Brian Ebersole shaved logos and symbols into his chest hair before a fight. Dan Hardy rocked a punk rock Mohawk. Shinya Aoki wore colorful grappling tights. Then there’s Kevin “K-Rod” Roddy and his skimpy, tight sunshine yellow shorts he wore on Thursday night for his Bellator debut against Brylan Van Artsdalen inside the Revel resort and casino in Atlantic City, NJ.
The Kurt Pellegrino black belt stood toe-to-toe with Van Artsdalen setting up his jab to land the cross. Van Artsdalen’s corner was heard yelling for their fighter to keep his chin down. Then Roddy, in the second round, used his BJJ and long legs to tie up Van Artsdalen, hooked an armbar and tapped his opponent out.
There was a moment during the fight that appeared Van Artsdalen might pull off a north-south choke. But Roddy gave the referee a thumb’s up even though it was under the chin and appeared tight.
The last time I spoke to Roddy, he was preparing for a fight against Jay Haas. This was back in October. Then Hurricane Sandy hit and the Bricktown native found himself up against a different beast, watched his hometown become a post-apocalyptic nightmare with images of Seaside Heights completely underwater.
Obviously, the fight against Haas never happened. Then, on March 20th I received a text, “Yo. Dude.”
“Yo,” I replied.
“I signed a contract with Bellator yesterday. Fighting in AC (Atlantic City) in two weeks against Brylan Van Artsdalen. Good fight.”
Roddy was on a two-fight win streak, but hadn’t fought since June of last year. With a layoff from the fight game you’d expect ring rust, or at least a “feeling out” period during the opening round to get back into the swing of things, set his mind right, adapt to the bright lights, the fans and cameras ringside. But as Roddy stated in “This Fighting Life,” “Anyone at anytime. You shouldn’t be able to pick and choose who and when you fight.”
Roddy showed that during his Bellator debut with only two weeks to prepare, including cutting weight.
After the weigh-ins he texted, “Was 146.0. Cut from 160. I’m bigger than my guy. Just did so much hydrating. I’m about to go feast in like ten minutes.”
With an impressive win in Bellator, what’s next for the featherweight?
“I’ll fight whoever, man. Hopefully I’m gonna fight in November. If something comes up at 155, I’ll take that too.”
Complete Bellator 95 results:
Pat Curran def. Shahbulat Shamhalaev via technical submission (guillotine) (1st, 2:38)
Frodo Khasbulaev def. Mike Richman via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Doug Marshall def. Brett Cooper via first-round KO (3:39)
Rick Hawn def. Karo Parisyan via second-round TKO (1:55)
Lyman Good def. Dante Rivera via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sam Oropeza def. Shedrick Goodridge via TKO (elbows and punches), Rd. 2 (4:22)
Tom DeBlass def. Carlos Brooks via TKO (doctor stoppage), Rd. 2 (5:00)
Phillipe Nover def. Darrell Horcher via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Jimmie Rivera def. Brian Kelleher via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Liam McGeary def. Anton Talamantes via TKO, Rd. 1 (1:18)
Kevin Roddy def. Brylan Van Artsdalen via submission (armbar), Rd. 2 (1:04)
Will Martinez def. Michael Brent Hess via KO (strikes), Rd. 1 (4:15)