Bellator Feature Fight:Marvin Maldonado vs. Blair Tugman

| February 21, 2015 | 0 Comments


marvin-maldonado-headshot (1)Friday night Bellator MMA returns to the Mohegan Sun Arena, and a battle of local Bantamweights will be a fight to watch on their undercard. New York native Marvin Maldonado returns to action to face Connecticut’s Blair Tugman. Both fighters spend a lot of their time training  just a few miles apart in New Haven County in CT. Maldonado (2-3-0) has been taking the drive over to West Haven, CT and training with Mark Cerrone over at Renzo Gracie Training Facility. Anyone who lives in the tri-state area, knows it takes dedication to fight I-95 traffic just to train. Marvin will be taking that walk to Mohegan for the fourth time in his career, still searching for an elusive victory in the arena. Throughout his entire career Marvin has never been stopped, but has finished 6 of 9 combined victories in his am/pro career. A controversial split decision loss started his pro career, but then ran up two finishes over Mike de los Reyes & Theo Desjardin, before the current two fight losing skid he is on now. First to top ranked New England bantamweight Rico DiSciullo, and then a bit of an upset to Underdog’s Johnny Lopez in January. Marvin isn’t wasting any time, taking his bout in less than two months since that loss.

Tugman (6-5-0) was looking at a .500 career, and with sporadic appearances looked to be quite the underdog in his last bout against Brandon Fleming. Fleming was a monster in the Featherweight division, winning the Reality Fighting title over Erik Lee, and then dominating Robert Sullivan at CES in March of 2014. His only two losses at that time were to current UFC contender Robert Font, & current TitanFC Champion Des Green. When he decided to drop the ten pounds to Bantamweight, many thought he was too much for Tugman to overcome. When speaking to Blair he reminisced about the fight, “I thought my last fight was a big step forward…he was ranked top 5 in New England…I knew I had to be at my best to beat a young and up coming kid like this.” He continued, “I was a big underdog going into that fight. I saw some online polls about who people where picking to win the fight and in one of them they gave me a 2% chance to win. That motivated me! I love proving people wrong and I thrive off of tough competition.”

blair-tugman-headshot (1)Tugman trains with head coach Andrew Calandrelli, himself a Bellator veteran with a 3-1-0 record with the promotion, with Ultimate MMA out of North Haven, CT. Calandrelli took Blair once a week to New York City to train at World’s Greatest Grapplers Gym under the legendary Marcelo Garcia. In addition Tugman flew across the country to continue his MMA education. “I also got to fly out to California and train with Team Alpha Male for a week prior to the Fleming fight”, Tugman explains. “It was an unbelievable experience. I got to roll with T.J. Dillashaw, Joseph Benavidez, & Cody Garbrandt while I was there.”

In regards to his opponent Tugman had pleny of respect for Maldonado. “I’m excited for my next fight this coming Friday with Marvin. I know he’s another tough opponent and has an ammy title under his belt, he actually defeated my main training parter Justin Kristie in a title fight. I’m looking forward to getting some redemption for my teammate. For this camp I stayed in Connecticut the whole time and trained under Andrew. I assistant coach wrestling at Wesleyan College and run my own private wrestling club; Team Tugman Wrestling, so it was very hard to get away during the wrestling season.” He continued about Marvin’s skills as a fighter; “I know Marvin has a pretty good ground game but more than anything he is a scrappy tough guy. He doesn’t quit and is hard to put away…it should be an entertaining fight”

Blair Tugman has plenty more goals in the MMA world. About his future he told me he wants to be at the top fighting for the belt. He goes on more about his background, “I’ve competed at some of the highest levels of wrestling throughout my entire life. 3x New Jersey High School State Place Finisher & D1 collegiate wrestler at Lock Haven University.” His many teammates there include UFC veterans Sara McMann, Tim Boetsch, Charlie Brenneman, & Mike Ciesnolevicz.

The action all starts at 7pm EST, and this bout will be streamed live at Don’t miss a second of this Bantamweight battle that will lead to bigger & better fights for the victor!



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Category: Event Preview, Interview, News

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Boxing/MMA event correspondent. ABC licensed MMA judge. Went to Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT for Sports Management. Trained in Kickboxing from 2002-2004 & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from 2003-2006.

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