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April 10, 2012

CES Press Release--Coolest guy in the room

Former UFC veteran Howard relaxed and ready for Friday night’s title bout

LINCOLN, R.I. (April 10, 2012) – Bright lights, cameras, thousands of rabid fans cheering on the opponent – John Howard has been down this road before.

The way he sees it, all the pressure is on Todd Chattelle when the two face one another Friday night for Chattelle’s middleweight title at the Twin River Event Center.

“For me, it’s just another day at the office,” said Howard (14-7, 4 KOs), a former Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) veteran who has 22 fights under his belt – seven on UFC cards with attendance figures soaring as high as 22,000.

The crowd won’t be nearly as big Friday night in Lincoln, R.I. – a full house of more than 3,000 fans is expected for this long-awaited title bout – but the fight is as important as any in Howard’s tumultuous career. The Boston native made his UFC debut in 2009 after winning 10 of his first 14 professional bouts. From there, he won his next four, including knockout victories over Dennis Hallman and Daniel Roberts, before a three-fight losing streak ended his tenure with UFC; the company released him in July just two weeks after his loss to Matt Brown, leaving Howard in the unenviable position of having to make the climb back to the top of the food chain.

The first step could come Friday when he faces Chattelle (10-6, 8 KOs), a hard-hitting knockout specialist from Pawtucket, R.I., riding a four-fight win streak while reaching for similar goals, namely the opportunity to showcase his talent on the sport’s biggest stage.

Two fighters chasing the same dream should make for an epic main event at “Never Surrender,” presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports.

“To be honest, I’m relaxed,” Howard said. “I’m used to this whole scene with the cameras and the lights. I’ve fought people in their own backyard before.

“He’s fighting a UFC veteran in front of his home crowd. You know he doesn’t want to lose in front of his friends and family. Like I said, the pressure’s more on him.”

Howard, despite all the similarities to previous fights, is still dealing with the unfamiliarity of fighting at middleweight. A welterweight who tipped the scales at 170 pounds during his UFC tenure, Howard is bulking up to 185 to face Chattelle, which has changed his approach both physically and mentally.

“The funny thing is I’ve been told by people who know me that I trained harder for this fight than some of my UFC fights,” Howard said. “The reason is because I’ve always been the bigger fighter when I’ve fought at welterweight, but I know he’s going to come in much bigger than I am at 185.

“I can’t just rely on my strength like I did in the past. Now I have to be the more well-conditioned fighter.”

Howard’s plan is to use his endurance and experience to counter Chattelle’s perceived advantage in size and strength. Neither fighter has fought five full rounds, but Howard has gone the distance eight times in three-round fights, whereas Chattelle has only been stretched to three rounds once in 16 bouts.

“I think that works to my advantage,” Howard said. “We’ve both been in long fights, but I’ve trained for five-round fights before. I’m never gassed during a fight.

“Obviously, I want to end it as quickly as possible, but if it gets past the third [round], then I feel I have the advantage. I’ve trained for this; it’s my Plan B.”

Howard welcomes the pressure of fighting deep into a five-round fight, but questions whether or not Chattelle can mentally handle it since he’s never been in that position before.

“You’ve got to know what you’re getting yourself into,” Howard said. “You have to have the heart and pride to be able to pull it out in the final minutes of that final round. I’ve been there; I’ve been in there with some of the toughest fighters in the world. These guys don’t stop. They keep coming at you. If you don’t have the mental strength to handle it, you’re going down.

“I’m used to it,” he continued. “I’m not sure if he is. I always give credit where credit is due, and he’s got my respect. I just hope he’s ready for an intense, 35-minute fight.”

Tickets for “Never Surrender” are $35.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at or, at the Players Club booth at Twin River, or through any TicketMaster location. Doors open 6 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7.

The undercard also features a dynamic light heavyweight showdown between two of the Top 3 fighters in the northeast, No. 1-ranked Mike Stewart (6-3, 2 KOs) of White Plains, N.Y., and No. 3-ranked Cody Lightfoot (6-2, 4 KOs) of Somersworth, N.H.

Pawtucket lightweight Tom Evans (2-0, 1 KO) will battle Dominic Warr (1-2) of Maynard, Mass., and middleweight Brennan Ward (1-0, 1 KO) of Providence, a former Johnson & Wales University wrestling standout, will face his toughest test to date against unbeaten Amsterdam, N.Y., veteran Harley Beekman (4-0, 2 KOs).

Pete Jeffrey (5-4, 2 KOs) of Pawtucket will face Lucas Cruz (3-0) of Boston in a lightweight bout while his brother, Keith Jeffrey (6-2-1), will face Plymouth, Mass., welterweight Chip Moraza-Pollard (6-3, 4 KOs) of the Cape Cod Fighting Alliance. The undercard also includes a battle between 175-pounders Abe Pitrowski (5-1, 2 KOs) of Pawtucket and Brett Oteri (8-3, 1 KO) of Dedham, Mass.; and Zach Costello (1-0) of Scituate, Mass., will face Leon Davis (1-0) of Springfield, Mass., in a welterweight bout.

Bantamweight Dinis Paiva Jr. (1-2) of East Providence, R.I., will take on Boston newcomer Sergio Cabrara and Carlos Rivera (1-3, 1 KO) of Meriden, Conn., will battle Bob Burton (1-1) of Brockton, Mass., at a catch weight of 195 pounds. For more information, visit

(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Never Surrender.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance).

– CES –

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