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August 22, 2019

Cage Titans XLV: Shainis v. Yong Preview

Giannetti vs. Raymond

Travis Lizotte

Saturday August 24th, 2019; Plymouth, Massachusetts the particulars were a little late rolling in but we have a stacked fight card set to go down from Plymouth Memorial Hall Saturday night as Michael Polvere presents Cage Titans 45. Although the full fight card did not fully shape up until early this week, one fight New England MMA fans knew they could count on at Cage Titans 45 is the night’s co-feature between former Ultimate Fighter Finalist Joe “Skeletor” Giannetti (7-2-1) and a well known adversary Keenan Raymond (3-6). Initially Giannetti and Raymond were set to meet in a rematch, Giannetti submitted Raymond in the second round at Cage Titans 35, at Cage Titans’ first ever combat night on July 13th. However, due to a dispute with the Athletic Commission regarding the eligibility of Raymond, the fight in July was postponed until Saturday. This ended up being quite a bump in the road for Giannetti who still continues to make his argument to fight on the UFC card in Boston on October 18th, after his dismissal from the organization, following his Split-Decision loss to Mike Trizano (8-1) in the Ultimate Fighter finale in July of 2018. These two familiar foes will square off Saturday night as the two Lightweights are set to co-headline what promises to be a very exciting evening inside New England’s most beloved combat sports venue; Plymouth Memorial Hall.
Although Cage Titans 45 is stacked deep with Professional talent; it’s Amateur Bantamweights who promise to steal the show Saturday night as newly crowned Cage Titans Amateur Bantamweight Champion; Jeff Joy (3-0) will put his belt on the line against the man sitting atop the Amateur Bantamweight rankings in all of New England; New England Fights Amateur Bantamweight Champion “Killa” Kam Arnold (5-0). This fight will without a doubt be a battle for supremacy, as the winner will not only be crowned Cage Titans Champion, but will also stake claim to the title; New England’s baddest Amateur Bantamweight! But if it is Professional MMA you desire, we’ve got you covered, as Cage Titans returns some of the region’s top pro talent including 14 fight veteran Kin “Kong” Moy (10-4) who looks to stack up back to back wins, since his five round decision loss to Jay Perrin (8-4) at Cage Titans 42, and he looks to do so against Ohio’s Shawn “The Artist” Rall (2-6).
Cage Titan’s fan favorite and surging Featherweight prospect “Shameless” Don Shainis (6-2) makes good on his word to fight on every Cage Titan’s fight card until he gets the call to the “Big Show,” Shainis makes it three straight appearances for his home promotion as he looks for his third straight victory against combat sport veteran Roberto Yong (3-4) in a bout that has stolen main event status likely due to the fact Shainis sells the most tickets in Cage Titans history and Mike Polvere gives the fans what they pay to see. Fellow top prospect; “Killa” Mitch Raposo (1-0) looks to continue a career unblemished as he makes his second walk to the cage as a pro, against Ohio MMA veteran; Raymond “The Reaper” Yanez (5-14). Also looking to notch professional wins will be up and comers; Marty “The Beast” Navis (2-0 Welterweight, v. Mike Diorio 1-5), Pat Gilbride (1-0 Featherweight, vs. Anthony Pagliaro 3-6), Connor Matthews (Debut 150 pound Catchweight, v. Stacey Anderson 0-7) and Tommy Lee Davis (1-1 Middleweight, vs. Josh Jones Pro Debut). Below is a breakdown of the full Cage Titans 45 fight card with 14 fights set to kickoff at 7pm local time with doors opening at 6pm from Plymouth Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Massachusetts. For tickets visit

Brian Cosco (4-7) vs. Xavier Cardona (1-1)
Amateur Lightweight

Brian Cosco
Fighting out of: Boston, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Sityodtong
Record: 4-7 (1 Knockouts, 3 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round TKO (Doctor Stoppage) of Gary Carr at NEF 38: Stormborn.

Xavier Cardona
Fighting out of: Lakeville, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lakeville MMA
Record: 1-1 (1 Knockout)
Last Fight: First round Knockout of Alberto Rodriguez at Cage Titans 42.

Joe Poirier (Debut, SBG East) vs. Josh Welch (0-1, Defensive Edge )
Amateur Flyweight

Kyle Rutherford (Debut, Recovery Fight House) vs. Andrew Jacobs (Debut, Lauzon MMA)
Amateur 215 pound Catchweight

Peter Luciani (1-1) vs. Dion Rubio (3-1)
Amateur Lightweight

Peter “PJ3” Luciani
Fighting out of: Wareham, Massachusetts
Affiliation: SBG East
Record: 1-1 (1 Submission)
Last Fight: First round Submission loss to Addison O’Neil at Cage Titans 14.

Dion Rubio
Fighting out of: Pawtuckett, Rhode Island
Affiliation: Tri-Force MMA
Record: 3-1 (3 Submissions)
Last Fight: Unanimous Decision loss to Eddy George at Cage Titans 43.

Justin Stevens (1-1) vs. Adam Bondarenko (1-0)
Amateur Featherweight

Justin Stevens
Fighting out of: Lakeville, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lakeville MMA
Record: 1-1 (1 Submission)
Last Fight: First round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) of Mike Albert at Cage Titans 42.

Adam Bondarenko
Fighting out of: Boston, Massachusetts
Affiliation: South Shore Sportfighting
Record: 1-0 (Split-Decision)
Last Fight: Split Decision victory over Arii Fernandez at Premier FC 27.

Tommy Lee Davis (1-1) vs. Josh Jones (Pro-Debut)

Tommy Lee Davis
Fighting out of: Middleboro, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Sityodtong
Record: 1-1 (1 Win By Decision)
Last Fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Hugh McKenna at CES 53: Gravely v. Nordby.

Josh Jones
Fighting out of: Jefferson, Maine
Affiliation: Team Zo
Record: 0-0 (2-4 as an Amateur)
Last Fight: Second round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) loss to Jake Davis at Cage Wars 36.

Breakdown: Known as a striker during his Amateur career, Tommy Lee Davis stacked up three knockouts, in four wins as an Amateur before turning pro in February of 2018. Davis fell victim to his craft in his pro debut, getting knocked out cold by Armus Guyton in the first round of their bout at CES 48. Tommy bounced back in November of last year with a Unanimous Decision victory over Grappler Hugh McKenna at CES 53 and will now look to make it back to back pro wins as he welcomes Josh Jones back to hostile territory. Cage Titans fans will remember Jones from his bout with Brian Harrington at Cage Titans 37 which Jones lost a Unanimous Decision and let the Cage Titans fans know just what he thought of their “Boos” with multiple “One Finger Salutes” to the crowd. This time Jones is back with a goal, to become the first professional athlete from Maine to compete in four different professional sports, having already played professional Basketball, and Boxing professionally, Jones intends to make his Professional MMA debut Saturday and follow it up with a taste of professional Kickboxing to round out his dream. But has the Jefferson, Maine native stretched himself too thin? One would argue that with his lofty aspirations there is no way Jones could actually be concentrated on winning this fight, which could prove dangerous against a high level opponent like Davis.

Connor Matthews (Debut) vs. Stacey Anderson (0-7)
150 Pound Catchweight

Connor “Bad News” Matthews
Fighting out of: Freetown, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lauzon MMA
Record: 0-0 (4-2 as an Amateur)
Last Fight: First round Knockout (Punches) of Brent Sanchez at NW Fight Challenge.

Stacey Anderson
Fighting out of: Falls Church, Virginia
Affiliation: Wild Card Gym
Record: 0-7 (3 time Cage Titans veteran)
Last Fight: First round Knockout loss to Don Shainis at Cage Titans 44.

Breakdown: Veteran of the United States Airforce, Lauzon MMA’s Connon Matthews looks to put his professional roots down where it all started; in New England.  Holding a 4-2 Amateur record, with his last three fights coming in the Pacific Northwest, Matthews returns to the New England scene after seven years in Washington State. Matthews finished all four of his Amateur wins including two Knockouts and two Submissions, that, along with the team at Lauzon MMA behind him, gives Matthews all the confidence in the world coming into Saturday night, as he locks horns with MMA and Boxing veteran Stacey Anderson. Make no bones about it, Stacey Anderson has been lead through a buzzsaw of talent across his time in the New England cages, including losses to Don Shainis, Saul Almieda, Randy Costa and Jeff Perez in his last four fights. Anderson draws yet another tough customer when he makes his fourth Cage Titans appearance against Connor Matthews.   

Kin Moy (10-4) vs. Shawn Rall (2-6)

Kin “Kong” Moy
Fighting out of: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Citadel Martial Arts
Record: 10-4 (3 Knockouts, 6 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round Knockout of Raymond Yanez at Cage Titans 44.

Shawn “The Artist” Rall
Fighting out of: Cleveland, Ohio
Affiliation: Ares Combat MMA
Record: 2-6 (2 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round Submission loss to Nikolai Gionti at Bayfront Brawl 7.

Breakdown: Kin Moy has established himself as somewhat of a gatekeeper in New England’s stacked Bantamweight division, Moy continues to climb up the ranks but has had a tough time notching a career defining win. Following a hard fought loss to Jay Perrin in their title fight at Cage Titans 42, the 29 year old Moy has once again been forced to climb his way back into title contention. Kin began that climb at Cage Titans 44 against Raymond Yanez, dispatching the veteran in the first round, and will continue the climb Saturday as he welcomes Shawn Rall back to Cage Titans for the first time since April of 2018, when he too fell victim to now Bantamweight Champion; Jay Perrin. All eight of Shawn Rall’s professional fights have ended with submissions, as the Cleveland native continues to find himself in grappling conflicts. Moy, the owner of six career wins by Submission, is actually better known for his Muay Thai striking then his ground work, and I see Moy looking to hand Rall his first career loss by Knockout when the cage door closes on these two Bantamweights.

Jeff Joy (3-0) vs. Kam Arnold (5-0)
*Amateur Bantamweight Title*

Champion: Jeff Joy
Fighting out of: Hanover, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Juniko
Record: 3-0 (1 Submission)
Last Fight: Unanimous Decision victory over now former Cage Titans Champion; Arthur Mpofu at Cage Titans 44.

Challenger: “Killa” Kam Arnold Reigning New England Fights Amateur Bantamweight Champion. 
Fighting out of: Lewiston, Maine
Affiliation: Recon Fitness
Record: 5-0 (5 Knockouts)
Last Fight: First round Knockout (Punch) of Henry Clark at NEF 38: Stormborn.

Breakdown: Let’s face it when a fight card is established on a big named Amateur matchup it better be HUGE, Jeff Joy vs. Kam Arnold blows that montra out of the water, this may be the biggest Champion vs. Champion matchup I can remember covering in my days as a writer. Newly crowned Cage Titans Amateur Bantamweight Champion Jeff Joy surprised just about everyone but himself with a five round drubbing of former Champion Arthur Mpofu at Cage Titans 44, leaning heavily on a strong wrestling base and heavy pressure to unseat the former Champion. After earning the title, promoter Michael Polvere gave Joy the chance to call his next shot and essentially chose, from a list of fighters, who he would defend the belt against. In true Champion fashion; Jeff tabbed the the name on the top of that list, fellow undefeated prospect and New England Fights’ current, reigning, defending, Amateur Bantamweight Champion and the number one ranked Amateur Bantamweight in all of New England; “Killa” Kam Arnold. Arnold who backs down from no man, relishes the opportunity to have a shot at becoming a two promotion champion, in Arnold’s five career fights, just one has made it out of the first round and all five have ended in knockout. Arnold looks to prove he has the power in his hands to come into hostile territory, take out the hometown champion and return to Maine the biggest Amateur star the region has seen in quite some time. This fight has to be the odds on favorite for fight of the night honors heading into Saturday night as I expect an absolute barn burner from these two Amateur studs. 

Jacobo Apito (1-0) vs. Rob Fuller (0-8)

Jacobo “Kunga” Apito
Fighting out of: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Citadel Martial Arts
Record: 1-0 (1 Knockouts)
Last Fight: Second round Knockout (Ground and Pound) of Michael Taylor at Cage Titans 43.

Rob Fuller
Fighting out of: Denver, Colorado
Affiliation: Team Fuller
Record: 0-8 
Last Fight: First round Submission loss (Triangle Choke) to Christian Ynastrilla at Action Fight League; FightGame

Breakdown: Fight scrapped the day before weigh-ins. Fuller was unaware of a suspension following a Muay Thai bout in his home state of Colorado last month.

Pat Gilbride (1-0) vs. Anthony Pagliaro (3-6)

Pat Gilbride
Fighting out of: Boston, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lauzon MMA
Record: 1-0 (1 Knockout)
Last Fight: First round Knockout of Rob Fuller at Cage Titans 44.

Anthony Pagliaro
Fighting out of: Preston, Idaho
Affiliation: Cache Valley Boxing
Record: 3-6 (1 Knockout, 2 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round Knockout loss to Ben Hollier at MTF 9: Anniversary.

Breakdown: It’s not often the best advice for a fighter to turn pro after getting knocked out for the first time, but there is always an exception to the rule and that exception is Pat Gilbride. Following Gilbride’s all out, one round war, with Chris Sniger for the Vacant Cage Titans Amateur Featherweight belt, that ended with Gilbride being the one to crumble from a back and forth exchange of haymakers at Cage Titans 36, Gilbride punched his pro ticket at Cage Titans 44 with a first round knockout of late replacement Rob Fuller. Gilbride welcomes; 38 year old Anthony Pagliaro to New England for the first time, as the Idahoian looks to end a three fight losing streak that extends across four years of competition. Boston’s Gilbride must remain cautious of the somewhat unknown Pagliaro, as all three of his career wins have come by stoppage.     

Mitch Raposo (1-0) vs. Raymond Yanez (5-14)

“Killa” Mitch Raposo
Fighting out of: Fall River, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Regiment Training Center
Record: 1-0 (1 Submission)
Last Fight: First round Submission (Arm Triangle Choke) of Rob Fuller at Cage Titans 43.

Raymond “The Reaper” Yanez
Fighting out of: Marion, Ohio
Affiliation: Lashley Training Center
Record: 5-14 (1 Knockout, 3 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round TKO loss to Kin Moy at Cage Titans 44.

Breakdown: After not losing a round in six lopsided Unanimous Decisions as an Amateur, Fall River’s “Killa” Mitch Raposo earned his first career finish last time out, with a first round Triangle Choke of Rob Fuller as Cage Titans 43, in his pro debut. Raposo is everything you would want from a young up and coming star, at just 20 years old, Raposo possesses the skills of a seasoned veteran. Although more known for his wrestling Mitch is no slouch on the feet, using crisp technical combinations to keep his opponents on their heels, once he has his opponents moving backwards, that’s when Mitch’s overwhelming wrestling comes into play where takedowns and top position are almost imminent. It is going to be enticing to see if Mitch can stay true to his game plan against his most seasoned opponent to date in Raymond Yanez, who at 20 career pro fights, has seen just about all there is to see in the sport of MMA. Yanez has been called on many times by New England promoters, often times to test some of the top up and coming talent in the area. Over the last two years Yanez has been locked in the cage with Undefeated Prospects; Richie Santiago, Marquis Brewster and now perhaps the biggest prospect of them all; Mitch Raposo. 

Marty Navis (2-0) vs. Mike Diorio (1-5)

Marty “The Beast” Navis
Fighting out of: Middleboro, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lauzon MMA
Record: 2-0 (2 Knockouts)
Last Fight: Second round Knockout (Ground and Pound) of Albert Tulley at Cage Titans 42.

Mike Diorio
Fighting out of: Homer, New York
Affiliation: Recovery Fight House
Record: 1-5 (5 straight losses)
Last Fight: First round TKO loss to Pat Casey at Premier FC 28.

Breakdown: Lauzon MMA’s Marty Navis is an absolute monster at Welterweight, with the build of a natural Middleweight, and comes as advertised, as many from the famed Lauzon MMA camp have before him, with powerful grappling and heavy pressure from the top. That heavy top pressure has proved to be overwhelming in Navis’ two professional wins both having come by way of stoppage from Ground and Pound. Once Navis gets his hands on his opponent he is suffocating, dragging them to the ground where he uses heavy strikes to dictate the outcome of the fight. New York’s Mike Diorio is a seasoned veteran, who has tested his skills amongst some of the better names in both New England’s Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight divisions. With some well honed skills and an unwavering faith in his Lord and savior; Jesus Christ, Diorio has a world of confidence that regardless of their records he has done what it takes to walk away from the cage Saturday night with his second professional victory. Regardless of the results however, Diorio will continue to work towards his goal of using Martial Arts and the Word of God to help teens and children, local to his Homer, New York home, stay out of trouble and off the streets by giving them an outlet to express themselves through Martial Arts, and that is a goal worth mentioning! 

Joe Giannetti (7-2-1) vs. Keenan Raymond (3-6)

Joe “Skeletor” Giannetti
Fighting out of: Whitman, Massachusetts
Affiliation: South Shore Sportfighting
Record: 7-2-1 (1 Knockout, 5 Submissions)
Last Fight: Unanimous Decision loss to D’Juan Owens at Cage Titans 44.

Keenan Raymond
Fighting out of: Cranston, Rhode Island
Affiliation: RI Misfits
Record: 3-6 (1 Knockout, 1 Submission)
Last Fight: First round Knockout loss to Zach DiSabatino at Cage Titans 38.

Breakdown: I’m going to sound like a broken record here but the fact is nothing has changed, Joe Giannetti’s year long redemption tour (or #comebackseason as Joe would call it)is still very much underway, as the Lightweight star looks to once again grab the eyes of the UFC, the organization who cut him, ahead of the UFC’s October 18th card in Boston. Giannetti is a disappointing 1-1-1 since his Split-Decision loss to Mike Trizano at the Finale of the Ultimate Fighter last July. Giannetti is one of the top submission artists amongst unsigned Lightweights in the country but with that distinction Giannetti has gone away from some of the exciting striking skills that helped him earn a spot on the Ultimate Fighter as a 5-0 Undefeated prospect. Although Giannetti is so dominant in the grappling game, I think that if he were to bring back some of the flashy, lengthy striking he would grab the headlines he is looking for and get back to the UFC roster sooner than later. Keenan Raymond is all too familiar with Giannetti’s Submission game as Raymond still holds the distinction of being the “last neck Giannetti snatched” in the Cage Titans cage, but Raymond has also maintained that he believes his loss to Giannetti was a fluke and the two have been jawing about a rematch ever since and the day is finally here. For Giannetti the story will come full circle if he can once again use Keenan Raymond as his launching point to the sports grandest stage!    

Don Shainis (6-2) vs. Roberto Yong (3-4)

“Shameless” Don Shainis
Fighting out of: Easton, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Citadel Martial Arts
Record: 6-2 (3 Knockouts, 2 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round Knockout of Stacey Anderson at Cage Titans 44.

Roberto “Ali” Yong
Fighting out of: Phoenix, Arizona
Affiliation: Team Ali
Record: 3-4 (3 Knockouts, 6-16-2 as a Professional Boxer) 
Last Fight: First round Submission loss to John Long at Aggression Session 2.

Breakdown: Easton, Massachusetts’ “Shameless” Don Shainis went into 2018 a grappling and submission specialist, and came out a Knockout Artist. Shainis is 2-0 following 2018 neck surgery that threatened his career and caused him to miss nearly a year of competition, and both of those wins have come by dramatic, first round, highlight reel knockouts. However it may be wise of Shainis to return to his “old” form in this bout, against the striking heavy Boxer; Roberto Yong. It’s been about three and a half years since Phoenix, Arizona’s Yong stepped inside the cage, but don’t let that fool you, a veteran of 24 professional boxing matches, Roberto has been no stranger to the combat sports during his time away from MMA. In three professional wins, Yong has collected three knockouts including a round one knockout of newly minted UFC Welterweight Philip Rowe (7-2, signed Tuesday via the Contender Series) back in 2014 as well as a first round finish of Jimmy Scully at World Series of Fighting 25 in 2015. Yong is without a doubt the biggest test of Shainis’ career and his striking ability will likely force Shainis to return to his grappling game, which is not to be overlooked and has proven to be dominant in the past, see his fight with Matt Denning in Bellator for proof of that!