Updated: Aug 5, 2021
Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
Carlos Candelario (7-0) vs. Miguel Restrepo (5-5-1)
Fighting out of: New Britain, Connecticut
Affiliation: Underdog MMA
Record: 7-0 (2 Knockouts, 3 Submissions)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision over Renaldo Candito at Dana White’s Contender Series 2017. (08/01/17)
“The Skinny”: Four long years separates Carlos Candelario from being one of the most highly anticipated Flyweight prospects in New England MMA history and the resurrection of his promising career Friday night at CES 63 against Long Island’s Miguel Resrepo. For four years we have been salivating at the idea of “The Cannon” returning to the cage following a knee injury sustained in his victory on the Contender Series in 2017. However two more years and two cancelled bouts later and it looks like the wait is finally over Friday night at CES 63 and live on UFC Fight Pass as Candelario runs it back with Miguel Restrepo in a rematch of their bout at CES 41 which saw Candelario finish Restrepo by RNC in the second round. If Candelario can replicate the result of their first matchup and notch his eighth career victory, all without a loss, it should once again open up talks about Candelario being one of the best unsigned Flyweights in the country.
Fighting out of: Long Island, New York, by way of Miami, Florida
Affiliation: Long Island MMA
Record: 5-5-1 (3 Knockouts)
Last fight: Unanimous Decision loss to Phil Caracappa at Ring of Combat 63. (06/08/18)
“The Skinny”: It took three starts for Miguel Restrepo to notch his first victory inside the CES cage but that win finally came at CES NY1 in 2018 when he knocked out New England Flyweight veteran Billy Giovanella in the third round of their contest. Restrepo would follow his stoppage of Giovanella with a unanimous decision loss to then undefeated Phil Caracappa (9-2) just one month later at Ring of Combat 63 before staying shelved for the past 3 years, partially due to the Covid pandemic. Restrepo will be anxious to knock off the rust as he looks to claim redemption against a familiar foe; CES Flyweight prospect Carlos Candelario, live on UFC Fight Pass.
Breakdown: Words cannot really convey how excited I am to finally see Candelario get back in the cage Friday night. Without a doubt it has been a long, arduous journey for the New Haven, Connecticut Flyweight prospect, but when the pin drops on his bout with Miguel Restrepo at CES 63 Carlos will finally be able to put that chapter of his life in the rear-view and focus on what he does best; smashing other 125 pound men for a living. Backed by one of the more supportive teams in the region at Underdog MMA, with the likes of CES Featherweight Champion Matt Bessette, Russell Leak, and Jeff Haddad as his guide, Candelario hopes to show the World that although his progression may have been put on hold over the last four years, he has not stopped striving to become a better fighter.
Although I am very rarely a fan of an unbeaten prospect rematching with someone who they have already beaten, decisively... this matchup makes more sense in my mind given the circumstances and the state of the sport. Here is why; Aside from Candito (Candelario’s opponent on the Contender Series); Restrepo is not only the most experienced opponent Carlos has faced, but he is the only opponent to make it to the second round with “The Cannon.” Also in an extremely barren Flyweight division, during a pandemic none the less, pickin's end up being pretty slim when looking for matchups at 125 pounds (fighters weighed in at the 135 pound Bantamweight limit today at Weigh-ins from the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts). Restrepo will once again serve as an excellent litmus test for Candelario who looks to show, that while still on the youthful side of 30 years old, he remains one of the top Flyweight prospects in the country.
We should find out early if it’s vintage Candelario that shows up to the party in Springfield Friday night, vintage Carlos wastes little time testing the will of his opponents. Out of the gate I will be looking for good crisp boxing from Candelario, I expect him to use that striking to wear Restrepo down, drag him to the mat, and unleash a savage ground game that has led Candelario to five career stoppages. It wouldn’t make too much sense for Candelario to just hang out in a striking affair with Restrepo, who totes with him three career knockouts and would love his shot at redemption against the returning prospect. No matter how you slice it this is the fight on the card that should draw the most attention, as Candelario will either further his case for a UFC call up, or be forced to overcome the first statistical setback of his career.