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Full lineup set for the MMA Pro League’s debut in Atlantic City

New Jersey will be running wild when the MMA Pro League makes its debut on September 15. Various fighters representing New Jersey and Pennsylvania will compete for one goal: to become the MMA Pro League National Champion.

The inaugural event inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City is looking to be different from other MMA organizations, due to its unpredictable format. Let’s take a look at the final fight card before the event, shall we?

Claudio Ledesma, a former Ring of Combat and Bellator alum, will face off against Andre Bernardo. Ledesma (11-7), a New Jersey native, is looking to snap out of his two-fight losing streak, while Bernardo (8-4) is looking to win his second fight in a row. One record will be broken in this opening fight, which one will it be?

Up next is Gabriel Ruiz v. Cody Hier in a featherweight bout. Both NJ’s Ruiz (1-0) and PA’s Hier (1-1) are looking to reach any sort of momentum in their young careers.

U.S. National Guard Emmanuel Walo fell in love with MMA while in Iraq and will look to use all the skills he learned against Rafael Celestino. Making his pro debut in 2010, Walo (12-2-1) faces a relative newcomer in Celestino (5-2).

New Jersey native Mike Pagano will compete in featherweight action against Zedekiah Montanez. Pagano (0-1) is another military man who has trained with coach Dan Miller at Miller Brothers MMA. Based out of Pennsylvania, Montanez (3-2) is looking to win his second in a row at the MMAPL event.

It will be a heavyweight showdown when Kevin Sears takes on Ahmed Samir. Sears (7-4) is also looking to win his second in a row, while Samir (1-0), a boxer, is looking for his second win in his young MMA career.

Born in Jersey, Turpal Khamzayev (0-1) debuted back in May. Whether he learned from his previous loss is up for debate. He will be facing a legitimate newcomer in Joseph Penafiel (1-0).

Starting MMA in 2017, Mark Kolker (1-0) will look to extend his record while also denying Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov his first-ever MMA win.

One of the youngest members of the MMPL, Shan Cella (0-1) has a tough challenge in “newcomer” Francisco Muniz. Muniz (0-0) is 4-1 in his native Puerto Rico.

Finishing off the card, Justin Osborn faces off against Andy Jimenez. Osborn (1-0), representing New Jersey, will be the veteran in his fight against Jimenez, who will be competing in his first professional MMA fight.

The inaugural MMAPL event takes place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City in New Jersey on September 15. The fights will be streaming live on

Daniel Yanofsky

Daniel Yanofsky

Daniel is a Managing Editor at, and covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). He is also the lead New York Mets writer. When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a Sunday podcast, The Main Event.
Daniel Yanofsky
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