CES 62: Orlando The Preview
Travis Lizotte “Full Contact Writer”
Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports vacations to “The Sunshine State” this Friday night as CES MMA 62 marks the first CES event on the 2021 calendar as well as their promotional debut in the State of Florida. With competitive Mixed Martial Arts still not at the top of the agenda at the Rhode Island State House, CES was forced to take the show, as well as some of their top fighters, on the road with them to the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida. The CES MMA 62 main card will once again be broadcast live beginning at 8 pm Eastern time, world wide on UFC Fight Pass.
Looking to bounce back off the first defeat of his already heralded professional career; John Gotti III (5-1) hopes to put a decision loss to Nick Alley in the headliner at CES 61 in his rearview mirror as he takes on Michigan native Jared Chauvin (3-2) at 170 pounds. The Pride of Cranston, Rhode Island; Gary “Batman” Balletto Jr. (5-2) makes his return to the CES cage following a three year absence from competitive MMA as he welcomes Pensacola, Florida’s Dahlan Wilson (3-3) to the CES cage for the very first time. CES MMA fan favorite, East Providence, Rhode Island’s Dinis “Sweetbread” Paiva (13-8) returns off a decision loss, up a weight class last September on the Contender Series to Featherweight beast Kyle Driscoll (12-3). Paiva hopes that a successful CES Bantamweight title run could ultimately land him right back in the good graces of the UFC. That title run begins Friday night for Paiva, as he returns to Bantamweight to host the promotional debut of American Top Team’s Joshua Smith (9-6).
Fayetteville, North Carolina’s Da’Mon “The Diamond” Blackshear (8-4) will make his third walk to the CES cage at CES 62 looking for his second promotional win and looking to prove that he is one of the East’s best unsigned Bantamweights. Blackshear will aim to spoil the promotional debut of Orlando, Florida’s own Joe “The Party” Penafiel (6-2) right in Penafiel’s own backyard. Hidden gem and rising New England Light-Heavyweight prospect; Yuri “The Russian Polar Bear” Panferov will make his highly anticipated professional debut, in five fights as an Amateur, Panferov’s opponents never saw the third round as he finished all five including two Knockouts and three submissions. Panferov will showcase his well rounded MMA game, groomed under the tutelage of Andrew Calandrelli, as he squares off with North Carolina’s Gregory Smith (0-1). Panferov spoke with our Steve Domenico on The Room Podcast last week to discuss what it's like to be making his pro debut on a huge card for CES live on UFC Fight Pass.
In the Main Event another pair of CES Bantamweight title hopefuls lock horns as American Top Team’s Andrew “The Beast” Whitney (16-8) returns to the Bantamweight division after suffering back to back losses to Steve Garcia (11-4, 0-1 UFC) and Jason Soares (14-0) in his run at Featherweight. Whitney will clash with Fusion Xcel product Diego Silva (12-6), New England fans will remember the name Diego Silva from his clash with Cage Titans Bantamweight Champion; Jay “The Joker” Perrin (9-4) at Cage Titans 47 in January of 2020 which resulted in Silva’s sixth professional defeat. Both of these Bantamweights are in need of a win and will look to relish their opportunity to do so in the Man Event at CES 62. Opening bell sounds from the Caribe Royale in Orlando, Florida at 8 pm Local time and CES MMA 62 can be seen exclusively steaming world wide on UFC Fight Pass. Below is my complete breakdown of the entire CES 62 fight card as I see it!
Andrew Whitney (16-8) vs. Diego Silva (12-6)
Andrew “The Beast” Whitney
Fighting out of: Boca Raton, Florida
Affiliation: American Top Team
Record: 16-8 (7 Knockouts, 5 Submissions)
Last fight: Second Round Submission Loss to Jason Soares at Titan FC 56 (08/23/19)
“The Skinny”: A Staple in the Titan FC promotion for the better part of the last decade, American Top Team’s Whitney comes into his CES debut battle tested. Whitney challenged undefeated Jason Soares for the Titan FC Featherweight Championship his last time out, ending up on the wrong side of a second round knockout at the hands of the uber talented Soares. Whitney is an explosive striker who will fire some pretty technical strikes while mixing in some odd angles and spinning techniques. Whitney also possesses the ability to take his opponents to the ground, oftentimes with thunderous slams that lead to ground and pound and ultimately the finish. Whitney has scored finishes in 12 of his 16 career wins and will be looking to add to that total at the expense of Diego Silva.
Diego “Magrinho” Silva
Fighting out of: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Affiliation: Fusion Xcel
Record: 12-6 (2 Knockouts, 4 Submissions)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision Loss to Jay Perrin at Cage Titans 47. (01/25/20)
“The Skinny”: A high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, Rio de Janeiro’s Silva is going to be a handful for anyone at 135 when the fight hits the mat. Silva has fought all over the world and against some top competition, from Brazil to Portugal to Plymouth Memorial Hall in Massachusetts Silva has never shied away from a fight. That competitive attitude was on display in his bout with Jay Perrin at Cage Titans 47; when the Brazilian took the Cage Titan Bantamweight Champion three rounds at a Catchweight of 140 pounds nearly upsetting the Champion in his own backyard. Silva knows this is a big spot in the Main Event on UFC Fight Pass and he intends to use the platform to elevate his prospect status with a victory over Andrew Whitney.
Breakdown: This is a Banger of a Main Event for any regional promotion, this is rumored to be a CES Bantamweight Title Eliminator where the winner of this fight will go on to face the winner of Paiva and Smith in the Co-Main event for the currently vacant CES Bantamweight title. The only personal experience I have with either of these fighters is with Silva, whom I covered in his last bout with Jay Perrin at Cage Titans 47, Silva is a high level grappler, however the Black Belt could not finish Perrin on the ground. Whitney, like Perrin, is in that upper echelon of top unsigned Bantamweights despite his current two fight losing streak. I would consider Andrew Whitney on the cusp of the UFC, even at 36 years old, he is a dangerous competitor at 135 pounds and I believe he will show that Friday night against another high level Bantamweight in Diego Silva. I see Whitney being in the face of Silva from bell to bell and unless Silva can sink in a slick submission and stop the onslaught I have Whitney finishing him inside the distance.
Dinis Paiva (13-8) vs. Joshua Smith (9-6)
“The Portugese Man of War” Dinis “Sweetbread” Paiva Jr.
Fighting out of: East Providence, Rhode Island
Affiliation: Tri-Force MMA/ 401 Boxing
Record: 13-8 (7 Knockouts, 2 Submissions)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision Loss To Kyle Driscoll on the 2020 season of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. (09/15/20)
“The Skinny”: The Battleborn and East Providence bred Dinis “Sweetbread” Paiva will step into the CES cage for the 22nd time Friday night as he ignites his CES Bantamweight title run. The coveted title that has led four straight champions from Bantamweight gold to the ranks of the UFC, Rob Font, Andre Soukhamthath, Andre Ewell and Tony Gravely were all crowned CES Bantamweight Champions before moving on to the UFC. A win here against Joshua Smith should put Paiva right in line for a title shot with his hometown promotion CES MMA as Paiva hopes to once again garner attention from the sports highest levels.
Joshua “That Guy” Smith
Fighting out of: Coconut Creek, Florida
Affiliation: American Top Team
Record: 9-6 (3 Knockouts, 4 Submissions)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision Victory over Charalampos Grigoriou at CFFC 89: Hafez v. Savoie. (11/19/20)
“The Skinny”: Seven of Joshua Smith’s nine career victories have come by way of finish, 4 via Submission and 3 by Knockout, Josh has been very vocal on social media and in interviews that he intends to knock Paiva out in the second round, a feat that would be a first in the career of the New Englander who has never been finished by Knockout as a professional, however Smith predicts he will be the first. Training out of American Top Team Smith undoubtedly trains with some of the best team mates in the world and that training culminates Friday night as Smith intends on upsetting the promotion’s poster boy; Dinis Paiva.
Breakdown: Call me guilty, I’m gunna sound like a homer here but I don’t care! Dinis Paiva is incapable of being in boring fights, there is no doubt in my mind, that if this fight was taking place in New England that this would be the Main Event. CES MMA lifer; “Sweetbread” has been knocking on the door of that CES Bantamweight title for the last several years. A loss to Andre Ewell in 2018, his first attempt at CES gold, had “Sweetbread” hungrier than ever, as he followed up with wins over Antonio Castillo Jr. and Tim Dooling before accepting a late notice opportunity against Kyle Driscoll on the Contender Series. Paiva is the New England hopeful in this quasi four-man Bantamweight Tournament and I do not see his run ending in the first round. Although Smith has made a lot of promises to Knockout Paiva, I’ve got Paiva doing the ass kicking in this one, Paiva by second round stoppage...book it!
John Gotti III (5-1) vs. Jared Chauvin (3-2)
John Gotti III
Fighting out of: Oyster Bay, New York
Affiliation: Long Island MMA
Record: 5-1 (4 Knockouts)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision Loss to Nick Alley at CES 61: Gotti III v. Alley (10/14/20)
“The Skinny”: There is a certain aura in the building when John Gotti III and his team show up to an event, the mystique of his notorious lineage coupled with the crippling power in his right hand immediately create a buzz. And for the most part Gotti delivers, handing out Knockouts in his first four career bouts Gotti’s name was the talk of Northeast MMA. After splitting a pair of decisions including his first career loss to Nick Alley at CES 61 his last time out, Gotti seems poised to return to his finishing ways against the 35 year old Jared Chauvin.
Jared “Wallstreet” Chauvin
Fighting out of: Macomb, Michigan
Affiliation: New Way Martial Arts Academy
Record: 3-2 (1 Knockout)
Last fight: Third Round Knockout Loss to Ago Huskic at Extreme Challenge 239 (09/12/20)
“The Skinny”: After kicking off his professional career 3-0 Michigan’s Chauvin has struggled with a step up in competition in his last two bouts, suffering back to back TKO losses, a streak he will be hoping to put an end to against the fabled Gotti III. Win, Lose or Draw Chauvin is going to have his hands full when it comes to solving Long Island, New York’s John Gotti III.
Breakdown: If I know anything about John Gotti III his decision loss to Nick Alley in his first Main Event billing for CES lit a fire under the ass of the surging New Yorker. Gotti is ferocious in the cage, devastating his opponents with a heavy right hand and some powerful wrestling. I honestly see Chauvin as another step in the journey for the ‘destined for greatness’ John Gotti, Gotti needs to get back in the win column and I believe he does just that Friday night against Jared Chauvin. I expect John Gotti to bring out the dog mentality that saw him score four first round Knockouts to open his pro career, and unfortunately for Chauvin, he signed up to be on the business end of a newly energized Gotti. I don’t see a scenario where Gotti leaves the cage Friday night with anything short of his sixth professional win and another emphatic finish to add to his resume.
Gary Balletto Jr. (5-2) vs. Dahlen Wilson (3-3)
Gary “Batman” Balletto Jr.
Fighting out of: Cranston, Rhode Island
Affiliation: Tri-Force MMA/ Balletto’s Boxing
Record: 5-2 (2 Knockouts, 3 Submissions)
Last fight: First round Knockout loss to Jeremiah Wells at CES 49 (04/06/2018)
“The Skinny”: After three long years it’s finally time for the return of Cranston’s Gary “Batman” Balletto Jr. once a highly regarded Welterweight prospect with a pedigree of hands gifted to him by his father Gary “Tiger” Balletto. Along with some high level grappling skills honed inside the walls of his Tri-Force MMA camp; Balletto is still on the right side of 30 years old with the potential to reach the sports highest levels. Balletto will be looking to make a statement following his absence, and the second loss of his pro career to Jeremiah Wells at CES 49, as "Batman" attempts to regain his prospect status with a win over Florida’s Dahlan Wilson.
Dahlan “The Black Dragon” Wilson
Fighting out of: Pensacola, Florida
Affiliation: Academy of Pensacola
Record: 3-3 (2 Knockouts)
Last fight: Third round Knockout of James Chaney at Southeastern Combat Championships 4 (01/25/20)
“The Skinny”: United States Navy veteran and fitness junkie Dahlan Wilson is a physically imposing and very strong fighter for the Welterweight division. Wilson boasts a 3-3 record having fought some serious competition during his tenure with both the Island Fights and Atlas Fights promotions of the Southeast. Owner of two knockouts across his three professional victories, Wilson possesses fight ending power in his right hand. That right hand was on display last time out when he knocked out twenty fight veteran James Chaney in the third round of their bout at SECC4 last January.
Breakdown: I think this is by far the toughest matchup on the card as far as New England based fighters are concerned...Gary Balletto is a stud both on the feet and on the mat and I am hoping to see that he has enhanced those abilities in his three years away from the cage. The one category that slightly worries me in this fight is Strength, Dahlan is a big, physically gifted Welterweight with a regimented Military background. Dahlan may not be on the same level technically with the hands and submissions of Balletto, but his strength will make up for some of that against the seemingly smaller Gary Jr. With that said both of these guys have knockout power which makes it hard to imagine this one going the distance...Gimme Gary Balletto by third round Submission, Dahlan decides to wrestle, Gary takes his neck.
Hugh McKenna (3-4) vs. Adriano Capitulino (7-4)
Fighting out of: Syosset, New York
Affiliation: Long Island MMA
Record: 3-4 (2 Submissions)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Jarell Davis at CES 59: Paiva v. Dooling.
“The Skinny”: New York’s McKenna is a physical wrestler with relentless work ethic, skills that have led to back to back wins in the CES cage following his loss to Tommy Lee Davis to open his promotional campaign. Now ready to step in the CES cage for the fourth time in his professional career McKenna will receive a big step up in competition as he looks to dispatch Brazil’s Adriano Capitulino at CES 62.
Adriano “Pantera Negra” Capitulino
Fighting out of: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Affiliation: Fusion Xcel
Record: 7-4 (5 Submissions)
Last fight: Decision Victory over Dahlan Wilson at Atlas Fights 37 (09/21/2019)
“The Skinny”: Watching the tape on this dude will leave you wondering how his record isn’t slightly better than 7-4, this guy is all out in your face with high volume striking on the feet and tenacious on the mat. After battering his opponents on the feet Capitulino likes to take the fight to the groun where you can not let him go belly down on an Armbar, “Pantera Negra” has finished three of his adversaries with his patented Armbar as he coming into the bout with McKenna Friday night looking for his sixth career submission in his CES MMA debut.
Breakdown: Of the many hours of tape I watched during my research for this article, one fighter’s tape stood out a little more than all the rest. 36 year old Fusion Xcel product Adriano Capitulino looked virtually unbeatable in the tape I saw. 5 Submission wins would lead you to believe this guy is grappling heavy, however he enjoys rag dolling his opponents on the feet before dragging them to the canvas and submitting them. Capitulino is another strong physical Welterweight who I see putting Hugh McKenna’s wrestling, and chin to the ultimate test. For me it seems that McKenna’s wrestling is going to play right into the game of Capitulino, Capitulino’s heavy hands will force McKenna to threaten takedowns, but you do not want to hang out on the mat with this dude. I’ve got Adriano Capitulino by stoppage, inside two rounds.
Da'Mon Blackshear (8-4) vs. Joe Penafiel (6-2)
Da’Mon “The Diamond” Blackshear
Fighting out of: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Affiliation: JacksonWink MMA
Record: 8-4 (1 Knockout, 5 Submissions)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision Loss to Danny Sabatello at Titan FC 67. (02/12/21)
“The Skinny”: I’ve had Blackshear on my radar for quite a while and would consider him one of the Top Bantamweight prospects in the country. I am very eager to witness the progress Da’Mon has made since moving his fight camp to JacksonWink MMA in Albuquerque, NM where now trains with one of the best fight teams in the country. Blackshear, already a high level grappler, with a plethora of potential should have a lot to gain from the change of camps and I expect the new and improved Diamond to shine brightly this Friday night in his third career fight inside the CES cage.
Joe “The Party” Penafiel
Fighting out of: Orlando, Florida
Affiliation: American Top Team
Record: 6-2 (1 Knockout, 1 Submission)
Last fight: First Round TKO of Rob Fuller at Combat Night Pro 21. (04/17/21)
“The Skinny”: If there were one word to describe Penafiel it would be “Unpredictable” on the feet, in the clinch and on the ground you never know what “The Party” is going to bring next. A dude who loves to stand and bang but also welcomes the grappling exchanges, embracing his background in competitive wrestling. Joe has struggled when being matched with top competition, as he is 0-2 against fighters with five or more career victories. If Penafiel can get past Blackshear Friday night it would be the biggest hurdle he has conquered in his professional career.
Breakdown: Joe “The Party” Penafiel is an exciting fighter to watch and always produces entertaining fights and sometimes even more entertaining trash talk. Penafiel embraces every bit of his “Wild Style” when it comes to the cage or the microphone, but Da’Mon Blackshear doesn’t really play like that. I have seen Blackshear fight live on several occasions and he is always respectful and all business, a transfer of camps to JacksonWink should not only have enhanced that mentality but sharpened the skills of an already uber talented Bantamweight prospect. Penafiel has never had good luck fighting top tier fighters like Blackshear and I don’t think this fight will be any different. I do however expect Joe to hang around and have Blackshear winning a pretty decisive decision. Hey CES! If my assumptions are accurate and one of these Bantamweight Title Contenders gets their call up following the Main and Co-Main events, Blackshear would be more than worthy of taking the spot against the remaining Bantamweight!
Charlie Radtke (3-3) vs. Blake Smith (5-2)
Charlie “Chuck Buffalo” Radtke
Fighting out of: Salem, Wisconsin
Affiliation: Pura Vida MMA
Record: 3-3 (1 Knockout, 1 Submission)
Last fight: Second Round TKO Loss to Justin Montalvo at Triton Fights 18. (03/27/21)
“The Skinny”: After missing the entire 2020 calendar year, “Chuck Buffalo” is making up for lost time here in 2021 and will be stepping into the cage for the third time in the first four months of this calendar year. Radtke is a brawler who employs heavy forward pressure on the feet and slick submission skills on the mat. Notching a win against Blake Smith here on Fight Pass could send Charlie’s Lightweight Prospect status through the roof.
Blake “Honey Badger” Smith
Fighting out of: Tampa, Florida
Affiliation: DEFWAR Wrestling Club
Record: 5-2 (2 Knockouts, 2 Submissions)
Last fight: Split Decision Victory over Carlos Alexandre at Combat Quest 6. (02/15/20)
“The Skinny”: Blake Smith took a huge leap of faith in his last outing, taking on his first professional opponent with more than five career fights on their resume, earning a hard fought split decision victory over a talented Carlos Alexandre (16-6) at Combat Quest 6 in February of last year. Smith is pretty well rounded everywhere but enjoys setting the tone with high volume in your face striking from bell to bell. Smith is going to bring high energy and high output to the cage in this matchup against fellow Lightweight Prospect Charlie Radtke.
Breakdown: This fight looks super fun on paper, both dudes are absolute gamers and you can tell by their resumes these guys have been locked inside the cage with some absolute monsters. The difference here is that Blake Smith has fared better against those monsters over the course of his pro career and could be a big win or two away from garnering his own spot in Dana White and Sean Shelby’s Rolodex. This fight should be fireworks from start to finish but I have Blake Smith coming away with this one and putting him one step closer to his goal of landing a UFC contract.
Leonardo Carvalho (3-4) vs. Carlos Espinosa (5-4)
Leonardo “Leo Capoeira” Carvalho
Fighting out of: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Affiliation: Corinthians MMA
Record: 3-4 (1 Submission)
Last fight: Second Round Submission Loss to Keith Lee at Global Legion FC 13. (12/13/19)
“The Skinny”: Not a lot of info coming back on the 24 year old Brazilian who will step up on short notice to replace Long Island’s Ashiek Ajim in this Bantamweight contest against Carlos Espinosa. Carvalho's stand up game remains a mystery to me and I believe it will be in his favor to get this fight to the mat where he can put his BJJ on display.
Fighting out of: Tampa, Florida
Affiliation: MG Wrestling
Record: 5-4 (3 Knockouts, 1 Submission)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision Loss to Adi Alic at Titan FC 67. (02/12/21)
“The Skinny”: Naturally a Featherweight Tampa, Florida’s Espinosa will be making the bump down to Bantamweight for his opportunity to fight for CES on UFC Fight Pass. Initially scheduled to fight fellow striker Ashiek Ajim in what looked like it was going to be an absolute banger, Espinosa will now ready himself for the more grappling heavy gameplan of Leonardo Carvalho but the goal will stay the same; leaving that cage with his fourth career win by Knockout.
Breakdown: This statement by no means diminishes the skills of his opponent Leonardo Carvalho but I believe Carlos Espinosa caught somewhat of a break when Long Island Slugger Ashiek Ajim was forced to pull out of this fight. Espinosa went from what was probably a sizable underdog at CES 62 to the fighter that should be favored on Friday night. I’m by no means saying the outcome is a foregone conclusion, but I am saying I like Espinosa’s chances far better against Carvalho than I did against Ajim and I have him taking this one with a later round stoppage.
Yuri Panferov (Debut) vs. Gregory Smith (0-1)
Yuri “The Russian Polar Bear” Panferov
Fighting out of: North Haven, Connecticut by way of; Moscow, Russia
Affiliation: Ultimate MMA/ Calandrelli Fight Team
Record: Pro Debut (5-0 as Amateur 2 Knockouts, 3 Submissions)
Last fight: First Round Knockout of Wolfgang Fiasconaro at Reality Fighting. (06/01/19)
“The Skinny”: Welcome to the big time Yuri Panferov! After a perfect 5-0 Amateur career garnered him the #1 Light-Heavyweight ranking in New England it was only a matter of time before the bright lights shined on Andrew Calandrelli protege Yuri Panferov. The Reality Fighting veteran will get the opportunity to put his finishing abilities on display for the world to see on UFC Fight Pass Friday night when he makes his CES and Professional debut against Gregory Smith.
Fighting out of: Greenville, North Carolina
Record: 0-1 (1 Submission Loss)
Last fight: First round Submission Loss to James Crumpler at Next Level Fight Club 11. (09/28/19)
“The Skinny”: Gregory Smith is a striker which is evident by the three Knockouts he notched during his five career Amateur victories. Smith ran up against a tough customer in his pro debut, falling by first round submission to now (3-0) James Crumpler and not to be the bearer of bad news, but Panferov is not going to make it any easier for Smith to grab that first pro win.
Breakdown: This is a great position for the highly anticipated pro debut of Yuri Panferov, he draws Gregory Smith who was 5-3 as an Amateur before dropping his pro debut by first round submission. This will allow Panferov to test himself against a veteran from another region and should be a good barometer for his success moving forward. Which means I will be even more excited when The Russian Polar Bear stops this guy, it will not only further our belief in the abilities of Panferov but be a feather in his cap for doing so against a seasoned veteran of the sport. Give me Yuri by second round Submission in a successful pro debut for CES.
Anthony Delorenzo (Debut) vs. Christian Tyler-Foster (Debut)
Fighting out of: Florida
Record: Pro Debut (No Amateur MMA Record)
“The Skinny”: Heads
Fighting out of: Florida
Record: Pro Debut (No Amateur MMA Record)
“The Skinny”: Tails
Breakdown: In this one you have two guys making their professional debuts against one another without any semblance of a amateur record to speak of, this makes it a tough one to pick and a tough one to talk about, there is not a whole lot on either competitor so I have this one down as a coin flip. If forced to choose I’ll go Delorenzo by first round Knockout.