Tyrone Spong, Steve Mocco to make MMA debuts after careers in other sports

Maggie Hendricks

Two athletes who have made their mark in other combat sports are making their MMA debut this weekend.

On Friday, Steve Mocco will make his MMA debut at Resurrection Fighting Alliance. Mocco is one of the best-credentialed wrestlers to make the jump to MMA. He represented the U.S. in the Olympics in 2008, won a Division I NCAA title and the Dan Hodge Trophy, which is awarded to the best collegiate wrestler across divisions. His foot sweep confounded opponents as they had a hard time defending against Mocco's speed.

He will fight Tyler Perry -- no, not Madea -- on Friday. Though he knows he'll have high expectations, he told MMA Fighting he is most excited about competing again.

You know, I just want to compete. If it's on the feet, I want to get the better of the feet and if it's on the ground, I want to get the better of him on the ground. Wherever we'll find ourselves on the floor, I want to do better at.

For Spong, he is jumping to MMA after a long career as a kickboxer. Before tomorrow's debut with the World Series of Fighting, he's won several titles in different promotions, and even once defeated Ray Sefo, the president of WSOF.

Spong is making his debut against Travis Bartlett, and admitted to MMA Junkie he has some nerves going into the fight.

"The most important thing is that I'm not overlooking him," he said of Bartlett. "I'm focusing on the fight; I'm not listening to what other people say. I'm an experienced fighter, so I know what's important."

His fight will air on NBC Sports Network on Saturday night.

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