SALEM — Brent Kinberger made a triumphant comeback from an almost four-year layoff by winning the main event of Combat Zone MMA’s “All or Nothing” card by unanimous decision over Mervin “Marvelous” Rodriguez on Friday night in the packed Sports Club at Rockingham Park.
The 41-year-old Kinberger, formerly the Northeast’s top-ranked fighter in his weight class, also had to overcome an 11-year age disadvantage to his opponent in addition to shaking off some ring rust. Yet the electrical engineer from Manchester, NH won every round on the judges’ scorecard with his superior takedowns and stellar mat work in the lightweight battle to prevail 30-27.
“I got that ring rust off real quick,” said Kinberger, who had Bellator fighter Perry “Filthy” Filkins working his corner as part of the Team Link crew. “He had a weird strategy. He was trying to stay away from me but in all of his other fights he had come forward blasting so I was ready for that. I waited and when he came at me I got the takedowns I wanted and pretty much dominated the fight on the ground. I don’t feel like I made any mistakes. He’s a really tough guy, but I came out unscathed and I feel great.”
Cheyenne Vazquez from Lawrence improved to 2-0 with a first round TKO by strikes over Eddie Brito from Derry, NH in the other professional match on the 11-fight card. Vasquez, representing Sityodong, was able to execute the takedown and from then was executed his ground and pound game until the referee stepped in to call the fight at 2:10 of the initial stanza. Brito dropped to 3-6.
When Brett Trahan, the Northeast’s top-ranked amateur lightweight, faced North Andover’s JT Harold, the No. 3 ranked welterweight, at 170 pounds, something had to give and it was Harold who had the crowd chanting “JT, JT” when he scored the TKO on strikes in 2:15 of the intensely-fought first round.