Custom Search

April 5, 2012

CES Press Release--Winner Takes All

LINCOLN, R.I. (April 5, 2012) – Cody Lightfoot and Mike Stewart had already begun training for their highly-anticipated showdown last month in New Hampshire when both fighters caught wind of the show’s sudden cancellation. “I was miserable,” Lightfoot said. “I was training my ass off, then all of a sudden I’m told it’s not happening.”

Sensing a golden opportunity to add a dynamic bout between two Top 5 light heavyweights to an already stacked card next week at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, R.I., Classic Entertainment & Sports’ match-maker Patrick Sullivan swooped in and saved the day, booking Lighfoot and Stewart on the undercard of Jimmy Burchfield’s mixed martial arts show on Friday, April 13th, 2012.
“Never Surrender” features the ground-breaking, five-round main event between Pawtucket, R.I., middleweight and CES MMA champion Todd “The Hulk” Chattelle and former Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) veteran John “Doomsday” Howard, but the Lightfoot Stewart match-up carries just as much weight in the regional rankings.

Stewart (6-3, 2 KOs), a White Plains, N.Y., native, jumped to No. 1 in the northeast rankings after dominating former No. 1 Greg Rebello of Providence, R.I., on Feb. 3 at Twin River. A standout collegiate wrestler from Somerset, N.H., Lightfoot (6-2, 4 KOs) is currently ranked third, one spot below Rebello, whom he lost to in September when Rebello cut him open with a kick to the forehead. The winner of next week’s fight figures to be No. 1 in the newest poll and could begin making waves nationally in the light heavyweight division.

“Thank God [CES] came along and picked it up, not just for me, but for the both of us,” Stewart said. “With all the hard work that goes into training for a fight, the disappointed wives and everything else you sacrifice, to have that taken away from you is one of the worst feelings in the world.

“I was walking into yoga class when I got the bad news. Then when I left I heard [CES] had picked it up. I went from one of the worst feelings in the world followed by the best.”

On paper, this is a match-up between two outstanding wrestlers. Lightfoot starred at Norwich University, a highly-decorated Division III program that boasts eight All-Americans, two national finalists and one national
champion in its 25-year history. A former varsity captain at Harrison High School in New York, Stewart didn’t wrestle much in college, but isn’t phased by Lightfoot’s extensive background.

“Cody’s a good wrestler, but there’s wrestling and then there’s wrestling for MMA,” Stewart explained.
“This isn’t college wrestling. The style I bring is a little different; I don’t mind standing there and trading blows. Whenever someone is a specialist at something, like wrestling or grappling, I don’t think it translates too well into mixed martial arts. The MMA version of wrestling is more of a dumbed-down version. Also, the use of the cage is a skill all itself. I love putting someone against that cage and taking away their athleticism. I want them to feel uncomfortable.”

Stewart puts most of his opponents in compromising positions, as evident by his win in February in which he smothered Rebello with his overwhelming size and strength before Rebello ultimately tapped out in the final round.

“He’s a friggin’ specimen,” Lightfoot said of Stewart. “I know this will be tough, but I think I’ve got it. This guy doesn’t throw punches, whereas the fight against Rebello was a ground guy versus a standup guy. I throw my hands; I’ve got four knockouts. I don’t have to worry about his hands. I knew I’d win on the ground [against Rebello], but I had to worry about his standup game.”

Cognizant as he was, Lightfoot still got caught when Rebello delivered a perfectly-executed Muay Thai kick to Lightfoot’s forehead, creating a bloody mess that ultimately forced referee Kevin MacDonald to stop the
fight in the second round.

“I don’t know how others saw it, but I think I was winning the fight until I got cut,” Lightfoot said. “He threw the kick and I dropped my hands like an idiot. I deserved it. For whatever reason, whenever I’m in training
camp and someone throws a kick, I drop my hands … but Mike’s not a kicker. He’s just too big. Either way, my hands aren’t leaving my head this time.”

“He can expect whatever he wants,” countered Stewart. “I put a lot of time and money into my striking. The first thing I need to do is win the fight. My bread and butter is putting people on the ground, smashing their
heads open and submitting them, but it’s MMA and people want to see striking.

“I will implement more striking. I hope he doesn’t sleep on it.”

The timing works out perfectly for both fighters, particularly Lightfoot, who figures this is his best chance to rise to No. 1 in the rankings since Rebello reportedly turned down an offer for a rematch.

“Honestly, it’s like I’m getting a second chance,” Lightfoot said. “It’s amazing how things work out. Say Rebello beat Stewart [in February]. He wouldn’t have given me a rematch, so this works out well. In Stewart’s eyes, he sees that Rebello beat me and is probably thinking, ‘Why wouldn’t I take this fight? I’ll wipe the floor with him.’ I guarantee they’re underestimating me, and that’s great.”

The outcome will hinge on whether or not Lightfoot can match Stewart’s size and strength.
“I use it to my advantage; sometimes I feel like a [jerk] for it, but my strength and conditioning is what sets me apart,” Stewart said. “Cody is a tough kid, but he’s tough to a fault. He’s got a good chin, but all it
takes is one cut to stop a fight, like you saw against Rebello. Hopefully, he can stick around for the full 15 minutes, but if he has to leave early, I understand.

“This is the fight I wanted. This is what makes a fighter,” he continued. “I don’t have a perfect record, but every fighter I’ve faced is good. If you’re a protected fighter and take cupcake fights, then you can’t develop and learn. It’s trail by fire. I’ve been in there with the best. This is just another day of work for me.”

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 features a lightweight battle between Pawtucket’s Tom Evans (2-0, 1 KO) and Dominic Warr (1-2) of Maynard, Mass., in addition to a middleweight bout between former Johnson & Wales University wrestling standout Brennan Ward (1-0, 1 KO) of Providence and New York 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 Nick Drummond (5-0) of Brockton, Mass., and Zach Costello (1-0) of Scituate, Mass., will face Waltham, Mass., newcomer Sergii Muslienko in a welterweight bout. Bantamweight Dinis Paiva Jr. (1-2) of East Providence, R.I., will be on the card in a separate bout.

(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 –

If You Enjoyed This Article Please Comment. Support us by following our twitter and our facebook fan page. It is the best way to stay up to date on local MMA! Any news you would like us to share email us at Thanks!