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ARCHIVED STORY SUMMER 2013
to fight at Bellator event
By Brian Woodman Jr.
Former New Fairfield resident Ryan Quinn (8-4-1 professional record) and New Haven native Andrew Calandrelli (6-3) will compete during a lightweight bout at the opening event for the Bellator Fighting Championship's ninth season on September 7 at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville. The event, which will air on Spike TV, will feature the quarter finals for its season-long middleweight tournament and the finale for the Bellator Fight Master reality television show.
Ryan Quinn on June 15, 2012 at CES:Proving Ground.
Twenty-six-year-old Quinn, who graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 2009, will be returning to the cage following what he described as nearly a year-long lull. Quinn, who lives in Coconut Creek, Florida and trains there with American Top Team, said he had been having a tough time finding fights at 155 pounds.
"I fought at welterweight until March of this year," said Quinn, who has fought for Bellator four times since 2010 and is 4-0 in the organization. "As an Amateur I fought as high as 175."
During a conversation with www.nutmegmma.com, he described himself as a free agent looking for a promotion with which to establish a contract.
"I have a good relationship with Bellator and fight for them often," he said. "However, I just look to fight where and when I can."
Although he described wrestling as his primary discipline, he credited Jiu-Jitsu with helping his ground-and-pound and general ground game to progress.
"I am pretty much like all other aspiring mixed martial artist and train the disciplines that have so far proven to be the most affective in the sport which is Wrestling, Boxing, Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu," he said, adding "I have been wrestling since I was 12 and it comes more naturally than everything else."
Andrew Calandrelli at right with Justin Kristie, left, and Bernardo Faria II, center, at the Marcelo Garcia Training Academy.
Thirty-eight-year-old Calandrelli, who now lives in East Haven, has fought twice for Bellator.He submitted Matt Nice at BFC 48 in 2011 and Eric Brown at BFC 81 in 2012.
He began studying Karate and Judo as a child. At 19, he began to study Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City. He started boxing at 12 in New Haven at Ring One, where light heavyweight boxer Chad Dawson began his career.
"I actually remember his first few days as a kid," said Calandrelli, who said his experiences with Karate led him to Kickboxing and eventually interested him in improving his hand strikes.
"I actually liked boxing better then kickboxing and focused more on it," he said. "My strong points are my wrestling and Jiu-jitsu mixed with my boxing.
He currently trains train at Ultimate MMA in North Haven (which he also owns), the Boxing in Faith Gym in New Haven and at the Marcelo Garcia academy in New York City. Garcia, a renowned grappler and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor, has won the ADCC (Abu Dubai Combat Club) mixed grappling event four times.
Quinn, who described himself as a blue collar fighter, said Dan Henderson and Randy Couture are among his favorites.
“I used to try and emulate George St. Pierre but I’m just not that athletic and have come to terms with the fact I just will never look that smooth,” he said. “Dan clearly isn’t afraid to fight anyone and really brings it. But Randy was just special."
Callendrelli said that while he wasn't particularly a fan of any current fighters, he did like to watch Mike Chandler and Ben Askren. He also seemed to secure when discussing his first two fights, which he lost to Rich Moskowitz in 2004.
"I fought him twice; once as an amateur and once as a pro and I actually feel I won both, but I guess the judges didn't," he regarding one of his losses. "I am not sure why the 'ammy' one is on my pro record; especially if you look at the dates because professional MMA wasn't even legal yet in Massachusetts when we fought the first time."