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Rallo is coming up on his 10
th Shogun Fights show at the arena, which has grown in popularity averaging audience of about 5,000, he said. Shogun Fights is a mixed martial arts fight night with lesser known or up-and-coming fighters.
"Baltimore has the little man's complex sometimes," Rallo said. "[This] shows the people here support MMA."
Rallo, a Baltimore native and the owner of Ground Control gyms, said passing the bill to legalize MMA took about a year. Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore) became the lead sponsor for the bill after attending one of Rallo's mixed martial arts classes.
"It was approved in a landslide," Rallo said, adding jokingly, "we made them tap out."
Three of Rallo's Shogun fighters have transitioned from Shogun to UFC: Jim "The Kid" Lettes, Dustin "The Disciple" Pague and Zach Davis.
"I hope that it opens the eyes of more people to the sport. I hope more people come out for the local events," Rallo said. "If I can get a fighter or two into [UFC 172] that'll be phenomenal. … I have a couple guys ready."
So far, eight bouts fill out the UFC 172 fight card, according to
Body Elbow, an SB Nation blog . The Jones-Teixeira main event could set up a rematch of the thrilling UFC 165 fight against Alexander Gustafsson.
Jones and Teixeira spoke of a mutual respect for each other, promising a great show for fans, at a press event in Baltimore Wednesday. Teixeira said he was studying Jones's fight against Gustafsson, which MMA pundits said he only narrowly won. Get a recap of the press event from
Pressbox Baltimore Online.
"I've been working on this for a long time." Remesch said. "It's incredible for me as a fan and as an arena manager."
For Jones -- a New York native -- defending his title in Baltimore is like a homecoming. As the brother of Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones, "Jonny Bones" said he expects love from Ravens fans, according to
Baltimore Business Journal .