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.
Tyler "The Marauder" King
Fighting out of: North Attleboro, Massachusetts
Affiliation: UFC Gym Boston
Record: 12-8 (3 Knockouts, 7 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round Knockout loss to Chris Larsen at Unified MMA 37.
Jamelle "The Beast" Jones
Fighting out of: Spokane, Washington
Record: 9-6 (5 Knockouts, 2 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round TKO loss to William Knight at CES 59.
Breakdown: Spokane, Washington's Jamelle "The Beast" Jones should be somewhat of a familiar name to the die hard New England MMA fan, after ending up on the wrong side of knockouts by New England prospects Mike Rodriguez (on the Contender Series) and William Knight (at CES 59). Jones makes his second straight appearance in the CES cage as he meets a household name in the New England Heavyweight division; Tyler King. King who has experienced just about all there is to experience, including an appearance on The Ultimate Fighter and fighting in the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan for Rizin Fighting, will return to New England looking to leave a four fight losing streak in his rearview mirror. King who possesses exceptional submission skills will undoubtedly need to take this fight to the mat, however King has shown a tendency to stand and bang with his opponents, which may not be a good idea against the heavy handed Jamelle Jones who has the finishing ability to hand King his fifth consecutive first round knockout loss.
Fighting out of: Bethlehem, Connecticut
Affiliation: Ascension Athletics
Record: 1-0 (1 Knockout)
Last Fight: Third round TKO (Elbows) of Lisa Blaine at Bellator 207
Brigid "Khan" Chase
Fighting out of: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Affiliation: White Viper Martial Arts
Record: 1-1 (1 Submission)
Last Fight: First round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) of Christina Adcock at Valor Fighting Challenge 69.
Breakdown: Connecticut's Allexandra Ballou turned an impressive 3-0 amateur career into a professional debut for Bellator MMA where she showed why she is one of the more promising female fighters in the Northeast with a third round TKO stoppage of Lisa Blaine at Bellator 207. Ballou finds herself with an equally important opportunity Wednesday night in her second professional bout against Brigid Chase on UFC Fight Pass. Standing across the cage from Ballou will be 22 year old Brigid Chase, who finds herself in the biggest spot in her career, with a chance to upset the hometown prospect Ballou and secure her own spot amongst the Northeast's top female prospects with the world watching. Both of these women have shown tremendous finishing ability throughout their careers and know that a statement win here at CES 61 could be their ticket to the next level.
Fabio "Water Buffalo" Cherant
Fighting out of: Wrentham, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Lauzon MMA
Record: 5-1 (5 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round Submission (Anaconda Choke) of Erick Murray Jr. at LFA 86: Fischer v. Flick.
Fighting out of: New York, New York
Affiliation: Radical MMA
Record: 3-0 (2 Knockouts, 1 Submission)
Last Fight: First round TKO of Pat Casey at Premier FC 30.
Breakdown: Massachusetts' Fabio Chreant ended a 51 week layoff, following the first loss of his professional career to Aleksa Camur on the Contender Series, and got back to doing more of what we expect from him at LFA 92 needing just 57 seconds to shut the lights out on Erick Murray Jr. via Anaconda Choke. With his fifth professional submission victory in his back pocket and a clean bill of health following his bout with Murray, Cherant makes a somewhat quick (by today's standards) turnaround as he continues his push to get back to the UFC's apex against undefeated Preimier FC Middleweight Champion; Yu Ji at CES 61. In seven fights for Karyn Wesch's Premier FC, New York's Ji has never lost, and since turning pro in 2019 has reeled off three first round finishes including a first round TKO of Pat Casey at Premier 30 to capture the promotions Middleweight title. Ji will make the jump to 205 pounds for an opportunity to fight on Fight Pass and make his CES debut against one of the nations top unsigned Light-Heavyweights in Fabio Cherant.
Kris "The Soul Snatcher" Moutinho
Fighting out of: Milford, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Regiment Training Center
Record: 7-4 (2 Knockouts)
Last Fight: Second round TKO loss to Johnny Campbell at CES 57: Rebello v. Haley.
Fighting out of: Long Island, New York
Affiliation: Long Island MMA
Record: 3-0 (2 Knockouts)
Last Fight: Third round Knockout (Punches) of Andres Rodriguez at CES 60: Bessette v. Cheeks.
Breakdown: CES matchmakers are tugging at my heartstrings with this one; my fanfare for Kris Moutinho has been regularly documented across my years on the local scene, one cannot help but enjoy Moutinho's style and grit. The Soul Snatcher put that grit to the test in his last two CES appearances, testing himself against the cream of the New England MMA Bantamweights in Tony Gravely and Johnny Campbell. With two consecutive losses for the second time as a pro, Kris is in need of a win to keep his top prospect status alive and well. On the other hand, and standing across the cage from Moutinho when the door locks Wednesday night will be an undefeated prospect who I have heralded as one of the fastest rising talents in the Northeast; New Yorker Ashiek Ajim. Very impressive in his first three pro fights, all under the CES banner, Long Island MMA's Ajim carries a current ten fight winning streak. After notching wins against fellow bantamweight prospects Will Smith and Andres Rodriguez, Ajim finds himself with his toughest task to date in the former title challenger Moutinho at CES 61, in a matchup that could produce waves throughout New England's Bantamweight division.
"Killa" Mitch Raposo
Fighting out of: Fall River, Massachusetts
Affiliation: Regiment Training Center
Record: 4-0 (1 Knockout, 2 Submissions)
Last Fight: Unanimous Decision Victory over Ron Leon at Cage Titans 47.
Fighting out of: Binghamton, New York
Record: 4-3 (1 Knockout, 3 Submissions)
Last Fight: Unanimous Decision loss to Tateki Matsuda at CES 57: Rebello v. Haley.
Breakdown: Fall River's Mitch Raposo followed up three first round finishes to open his pro career with a dominant decision victory over Ron Leon at Cage Titans 47 to keep his record unblemished and notching his tenth win in a row. Known as one of the top Flyweight prospects in the country, Raposo will have the biggest opportunity of his career ahead of him at CES 61 as he draws the staunchest test of his young career in his CES and FightPass debut against Matt Almy. New York's Almy is no stranger to playing the role of spoiler as he left CES 49 with his third career submission victory and Richie Santiago's "0" in his back pocket. Almy has found himself across the cage from some of the toughest Bantamweights and Flyweights New England has to offer, but as Raposo told our Steve Domenico this week on The Room Podcast; "I'm a whole different animal, and he is gunna find out" explained the 21 year old Flyweight prospect who continues his push toward the UFC in the biggest fight of his promising career. Mitch went on to say he is going to give Almy "a reason to quit" as he predicts that he will finish Almy inside the distance and further his super prospect status!
Welterweight Main Event
John Gotti III
Fighting out of: Oyster Bay, New York
Affiliation: Long Island MMA
Record: 5-0 (4 Knockout)
Last Fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Marcos Lloreda at CES 60: Bessette v. Cheeks.
Nick "JC" Alley
Fighting out of: Hooksett, New Hampshire
Affiliation: Team Link Hooksett
Record: 6-3 (1 Knockout, 5 Submissions)
Last Fight: First round Submission (Arm Triangle) of Stephen Stengel at Premier FC 30.
Breakdown: With the extensive list of prospects highlighting the CES 61 card there is one man that stands out amongst the rest, with his heavy hands and legendary lineage, John Gotti III has wasted little time becoming the CES promotion's biggest star! With four first round knockouts in his five fights, all for CES MMA, Gotti has become a serious problem in the Welterweight division as he continues to climb the ranks leaving challengers in his wake. Gotti faced his first bit of adversity in the cage last time out as Marcos Lloreda had him in some compromising positions during their three rounds at CES 60. Gotti dug deep however, and we learned a lot about the young Gotti's heart as he pulled out a unanimous decision victory over the tough Floridian. Gotti draws another tough customer at CES 61 as New England veteran Welterweight, Nick "JC" Alley gets his shot at solving the talented and dangerous John Gotti III in Wednesday evening's Main Event. Team Link Hooksett's Nick Alley has been a staple in the New England cages for nearly a decade testing himself against top regional talent including the likes of Gary Balletto Jr. and Kastriot Xhema before finding himself pitted against the toughest test of his career in Gotti. Alley possesses the skills needed to put a stop to the surging Gotti but will need to be very careful deploying those skills as Gotti looks to take his opponents head clean off from the opening bell. Alley recognized that anybody would be a fool to stand in front of John Gotti III and trade punches for three rounds and expect a positive outcome when he spoke with our Steve Domenico last week on The Room Podcast. Although Alley's clear path to victory seems to be on the mat against Gotti, do not overlook Alley's length on the feet...or Gotti's power...well anywhere the fight ends up. Expect to see absolute mayhem as these two exciting Welterweights lock horns in the evenings Main Event spectacle.
You can check out the full card on the CES 61 event page.