly putting on events in new locales, the quality of matches is also consistently growing and improving. The upcoming event in New Jersey features a very special match between former UFC champ and long time grappler Ricco Rodriguez and ultra popular active black belt competitor Tom DeBlass.
Both athletes currently train under the same flag, Renzo Gracie Association, but have agreed to compete in a grappling match headlining Fight To Win Pro’s first event in New Jersey.
Rodriguez won the absolute division of one of the early ADCC tournaments, at the time being one of only a small handful of Americans to collect that accolade. He also beat UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture to obtain the UFC Heavyweight belt. DeBlass is the younger competitor, more active in recent years, but this will not be an easy match for him.
“This match is important to me because Ricco is a legend. He’s an ADCC and UFC champion. So I respect him a great deal. Also headlining Fight To Win their first East Coast card is an honor.”
Rodriguez recently started training with Team Renzo Gracie, making him at least for the time being one of DeBlass’ teammates. This will not interfere with the match happening and DeBlass has stated that he hopes Rodriguez continues to train with RGA.
Both competitors have had impressive MMA runs, with Ricco’s most recent fight being a stoppage at the hands of Gilbert Yvel in November of 2016. DeBlass stepped away from MMA in 2013, stopping two opponents back to back. DeBlass is currently the more active jiu-jitsu/grappling competitor, most recently winning the ADCC North American trials in his weight class. However, he has been training for a shorter period of time.
Expect an exciting showdown between these two titans of the sport at Fight To Win Pro 30, which will take place on April 8th in Bayville, New Jersey. If you are unable to attend but want to watch this groundbreaking event, purchase a subscription at www.flograppling.com