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SportsMixed Martial Arts

MMA's Long Island accent

Mixed martial arts returns to the tri-state area next with UFC 128 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

That means PR events in New York City, usage of "New York" in the discourse from UFC folks and, of course, the inevitable discussion, debate and outrage over the legalization of MMA in New York State.

But while all that is happening over the river and through the bridge, let's take a quick moment to look at the impact Long Island has had on the sport of MMA. (Yes, we probably missed one or two, so feel free to add it in the comments.)

Matt Serra (17-7), East Meadow: Former UFC welterweight champion; only pro to ever knock out Georges St-Pierre; winner of Season 4 of "The Ultimate Fighter."

Jay Hieron (20-4), Freeport: A state champion in high school, Hieron was the last IFL welterweight champion; has fought for UFC, Affliction and Strikeforce; currently in the semifinals of the Bellator Season 4 tournament.

Pete "Drago" Sell (8-5), Westbury: A contestant on Season 4 of "The Ultimate Fighter," Sell was best known for exciting fights and unique knockouts. The only problem was he was the recipient of most of those unique knockouts.

Luke Cummo (6-6), New Hyde Park: A finalist on Season 2 of "The Ultimate Fighter," Cummo hasn't fought professionally since 2008.

Phil Baroni (13-13), Massapequa: A 12-year veteran, Baroni has fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, Pride and Elite XC, to name a few; next fight is in March for Titan FC; "The New York Bad - -" was known for his showmanship.

Chris Weidman (4-0), Baldwin: Widely touted as a top middleweight prospect, Weidman won a unanimous decision over Alessio Sakara in his UFC debut in March; a Ring of Combat champion at 185 pounds.

Gian Villante (7-2), Levittown: A promising light heavyweight, he made his Strikeforce debut last February; a two-time champion in Ring of Combat.

Costantinos Philippou (7-1), Massapequa, Merrick: He gets his first taste of the UFC this weekend at UFC 128 against Nick Catone.

Deividas Taurosevicius (12-5), Copiague: Former Lithuanian rugby player has fought in the IFL, WEC and Bellator.

Joe Sampieri (1-2),  Garden City: Had two fights in the IFL in 2007 and one in EliteXC in 2008; now the head Muay Thai instructor at Renzo Gracie Academy.

Ray Longo, Garden City: Noted trainer who has worked with Serra, Sell, Cummo, Weidman and Philippou, among others.

Lou Neglia, Bellmore: The former kickboxer runs Ring of Combat, a New Jersey-based regional MMA promotion that has sent more than 35 fighters to the UFC over the years, including most of the fighters mentioned above.

CageHero: An MMA clothing company owned by Long Island native Ian Parker, who is also the agent for Weidman and Villante.

KTFO: An MMA clothing company owned by Nic Canobbio of Lindenhurst.

CompuStrike: All those fight statistics you see, most of them come from CompuStrike, a Long Island-based company run by Bob and Nic Canobbio. They also do CompuBox for boxing matches.

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