Adam Stroup (Phil Lambert/Combat Press)

Sparta Combat League’s Adam Stroup: Even Superman Has Kryptonite

Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill franchise is comprised of two of the baddest (in a good way) fight movies of all time. The lead character, Beatrix Kiddo, aka “The Bride,” was a retired assassin and arguably the most dangerous woman in the world. One of the underlying themes of the movie was that she was running from her past, but her past, personified through her former love interest Bill, was not letting her go.

In the second installment, which is possibly one of the greatest sequels in movie history, there is an interesting scene where Bill explains to Kiddo the biggest difference between Superman and the other major superheroes. He states that most superheroes are normal people who, through one circumstance or another, now have an superhero alter ego, but that is not the case for the Man of Steel.

Batman is billionaire Bruce Wayne, Spider-Man is the teenager Peter Parker, and the Incredible Hulk is actually Bruce Banner. Superman was born Kal-El on the planet Krypton. He is intrinsically Superman, but he disguises himself as a “mild-mannered reporter” named Clark Kent. While the resemblance might not be uncanny, professional fighter Adam Stroup is a lot like Superman.


In the core of his heart, Stroup is a fighter. He has no other calling in life. The native of Denver played other sports in his childhood and teenage years, but martial arts has always been a part of his life. It is more than just a career, too. Outside of the gym, Stroup is very much like Clark Kent.

Stroup looks very unassuming outside of the gym. Much like Kent, he still carries a strong jaw and a solid frame. He also wears glasses, is not too outspoken, and is a very nice person to be around. Ask one of his training partners what he’s like in the gym, and the answer is always the same: “Adam’s a beast.” His opponents will likely say the same.

Going into his last fight, Stroup was 9-1 and held the Sparta Combat League middleweight strap, which he had defended three times. He had finished seven of his opponents. After a four-fight winning streak, he was ready to put up a big win over Cory Devela, one of the top unsigned middleweights. However, things did not go the way of the champ.

“Going into the fight, I thought I would definitely have the advantage in the clinch, but I feel like he watched a lot of my footage, and he was really good at keeping me from kneeing him,” Stoup explained to Combat Press. “When he got a chance, he would sweep my legs from underneath me, which was different than I’m used to.”

Ultimately, Devela controlled Stroup in a way no other opponent has and, eventually, pulled off a decision win. Even Superman has a weakness, and Devela found Stroup’s Kryptonite. The loss was a tough one, but if there’s ever a time to uncover holes in a fighter’s game, it’s on the local circuit.

“I just need to be more comfortable in space and not necessarily rely on my clinch all the time,” Stroup admitted. “I need to fight more from the outside and use the clinch in certain situations, but not rely on it so much.”

Stroup is a talented fighter. He has never been finished, and his submission and knockout wins have been spectacular. He got right back to camp to prepare for his redemption fight. Every fighter chomps at the bit to get back in the ring after a loss that ends a pretty good run. Next up for Stroup is Charlie “Hollywood” Brown.

Brown used to be with The MMA Lab in Arizona, but he is now training out of Flashback Martial Arts in Appleton, Wis., where he is also a co-owner and instructor at the Team Rodrigo Vaghi-affiliated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy. Most of his fights have taken place at welterweight, but he will be making the jump up to meet Stroup at 185 pounds to headline the SCL 46 event this Saturday night at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.

“We were just looking for a good opponent,” Stroup said. “He’s got about as many fights as I do, maybe more. He’s tough guy, and he’s fought for Sparta Combat a few times. [SCL owner] Jeff [Cisneros] mentioned him, and it just worked out.”

Brown is currently sitting at 11-5 as a pro and is coming off a loss as well — a second-round knockout at the hands of Mark Stoddard back in May. His wins have been a good mix of knockouts and submissions, and he has been both stopped and taken the distance as well, but Stroup is a lot bigger than his previous opponents.

“From what I can see, he’s a tough, southpaw, kickboxer kind of dude,” stated Stroup. “He likes to keep it on the feet [and] throw big shots, and he’s coming in at 185 [pounds], so he’s going to be pretty thick. He’ll be a good opponent.”

Brown may have exhibited a penchant for stand-up in recent fights, but it is important to take into consideration that he also has a solid BJJ game. That is one area where Stroup is comfortable. Wrestling may have been Stroup’s weakness in his last fight, but he has been focusing on improving everywhere since the loss to Devela. Right now, he has his sights set on getting back to his winning ways and hopefully turning a few heads along the way.

“I definitely want to win this one and get to 10-2,” Stroup said. “I think getting 10 wins will be pretty cool. I would like to find a regional promotion to fight for. I haven’t really been hearing anything, and I don’t really have any representation. My coach, Marc [Montoya], helps out a lot. We get requests, but they don’t really work out most of the time. We’ll just win this fight and, hopefully, we get a call.”

On the surface, Stroup may be mild mannered, but he is a beast in the ring. Like Superman, he identified his Kryptonite, so he now knows what to look out for next time and has been training accordingly. On Saturday night, he and Brown are both going to be fighting with redemption on their minds, and that always makes for an exciting main event.

Stroup would like to thank his coaches and training partners at Factory X Muay Thai, his family, friends, fans and sponsors at 5280 Armory. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamStroup