July 16, 2014 | 2477 views
Locals thrive in MMA octagon
Freeport's Gordon wins "Ultimate Fighter" after tip from Wantagh's Iaquinta
When the octagon door closed at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on July 6, one man, Dhiego Lima, stood between Freeport’s Eddie “Truck” Gordon and the opportunity of a lifetime — a six-figure contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC.) And the way the 71 seconds of the fight played out, Lima probably wished someone else was standing in front of Gordon in the 185-pound bout.
Truck looked more like a bulldozer, initially connecting on an overhand right behind the ear that wobbled Lima 45 seconds into the fight. Gordon then went into full-on attack mode, sticking to Lima like saran wrap and raining down hammerfists, uppercuts and hooks — connecting on 27 in a row over the next 26 seconds — before the referee finally stopped the bout.
“Going in I knew I was the bigger, stronger guy,” Gordon said. “I wanted to impose my will. I wanted to close the gap and not give him much space. It was the best feeling [getting the win]. With the adrenaline, I didn’t know whether to run around the ring, yell or scream.”
For Gordon, a 2001 graduate of Freeport High School, fighting as part of a [Matt] Serra- [Ray] Longo fight team that also includes the UFC’s middleweight champion, Baldwin’s Chris Weidman, and Al Iaquinta, a 2005 graduate of Wantagh High School and a rising 155-pounder, it was the culmination of a nearly year-long effort that included a six-week stay on Season 19 of the UFC’s “The Ultimate Fighter” (TUF) reality show. Gordon grinded out three victories by decision during the taping in just four weeks.
“People don’t realize you film for six weeks and the fights are over the last four,” Gordon said. “After the quarterfinals, I fought four days later. It’s tough, it’s grueling and it’s a grind. I had time to recoup [for the finale] and train with my team for seven or eight months.”