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August 8, 2013

Wanting to face the best, Font, Foster step to the table for historic featherweight title bout

[CES Press Release]

LINCOLN, R.I. (Aug. 7th, 2013) -- Rob Font has the utmost respect for his opponent in Friday night's title bout at Twin River Casino, not to mention a unique description of his worthy adversary.

"He's like the black Chuck Liddell," Font said of Chris Foster, whom he'll face Friday, Aug. 9th, 2013 in a five-round bout for Classic Entertainment & Sports' vacant mixed martial arts featherweight championship.

"He's got great hands, but likes to take it to the ground, too. You have to be prepared for everything when you face a guy like him. I'm definitely going to bring it to him."

Font-Foster might not pack the same global punch as some of Liddell's classic Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) wars, such as his two title fights against Randy Couture or his showdown against Wanderlei Silva in 2007, but, given what's at stake, it might be the most important regional bout of 2013.

The Boston native Font (6-1, 1 KO) has won five consecutive bouts since suffering his first career loss last year and is now ranked No. 3 in the northeast among 145-pounders, while Foster (7-2, 4 KOs), a Meriden, Conn., enters Friday's bout ranked fourth following the biggest win of his career against Andres Jeudi in April. As far as title bouts go, this is a classic in the making, featuring two worthy opponents anxious to fight the best in their weight class, a possible prelude to this region's next great rivalry.

"I want to face the toughest fighters -- the tougher the better," Foster said. "Font's a real, tough dude. I'll need to bring my 'A' game Friday night."

"I always want to keep testing myself," added Font. "This is a great opportunity for both us. We're fighting for CES' first featherweight championship. We're making history. That's huge."

Foster narrowly beat Jeudi by split decision in a five-round bout in April, and Font faced an equally tough test that same month against the previously-unbeaten Lucas Cruz. Font won by unanimous decision, but had to fight his way back following a close shave in the second round.

"I learned a lot about myself in that fight," Cruz said. "It got scary in the second round when he got my back. He had me in a choke, but I got out of it."

Strange as it seems, Font has actually fared better against fighters with significant reach advantages, as was the case when he outworked the 6-foot-1 Saul Almeida in February. Font kept his taller opponent at bay with an effective jab, showcasing what might be his not-so-secret weapon against Foster.

"He's got pretty good boxing skill," Foster said, "but I have a good boxing background, too. It'll be a good, back-and-forth battle. I can see him switching it up -- stand-up, takedowns. I'll be expecting whatever comes my way."

"This will be explosive," countered Font. "He throws a lot of combinations. He's a great boxer. He has that great jab, too, so I'll definitely be trying to split that jab and utilize my own. My jab is my best weapon, so I'll be keeping it in his face the whole night -- lots of leg kicks and jabs. Hopefully that sets up the big left- and right-hook combinations."

With so many similarities between the two fighters, this one might come down to the intangibles. Foster fought five full rounds in his last bout; Font has never trained for or fought in a five-round bout. That has the potential to be a difference-maker if this fight goes past the third, but Font hopes his new training regimen will keep him fresh in the event this one goes the distance.

After struggling to make weight in his fight against Cruz, Font switched up his diet.

"I'm eating like a big boy now -- eating my vegetables," he said with a laugh.

As a result, he entered fight week feeling stronger than ever without having to worry about cutting too much excessive weight in advance of Thursday's weigh-in.

"I'm lighter than I've ever been," Font said. "I'm ready to go. I'm in great shape. I have to be knowing there's a chance I might have to go five rounds.

"After that Cruz fight, I went to Sacramento to work at [UFC veteran] Urijah Faber's Ultimate Fitness. I came back a week later and started my camp for this fight. It's been a long time since I started eating clean and my weight has been right on point.

"The only advantage is he has gone five rounds. Mentally, he knows what it takes. I hope it doesn't go five rounds, but I know I can go five. I'm in shape."

In the end, Font thinks it'll come down to "who wants it more," which sounds clichéd until you consider the fact both he and Foster are so evenly-matched.

"His two losses were by submission, so he has holes in his game, but I'm sure he's working on them," Font said. "There's lot of pressure, and the crowd will be going wild. It'll be a great fight."

Added Foster: "I want to go as far as I can in this game and fight whoever comes my way. Rob Font is at the top, so I'm glad to have this opportunity to fight him."

"Gold Rush" will also feature a welterweight showdown between former UFC veteran and Bridgewater, Mass., native Chuck O'Neil (11-5, 3 KOs) and Brazilian Gil de Freitas (14-5, 4 KOs), now training out of Team Link in Ludlow, Mass.

Tickets for "Gold Rush" are $36.00, $56.00, $101.00 and $126.00 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 the Rhode Island debuts of UFC veteran Tom Egan (5-3, 4 KOs) of Dorchester, Mass. (by way of Ireland), and Delray Beach, Fla., welterweight Charles Rosa (3-0), who will fight in separate three-round bouts. Egan will face Framingham, Mass., middleweight Aldo Santos (3-1, 1 KO) while Rosa will battle Silvester Murataj (0-1) of Rocky Hill, Conn.

Fan-favorite Dinis Paiva Jr. (3-4, 1 KO) of East Providence, R.I., will face Rob Sullivan (1-1) of Baltimore, Md., in a bantamweight bout and Springfield, Mass., lightweight Damien Trites (6-5, 1 KO) will return to Twin River against Fayetteville, N.C., veteran Andrew Osborn (6-5, 1 KO). Also returning to Twin River, Salem, Mass., bantamweight Matt Doherty (1-0, 1 KO) will battle Johnny Campbell (5-4, 3 KOs) of Plymouth, Mass., while Brazilian Juliano Coutinho (3-1, 2 KOs) clashes with Providence's Eric Bedard (5-3, 3 KOs) in a highly-anticipated heavyweight bout. Bantamweight Sophanarith Am (1-0) of Revere, Mass., will face Johnston, R.I., newcomer Devin Pilkington and Cheyenne Vasquez (0-0) of Boston will battle Framingham's Terrell Clark (1-0, 1 KO) in a middleweight bout. All fights and fighters subject to change.

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

- CES -