The 31-year-old Rodriguez (34-10), who has not been finished in more than six years, has rattled off five wins in six fights, though he dropped a unanimous decision to Rinaldi’s ATT stablemate, Jeff Monson, at a Mixed Fighting Alliance event in December. The troubled Rodriguez, who has battled substance abuse and weight issues throughout his career, remains one of the heavyweight division’s most accomplished submission fighters. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling world champion, he has delivered more than half (19) of his 34 career victories by submission. Rodriguez holds notable wins against former UFC titleholders Randy Couture and Andrei Arlovski.
Rinaldi (9-3, 1 NC), meanwhile, has never been submitted as a professional and routinely pushes the 300-pound plateau. A training partner of UFC veteran Din Thomas, he last appeared in January when he submitted Rocky Bastastini with a first-round kimura at an Art of Fighting show. In fact, the EliteXC veteran has put away his last two opponents inside one round.
“Battle of the Bay 8” also features unbeaten welterweight prospect Dustin Winterholt, along with Sengoku and World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Chris Manuel.
World Fighting Championships: Battle of the Bay 8
Friday, July 10
USF Sun Dome
Ricco Rodriguez vs. Mario Rinaldi
Dustin Winterholt vs. Reggie Pena
Chris Manuel vs. Farhad Sharapov
Brian Eckstein vs. Ralph Acosta
Gino Tutera vs. Andrew Parker
Alex Caceras vs. Matt McCook
Zack Light vs. Patrick Mikesz
Joe Ricart vs. Malachy Friedman
James Wynn vs. Giovanni Moljo
Eric Koveric vs. Caleb Archer