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June 13, 2019

Cage Titans XLIV Preview

Giannetti v. Owens

Travis Lizotte

Plymouth, Massachusetts; Saturday June 15th Cage Titans FIghting Championship once again takes aim at historic Plymouth Memorial Hall with thirteen fights scheduled; including seven professional bouts and the Cage Titans Amateur Bantamweight Title on the line! In the main event South Shore Sportfighting Star, and former Ultimate Fighter Finalist; Joe Joe “Skeletor” Giannetti (7-1-1) continues his march back to the UFC, the promotion that failed to sign him following his split-decision loss to Mike Trizano at the Ultimate Fighter finale. Giannetti will be taking on by far his most seasoned opponent to date in former United States Marine Corps veteran and Richmond, Virginia native; D’Juan “Dirty South” Owens (17-13). Giannetti has done everything in his power to build his resume following his loss to Trizano in the Ultimate Fighter Finale, going three hard rounds with undefeated prospect Josh Harvey (6-0-1) at Cage Titans 41, resulting in a majority draw, and finishing another top Lightweight prospect; Connor Barry (6-3) in the third round of their bout at Cage Titans 42. Many believe that adding a win against Owens will be the final push Giannetti needs to make it back to the UFC. D’Juan Owens has no problem getting in the way of Giannetti and his dreams as he has been asked to play the role of spoiler many times in his fabled career.
In the Co-Main event two more Lightweights, who both sit atop New England’s Lightweight Division, will make their bids for number one contendership to Champion; Dan Dubuque’s Cage Titans Lightweight title. Old School veteran scrapper Peter “Slippery Pete” Barrett (9-3) looks to prove that the Cage Titans Lightweight division still belongs to him as he welcomes prospect Zach DiSabatino (5-1) back off the first loss of his career. Both of these fighters have become mainstays in the Cage Titans arena over many years, but it will indeed be “old school” versus “new school” when these two top Lightweights collide in the Co Main event. The clash of styles doesn’t end there either, the brash, loud mouthed Barrett has often used his antics to get under the skin of his opponents, thus landing himself in somewhat of a career long dispute with the team from South Shore Sportfighting. Making it somewhat fitting that Zach DiSabatino draws the task of silencing “Slippery Pete,” as DiSabatino is not a man to mix words with anyone, Zach maintains a very quiet, “all business” approach as he gets ready to settle this war of words with fifteen minutes inside the cage with “South Shore’s Public Enemy #1.”
We continue in the Featherweight division as Cage Titans fan favorite, “Shameless” Don Shainis (5-2) looks to somehow “one up” his ten second, flying knee finish of David McClendon at Cage Titans 43 with yet another epic performance against Virginia’s Stacey Anderson (0-6). Lightweights collide as Johnny “The Wild Child” Adams (1-3) is once again upset minded when he steps in to meet the gritty hometown veteran; Brandon “Bad Luck” Fleming (5-3). Fleming was impressive in his return following a nearly five year layoff in January when dismantled Montoyia Swilling over two rounds to get the TKO stoppage, Fleming hopes to keep that train rolling Saturday night against Vermont’s Adams.
Well known amongst New England MMA fans for his all out one round slugfest with Chris Sniger at Cage Titans 36; Pat Gilbride (Debut) will return to the cage for the first time in over 18 months, as he makes his professional debut against the scuffling but always game Rob Fuller (0-6). Stylish striker Kin “ Kong” Moy (9-4) hopes to climb his way back into title contention, following his decision loss to Jay Parrin (8-3) at Cage Titans 42, for Perrin’s Cage Titans Bantamweight strap. Moy welcomes back the veteran of 18 professional fights; Raymond “The Reaper” Yanez (5-13), the Ohio native will be seeking back to back wins for the first time in his professional career. The final professional fight on the docket will take place at a Women’s Catchweight of 130 pounds as South Shore Sportfighting’s Kristina “The Meat Grinder” Katsikis (Debut) is set to make her pro-debut against Tech MMA’s (Virginia) Whittany Pyles (0-3).
Also highlighting the Main Card; Amateur Bantamweight Champion Arthur Mpofu (3-0) is ready to defend his belt for the first time against his former training partner, turned number one contender; Jeff Joy (2-0). Five amateur preliminary bouts kick off the action from Plymouth Memorial Hall Saturday evening with opening bells due to sound at 6 pm local time. For tickets, as well as other information regarding Cage Titans 44, visit Below is a detailed breakdown of the fight card:


Dan Shapiro (1-0, Lauzon MMA) v. Dedryk Lugo (Debut, Team BST)
Amateur Featherweight

Shapiro makes his Cage Titans return after over three years away from competitive MMA, Shapiro knocked out Matt Burton with just 2 seconds left in the first round of his Amateur debut in April of 2016 at Cage Titans 28. Shapiro will welcome Team BST’s Dedryk Lugo to the cage for the first time, brother of Professional Flyweight prospect Jose Lugo; Dedryk looks to leave an impression on Cage Titans fans as he follows in the footsteps of his brother Jose and makes that walk to the cage for the very first time.

Ebrahim Aziz (1-0, Connors MMA) v. David Durao (1-2, Underdog)
Amateur Flyweight

Ebrahim Aziz opened a lot of eyes in his Amateur debut at Cage Titans 43 with a third round TKO of a very tough Sean Costello. Ebrahim’s striking looked tactical as he wore out Costello for the better part of three rounds. Aziz draws a very tough, more experienced opponent once again, in Underdog BJJ’s David Durao. Don’t let Durao’s record fool you, both of his losses came to Flyweight phenom Mitch Raposo, Durao brings a high level of grappling to the cage and the endurance to test the upstart Aziz!

Brandon Demoura (Debut, Team BST) v. Andrew Hagan (Debut, Nostos MMA)
Amateur Bantamweight

Team BST’s Brandon Demoura graduated High School just two short weeks ago, and while many graduates are getting ready to head out on vacation the Hopedale, Massachusetts native is getting prepared to lace up the gloves for the first time. His opponent will also be making his Amateur debut and is the brother of UFC veteran Davin Powell’s long time Muay Thai coach and sparring partner; Tim Hagan. Andrew Hagan is ready to showcase his skills following countless hours in the gym, learning from both Devin and his brother Tim.

Rafael Adames (1-0, Triforce) v. Brett Layton (0-1, Lauzon MMA)
Amateur Featherweight

Tri-Force MMA’s Rafael Adames opened a lot of eyes at Cage Titans 41 with his calculated decision win over BST’s Brandon “Bandana” Vogel. Adames is ready to show the Cage Titans Featherweight Division that he is here to stay as he welcomes the Wrestling heavy Brett Layton. Layton’s Split-Decision loss to Shane Dougherty at Cage Titans 39; Pinz, was an instant classic leaving Cage Titans fans wondering when they would see the next of Brett Layton, after a cancelled fight in April at Cage Titans 43, Layton returns here at Cage Titans 44 seeking his first win against Adames.

Jake Bagley (1-0, Nostos MMA) v. Andrew Valdina (Debut, Lauzon MMA)
Amateur Catchweight - 130 Pounds

A standout wrestler at Dracut High School as well as Bridgewater State University; Andrew Valdina has found a home on the mats at Lauzon MMA. Great friend and training partner of the UFC’s Bantamweight Randy “The Zohan” Costa, Valdina has been honing his skills amongst the best fighters in the Northeast every day at Lauzon’s. His opponent; Jake “The Bull” Bagley has his own laundry list of wrestling accolades including two Maine State Titles as well as an Ohio Open Tournament win at the age of 14. Since his days on the mats Jake has been under the wing of New England Featherweight OG Bill Jones, Bagley displayed his skills for the first time at NEF 37: Sub Zero in February earning a Unanimous Decision victory in a three round brawl with Canada’s Brady MacDonald.

Whittany Pyles (0-3) v. Kristina Katsikis (Debut)

Women’s  Catchweight - 130 Pounds

Whittney Pyles
Fighting out of: Christiansburg, Virginia
Affiliation: Tech MMA
Record: 0-3 (5-0 as Amateur)
Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Gabriella Gulfin at Ring of Combat 67.
Kristina “ The Meat Grinder” Katsikis
Fighting out of: Boston, Massachusetts
Affiliation: South Shore Sportfighting
Record: 0-0 (1-0 as Amateur)
Last fight: Split decision victory over Tara Pires at Cage Titans 41.
Breakdown: Make no mistake about it, Kristina Katsikis went to War with Tara Pires in her Amateur debut at Cage Titans 41, that experience, accompanied with her domination on the mats in several grappling tournaments of late, helped persuade South Shore Sportfighting head coach Bill Mahoney to allow Katsikis to pursue a professional fight. That fight comes to fruition Saturday night as Katsikis welcomes three fight veteran Whittney Pyles to the Cage Titans cage. Pyles; a veteran of both Ring of Combat as well as CFFC, comes to New England by way of Christiansburg, Virginia and Tech MMA, where she trains side by side with CES Bantamweight Champion, and the top unsigned Bantamweight prospect on the East Coast; Tony Gravely (18-5). Don’t let Pyles' 0-3 record fool you, Whittney was 5-0 as an Amateur before taking some very tough fights as a pro, and this fight looks like more of the same!

Raymond Yanez (5-13) v. Kin Moy (9-4)


Raymond “ The Reaper” Yanez
Fighting out of: Marion, Ohio
Affiliation: Lashley Training Center  
Record: 5-13 (1 Knockout, 3 Submissions)
Last fight: Second round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) of Scott Dirkson at Valley Fight League 46.
Kin “ Kong” Moy
Fighting out of: Boston, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Citadel Martial Arts  
Record: 9-4 (2 Knockouts, 6 Submissions)
Last fight: Unanimous decision loss to Jay Perrin at Cage Titans 42.
Breakdown: To call Kin Moy a gatekeeper in the New England Bantamweight division is no slight on the strikers skill, or resume. Moy has often been mentioned amongst title challengers here in the Northeast, unfortunately for Kin, his last three losses have helped catapult his opponents on to the UFC’s radar. However, the time has to be now for the fashion forward 28 year old, who will once again trade in his tailored suit jacket and trousers for his Citadel Martial Arts Muay Thai shorts and Cage Titans gloves as he makes another push towards the top against well traveled veteran Raymond Yanez. Yanez has found himself at somewhat of a crossroads in his career, the losses continued to pile up but his love for competition never really faltered. After contemplating retirement in 2017 Yanez returned to action in April at Cage Titans 43 against Jeff Perez, before earning a win in his home state of Ohio on May 11th against Scott Dirkson (2-4) at Valley Fight League 46. Yanez’s return doesn’t get any easier as he matches up against standout striker Kin Moy!

Main Card

Arthur Mpofu (3-0) v. Jeff Joy (2-0)

Amateur Bantamweight Title Fight

Champion: Arthur Mpofu
Fighting out of: Wareham, Massachusetts
Affiliation: SBG East  
Record: 3-0 (3 wins by decision)
Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Fouad Shahin at Cage Titans 42.
Challenger: Jeff Joy
Fighting out of: Falmouth, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Juniko  
Record: 2-0 (1 Submission)
Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Will Alfano at Cage Titans 42.
Breakdown: Just six months ago Jeff Joy was purchasing tickets from his good friend and former training partner Arthur Mpofu for Arthur’s Bantamweight title challenge against Fouad Shahin at Cage Titans 42. Fast forward 6 months and the belt now belongs to Mpofu and it will be Joy standing across the cage from him looking to take the belt away! Although there will be no bad blood between these two, this fight should be an exciting clash of styles; the Champion Mpofu, a lengthy striker, relies on doing the majority of his work from the outside, whereas Joy likes to close distance and grind on his opponents. This type of match up has all the makings of becoming an all out war for Arthur’s 135 pound strap!

Rob Fuller (0-6) v. Pat Gilbride (Debut)


“Razor” Rob Fuller
Fighting out of: Lakewood, Colorado
Affiliation: Team Fuller
Record: 0-6
Last fight: First round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) loss to Angel Marquez at Combat Night Pro 12.
Pat Gilbride
Fighting out of: Boston, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lauzon MMA  
Record: 0-0 (2-1 as Amateur)
Last fight: First round Knockout loss to Chris Sniger at Cage Titans 36.
Breakdown: Lauzon MMA’s Pat Gilbride was scheduled to make his professional debut against Kenneth Rayside (0-1) here at Cage Titans 44 before Rayside pulled out just 24 hours before fighters were due to step on the scales. Cage Titans owner and matchmaker Michael Polvere had some scrambling to do, Polvere called on Colorado’s Rob Fuller, the man known across New England for always being game and stepping up on short notice to save fights. Fuller will once again make the trip to Massachusetts from his home in Colorado, to save the professional debut of Pat Gilbride. Fuller said he didn’t even know who the opponent would be when Polvere came calling, and it didn’t really matter to him, once he got the call he accepted the fight immediately. Gilbride subsequently thanked Fuller via Facebook for stepping up to the task and saving this fight!

Johnny Adams (1-3) v. Brandon Fleming (5-3)


Johnny “The Wild Child” Adams
Fighting out of: Rutland, Vermont
Affiliation: Wild Child MMA  
Record: 1-3 (1 Submission)
Last fight: First round Submission (Triangle) of Trevor Gudde at Cage Titans 43.
Brandon “Bad Luck” Fleming
Fighting out of: Marshfield, Massachusetts
Affiliation: South Shore Sportfighting  
Record: 5-3 (1 Knockout, 1 Submission)
Last fight: Second round TKO (Retirement) of Montoyia Swilling at Cage Titans 42.
Breakdown: Johnny Adams made his Cage Titans debut an emphatic one dispatching heavy favorite Trevor Gudde in the first round with what Adams later coined the “Wild Child Choke” at Cage Titans 43. An old school grappler and submission specialist, Adams can be a tricky opponent for anyone in the Lightweight and Welterweight Divisions. His opponent Brandon Fleming will be entering the cage for the second time since his nearly five year absence, Fleming has made his career beating all the fighters who he is expected to beat, with his only losses coming to Bellator’s Blair Tugman and a pair of current UFC stars; Desmond Green and Rob Font. Fleming should find himself to be a favorite once again as he meets Vermont’s Johnny Adams in the center of the Cage Titans cage!   

Stacey Anderson (0-6) v. Don Shainis (5-2)


Stacey Anderson
Fighting out of: Falls Church, Virginia
Affiliation: Wild Card  
Record: 0-6 (Finished in all 6 pro losses)
Last fight: Third round TKO loss to Saul Almieda at AMMO Fight League 5.
“Shameless” Don Shainis
Fighting out of: Easton, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Citadel Martial Arts
Record: 5-2 (2 Knockouts, 2 Submissions)
Last fight: First round TKO (Flying Knee) of David McClendon at Cage Titans 43.
Breakdown: Just ten seconds is all Don Shainis needed to show the entire New England Featherweight division that he was indeed back, and more dangerous than ever as he dispatched David McClendon by flying knee at Cage Titans 43. Now back in the saddle, Shainis has vowed to Cage Titans president Michael Polvere that he will fight on every single Cage Titans card until he gets the call to the big show. Shainis will make it two straight starts following a neck surgery that nearly derailed his career, and he will do so against Team Wild Card’s Stacey Anderson. The Boxer Anderson will be making his third appearance in the Cage Titans cage Saturday night, having fallen victim to both Jeff Perez and Randy Costa in his previous two invites. I asked Shainis about his ten second victory over McClendon and whether or not he would be looking to hang around a little longer with Anderson to test his physical health following his neck injury? Shainis replied emphatically that he looks to waste no time in there and hopes to “get in and get out” with another decisive victory before getting on to the next one!   

Zach DiSabatino (5-1) v. Peter Barrett (9-3)


Zach DiSabatino
Fighting out of: Marshfield, Massachusetts
Affiliation: South Shore Sportfighting
Record: 5-1 (3 Knockouts, 2 Submissions)
Last fight: Split decision loss to Darius Estell at Cage Titans 42.
“Slippery” Pete Barrett
Fighting out of: Boston, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Sityodtong
Record: 9-3 (6 Knockouts, 2 Submissions)
Last fight: First round Submission (Armbar) loss to Connor Barry at Cage Titans 39.
Breakdown: Peter Barrett’s Punk Rock attitude and filterless mouth has made him quite a polarizing figure across the New England MMA circuit for quite some time now, with no group bigger critics of his antics then the team at South Shore Sportfighting. As Barrett continued to strike his way up the New England Lightweight ranks so did many of the talented fighters from SSSF, creating a natural rivalry between the smack talking Sityodtong product and the entire stable of SSSF fighters. In the past fans have clamoured for matchups between Slippery Pete and an “up and coming” Manny Bermudez, as well as fellow jawing partner Joe Giannetti, however those fights would never see the cage. It was not until Zach DiSabatino was looking to get back into the cage following his first career loss to Darius Estell at Cage Titans 42 that the veteran Peter Barrett would be offered the chance to finally lock horns with one of the killers from South Shore. DiSabatino isn’t much for trash talking however, Zach would rather make his statement doing what he does best, punching faces and winning fights. This is a great matchup with ‘fight of the night’ potential, with all the bad blood, there is no question the crowd at Memorial Hall will be loud, as well as divided when these two hit the cage!
D’Juan Owens (17-13-1) v. Joe Giannetti (7-1-1)


D’Juan “Dirty South” Owens
Fighting out of: Richmond, Virginia
Affiliation: Legion of Doom  
Record: 17-13-1 (4 Knockouts, 6 Submissions)
Last fight: Split Decision Victory over Sabah Fadai at Rise FC 3.
Joe “Skeletor” Giannetti
Fighting out of: Whitman, Massachusetts
Affiliation: South Shore Sportfighting  
Record: 7-1-1 (1 Knockout, 5 Submissions)
Last fight: Third round TKO (Hammerfists) of Connor Barry at Cage Titans 42.
Breakdown: Since dropping a narrow split-decision against Mike Trizano last July in the Ultimate Fighter Finale; Cage Titans superstar Joe Giannetti has been doing everything in his power to climb his way back to the UFC’s roster. Including multiple visits to San Jose, California where Giannetti trains with his Ultimate Fighter coach and current UFC Light-Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion; Daniel Cormier as well as current UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov at American Kickboxing Academy. Giannetti has worked tirelessly with one goal in mind, getting back to the UFC. Giannetti has also laid it all on the line inside the cage since returning to the Cage Titans platform, having gone three grueling rounds with Maine’s undefeated Josh Harvey (6-0-1) in a narrow majority draw, and finishing fellow Lightweight prospect Connor Barry with hammerfists in the third round of their contest back in January. Giannetti believes he is just one emphatic win away from getting the call back to the UFC’s octagon as he looks to add veteran of 30 professional fights D’Juan Owens to his list of victims. The former United States Marine; Owens is no stranger to stopping hype trains as he has been asked to do so on numerous occasions throughout his professional career. Ownens' experience, along with a set of heavy hands, have seen the "Dirty South" come out on top more often then not against these upstart kind of fighters. Although the experience possessed by Owens is unmatched by any of Giannetti’s former opponents, Joe predicts that he will silence all of his critics Saturday with a dominating first round finish of the Virginia native.