Campbell McLaren might not have any current ties to the UFC organization that he co-created, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t found a way to celebrate the 24th anniversary of UFC 1. McLaren is now the CEO of Combate Americas, and the promotion plans to commemorate the historic date with a historic event of its own that will air live on Telemundo.
The scheduled 90-minute broadcast takes another page out of the UFC 1 playbook with a one-night, eight-man tournament that features a $100,000 grand prize. The “Copa Combate” tournament takes place on Nov. 11 in Cancun, Mexico.
Eight bantamweight fighters will participate in the one-night tournament, but they will also represent their countries in their quest to win three fights in a single evening. America landed two fighters in the bracket with the inclusion of Minnesota’s John Castañeda and the Texas-based Ricky Palacios. The remaining participants include Argentina’s Marcelo Rojo, Mexico’s Carlos Rivera, Puerto Rico’s Mikey Erosa, Spain’s Marc Gomez, Colombia’s Andres Ayala and Peru’s Kevin Moreyra.
The 25-year-old Castañeda is a mainstay of the Combate Americas promotion, but “Sexy Mexi” has also made stops for the King of the Cage and Resurrection Fighting Alliance promotions. He holds notable wins over UFC veteran Chris Beal and Pride vet Joe Pearson.
Palacios is another longtime member of the Combate Americas roster, but the 30-year-old has yet to notch a victory over a truly notable opponent.
The Peruvian Rojo is a fairly recent Combate Americas arrival, but he has knockout victories in his first two appearances with the promotion. The 29-year-old has also made stops under the XFC International and Absolute Championship Berkut banners.
Rivera, a proven finisher of fights, will make his Combate Americas debut in this tournament, following a career that’s primarily kept him in his native Mexico.
Erosa is another Combate Americas newcomer following a 17-fight run in his homeland of Puerto Rico. He enters the tournament on a two-fight skid.
The Spaniard Gomez can relate. He, too, makes his Combate Americas debut on the heels of a two-fight skid. “Lufo” does boast a victory over former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion and ONE Championship title challenger Toni Tauru, but his recent losses came to Cage bantamweight titleist Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas and journeyman Brazilian Thiago Martins.
Ayala did score a 35-second knockout in his most recent outing, but the Colombian has already suffered a couple of submission losses in his career.
With only five fights under his belt, Moreyra enters the bracket as the least experienced fighter. The Peruvian will certainly face an uphill battle against his more experienced tournament foes.
The live televised broadcast will feature the semifinals and finals. Meanwhile, the quarterfinals will stream live on TelemundoDeportes.com. The event kicks off at 11:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 11.