Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
The doors of the hallowed Plymouth Memorial Hall, in Plymouth, Massachusetts open this Veteran's Day, as Cage Titans 62 helps America's Hometown honor our Nation's Veterans with another evening of fisticuffs. As always Cage Titans unveils another fight card littered with New England's top pugilists including some of the region's biggest MMA stars. Atop the sixteen fight billing Saturday night; two Cage Titans Championship clashes as Current Cage Titans Welterweight title holder; Joe "Skeletor" Giannetti (14-5-1, BTT Taunton), who was due to forego his Welterweight Championship to focus on his Lightweight aspirations, will step up on just two weeks notice to defend that title, when he replaces an injured Jack Congdon (3-0) and matches whits with "The Gorilla Ninja" Pat Casey (10-7, G&G Wrestling) in the co-main event. Then, in the Cage Titans 62 main event; Ultimate Fighter contestant and veteran of Dana White's Contender Series, Mitch Raposo (8-1, Regiment Training Center) looks to add another regional title to his ever evolving resume when he challenges Florida's Cleveland McLean (17-11) for the vacant Cage Titans Flyweight Title.
The remainder of the Cage Titans 62 fightcard includes a cornucopia of intrigue including 13 MMA bouts, two Amateur Muay Thai Bouts, one Professional Small Glove Muay Thai Contest as well as a display from the Lakeville MMA Youth Grapplers to kick off the evenings festivities. Opening bell from Plymouth Memorial Hall is due to sound at 6 pm local time, ticketing information can be found by visiting CageTitansFC.com and for those not in attendance visit SpectationSports.com to purchase the event's live stream. Live up to the minute play-by-play and results will also be available right here at NewEnglandMMA.org. Now follow along as we take a look inside some of the matchups coming our way this Saturday evening.
A quick scan of the Amateur undercard brings our eyes to a Muay Thai affair between Nostos MMA's Danielle Okula (1-0) and Team Burgess' Erika Madina (0-0). Okula will enter the combat sports realm for a third time this calendar year, following a successful Muay Thai debut in January, Danielle was unable to get anything going in her MMA debut in May falling victim to an opening onslaught from Melissa Santos in New Hampshire. Okula hopes a return to big gloved action will lead to getting her hand raised against Medina. New England MMA fans should recognize the last name of Okula's opponent as Erika is the wife of New England MMA prospect Ramano "The Tiger" Medina (2-0). Okula's fight experience and Madina's knack for the family business add an interesting storyline to what should be an entertaining bout.
Just a few days ago South Shore Sportfighting Bantamweight Jack Noone (0-2) thought he was going to have to wait another go around to finally have his hand raised inside the Cage Titans cage, as his initial opponent for Cage Titans 62 Naquan Calderon pulled himself from their scheduled Muay Thai bout. Then with just days until weigh ins TNT's Anthony Rivera (0-4) stepped up to the plate and agreed to an MMA fight with Noone, a matchup that will be ultimately decided at Featherweight. A gutsy call for both of these men has Jack Noone and Anthony Rivera locked inside the cage, together, Saturday night in search of their first MMA victories.
Also, New England MMA veteran Brandon DeMoura (2-4, Regiment) returns to Cage Titans in search of the third win of his Amateur career and looking to put an end to a personal three fight losing skid. At just 2-4 DeMoura has more than earned his stripes here in New England as his losses have come to; Andrew Valdina, Fred Allen Sfeir, Josh Mederios and Ash Rao, having only been finished once. DeMoura draws Cage Titans newcomer; New York's Stanislov Rakov (3-3, FAA CT) who is 1-1 inside the region following a first round headkick of Hannon Sanford in Maine this February. This fight should be circled on your lineup as these two guys are well seasoned in the amateur ranks and very evenly matched, which should result in a highly contested Bantamweight scrap.
Fighting out of near by Daniel Gracie Academy in Plymouth, Mass, three time Cage Titans veteran Carlos Vespaziano (2-3) will wrap up the Amateur undercard when he welcomes, Stanislav Rakov teammate and fellow New Yorker, Lesther Alvarado (1-1, FAA CT) to the Cage Titans arena for the very first time. For Vespaziano, he will be looking for his second straight win for the promotion following his Americana of Anthony Rivera in March, snapping his personal three fight skid. Alvarado looks to shake the first loss of his Amateur career in his New England debut, when he meets Vespaziano at a 140 pound Catchweight.
Action brings us to the Professional ranks next as Cage Titans 62 moves to the maincard with a Small Glove Muay Thai feature. Red Seal's Shaun Shubert (2-2-1 Professional Muay Thai) has made his name inside the region for having one of the most wildly entertaining, and dangerous, striking games in New England. Shubert returns to the Cage Titans cage for the first time as a professional Saturday night, when he welcomes FAA CT's Arslan Otchiyev (0-0 Professional Muay Thai debut) to the Muay Thai ranks. Although Arslan is more known for his submission prowess, and his accolades behind the Chess Board, Otchiyev put on an impressive display just last month, finishing former Cage Titans prospect Pat Gilbride with leg kicks. Arslan will need to be on his striking game Saturday night when he is locked inside the cage with one of the region's premier strikers, Shaun Shubert at a fight weight of 150 pounds.
Update: Fight has been scrapped. It's been a long time coming for Cage Titans fans anxiously awaiting the return of "The Promotion's Most Interesting Man" Jacobo Apito (1-1, Back 2 Basics). Four years to be exact, since Apito fell at the hands of Rob Fuller in his second professional bout. Although it would be unfair to overlook the set back, Apito brings a lot to the table in the Bantamweight division and fans will be reminded of that talent when the pin drops on his bout with the late notice replacement; Seth Basler (3-14, Vinsey's Boxing) at a Catchweight of 140 pounds. Coming from a foundation in boxing, Basler has had trouble getting out of his own way once the fight hits the canvas (9 career losses by Submission). This match up with Apito could allow for Basler to let his hands go a little more, but Jacobo would be foolish to pass on any opportunity to grapple with Basler and get this fight to the floor. Jacobo hopes to finally leave the past in the past here and leave Plymouth with a signature victory and a career resurrected.
Surging Nostos MMA Lightweight Kyle Pufahl (1-0) was nearly on the outside looking in Saturday night as his original opponent Oscar Vera (0-5) pulled out of their Lightweight contest just a week or so before weigh-ins. That's when former Johnson and Whales Wrestling standout and high level Judaka; Everet Desilets (1-0, Team Punishment) answered the call. Responsible for the fifth loss of Pufahl's original opponent; Vera in July, Desilets welcomed a big step up in competition as he signed, without hesitation, to meet Nostos' Pufahl at a 160 pound Catchweight, giving birth to a matchup that could very well be the best fight on the professional card. Since breaking on to the scene in early 2021 Nostos Pufahl has been an absolute beast, entering the cage seven times with one lone loss coming in a WAR with Miguel Sevasin. And although Desilets resume doesn't read as impressive as that of Pufahl's, his Wrestling and Judo accolades don't come up when you punch his name into Tapology. Pufahl's tenacious fight mentality and Desilets' grappling pedigree make this a very interesting matchup that could spawn an entertaining interaction once the bell sounds.
"This time we're getting paid!" Lauzon MMA's Brett "The Hitman Layton (Pro Debut, 3-4 as an Amateur) and Dexter MMA's Randy Francis (Pro Debut, 6-10 as an Amateur) met as amateurs in June of 2022 with Francis ultimately finishing Layton with a second round Armbar at Mohegan Sun Casino. Fast forward nearly a year and a half and both men are now looking to crack the professional circuit and will do so Saturday night in a rematch against one another. Both Layton and Francis come in with more Grappling heavy styles, which ironically enough, typically produces a standup altercation. This should turn out to be a highly contested matchup between these two debuters, with Layton looking to get one back against his former foe; Randy Francis.
Sure, their records may appear to be upside down, but a Welterweight showdown between Sityodtong's Aaron "Earthquake" Trecell (3-4) and FAA CT's Sam "Super Saiyan" Watford (4-6) is a certified banger. These two New England MMA veterans are never in boring fights, FAA's Watford will be making his third consecutive start for Cage Titans Saturday night following wars with Pat Casey and Cam Resnisky at CT 60 and 61 respectfully. Watford will once again have his hands full as he locks horns with the always explosive Aaron Trecell, who's second round drubbing of Shane Dillehay in March at Cage Titans 58 left a lasting impression on Cage Titans fans. These two promise to leave every ounce of energy embedded in the Cage Titans canvas when the pin drops on their Welterweight encounter Saturday night.
New England's Flyweight division is in for quite a shake up at Saturday's Cage Titans 62 and it all begins when the fourth ranked Flyweight in New England Casey "The Wonderbread Warrior" Norton (3-1, Ascension) continues his aim at the top of the division when he locks in with number three ranked Joe Poirier (4-0, Lauzon MMA) who looks to remain unblemished in his professional career. This September, in Maine, Connecticut's Casey Norton went into #5 ranked Tyler Smythe's backyard and made quick work of the Evolution Athletix product. Norton's foe Saturday night; Joe Poirier, has made quick work of everyone that has come his way so far as a professional, where he is pitch perfect, four first round finishes (2 Knockouts, 2 Submissions) in his four pro starts. Poirier looked excellent in his first real taste of veteran competition when he dispatched eight fight pro Chris Caterino (4-4) at September's Cage Titans 61 via Anaconda Choke. Not too much more needs to be said about this one, as both these young Flyweights throw caution into the wind Saturday night looking to secure a shot one of our region's Flyweight crowns in the very near future!
Whether you buy Gerry Meuse's (5-0, Sityodtong, #10 ranked Lightweight in New England) "Captain America" schtick or not, one thing that cannot be denied is that he is indeed a problem in New England's Lightweight division. His outside of cage performance plays second fiddle only to his inside the cage performance, where he has been masterful since he returned to MMA competition, following a over four year layoff, earlier this year. Gerry began the year with a first round Twister submission of Josh Beauparlant at Cage Titans 57 and has gone on to score three more finishes, including an unheard of second Twister , as he heads into Cage Titans 62 looking for his fifth win of the calendar year. None of that would stop Fall River's Aaron "Short Fuse" Hughes (4-3, Regiment) from stepping inside the Cage Titans cage at September's Cage Titans 61 and calling out Captain America. Hughes finds himself on somewhat of an impressive streak of his own, unbeaten in his last four contests, "Short Fuse" has finished three consecutive wins by his patented Guillotine choke, all three coming inside the first round. No question these two Lightweights will be looking to cash in a neck in Saturday night's featured Lightweight bout.
The Cage Titans 62 co-main event experienced quite the shakeup when injury forced Jack Congdon (3-0, #6 ranked Welterweight in New England) to withdraw from his Welterweight title bout with Springfield, Massachusetts' Pat "The Gorilla Ninja" Casey (10-7, #8 ranked Welterweight in New England). With the taste for gold consuming Casey's palate, "The Gorilla Ninja" didn't hesitate for a second when Mike Polvere called to offer him a shot at the reigning Cage Titans Welterweight Champion; Joe "Skeletor" Giannetti ( 14-5-1, #4 ranked Welterweight in New England). Giannetti had made other plans; to vacate his Cage Titans Welterweight crown and focus his efforts on the Lightweight division, but the opportunity to fight on Saturday's Cage Titans 62 against a seasoned New England MMA veteran was just too good to pass up. Leaving us with a high profile Welterweight title co-main event as Pat Casey vies for his first regional strap, against Giannetti, who readies himself to defend the one Cage Titans crown he continues to bear. This should be exciting for however many of the 25 "Championship" minutes it takes for this one to be decided.
We mentioned earlier that New England's Flyweight division would be busy at Cage Titans 62 and our Main Event offers no exception as the region's top 125 pounder; Mitch Raposo (8-1, Regiment) attempts to capture his second regional Flyweight title (CES MMA Flyweight Champion) since returning to home soil following his stint on The Ultimate Fighter's Team Volkanovski (Season 29) and his subsequent scrap with currently UFC rostered Jake Hadley (10-2) on the 2021 season of The Contender Series. The 25 year old Raposo will look to make it four consecutive wins by finish when he attempts to capture the vacant Cage Titans Flyweight strap from the hands of 34 year old Floridian; Cleveland McLean (17-11, Fusion X-cel). Orlando's McLean has experienced a rollercoaster of a 28-fight career in the Southeast region of the United States, having challenged some of the regions top Flyweight and Bantamweight contenders, on the way to a very respectable 17 professional victories. None of those victories would be bigger than figuring out a way to solve New England's premier Flyweight prospect Raposo Saturday night and leaving Plymouth, Massachusetts a Cage Titans Champion. That doesn't play into the Raposo narrative however, as Mitch looks to use a title win over McLean in the Cage Titans 62 headliner to propel his career abruptly where it belongs; the UFC.