A rivalry which began at a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) tournament in Mexico earlier this year will continue on Trinidadian soil, as local fighter Jeremy Rodulfo is set for a rematch with Guyanese fighter Carl Ramsay at the Ruff and Tuff tournament on October 1,
Rodulfo, 27, defeated Ramsay by a knockout at the International MMA Federation's (IMMAF) Pan American Championships in Monterrey, Mexico, in June.
This win earned Rodulfo a gold medal.
Speaking with Newsday on Tuesday, Rodulfo who has won several tournaments in MMA and Sambo (a Russian martial art), says he is confident in his skills as a fighter and looked forward to being able to compete in Trinidad after the covid19 pandemic.
"I'm both nervous and excited to be fighting at home.
"I just hope to give the fans what they want and walk away with a win at the end of it.
"I'm happy that we are able to compete again and do what we love.
"Ruff and Tuff has been a great platform for all of us as athletes to grow and learn, and there are plenty newcomers who are finally getting their feet wet after waiting for so long."
Asked about his thoughts on facing Ramsay again, Rodulfo said he took the rematch seriously and was prepared to go the distance.
"I feel as though he has a point to prove and will do anything to prove that point, and I'm ready and willing to do what it takes to come out on top."
This is the eleventh Ruff and Tuff tournament and the first local MMA tournament since covid19 regulations were lifted last year.
Speaking with Newsday, president of the Ruff and Tuff Caribbean MMA League and Caribbean chairman of the IMMAF Jason Fraser said Saturday's tournament will be significantly scaled down compared to past competitions, owing to the lack of financial support.
Despite this, Fraser said it was an opportunity for the tournament to get back to basics and deliver an exciting night of fights featuring a line-up of regional athletes.
"It's a very difficult event to put on because of the funding. We didn't have any support from corporate TT and only one company offered us ambulances and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) for the event.
"We also had another company, the Human Performance for Holistic Healing, offer to pay for security so we are grateful for that.
"Even with that, we have eight Caribbean countries competing. It's a very special occasion especially for countries like the Cayman Islands and Grenada, who will be contributing MMA fighters for their first tournament.
"We have 14 bouts, including two female fights, for the night, so there will be a lot of excitement on Saturday."
Fraser said the tournament was an important one, as it showed regional athletes were ready to compete after the pandemic, and was optimistic that financial backing will increase in the near future.