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January 24, 2017

CES 41 Bessette v. Croom Preview

CES MMA: Classic Entertainment Sports 41 Preview

Travis Lizotte:

 On January 27th CES MMA will take its first step in attempts to live up to its New Year’s resolution of providing its fans the most stacked cards in Northeast MMA as they present the 41st show in the promotions history in Lincoln, Rhode Island at Twin River Casino. The promotion kicks off 2017 the only way it knows how, by filling the card top to bottom with talent and fan favorites. Speaking of fan favorites; look no further than the headline bout, Matt “The Mangler” Bessette, who was announced as the “All Time Fan Favorite Fighter” in the promotions history at CES 40, will but his Featherweight World Title on the line against Albuquerque, New Mexico’s own Kevin “The Hard Hitting Hillbilly” Croom.  Croom, who like Bessette, is a veteran of the Bellator Cage, will be making his CES debut in what is likely to be one of the most adverse situations you could ask for, against the Champion (Bessette), the fan favorite, in the Champ’s house! The Co-Main Event is a battle of Heavyweight brawlers when another CES Fan Favorite; Greg “Ribz” Rebello looks to bounce back from a Knockout loss, and continue his winning ways in the CES cage when he squares off against heavy hitting Danyelle “Southern Boy” Williams who looks to connect on his third knockout in 4 fights. The third fight on the card comes out of the Bantamweight Division and includes another fighter that needs no introduction to the Twin River crowd; Dinis “Sweetbread” Paiva who is coming off a huge TKO victory over Xtreme Couture (Las Vegas) product Zane Behrend at CES 40, will take on Top-10 Southwest Region Bantamweight Jordan Espinosa, who has stacked up a 9-4 record in some of the country’s top regional promotions. Another CES veteran; Kody “Norwegian Assassin” Nordby, will also look to defend home turf against David Garcia, who totes with him from Illinois, a three fight win streak, and looks to make it back to back CES upsets after submitting Rico DiSciullo in September at CES 38. Next up in the Cruiserweight Division CES Veteran and former “Ultimate Fighter” Alum; Patrick Walsh takes on “The Northwoods Nightmare” Kevin Haley, whose victory in his last fight came at the expense of CES Light Heavyweight Contender Mike Rodriguez via Toe Hold Submission. Heavyweights Tyler “The Marauder” King and Keith “BadnewZ” Bell have a score to settle when they square off in a battle of Top-10 Ranked Heavyweights in New England. Rounding out the Main Card will be a pair of Flyweights; as Top-5 ranked New England Flyweight Carlos “The Cannon” Candelario welcomes Miami’s “Magic City Mauler” Miguel Restrepo to the CES Cage. CES 41 kicks off the New Year with all seven fights on the main card being televised live on AXS TV.

Preliminary(Non-televised) bouts feature; (125) Sarah “Switch Kick” Click vs. Maria Rivera, (135) Kris Moutinho vs. Jason Rine, (135) Richard Santiago vs. Raymond “The Reaper” Yanez, (125) David Baxter vs. Dan “The Hamburgler” Cormier, (155) Connor “Bareknuckle” Barry vs. Travis “The Sauce” Foster, (205) Mike “Bones” Rodriguez vs. Hector “Spartan” Sanchez.

Non-Televised Undercard:

Sarah Click (1-1) v. Maria Rivera (Pro Debut)

Women’s Flyweight

Sarah Click

Affiliation: Sityodtong Boston

Record: 1-1 (both decisions)

Summary: Click is a highly regarded of prospect out of Sityodtong Boston who used flashy and technical muay thai to launch a Professional career that got started in Invicta FC in a decision loss to Ashley Greenway and culminated into her first professional win by split decision against Ronni Nanney at Cage titans 31.

Last fight: Split decision victory over Ronni Nanney at Cage Titans 31.

Maria Rivera

Affiliation: Framingham Taekwondo

Record: Debut (1 TKO win as Amateur)

Summary: Maria will be making her Pro Debut after just one impressive victory on the Amateur circuit. She will be looking to upset the upstart Click to show that she made the right move by moving to the professional level.

Last fight: Second round TKO Victory over Rachel Reinheimer at Combat Zone 59.

Breakdown: Click is looking to finally show that she is one of the top women in the New England fighting game after her first two Professional fights went to decision she would like to add a finish to her record. Rivera, on the other hand, is as green as a fighter as you could imagine, in a Women’s Flyweight division that is just starting to make its mark on the Northeast region, needing only one Amateur fight before she steps up to fight the highly touted Click. An upset by Rivera would show that this entire division could be up for grabs.

Connor Berry (2-0) v. Travis Foster (0-2)


Connor Barry

Affiliation: FAF Gym

Record: 2-0 (1 Submission, 1 Decision)

Summary:  Barry went 5-1 as an Amateur with 5 stoppage finishes. Last time out Connor added his first stoppage as a pro and brought his record to 2-0 amongst the professional ranks.

Last fight: First round Submission Choke of Anthony Giacchina at CES 39.

Travis Foster


Record: 0-2 (1 KO, 1 Decision loss)

Summary: Foster went 7-0 and an Amateur, but has lost his last two fights since turning Pro. Foster will be coming down from the Welterweight Division for this fight at 155 in hopes to notch his first career pro win.    

Last fight: First round TKO loss to Robert Plotkin at Dead Serious 20 (Philadelphia, PA)

Breakdown: This is going to be an exciting fight between two fighters with very successful Amateur careers. Foster went 7-0 amongst the ranks of the Amateurs with 3 finishes, but he sits at a disappointing 0-2 to start his Pro Career. Travis hopes a drop in weight will be just what he needs to notch his first professional win against a tough opponent in Connor Barry. Barry built on a successful Pro debut with a first round Submission at CES 39 and looks to show Foster his ability to finish fights.

David Baxter (3-1) v. Dan Cormier (5-6)


David Baxter

Affiliation: USMMA

Record: 3-1 (2 Submission, 1 TKO)

Summary: Baxter is an exciting Flyweight with the ability to finish his opponents, finishing all three of his Professional wins. His lone loss came to another exciting CES Veteran Josh Ricci, at CES 32. 

Last fight: First round TKO of Ernesto Ornelas at Cage Titans 30

Dan Cormier

Affiliation: Tri-Force MMA

Record: 5-6 (4 Decision wins)

Summary: Cormier is a veteran of New England MMA who has come up on the wrong side of some tough decisions, However Dan had his hand raised his last time out against one of the toughest Flyweights around in Kenny Murphy

Last fight: Decision Victory over Ken Murphy at Premier FC 21

Breakdown: Cormier has a history of three round fights and grueling wars, perhaps none bigger than his decision win against Kenny Murphy in October at Premier FC 21. Baxter is not looking to let this fight go to the judges, his mission will be to take Dan out before the fight gets too deep, so, will Cormier be able to weather Baxter’s storm? That will be the true question in this matchup.

 Richard Santiago (2-0) v. Raymond Yanez (4-8)


Richard Santiago

Affiliation: BST MMA & Fitness

Record: 2-0 (2 Submissions)

Summary:  Santiago is currently on a 6 fight winning streak that spans into his Amateur career. His last 5 fights have been finished by first round Choke Submissions.

Last fight: First round Submission (Choke) against Devin Pilkington at CES39

Raymond Yanez

Affiliation: Fight Farm

Record: 4-8 (5 Submission losses)

Summary: Ohio’s Yanez finally got back into the win column with a Submission victory over Joe Reverdes at CES 40 to snap a 6 fight loss streak.

Last fight: First round Submission of Joe Reverdes at CES 40.

Breakdown: Santiago has made his name of late for first round chokes and Yanez has been on the short side of some first round finishes in the past. This fight is going to be Yanez’s second for the Promotion and he is hoping to add to his win total following a string of losses in his home of Ohio. Yanez is certainly going to have his hands full with the speedy Santiago, who is looking to make it another first round choke in the CES cage.

Kris Moutinho (2-0) v. Jason Rine (0-1)


Kris Moutinho

Affiliation: Rivera Athletics

Record: 2-0 (2 decision wins)

Summary:  Kris has gone the distance in his last 4 fights racking up a 2-0 record as a pro and his last loss came as an amateur against highly touted Manny Bermudez. Moutinho would like to add a finish to his undefeated professional record.

Last fight: Decision win against Mike Karam at CES 40.

Jason Rine

Affiliation: Black Dragon MMA 

Record: 0-1 (1 Submission Loss)

Summary:  Rine was 4-2 at the Amateur level with 3 Submission victories and is looking to get his hand raised for the first time as a Pro.

                Last fight: First round Submission loss to Anthony Mychael at Michigan Mixed Martial Arts: Series 1

Breakdown:  Both fighters will be looking to make a statement in this fight. Ohio’s Rine is looking to avenge a loss and looking to do so against a talent pool from an unfamiliar region of the United States. While Moutinho will once again try and avoid the judges table in his attempts to dispatch Rine and continue his undefeated pro career.  Moutinho looked impressive in all facets of his game in his last bout which resulted in a decision win at CES 40.

Hector Sanchez (3-13) v. Mike Rodrigues (5-2)


Hector Sanchez

Affiliation: Elite MMA 

Record: 3-13 (6 Submission and 7 TKO losses)

Summary: There is no doubt Sanchez has nothing to lose in this fight, with a record of 3-13 Sanchez is looking to ruin Mike Rodriguez’s return to the CES cage after his recent Submission loss to Kevin Haley.

Last fight: First round KO of Kurtis Pirisi at CES 36

Mike Rodrigues

Affiliation: Lauzon MMA

Record: 5-2 (3 KOs/ 2 Submissions)

Summary: Rodriguez comes into this fight looking to get back to his dominant winning ways after a tough Submission loss to Kevin Haley. Rodriguez will likely use this fight to gauge whether or not the move to 205 was a good one after being dominant in the Middleweight division.

Last Fight: First round Submission loss to Kevin Haley at CES 39

Breakdown: These fighters are obviously at two very different spots in their careers. Rodriguez has to prove that he has put a submission loss to Kevin Haley behind him and that he is still one of the top fighters in the CES Promotion. Rodriguez will be looking to put together his superior technical game on display in order to get his hand raised once again in front of the CES fans. For Sanchez, he is looking to put a feather in his cap by adding a win to his total and a big name to his resume.

Main Card: Live on AXS TV:

Carlos Candelario (4-0) v. Miguel Restrepo (4-2-1)


Carlos Candelario

Affiliation: Underdog MMA

Record: 4-0 (2 Submissions/ 1TKO)

Summary: Carlos has never lost a fight; in nine career fights, spanning his professional and amateur career. Candelario also leaves his victories in no doubt, finishing his opponent in eight of nine career fights which leaves him ranked in the top-five Flyweight Professionals in New England.

 Last fight: First round Submission choke victory over Roosevelt Archie at CES 36.

Miguel Restrepo

Affiliation: MMA Masters

Record: 4-2-1 (2 TKO, 2 Decisions)

Summary: Miguel will be making his Northeast Debut after seven fights in his home of Miami, Florida. The 35 year old Floridian will be looking to bounce back from his second professional loss in his last fight when he takes on the undefeated Candelario.

Last fight: Unanimous Decision Loss to Ricky Bandejas at CFFC 61.

Breakdown: Candelario is going to be looking to give Restrepo a rude welcome to the Northeast MMA scene when they step in the cage Friday night. Carlos has essentially walked through his first nine opponents during his career and looks to do so again against Miami’s Restrepo. Miguel will do his best to neutralize Carlos’ attack and become the first blemish on Carlos’ so far undefeated career. The CES crowd could be treated to another knockout, in what could be a dramatic fight to kick off the Main Card.  

Keith Bell (7-9-1) v. Tyler King (12-4)


Keith Bell

Affiliation: New World Academy

Record: 7-9-1 (5 TKO/ 2 Submissions)

Summary: Bell will be looking to bounce back off two consecutive losses including a TKO loss to Greg Rebello at CES 33. Bell may have a record below the .500 mark but it’s not due to his willingness to go to put on entertaining fights. In Bell’s 17 professional bouts; only one has gone to the judges table.

Last fight: First round TKO Loss to Allen Crowder at NLFC 5.

Tyler King

Affiliation: Connors MMA

Record: 12-4 (7 Submission wins)

Summary: King is riding high off three consecutive Submission Choke victories including Lorenzo Hood at World Series of Fighting and Josh Diekmann at Bellator 163. King stepped up on short notice when Bell’s original opponent Juliano Coutinho went down with an injury.

Last fight: Second round Submission Choke victory over Josh Diekmann at Bellator 163

Breakdown: There will be no love lost when these two monsters enter the cage; fighters have gone back and forth on social media. Some fighters take changes in opponents differently but when Bell heard his original opponent Juliano Coutinho was injured bell said “I was relieved, I went from fighting a stud to a bum.” King fired back saying he was taking this fight to do one job; “I don’t take easy fights,” King responded. “If anything this is a gift for CES. You want me to put this bum out of his misery? Sure, I’ll do you a favor.” These guys cannot wait to get their hands on each other. King is no doubt the favorite in this fight given his background and resume of bigger fights on the national level being a veteran of both World Series of Fighting and Bellator. Bell could care less; he wants to show that he has the ability to finish anyone, if he can land some power punches, lights could very well go out!

Kevin Haley (6-3) v. Pat Walsh (9-2)


Kevin Haley

Affiliation: Nostos MMA 

Record: 6-3 (2 KOs/ 2 Submission)

Summary: The “Northwoods Nightmare” continues to fight some of the biggest names in New England MMA, Kevin continues to prove that his strength and athleticism are almost unparalleled by other 205 pounders. Haley has above average wrestling and some sneaky submission skills, all of which will need to be at their best in the cage against Pat Walsh. 

Last fight: First round Submission leg lock over Mike Rodriguez at CES 39.

Pat Walsh

Affiliation: Victory Combat Academy 

Record: 9-2 (4 KOs/ 2 Submissions)

Summary: Pat comes in on a 4 fight win streak, his last loss coming by decision to Daniel Kelly at UFC Fight Night: 60. Pat has continued to prove that he has some of the best wrestling in the Region at any weight and has no issues putting severe pressure on his opponents and racking up wins.

Last fight: First round TKO of Carlos Zevallos at CES 38

Breakdown: There is going to be no lack of shear power in the CES cage when Haley and Walsh collide in the Light-Heavyweight division. Haley is an extremely powerful physical specimen who walks the planet ready to fight, fighting at his natural weight of 205 pounds. Walsh, like Haley, has fought in three divisions as a pro (185,205,265) and continues to show that he is built to wrestle; using powerful take downs and top control to stifle opponents’ offensive attacks. These two guys are ready to bring fireworks for the crowd in the form of, what I predict to be an eventful grappling exhibition. Kevin and Pat and not unfamiliar with each other , Kevin fought for Walsh’s promotion Victory Combat Sports in 2014 and the two have stayed somewhat in touch since then. History will likely matter very little once the cage closes but there is no doubt that these two guys have a tremendous amount of respect for one another.

Kody Nordby (7-4) v. David Garcia (4-2-1)


Kody Nordby

Affiliation:  Sityodtong Boston

Record: 7-4 (6 Submissions)

Summary: Kody has come out on top in four of his last five fights, his only loss coming at the hands of Andre Soukhamthath at CES 33. Of his four victories over that span, Kody reeled off three consecutive Choke Submissions, all three in the first round and all three in the CES cage, running his total to six career submission victories.

Last fight: Decision Victory over Branden Seyler at CES 38.

David Garcia

Affiliation: Team Top Notch 

Record: 4-2-1 (2 Submissions/ 2 TKO)

Summary: Garcia has not lost in his last 4 fights and would like to make it his second consecutive upset in the CES cage when he battles Nordby on Friday night. Garcia surprised the CES fans his last time out submitting CES veteran Rico DiSciullo in the first round at CES 38.

Last fight: First round Submission win over Rico DiSciullo at CES 38.

Breakdown: Garcia had no problem taking down one of the Northeast’s top Bantamweights in his last fight and seeks to do so again as he faces Kody Nordby. Garcia has made a living finishing fights and spoiling his opponent’s night. Nordby, however will be looking for his seventh professional submission win and his eight win overall as a pro. Nordby will likely have a substantial advantage in the Wrestling department and would find it very fitting to put heavy pressure on Garcia and force a submission. Garcia will look to avoid the wrestling of Nordby if he is to become victorious in the second CES fight of his career.  

Dinis Paiva (8-6) v. Jordan Espinosa (9-4)


Dinis Paiva

Affiliation: Cape Cod Fighting Alliance 

Record: 8-6 (5 KOs and 2 Submissions)

Summary: Paiva added another impressive finish to his resume last time out, knocking out Zane Behrend in the first round at CES 40. Dinis likes to end fights early, finishing the fight in 7 of his 8 professional victories and will look to do no different against Espinosa.

Last fight: First round TKO of Zane Behrend at CES 40.

Jordan Espinosa

Affiliation:  Luttrell’s MMA

Record: 9-4 (5 Submissions/ 1 KO)

Summary: Winner of his last five fights Albuquerque’s Espinosa comes in as New Mexico’s top Bantamweight fighter. After starting his career 4-4, Espinosa continues to climb the ranks as he stacks up wins. This will be Espinosa’s first fight in the Northeast since he beat Rico DiSciullo by decision at CES 23.

Last fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Brett Roller at Rocky Mountain Rubicon 3.

Breakdown: Paiva has made it know he does not see this fight going into the second round, “We do not get paid by the minute,” says Paiva. Dinis hopes to derail Jordan’s current five fight winning streak by taking home his second consecutive first round knockout. Espinosa however, will be a step up in competition from Paiva’s last opponent and will undoubtedly be the biggest test of Paiva’s career. Espinosa should be riding high when he returns to Twin River Friday night, the last time he was there he upset the hometown boy (Rico DiSciullo) and he has full intention of doing it again with a win over Paiva. I don’t see this fight going the distance, both fighters are very talented and can finish fights in numerous fashions and I fully expect one of these guys to prevail and end their opponent’s night early!   

Greg Rebello (20-7) v. Danyelle Williams (8-5)


Greg Rebello

Affiliation: Sityodtong Boston 

Record: 20-7 (12 Knockout/TKO)

Summary: “Ribz” suffered a small setback in his last fight out, for the vacant CES Heavyweight title, when Ashley Gooch stopped him with punches in the third round at CES 37. Rebello looks to put that loss behind him and look to continue down a warpath that included three straight knockout wins and four straight wins overall prior to the loss.   

Last fight: Third round TKO loss to Ashley Gooch, for the Heavyweight Title at CES 37.

Danyelle Williams

Affiliation: Warrior Spirit MMA

Record: 8-5 (5 Knockout/ TKO)

Summary: Williams is also looking to bounce back from a loss in a title fight, when his was submitted in the second round by Cameron Olson at A-Town Throwdown 10 in December. Prior to his loss Danyelle had piled up back to back knockouts of his own.

Last Fight: Second round Submission loss to Cameron Olson at A-Town Throwdown 10.

Breakdown: There is no doubt in my mind that both of these fighters will be looking to take each other’s heads off. Both fighters are known as being knockout artists and have finished a majority of their professional wins in knockout fashion. Rebello will have a veteran’s advantage in this fight, having a resume that speaks for itself, including wins against the region’s top Heavyweights on the region’s biggest stages. Rebello will also be carrying the home crowd advantage being a veteran of 14 fights in the CES cage and being voted one of the Promotion’s” Fan Favorite Fighters.” Williams however, is no stranger to the cage, veteran of 13 professional fights, fighting out of Minnesota, he has shown that once he gets his hands on any opponent he can put them to sleep. Do not expect this fight to go the distance and be looking for a dramatic finish when these guys clash.

Matt Bessette (20-7) v. Kevin Croom (17-7)

Featherweight (World Title)

Matt Bessette (Champion)

Affiliation: Underdog Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Record: 20-7 (8 Submissions/ 5 TKO)

Summary: Bessette has used technical striking and effective BJJ to pile up 20 career wins coming predominately in the CES and Bellator cages. The Promotions current Featherweight Champion made his dream of one day becoming a World Champion a reality last time out with a second round Submission against Joe Pingatore for the Featherweight Crown. The Hartford, Connecticut native doesn’t plan on leaving Twin River Casino without his title for a very long time.

Last fight: Second Round Leg Lock Submission of Joe Pingatore at CES 37.

Kevin Croom

Affiliation: Luttrell/ Yee MMA 

Record: 17-7 (7 Submissions/ 5 TKO)

Summary: Croom has amassed 17 career pro wins in a career that has allowed him to travel the world, with fights under his belt in Japan, Russia, Mexico and Canada. The Hard Hitting Hillbilly has collected wins at Featherweight and Bantamweight for promotions that include Bellator and Titan FC. Croom is always ready for a fight and his style is one that quickly earns him fans no matter the venue.

Last fight: Second round Submission Choke loss to Tatsuya Ando at Shooto Pacific Rim Double Championship.  

Breakdown: Croom and Bessette are very similar fighters, both savvy veterans who are willing to throw down at any time. Croom said it was just a matter of time before their career paths crossed, and they will do just that Friday night as the main event on AXS TV from Twin River Casino. Bessette will be making the first of what he hopes to be many title defenses as he carries with him the CES Featherweight World Title to the cage with him for the first time.  Bessette made it known that he doesn’t plan on leaving Twin River without his belt. Croom, who is always down for a tough scrap says that although the fight is scheduled for five rounds he doesn’t see either of the fighters needing more than two rounds for finish the other. Croom will look to upset the CES crowd and the “All Time Fan Favorite Fighter” in the promotions history in Matt “The Mangler” Bessette when the cage door closes on Friday night. Fresh off an incredible 2016, CES kicks off 2017 with an epic headline fight that is guaranteed to create a buzz, and send shockwaves throughout the Northeast MMA World and the National Ranks alike!