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January 24, 2012

CES Press Release--Chomping at the bit--

Veteran grappler Jeffrey itching to get back in action following 15-month layoff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Jan. 23, 2012) – Even the savviest veterans get butterflies now and then.
“The only thing that will take getting used to is being in front of that crowd,” said Pawtucket, R.I., native “Pistol” Pete Jeffrey, who’ll return to the cage Friday, Feb. 3, 2012 on the undercard of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Extreme Measures” mixed martial arts show at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I.

“I don’t care what anyone says; being in that cage is a lot different than being in the gym.”

Jeffrey, 34, has been through it all in mixed martial arts, a veteran of the sport long before it was legalized in Rhode Island, yet even he will have to shake off the proverbial “ring rust” – and his nerves – Feb. 3 as he fights for the first time since September of 2010, ending a 15-month layoff prolonged by a torn meniscus in his left that knee that required surgery less than six months ago.

The timing couldn’t have been worse; Jeffrey (4-4, 2 KOs) was still only a year removed from his thrilling win over previously-unbeaten Saul “The Spider” Almeida when he suffered the injury while training for a bout against John Ortolani.

“At first, I figured, “Okay, I’ll take a week off,’” Jeffrey recalled. “When I came back, I made it worse. I got an MRI done that Friday, and as soon as the results came in, I had surgery scheduled for the following Tuesday. It was a kick in the [groin], to say the least.”

That pain has long since subsided. As it turns out, Jeffrey’s recovery coincided with the growth of his gym, Tri-Force MMA, founded by he and his brother, fellow fighter Keith Jeffrey, in what was once an uninhabited space inside Manfredo’s Gym in Pawtucket. Focusing solely on training mixed martial arts’ fighters in everything from boxing technique to cutting weight, Tri-Force is a one-of-a-kind hub for amateurs and professionals of all ages.

Local fighters such as Todd Chattelle, Mike Campbell, Josh Diekmann, Rigo Dominicci, Andre Soukhamthath, Sean Soriano and Brennan Ward all train with the Jeffrey brothers, creating an environment that promotes unity and development. The gym has increased in popularity over the past five months, helping Jeffrey prepare for his Feb. 3 fight against Lionel Young.

“I’ve done nothing but get better,” Jeffrey said. “I’ve gotten a lot more experience and trained with better fighters over the course of time. As far as my mindset is concerned, I don’t feel the pressure anymore of trying to hurry up to achieve this goal or that goal. I’m confident if I take it one fight at a time, everything will fall into place.”

Jeffrey’s recovery from the torn meniscus has required both patience and perseverance. Prior to that, he had been inactive for a year due to a combination of last-minute cancellations and opponents pulling out at the weigh-in, a byproduct of his eye-opening win over Almeida at Twin River two years ago.

“I took that fight on five days’ notice and won,” Jeffrey said. “That made it hard for me to get an opponent.”

The injury set him back an additional four months, beginning with five weeks of rehabilitation in which he couldn’t walk without crutches. By December, Jeffrey was back in the gym working full speed, albeit on a limited basis.

“Mine was a 60-percent tear, so they had to go in and take out the part that’s torn. From there, it’s just healing time,” Jeffrey said. “The thing about this kind of injury is it’s mandatory to not just stay off it. Even though it hurts, you have to stay on it, or else it’ll end up getting much worse.”

Jeffrey obliged, and soon took the offer to fight Young (6-9, 1 KO) on Rhode Island’s first fight card of the year, but he still experienced some lingering effects from the surgery at the beginning of training camp, even after taking the full 16 weeks to recover.

“Up until now, I still couldn’t get into a full squat position, so it’s a work in progress,” Jeffrey said. “Over these last three weeks, I’ve finally been able to shoot through takedowns and really push myself. I wish the fight were this Friday.”

Throughout the rehabilitation process, and the growth of his gym, Jeffrey has also continued to train with Rhode Island-based Jiu-Jitsu instructor Tim Burrill, one of the inspirations behind the Tri-Force name; local pioneer Mat Santos, who is a Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Burrill, and Keith Jeffrey are the others.

Upon starting his own gym, Jeffrey made sure not to infringe upon Burrill’s territory by concentrating more on complete mixed martial arts’ training and the subsequent preparations for upcoming fights rather than focusing on one style of combat. Given that it shares the same space with Manfredo’s Gym, Tri-Force also gets a boost from the local boxers and instructors who frequent the area, such as Peter Manfredo Sr. and local trainer David Keefe.

“Our goal is to give all of the young, up-and-coming fighters the advantages we didn’t have,” Jeffrey said. “We started long before the days of the UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championships] and YouTube. Nothing was legal back then. Everyone was on their own. There were hardly even any medical requirements.

“Twenty-four hours a day, people can call me and ask questions, whether it’s weight-cut issues, nerves – just text or call me. We try to make it so that it’s one big family, and that the only thing you have to worry about is fighting, not who’s going to tape your hands on fight night, or work your corner.”

Tri-Force now has a full-sized, custom-built cage, heavy bags, and floor mats large enough to hold up to 35 fighters at once. The gym also hosts eight to 10 classes per week.

“I’ve seen the growth, and it’s amazing,” Jeffrey said. “We’re trying to offer the only full MMA facility where we’re training MMA. [Keith] is a certified personal trainer, so we work that into the mix, too, whether it’s helping fighters cut weight, or what supplements to take. We try to look out for our guys as much as possible. This is what all the top schools are doing, and I couldn’t be happier.”

“Tri-Force has brought me to where I am today,” said Chattelle, who finished 4-0 in 2011 and captured CES’ inaugural middleweight championship in November. “Like a father would with his son, they provide you with positive reinforcement. If you say something negative about yourself, they’ll step in and say, ‘No, don’t say that!’ It’s a very positive atmosphere.

“Anyone that comes in here and trains is on our team. We’re all in this together.”

After missing close to a year and a half due to injury, Jeffrey hasn’t put any additional pressure on himself to make a quick climb to the top of the rankings. The growth of Tri-Force has admittedly put his career into a new perspective; win or lose, Jeffrey knows he has an important role within the mixed martial arts’ community. For now, he’s focusing on Feb. 3, and his newfound confidence – along with the relief of not trying to overcome long odds – might make him one of Rhode Island’s most dangerous fighters in 2012.

“Once I can’t fight anymore, there will be young, hungry guys in here who need an experienced coach,” he said. “Life will get a lot easier when I can take all the time I put into myself and put that into these young guys coming up.”

“Extreme Measures” will be headlined by a heavyweight co-main event featuring Josh Hendricks (18-8, 5 KOs) Mansfield, Ohio, facing Diekmann (12-3, 8 KOs), a Westerly, R.I., native who now lives and trains in Groton, Conn.; and Eric Bedard (3-0, 1 KO) of Providence, R.I., facing Tyler King (3-1, 1 KO) of Norwood, Mass. Bedard and King are ranked No. 6 and 8 in the northeast, respectively.

“Extreme Measures” also features two additional top-ranked fighters in the northeast as Almeida (11-1), the No. 1-ranked featherweight from Framingham, Mass., will battle Pawtucket, R.I., veteran Jeff Anderson (10-5, 2 KOs), and No. 1-ranked light heavyweight Greg Rebello (13-3, 7 KOs) of Providence will face veteran Mike Stewart (5-3, 2 KOs) of White Plains, N.Y.

Two fighters will make their professional debuts, including Ward, a welterweight from New London, Conn., facing Lowell Zangri (1-0) of Manchester, N.H.; and Joe Pingitore of Johnston, R.I., facing featherweight Pedro da Silva (1-3, 1 KO) of Lowell, Mass. Undefeated lightweight Andres Jeudi (3-0, 1 KO) of Dorchester, Mass., will face Tim O’Connell (4-3) of Wakefield, R.I.; Soriano (4-0), a featherweight out of Providence, will put his unbeaten record on the line against Lee Metcalf (5-5, 2 KOs) of Rockland, Mass.; welterweight Shawn Summey (2-0, 2 KOs) of Dedham, Mass., will battle Kevin Horowitz (3-4) of Queens, N.Y.; Soukhamthath (0-1), a bantamweight from Woonsocket, R.I., will aim for his first professional win against Gilvan Santos (0-2) of Framingham.

Tickets for “Extreme Measures” are $35.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at, 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.

(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for “Extreme Measures.” Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and must enter through the West entrance.)

– CES –

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