rossivsotchiyevOne of my favorite things about local MMA is that success isn’t confined within a promotion, but radiates out and draws the attention of others looking to elevate young stars. It was in this way that two fighters, coming off spectacular wins at Warrior Nation, suddenly find themselves across from each other at Cage Titans; contesting for the Featherweight Title.

For Bryan Rossi, this opportunity has been a long time coming for the amateur scrapper of seven years, yet Rossi has been throwing haymakers for much longer than his sanctioned career.

“I got into MMA because I needed something to do with myself. I was always in and out of trouble, fighting at school, in the neighborhood, and anywhere else you could find a scrap. I found MSA 2 in 2006, where Jorge Rivera was teaching at the time, and just stuck it out.” Rossi spoke, concerning his transition from neighborhood tough guy to athlete.

Rossi would begin fighting three years later, but was in no real hurry to mix it up in the cage, dropping his first two fights over two years, but growing into himself as a fighter. While most modern fighters are stuck in the habit of light training, hard camps, fighting and bingeing, Rossi has a more traditional approach to combat sports.

“I’m not one of those guys that goes out of his way to be ready to fight. I’m always ready. I train everyday. It’s a lifestyle; it’s who I am and what I do.”

Now having put a substantial feather in his cap with a ground and pound KO at Warrior Nation, Rossi finds himself geared up for the biggest fight of his career, though if truth be told, it’s not so much his own journey here that’s important to him, but what he can do along that path.

“I do want to fight at the highest level in the sport, but at the end of the day it’s more about the difference I can make. I’ve helped people get over their PTSD, young kids find their confidence, older men find their happiness, even helped a friend quit smoking. These things mean the world to me, and it pushes me to push myself when I see these people pushing to win their own mental battles.”

Perhaps with some good karma giving Rossi’s career a push in the right direction, he’ll square off against another terror in the division.

A quiet character within the New England MMA scene, Arslan Otchiyev has dazzled far more with movement than with words, with a skill set seldom seen stateside. Originally from Turkmenistan, Otchiyev would move to the Ukraine and fall in love with Pride FC and national hero Fedor Emelianenko. Otchiyev’s passion for MMA would start as rough housing with his family in the living room, but with Fedor’s sport base of Sambo readily available to learn in the Ukraine, Otchiyev soon found himself working those skills in earnest.

Moving to the US in 2011, Otchiyev would link up with a series of gyms before starting his amateur career in 2014; facing one of the toughest rosters of any fighter in the last several years. Battling the likes of Matt Tullos, Max Barrett, Billy Keegan, Otchiyev found limited success, yet was never out of any fight due to his unorthodox style for American MMA. Foot sweeps, hip throws, and a nasty functional sambo game awaited every opponent, with Ali Zebain suffering the effects in their bout at Warrior Nation.

Having secured an impressive win over a top-ranked opponent, Otchiyev enters the fray in seach of the Cage Titans Featherweight Title.

“The man’s a workhorse and easily one of the toughest guys we know.” Commented team mate Timothy Cenabre. “He’s relentless, cold and calculated; and he’s a lot more intelligent that he puts out, but at the end of the day the guy is just tough. He literally went to work the morning of and the night after his last fight.”

With no rest for those striving for UFC dreams, or leading from the front, Otchiyev and Rossi will head into their title tilt on April 9th in search of the greatest wins of their respective careers; years and miles in the making.

~ Mike Hammersmith

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