As both an undefeated MMA fighter and second-year culinary-arts student at Suffolk Community College, New York-based Robert Bodden has been cooking up a storm.
But that’s because Bodden knows whether he’s preparing his favorite dish, Chicken Chaussseur, or trying to take the title from a formidable champion, if you’re going to be successful, you have to have a creative recipe and all the right ingredients.
Bodden (2-0) will challenge EFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chris “The Neighborhood Legend” Vallaro this Saturday (November 30), at the Parsippany PAL in Parsippany, New Jersey, as the main event of The Darwish Brothers’ next epic MMA show: EFC GLADIATORS.
Tickets for EFC GLADIATORS are priced at: $45, $65, and $125 Cageside and are on sale now at the EFC website: www.efcmma.com.
“It’s all about expression,” explained Bodden of his double life. “I feel like I can express myself in the kitchen and in the cage. I see them both as art forms you can perfect.”
The 21-year-old certainly has all the ingredients in place. “One thing I can say is I’m well rounded. I have a brown belt in karate and wrestled in high school and I started training MMA really young at 15, which means I’m fairly versatile at everything. If I see a guy is better at something than I am, I can switch it up. If he’s a better boxer, I’ll make it a kickboxing or wrestling fight.”
Champion Vallaro can be outspoken and brash, but Bodden says he’s not easily distracted.
“I’m just going to go in there and do my thing. I leave my strategy up to my coaches and just go out and do it. He is a good fighter with a wrestling style. I’m a pretty good wrestler too, so the fight might end up on the feet. We might cancel each other out. No matter what, I’m ready for him. I just want to go out and put on a good performance for the fans.”
A huge part of a great recipe is the ingredients and Bodden has been making sure he’s fully prepared at Spartan Fitness in Deer Park, New York, with Coach Richard Lugo and Long Island MMA’s Dennis Bermudez, Ryan LeClair and Greg Dispasquale. “I listen to my coaches and work my butt off. I want to take this as far as I can. I want to be the best. Hopefully take it into the professionals if I keep working hard.”
Bodden says he enjoys fighting for Darwish Brothers because he feels like they treat everyone with respect. In addition to friends and family, Bodden says he may have a few chefs in the audience on fight night. “They have hot tempers too, so they’d probably like this a lot,” he laughs.
“I can’t wait to see who comes out with the belt Saturday night,” said event co-promoter Hani Darwish. “Our champion Chris Vallaro is the best champion at 175 in the Tri-State area, but he’s in for a real test against Bodden, who is something special. These two match up so well. It’s going to be very exciting. The EFC Light Heavyweight division is stacked with talented fighters, so every fight is a guaranteed war.”
So does Robert Bodden have what it takes to win his first MMA championship from a feared champion? On fight night, the proof will be in the pudding.