NORTH EAST MMA Fighter Focus


By: Thomas Vickers (Combat Sports Journalist)

ANTHONY BENEVIDES fights out of Connecticut and trains under Ultimate MMA and the head coaching guidance of Andrew Calandrelli and Marissa Messer-Belenchia.  “These two (Calandrelli and Belenchia) are a powerhouse of coaching ability,” Benevides stated pertaining to his five years of study at UMMA.  “They break everything down step by step along with a variety of modifications to each move so we can understand both sides of the spectrum,” continued Benevides.  In addition to Andrew Calandrelli and Marissa Belenchia, Benevides trains alongside Yuri Panferov the current #1 ranked pro MMA light heavyweight in the northeast.  “As my main training partner, we push each other to our limits,” explained Benevides.  Anthony gives Panferov considerable praise and considers him to be a large factor in his preparation for his upcoming professional bout set for May at Reality Fighting. 

Benevides made his amateur MMA debut in April of 2014 with a round one submission win over Myles Reid (1-4) at Premier FC 15.  After a string of six cancelled bouts and nearly four years later Benevides finally entered the cage for his second amateur fight.  Anthony describes his amateur time gap as being a rollercoaster to get things going.  It was in March of 2018 he made his return to amateur MMA competition.  In his return bout Benevides captured his second ‘W’ as an amateur, a unanimous decision win over Nick Fernandez at Premier FC 25.  Benevides describes his amateur career as a tedious one.  “I had a very tough young adult life which caused numerous amounts of stress for me,” he explained.  The challenge and difficulty of mixing a fight career with family, work, and daily life is a bigger obstacle then most people realize.  Anthony finished his amateur career with a run at the Premier FC Middleweight Title in November of 2018 against a very skilled and dangerous Yu Ji.  In a hard fought contest Benevides came up short and finished his amateur career with a (2-1) record. 

The Connecticut welterweight elected to turn pro last year.  A decision he explained was solely based on his age.  At twenty-seven years old Benevides feels he is not getting any younger.  He believes he has the skill set to give it a solid go.  Anthony made his professional MMA debut in January of 2023 at Reality Fighting against thirty-two year old Oscar Vera (0-3).  Benevides delivered a strong performance gaining a victory via first round KO/TKO.  In his pro debut Benevides looked calm for a fighter with only three amateur bouts of experience.  He took control of the fight and finished it with authority. 

ANTHONY BENEVIDES delivers a hard body slam in his Pro debut (Photo Credit: TAMMY MCMANAWAY Sports Photography)

“I’m the next big thing fighting in the 170 lbs division.  I want everyone to know who I am,” Benevides explained.  Anthony’s second professional match is scheduled for May under the bright lights and in front of the swelling crowds of Mohegan Sun Arena at Reality Fighting.  Benevides is excited to showcase his improved striking and has his sights set on a knockout victory.  Anthony Benevides brings a standup game and is an accomplished blue belt in BJJ.  He has a stout wrestling background and a real desire to be the top dog in the 170 lbs division.  It will be exciting to watch the twenty-seven year old Connecticut welterweight evolve at the professional level.  Benevides is (1-0) and off to a good start as a professional. 

“My main goal isn’t to be a champion, a main star, none of that.  I just want my kids to grow up knowing their father made it and followed through with his dreams.” – ANTHONY BENEVIDES



By: Thomas Vickers (Combat Sports Journalist)

Cover Photo Credit – TAMMY MCMANAWAY Sports Photography 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s