Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
Wednesday October 14th 2020, New England’s premier Combat Sports promotion returns as Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment Sports (CES MMA) finally clears the hurdles to run the New England regions first "Post-Covid" fight card live from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick, Rhode Island as CES MMA presents CES 61: Gotti III v. Alley. It has been assumed for some time that CES had been putting the framework together to finally run the region's first fight card, CES's partnership with UFC FightPass will allow the regions most UFC affluent promotion to host an event without fans in attendance. Clearly no crowd has become the only option at seeing MMA in New England for what is expected to run through the remainder of 2020. So what is a promotion to do with such an opportunity to lead their region out of quarantine? Well... CES plans to roll out one of the most talent laden fight cards in recent memory, featuring the regions most talented undefeated prospects as well as the promotion's "Showstopper;" John Gotti III (5-0), who will make his triumphant return to the CES cage as he headlines the card against New England Welterweight veteran finisher; Nick "JC" Alley (6-3).
Gotti III v. Alley has no choice but to produce fireworks in the main event, in their 11 combined wins the pair is responsible for a combined 10 finishes, neither of these guys produce boring bouts. Alley told our Stephen Domenico on last weeks episode of The Room Podcast that he "only knows gas...I only know one speed," as he prepares to be the toughest test of the young Gotti's career. For Gotti who always brings the show, this will be first main event slot for the 27 year old who CES has bread into one of the most exciting prospects in the country, as well as the promotion's biggest sell.
CES fills out the rest of the stacked card with a slew of New England's biggest prospects as it makes its return to the spotlight in style. Former Bantamweight title contender; Kris Moutinho (7-4) is coming off a pair of losses, albeit to the best competition a regional Bantamweight could ask for in the now UFC rostered; Tony Gravely (19-6) and New England Bantamweight perennial contender; Johnny "Cupcakes" Campbell (20-12). Moutinho knows the time is now if he hopes to live up to his, oft-garnered, top prospect status, as he enters the CES cage for the 12th time against a new breed of CES Bantamweight contender in Long Island's Ashiek Ajim (3-0). Ashiek has opened a lot of eyes since making his CES debut, having dispatched fellow up and comers Will Smith (3-2) and Andres Rodriguez (4-1) on his path to former title contender Moutinho.
Like the headlining Gotti and aforementioned Ajim; 21 year old super prospect Mitch Raposo (4-0) will look to remain unbeaten as he makes his highly anticipated CES MMA debut against the upset minded Matt Almy (4-3). Almy will be looking to slay yet another prospect inside the CES cage, Almy's signature win came at CES 49 when he was the first to solve Richie Santiago via first round D'arce Choke in 2018. With an impressive showing against the veteran Almy, Fall River, Massachusetts' Raposo could find himself looking at a shot on the next Contenders Series this Fall.
Fellow unbeatens, Yu Ji (3-0, against Contenders Series veteran; Fabio Cherant), Connor Matthews (2-0, against Josh Marer), Eddy George (1-0, against Frank Mazepa) and Alexandra Ballou (1-0, against Brigid Chase) will all look to keep their unblemished records intact Wednesday night from the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. Heavyweight veterans Tyler King (12-8) and Jamelle Jones (9-6) round out the star studded eight fight CES 61 card coming to you live on UFC FightPass starting at 7 pm eastern, available on all streaming devices.
Below is a detailed breakdown of the entire CES 61 fight card, and be sure to follow NewEnglandMMA.org closely for all your CES 61 Gotti III v. Alley news and coverage. We'll also be hosting a fight companion during the event in The Room with Steve Domenico and Lars Borssen.
Fighting out of: West Haven, Connecticut
Affiliation: Fighting Arts Academy
Record: 1-0 (1 Knockout)
Last Fight: First round TKO of Raymond Yanez at CES 60: Bessette v. Cheeks.
Fighting out of: Plymouth, New York
Record: Debut (2-6 as an Amateur)
Breakdown: Fighting Arts Academy's Eddy George finished off his amateur career by capturing back to back Lightweight titles for both the Reality Fighting and Cage Titans FC promotions. George turned pro in January of this year with a decisive first round TKO of Raymond Yanez at CES 60, extending the 28 year old's win streak to five straight. George will welcome CES newcomer Frank Mazepa, who will be making his pro debut after going just 2-6 as an amateur for New York's Gladius Fights and Cage Wars promotions. Mazepa will need to catch lightning in a bottle and do so before the powerful Eddy George can get his hands on him, or it will be a quick night for the debuting New Yorker. A smooth win here and the streaking George could be lining himself up for some national attention, as his stock continues to rise.
"The Controller" Connor Matthews
Fighting out of: Freetown, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lauzon MMA
Record: 2-0 (1 Knockout, 1 Submission)
Last Fight: First round Submission (Neck Crank) of Rob Fuller at Cage Titans 47.
Josh "Danger" Marer
Fighting out of: Atlanta, Georgia
Affiliation: American Top Team Atlanta
Record: 2-1 (1 Submission)
Last Fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Malik Anbar at AFC 4: Blood on the Mountain.
Breakdown: After going just 2-8 as an amateur, Georgia's Josh Marer wiped the slate clean in 2019 when he made his pro debut a successful one with a first round Arm Bar finish of Jacob Bunelle. Marer would drop his next bout before turning in a decision victory over Malik Anbar in July of this year, Marer will be taking a huge step up as he hopes to derail former Air Force Combat Controller; Connor Matthews. Matthews returned home to New England in 2019 after splitting time between New England and the Pacific Northwest during his six fight (4-2) amateur career while in the Air Force. The Lauzon MMA product wasted no time notching his first two professional victories tallying just 1:06 of total fight time to finish both Stacey Anderson and Rob Fuller under the Cage Titans banner. Matthews will have his sites set on his third professional victory, while making his CES and FightPass debut while looking to make his name, as the next big time prospect to come out of the famed Lauzon MMA.