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Cage Titans 58: Giannetti vs. Vendramini; The Preview


Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"


Cage Titans once again invites you to spend a day at the Plymouth Memorial hall this Saturday as Michael Polvere pulls out all the stops offering the New England MMA faithful a full day of violent entertainment when he presents Cage Titans 58, a day/night doubleheader. That's right folks, so far Cage Titans is the only promotion in the region crazy enough to pull off two individual fight cards, on the same date, and this Saturday Michael Polvere has 30 fights on tap in a series of events unlike any other on the New England MMA scene. The first fight card kicks off at Noon, comprised primarily of young up and coming talent, amateurs highlight the early card, including a Bantamweight clash between Nostos MMA's Key Baltazar and Evolution Athletix's Teddy Politis for the Vacant Cage Titans Amateur Bantamweight Crown. Later that afternoon in the Main Event Synthesis BJJ's (Rochester, NY) Orelvis "The Cuban Gorilla" Hernandez makes his New England MMA and Professional debut when he squares off with UFC Gym's (Boston) Daniel Mola (1-0) at Light-Heavyweight.


Later that evening Polvere and Company invite New England MMA fans back to Plymouth Memorial Hall, a second ticket required, to a treat; an entirely professional card, littered with some of the regions biggest names. Beginning at 7:00 pm twelve professional fights come knocking on the door of New England MMA's most beloved venue as Cage Titans 58 delivers one hell of a professional main card! In the evenings co-main event Cage Titans Bantamweight Champion Joe "The Party" Penafiel (10-5) puts his Cage Titans 135 pound belt on the line against former Cage Titans Amateur Featherweight Champion; John Douma (7-3). And in the main event Cage Titans double champ Joe "Skeletor" Giannetti (14-4) puts his belts on the shelf (this time) when he welcomes former UFC veteran; Luigi Vendramini (9-3) to the Cage Titans cage for three, five minute rounds at Lightweight, without title implications on the line.


Follow me as we breakdown all 13 pro fights going down Saturday in Plymouth and take a closer look at the highlights of the Cage Titans 58 Amateur fightcard. Hang on to your hats New England MMA fans...these cards are indeed STACKED to the gills, we begin with the amateurs.


Massachusetts' Phil "Bambino" LoCigno (1-3, Sityodtong) is must see TV, although his record swoops in the negative direction, that does not nearly describe LoCigno as a pure fighter. "Bambino" has been to war with some of the most talented Featherweight amateurs inside the Cage Titans cage, and none of his performances have disappointed. His decision losses to Jake Caskey, Danny Wahlburg and Danny Jefferson were some of the most entertaining amateur fights we've see inside the region in the year and a half since he broke on to the scene. LoCigno makes his bid for his second amateur victory Saturday afternoon when he meets Defensive Edge's Nick Roman (0-3) at 145 pounds.


We continue in the amateur Featherweight division as Evolution Athletix's Julian Connerton (1-0) makes his New England MMA debut here at Cage Titans 58 when he takes on Jay Perrin look-a-like Santy Munoz (1-0, Tri-Force MMA) Saturday afternoon. Connerton made his MMA debut in Indiana at Art of Scrap 5 in October of 2022, earning a Unanimous Decision over Jesus Colin in his foray into the MMA realm. Following a 2-2 record inside the Cage Titans cage, competing within the striking arts. Connerton gets his first taste of New England MMA when he shares the cage with Munoz. Santy, who impressed me not only with his physical resemblance to Perrin but with a striking style that would mimic that of the former UFC fighter, who will ironically be sitting in the cageside commentary booth. This fight should give us a healthy glimpse into the future of the New England amateur Featherweight division as both men bring tremendous promise to the cage.


Tri-Force's Matt Sousa (0-0) poses an interesting matchup for Neil Mazumdar (2-1-1, Sityodtong) in the amateur Flyweight division. Following a 1-1 showing fighting up from his natural weight of 125 pounds at Cage Titans, Neil settled right into the Flyweight waters last June with a second round submission of Perdo Baez at Cage Titans 53. Mazumdar will look to remain unbeaten at Flyweight Saturday afternoon when he meets MMA newcomer; Matt Sousa out of Tri-Force. We have mentioned Tri-Force time and again as being a feather in the cap of many debuting Amateurs and that should be no different as BJJ Blue Belt Matt Sousa makes his Cage Titans debut against the three time Cage Titans veteran in Mazumdar.


Evolution Athletix Female rosterees; Adina Hornstra (Atomweight Muay Thai v. New York's Emily Crown) and "Rowdy" Lindsey Kelley (0-2 Amateur MMA Catchweight 140 Pounds v. UFC Gym's Anastasia Dafnou) help round out the afternoon amateur portion of Cage Titans 58, before giving way to Teammate; Teddy Politis.



Politis vies for his first taste of Cage Titans gold when he meets Nostos MMA's Key Baltazar (2-1) with the coveted, Vacant, Cage Titans amateur Bantamweight strap up for grabs. Its intriguing to see two guys fighting out of surrounding states (to Massachusetts) getting a shot at Cage Titans gold. But that's what you get when a Cage Titans fan favorite (Brett Layton) is forced from the fight with Politis, Michael Polvere did what he does best and found the best guy available to take his place. Enter Nostos MMA athlete Key Baltazar who will challenge for his second consecutive regional Bantamweight title Saturday afternoon against the 3-1 Teddy Politis. Politis who's three career wins come by way of stoppage, has the same goal in mind following the opponent change; leave Plymouth Memorial Hall with the Bantamweight title in the Evolition Athletix corner. This should be an entertaining fight, for however many of the 15 minutes we need to decide it.



Batten down the hatches! as the Cage Titans 58 afternoon card gives way to a professional Light-Heavyweight main event that should test the strength of the Cage Titans cage. UFC Gym Boston Submission grappling specialist Daniel Mola made his pro debut a successful one just over a year ago, with a first round RNC that put Nostos' Alex Davidson to sleep at Cage Titans: Combat Night 3 last February. Given Mola's grappling ability, and the thin New England MMA Light-Heavyweight division, fighters have not exactly been lining up at Michael Plovere's door to fight the 40 year old Brazilian. Enter New York's "Cuban Gorilla" Orelvis Hernandez (Pro Debut, 3-0 as an Amateur) a virtual unknown to New England MMA fans, Hernandez comes to us out of Symthesis BJJ in Rochester, New York, where he is the main training partner to Welterweight prospect Jon "War Hawk" Piersma (6-1, NEF Welterweight Champion). Mola is a dangerous pro debut for anyone to handle, but Orelvis' team believes that it is a test that will prove to the Northeast region, just how much of a problem the "Cuban Gorilla" is going to be when he finally settles into his future home in the Middleweight division. We're looking at a dogfight here at 205 pounds to conclude the afternoon portion of the Cage Titans 58 festivities, promising to leave fans thirsty for the violence to resume during the evening's all Professional card.


*Katsikis vs. Biskup moved to evening card.

**Daniel Keepers now meets Ozzy Martin (1-0) at a Catchweight of 175 pounds.


We pick up Cage Titans 58 action at 7pm back inside Plymouth Memorial Hall as the cast changes, but the script stays the same at 24 professional fighters get set to unveil the 12 fight professional portion of Saturday's twin billing.


Carolyn Biskup (3-9, Garcia BJJ) vs. Kristina Katsikis (1-2, South Shore Sportfighting)

Women's Featherweight


Breakdown: Kristina "The Meat Grinder" Katsikis and Michigan's Carolyn Biskup's names have been on one another's radar since their fight at Cage Titans 55 scrap fizzled last August. Since then Biskup picked up a Decision win before deciding to retire from competitive MMA, and Katsikis has been left looking for meat to grind. However, when Cage Titans contacted the 48 year old Biskup to rebook the matchup with Katsikis, Biskup answered the call, forgoing her retirement to finally step foot inside the Cage Titans cage with the Jeep driving Golden Retriever mom; Katsikis. The highly regarded grappling Katsikis finally secures an opponent as she looks to push her record back to the .500 mark with a win over the very game Biskup.


Jake Hixenbaugh (2-0, Bohn MMA) vs. Gerry Meuse (2-0, Sityodtong)

Lightweight


Breakdown: New York's "Hitman" Jake Hixenbaugh and Sityodtong's Gerry Meuse both hold eerily similar professional resumes, coming into their Lightweight contest Saturday night. Each undefeated at 2-0 with a pair of first round submission victories to their credit, this appears on paper to have all the makings of a high level grappling war. But you know what often happens when two distinguished grapplers are locked inside the cage; usually a striking battle is about to ensue. We are going to see just what these two grapplers have up their sleeves Saturday night as both look to remain unblemished as pros and further their stock in New England's Lightweight division.


Rob Fuller (2-19, Clinch Tribe) vs. Joe Poirier (Pro Debut, Lauzon MMA)

Flyweight


Breakdown: Once again "Cornflakes" Rob Fuller is saddled with the unenviable task of serving a young New England MMA prospect their professional wings. This time it will be "The World's Biggest Flyweight" Joe Poirier's turn to see if he can eat the knuckles Rob Fuller long enough to capture victory in his professional debut. Poirier forgoes a 4-2 Amateur career, which included two challenges for the Cage Titans Amateur Flyweight belt, Saturday evening when he gets the New England MMA prospect royal treatment of standing across the Cage Titans cage from a wild and dangerous Rob Fuller.


Shane Dillehay (1-0 Tri-Force MMA) vs. Aaron Trecell (2-3, Sityodtong)

Welterweight


Breakdown: Former Cage Titans Amateur Welterweight title challenger Shane Dillehay returns to the Cage Titans cage Saturday evening following a successful pro debut under the CES MMA banner with a first round stoppage due to strikes of Kamil Meler in November at CES 71. Dillehay returns to Cage Titans at Cage Titans 58 looking to shake up the New England Welterweight division when he shares the cage with Sityodtong striker Aaron "Earthquake" Trecell who is fresh off his second professional victory in February at Combat FC3 with a first round TKO stoppage of Stephen Stengel. These two Welterweights typically employ vastly different gameplans, Dillehay relies heavily on his grappling, while Trecell like to throw his hands, this should be an interesting matchup between two very different style Welterweights both looking to make a statement.


Jacob Bohn (11-10, Bohn MMA) vs. Ali Zebian (9-2, Underground Fight Club)

Lightweight


Breakdown: In a New England MMA plot twist, former teammates under Full Contact Management, Lightweight contenders Jacob "Jaguar" Bohn and "VIP" Ali Zebian will face off Saturday night in a Lightweight matchup with all sorts of implications inside the New England MMA Lightweight division. With no hard feelings between the two parties and the need to stay active and advance their careers, Zebian and Bohn just want to scrap and ironically enough find themselves on opposite sides of the cage when the pin drops on their Lightweight contest at Cage Titans 58. At 9-2 Zebian looks to be just one eye opening performance away from a UFC call and like many New England Lightweights before him, he will need to solve the veteran savvy, twenty plus fight veteran; Jacob Bohn to do so. If Zebian finds a way to dispatch Bohn, and remains unsigned, he could also put himself in line for the next shot at Joe Giannetti's Cage Titans Lightweight title, that is if both remain within the region come Monday morning.


Mo Al Kinani (5-1, Evolution Athletix) vs. Peter Barrett (14-6, Sityodtong/ Lauzon MMA)

Lightweight


Breakdown: Speaking of Cage Titans Lightweight title contenders, the promotion's Lightweight web continues to tangle as Cage Titans fan-favorite "Slippery" Peter Barrett looks to continue to bolster his post-UFC resume Saturday night, when he looks to notch his fourth straight Knockout victory against highly touted New England Lightweight prospect; Mo Al Kinani. Based on the back and forth on the promotion's Table Titans during the lead up to this Lightweight clash, Barrett and Al Kinani have developed quite the disdain for one another heading into fight week. That disdain spilled over on to the stage at the Cage Titans 58 Press Conference Thursday when these two waged a war of words against one another. Al Kinani accused the UFC veteran of not being "mentally there" ahead of their Saturday night showdown, to which Slippery Pete replied "you won't get out of the first f#*king round," It is yet to be seen if these two are just selling the fight or actually have serious hatred towards one another, but it makes for a thick plot surrounding this Lightweight contender matchup.


Let's speculate here for a minute and say Joe Giannetti handles his business in the main event and finds a way to finish Vendramini and get the call from the UFC in the coming days. The results of Bohn v. Zebian and Al Kinani v. Barrett could very well set the scene for an Interim Cage Titans Lightweight title tilt this summer.


Jay Ellis (16-107, Neutral Ground) vs. Jack Congdon (1-0, Lakeville MMA)

Welterweight


Breakdown: Following a "Gentleman like" pro debut drubbing of Paul Teague at Cage Titans 56, Lakeville's Jack Congdon was preparing himself for a significant step up in competition as he was scheduled to fight Alaskan Cage Titans veteran Kris Berberich. However with Kris forced out of their contest just a week out and Congdon not interested in losing a professional fight camp, Cage Titans lead man Michael Polvere made the call to one of New England matchmakers most frequently used contacts. And after a Nor'easter took hold of the region earlier this week, its a "Hurricane" the region is left to deal with this weekend, as Jay Ellis answered the call from Cage Titans to drop into Plymouth Memorial Hall Saturday night and lock himself inside the cage with yet another stud prospect on the New England scene in Jack Congdon. Do yourself a favor and schedule your trip to the beer line around this matchup as this fight will not make it out of the first round.


Mike Taylor (1-5, Brojo) vs. Andrew Valdina (2-0, Lauzon MMA)

Catchweight (140 lbs)


Breakdown: Lauzon MMA Bantamweight prospect Andrew "The Gladiator" Valdina has become a must watch Cage Titans staple since turning pro late last year. Since then, Valdina has been flawless, slaying both Rob Fuller and Seth Basler via first round chokes on his way to an unblemished 2-0 pro record. Valdina bumps up five pounds Saturday night, from his more accustomed Bantamweight class, to meet New York's Mike "Titan" Taylor at a fight weight of 140 pounds. Taylor has always shown flashes on the feet in his New England MMA appearances, but when prospects rethink standing and banging with Taylor they typically have success solving the New Yorker once the fight hits the mat. And that is exactly the m.o. Valdina needs to employ when he throws down with the always game Mike Taylor during Saturday evening's professional main card.


Carl Langston (2-8, Clifford's TKD) vs. Jeff Joy (3-0, Loco Lobo)

Bantamweight


Breakdown: Maine's Carl Langston has made no mistake about his wishes to fight under the Cage Titans banner and has, on several occasions, asked for Borune, Massachusetts' Jeff Joy by name. Quite the ask for a fighter boasting just two wins in his ten professional bouts, but the easy road has never been the path chosen by Langston who finds himself opposite yet another top prospect in the Bantamweight division, this time from the Cage Titans roster; in Jeff Joy. Joy has been the picture of consistency inside the Cage Titans cage throughout his career, entering the Cage Titans cage eight times, and each time leaving a winner, on his way to a perfect 3-0 professional record and top-prospect status in the Bantamweight division. Joy looks to stay perfect Saturday night against Langston who could become Joy's fourth consecutive victim to fall to Jeff's patented Rear Naked Choke since the 32 year old turned pro in July of 2021. Joy, who never seems satisfied with his performances, mentioned frustration, following his last two professional victories for not showing his complex catalog of tools and settling for yet another Rear Naked Choke finish. It remains to be seen if Joy decides to break out another wrinkle of his MMA game Saturday night against Langston, or if he relies on the old RNC to get the job done.


Matt Denning (8-18, Denning's MMA) vs. Pat Gilbride (4-2, Lauzon MMA)

Catchweight (150 lbs.)


Breakdown: Lauzon MMA's "PJG" Pat Gilbride was widely regarded as one of the most highly sought after Bantamweight prospects in the region before falling victim to a big step up in competition during a two fight losing skid to Bantamweight contenders Joe Penafiel and Lionel Young. Gilbride got back to his winning ways at Cage Titans 56 in October, dispatching Chris Rooney with a first round Triangle at Featherweight and will attempt to parlay that into a two fight winning streak Saturday when he meets 25 fight professional veteran Matt "Ken Doll" Denning at a Catchweight of 150 pounds. We have said it before and we will say it again here, Matt Denning isn't exactly who you want to see across the cage while attempting a career resurrection as Denning has the slick submission skills to shut the lights out on anyone who finds themselves in a grappling exchange with him. Gilbride must remain confident in his abilities Saturday night and not get sucked into a wild scrap with the veteran savvy Denning who will be looking to spoil the Massachusetts native's party at Cage Titans 58.


John Douma (7-3, Tri-Force MMA Challenger) vs. Joe Penafiel (10-5, Fusion X-cel Champion)

Bantamweight Championship


Breakdown: Did someone say Party? It's been a minute since Plymouth Massachusetts' most controversial adopted son has been inside the Cage Titans cage, actually it's been just over 13 months since The Party captured his Cage Titans Bantamweight title with a fifth round stoppage of Lionel Young at Cage Titans 51 last February. Since, Penafiel has fought three times outside of New England, showing up opposite some of the toughest Bantamweights in the country on his way to a 1-2 record with losses to former Ultimate Fighter contestant Ricky Steele (8-2) and undefeated Michigan prospect Austin Bashi (8-0) while handing prospect Denis Palancica (9-1) his first professional loss. The Party returns to Cage Titans where he looks to defend his Bantamweight crown against one of New England's top Bantamweight prospects, in submission specialist and former Cage Titans Amateur Featherweight Champion; John Douma.


Douma who has done most of his work as a professional for the CES and Bellator promotions returns to Cage Titans for his first shot at regional gold against the charismatic Champion Joe Penafiel Saturday night. When Douma was asked at the pre-fight press conference about the current Champion and his antics, Douma tipped his cap to Penafiel admitting that he "kinda likes" the current Champion's showmanship, to which Penafiel replied; "Fuck John Douma." Douma hopes to do his talking inside the cage Saturday night, ending Penafiel's storybook run as the Cage Titans Bantamweight Champion and keeping the Cage Titans Bantamweight belt here in New England to stay. This should be an absolute WAR in the Cage Titans 58 co-main event!


Luigi Vendramini (9-3, Xtreme Couture) vs. Joe Giannetti (14-4-1, American Kickboxing Academy)

Lightweight Main Event


Breakdown: Since his departure from the UFC following his Split-Decision loss to Mike Trizano at the TUF 27 finale, Abington, Massachusetts' Joe Giannetti has done everything in his power to find himself back in the good graces of the UFC. Compiling an 8-3-1 record since his departure, with 7 wins coming before the final bell, while capturing both the Cage Titans Lightweight and Welterweight titles along the way, Giannetti has all but forced the hand of the UFC to have him back. Saturday night Giannetti faces what I believe is one final hurdle in his effort to bring his career full circle and be invited back to the UFC roster as he welcomes 4 fight (1-3) UFC veteran Luigi Vendramini to the Cage Titans cage for the very first time. A victory here over the UFC veteran Vendramini in the Cage Titans 58 headliner and Giannetti can gas up the Skeletor bus and set his GPS destination to UFC Headquarters in Las Vegas.


But the Brazilian Vendramini will be no walk in the park for Giannetti as "The Italian Stallion" looks for his tenth professional victory Saturday night in the Cage Titans 58 main event, with all of his prior professional victories coming by way of stoppage. Luigi too has a fire lit under his ass to return to the sports pinnacle in the UFC and mentioned at the Cage Titans 58 press conference that coming into enemy territory is nothing new for the 27 year old who says he has been fighting the fan favorites his entire 12 fight pro career. Vendramini looks to capitalize on a desperate Giannetti in Saturday night's main event as he hopes to use Giannetti's name as a stepping stone to get himself back on the UFC's radar. Two talented Lightweights with valid UFC aspirations make up a perfect recipe for the Cage Titans 58 headliner, capping off and epic day of 30 fights inside New England's most beloved Combat Sports venue, Plymouth Memorial Hall.

* Women's Featherweight bout between Kristina Katsikis and Carolyn Biskup bumped from the afternoon card to the evening card

** Jay Ellis replaces Kris Berberich on short notice to fight Jack Congdon.

*** Colin Robinson vs. Tommy Lee Davis scrapped after Davis pulled out.


Follow the New England MMA website and social media throughout the weekend for all your Cage Titans 58 news and notes as we see them live from America's Hometown in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Tickets and streaming information can be purchased by visiting the promotion's webside at CageTitansFC.com.




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