SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to fighting, Eduardo Rivera doesn't need much motivation.
He's been fighting on the streets all his life. For the last couple of years, he's channeled his energy and talent into the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
"When we have problems, we call Eduardo," said his older brother Carlos, who worked his corner in his rematch against Sean Whalen Saturday night in the World Championship Full Contact's Proving Ground at the Rail Event Center on Saturday. "He used to fight on the streets with his friends."
But the Peruvian native who now calls West Jordan home wasn't sure he wanted to fight Whalen again. Rivera knocked Whalen out in 36 seconds in their first fight last fall at the McKay Event Center. So when Whalen's coach called Rivera's coach, Rob Handley, he declined the offer.
"His coach said he wanted him to keep progressing, not to do the same thing," said Carlos Rivera. "Then he said, if he will come fight, he will double the pay and give him a house if he wins."
And while it took him about four minutes longer to beat Whalen the second time, Rivera knocked Whalen out at 4:26 of the first round to earn the win — and a house.
"I am so happy about the house," said Rivera as he grimaced in pain from what he believes are broken ribs. "My father is sick and I rent, so this is good for my family."
His brother said he loves the sport as much as he needs it.
"He fights because he loves to fight and he needs it," Carlos Rivera said.
And Rivera doesn't lack drive or talent, said his coach Rob Handley, who trains him and two other athletes who competed Saturday night to a standing-room only crowd.
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