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August 21, 2012

Saturday’s Adkins-de Freitas battle could steal spotlight on Atlantic City undercard

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (Aug. 21, 2012) – Saturday’s lightweight showdown between Gemiyale Adkins and Gil de Freitas might be one of the few that lives up to all the pre-fight banter.

Forget, for a minute, the guarantee of victory from both sides; on paper this shapes up as a potential sleeper candidate for Fight of the Year, a war between two rising veterans looking to move one step closer to the proverbial mecca of mixed martial arts.

Both are moving down from the welterweight division to 155 pounds, but not before making a brief pit stop at 160 on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012 at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, where the winner will gain the inside track toward dominating the lightweight circuit.

The Adkins-de Freitas fight is part of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “War On The Shore” card, which also features the main-event showdown between welterweights Kris McCray and Chris Curtis.

“I’ve got one message for my opponent – my right hand is Robitussin, and my left hand is Nyquil,” said Adkins (7-3, 3 KOs), a Philadelphia native looking to end his nine-month layoff with a victory. “You’re going to sleep.”

“He can say whatever he wants,” countered de Freitas (13-5, 4 KOs), a Brazilian veteran who works with renowned trainer Marco Alvan of Team Link in Ludlow, Mass., “but when it comes time to fight, I’ll prove him wrong.”

As de Freitas puts it, this is the “fight of my life,” and Adkins is treating it the same way. A former high-school wrestling standout in the City of Brotherly Love, Adkins has spent most of his brief career – he fought 10 times in a two-year span prior to this recent layoff – trying to carve his niche as a fighter.
The self-describer “banger” scored knockout wins in three of his first four fights, but the knockouts stopped coming once the competition grew stronger. Adkins hit a drought in his second year as a pro, losing three of four fights – including a unanimous decision to McCray in his last fight in November – before a hand injury while training put him on the shelf for nine months.

During that layoff, Adkins made two major changes – first, he took the advice of world-renowned trainer Greg Jackson, whom he worked with in New Mexico prior to the McCray fight, and began working his way down to 155 pounds; then he scaled back on his full-time job as a truck driver in order to invest more time into his craft.

“In order to train as much as I needed to, I didn’t have the time to hold a full-time job,” Adkins said. “Right now, I’m at the point in my life where I feel like a professional both physically and mentally. This is what I do, and I’m going to prove to everyone that I’m for real. This is my time. Everything is starting to click.”

While training for the fight against McCray, Adkins worked with respected Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) veterans Clay Guida, Donald Cerrone, Keith Jardine and current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Jackson liked what he saw from Adkins and recommended the Philadelphia veteran fight at a more appropriate weight class, where he could use his speed and elusiveness to his advantage.

“They said my style was like The Matrix with the way I moved around the cage,” Adkins said, referencing the hit science fiction film in which the main character, Neo (played by Keanu Reeves), dodges bullets by contorting his body in an unconceivable, fluid motion. “I’m very elusive and I’m a great counterpuncher. If you have any holes in your standup game, I’m going to find them.

“Greg told me I’d be world champion at 155 pounds,” Adkins added. “The guys I sparred with, I held my own with them, so I know I’m at that UFC level. I just need to get there and win.”

Beating de Freitas would be a step in the right direction. Billed as one of the “top 155-pounders in the world” by his trainer, de Freitas has beaten some of the most prolific fighters in the world, notably UFC veteran Edilberto de Oliveira and 24-win veteran and fellow Brazilian Pedro Santos, whom he knocked out in just 1 minute, 36 seconds in their October 2009 battle.

Now that he’s no longer fighting at what Alvan referred to as “the wrong weight class,” where he’s lost three of his last four fights, de Freitas might be due for a career renaissance, which could start Saturday night against Adkins.

“I’m going to put pressure on him,” de Freitas said. “Within the first minute of the fight, I’m going to make him tired and I’m either going to knock him out or submit him.”

“In this [lightweight] division, Gil could be one of the Top 10 fighters in the world,” Alvan added. “He has knockout power, excellent wrestling technique and excellent submission skills. He’s well-prepared for this fight and has been extremely dedicated in his training. I’m 100-percent certain he will win.”

With the bar having been set by both sides, it’s now up to them to deliver what could be the most intriguing fight on Saturday’s card. Adkins and de Freitas have dedicated their lives to this sport, and it will show once they step inside the cage. The winner will move one step closer to achieving his ultimate goal.

“I’ve made this my lifestyle – my whole lifestyle,” Adkins said. “When people see me [Saturday], I’ll look different. This is an exciting time for me. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing in life.”

Tickets for “War On The Shore” are on sale now at $45, $65, $75 and $125 and can be purchased by calling CES at 401.724.2253/2254, online at and, or at the Resorts Casino Hotel Box Office. Showtime is 8 p.m. (EST) with doors opening at 7.

The undercard of “War On The Shore” features another homecoming of sorts as White Plains, N.Y., native Mike Stewart (8-3, 3 KOs), one of the rising stars in the light heavyweight division, seeks his fourth consecutive victory. Stewart shot to the top of the rankings in the northeast after submitting Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Greg Rebello – the previous No. 1 – in February and highly-rated contender Cody Lightfoot a month later. After back-to-back wins in Rhode Island, Stewart hit Resorts in June and destroyed Eric Tavares via first-round knockout in just 42 seconds.

On Aug. 25, Stewart will face 26-year-old Slidell, La., veteran Eric Thompson (7-15, 4 KOs), who is searching for back-to-back wins for the first time since September of 2007.

Also on the undercard, Bricktown, N.J., lightweight Kevin Roddy (12-14-1) will face Brazilian Fabio Serrao (4-2) – fighting out of the city of Manaus – with Roddy seeking three consecutive wins for the first time since 2006; welterweight Joe McGann (3-1, 1 KO) of Franklin, Mass., will battle Lester Caslow (8-7, 3 KOs) of Belmar, N.J.; and Philadelphia’s Rami Ibrahim (1-1) will take on fellow bantamweight Keyon Wilkins (0-2) of South Hill, Va. Featherweight Jason McLean (6-5, 2 KOs) of Perthamboy, N.J., will face Corey Simmons (1-1) of Defiance, Ohio.

– CES –

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