CES 64 Preview: Bessette vs. Dela Cruz Lightweight Title; Smith vs. Perrin Bantamweight Title

Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"

Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment and Sports (CES MMA) returns this Friday night from the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut with two World Title fights headlining a banger of a card at CES 64 featured on UFC Fight Pass. Friday night Hartford's own Matt "The Mangler" Bessette (24-10) will look to become the promotion's first two division champion, as the current CES Featherweight World Champion makes the jump to 155 pounds, to challenge Hawaii's Ryan Dela Cruz (12-7) for the vacant CES Lightweight World Title. In Friday evening's co-feature recently crowned CES Bantamweight World Champion; Josh "That Guy" Smith (10-6) looks to defend his CES belt for the first time against New England's #1 ranked Bantamweight; Jay "The Joker" Perrin (9-4).

CES Fan Favorite; Cranston, Rhode Island's Gary "Batman" Balletto Jr. (6-2) looks to continue his rise up the Welterweight ladder as he welcomes CES newcomer; Daniel "Tigano" Frunza (4-1). One of New England's toughest pound for pound female fighters Alexandra "The Great" Ballou (2-1) will make her anxiously awaited CES MMA debut Friday night against New York's Gabriella Gulfin (2-3). CES veteran Justin "The Fort" Sumter (7-4) returns to the CES cage where he is unbeaten in three previous trips, and welcomes the promotional debut of talented Armenian Albert Tadevosyan (7-1-1). West Haven's Eddy George (3-0) will look to keep his unblemished professional record in tact when he clashes with Bellator MMA veteran; Rodolfo "The Crocodile" Barcellos (1-1). Massachusetts' Nate Ghareeb (3-1) makes the quick turnaround following his knockout of DaJuan Robinson at CES 63 when he takes on Brazil's Eduardo Rodrigues (1-0). Connecticut's Harris Bonfiglio (2-1) will end a personal two year layoff as he awaits the professional debut of Tennessee's Kyle Linder (5-0 as an Amateur, Valor Amateur Flyweight Champion). Also; a teammate of Matt Bessette at Underdog MMA in Hartford; highly regarded Flyweight; David "Spider Monkey" Durao (5-2 as an Amateur) will make his first walk to the CES cage in his professional debut against Israel "El Huracan" Galvan (1-2).

CES MMA 64 streams live on UFC Fight Pass Friday night beginning at 8 pm from the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut. CES will once again showcase the region's top up and comers on the biggest regional stage imaginable; streaming on UFC Fight Pass with the eyes of the MMA World watching. Stay tuned to NewEnglandMMA.org for all your CES 64 coverage and continue below for a detailed breakdown of all seven of Friday's matchups as we anticipate non stop action from CES 64!

Charra Phon (Debut) vs. Aaron Reese (0-2)


Charra Phon


Fighting out of: Massachusetts

Affiliation: Ultimate MMA

Record: Debut (1-1 as an Amateur)

Last Fight: Split decision victory over Devon Cristie at Premier FC 28.

Aaron "Jiggy" Reese


Fighting out of: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Affiliation: Jackson Wink

Record: 0-2 (2-0 as an Amateur)

Last Fight: First round Knockout (Punches) loss to Isa Dalipaj at CFFC 95.

Breakdown: One look at Aaron Reese will immediately have you wondering how the Jackson Wink product is still searching for his first professional victory. Reese looks every bit the part of a Bantamweight contender but following losses to Will Smith and Isa Dalipaj to open his professional campaign, Reese is in serious need of a win on a big stage, he gets that chance Friday night against the pro debuting Charra Phon. Charra Phon made two Amateur starts here on the New England scene going 1-1 in that span, finding himself on both sides of split judges decisions. Phon turns pro Friday night against a hungry Aaron Reese as these two Bantamweights hope to keep the verdict on this one out of the judges hands.

David Durao (Debut) vs. Israel Galvan (1-2)


David "Spider Monkey" Durao

Age: 31

Fighting out of: Hartford, Connecticut

Affiliation: Fighting Arts Academy/Underdog MMA

Record: Debut (5-2 as an Amateur)

Last Fight: Unanimous Decision victory over Kareem Askew at ECF 31: Warriors Challenge.

Israel "El Huracan" Galvan

Age: 21

Fighting out of: Los Angeles, California

Affiliation: KD MMA

Record: 1-2 (1 Submission)

Last Fight: Unanimous Decision loss to Cody Davis at Global Legion FC 17.

Breakdown: Underdog MMA's David Durao closed out his Amateur career in July at EFC in Jamaica Queens, New York by picking up his fourth consecutive victory with a decision over Kareem Askew. Perennially ranked amongst the top Flyweights in New England "Spider Monkey" is extremely eager to be making his Professional debut for CES MMA, in the town that he grew up in; Hartford, Connecticut. Durao explained to Steve Domenico on The Room Podcast last week how he comes into this fight "more prepared than ever" as he greets a talented young kid; the 21 year old Israel Galvan. Galvan comes to the East Coast as a highly regarded grappling prospect and will undoubtedly be a tough out for the hometown favorite David Durao. Durao promises "serious violence" in his pro debut on UFC Fight Pass Friday night, as he looks to be the first man to finish Israel Galvan inside three rounds.

Harris Bonfiglio (2-1) vs. Kyle Lindner (Debut)


Harris Bonfiglio

Age: 29

Fighting out of: Gilford, Connecticut

Affiliation: Ultimate MMA

Record: 2-1 (2 Submissions)

Last Fight: First round Knockout loss to Jornel Lugo at CES 58: De Jesus v. Lozano.

Kyle Lindner

Age: 24

Fighting out of: Knoxville, Tennessee

Affiliation: Shield Systems MMA

Record: Debut (5-0 as an Amateur)

Last Fight: First round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) over Shamar Perez at Valor Fighting Challenge 78.

Breakdown: Ultimate MMA's Harris Bonfiglio suffered the first loss of his professional career last time out, winding up on the wrong side of a Jornel Lugo Knockout at CES 58. Bonfiglio took two years away to clear the cobwebs of his first professional defeat and makes his return Friday night, looking for his first victory inside the CES cage. Bonfiglio is saddled with a tough task as he meets Knoxville, Tennessee submission specialist and Valor Amateur Flyweight Champion Kyle Lindner, who makes his CES and professional debut Friday night. Lindner finished his Amateur career 5-0 with four submissions to go along with his Valor Flyweight crown. Bonfiglio will have his hands full as he looks to get back on track in his second CES appearance against the grappling savvy Lindner, who looks to impress in his pro debut on UFC Fight Pass and send his prospect status into orbit.

Nate Ghareeb (3-1) vs. Eduardo Rodrigues (1-0)


Nate Ghareeb

Age: 28

Fighting out of: Southampton, Massachusetts

Affiliation: Fighting Arts Academy

Record: 3-1 (3 Knockouts)

Last Fight: First round Knockout of DaJuan Robinson at CES 63: Howard v. Alvarez.

Eduardo Rodrigues


Fighting out of: Lee, Massachusetts by way of Brazil


Record: 1-0 (1 Submission)

Last Fight: First round Submission (Anaconda Choke) of Alassandro Conceicao at Arena Global 4.

Breakdown: Massachusetts native Nate Ghareeb is starting to raise some eyebrows in the New England Featherweight division. Ghareeb bounced back from the only loss of his pro career (a decision loss to highly touted prospect Cody Law at Bellator 256) the only way he knows how, with his third first round knockout (of DaJuan Robinson at CES 63) in as many pro wins. Ghareeb guns for the fourth knockout of his career Friday night against a relatively unknown commodity in Eduardo Rodrigues. Rodrigues looks to capture his second professional victory in his CES debut at the expense of the fast rising Ghareeb.

Eddy George (3-0) vs. Rodolfo Barcellos (1-1)


Eddy George

Age: 29

Fighting out of: West Haven, Connecticut

Affiliation: Fighting Arts Academy

Record: 3-0 (3 Knockouts)

Last Fight: First round Knockout of Tony Jackson at CES 63: Howard v. Alvarez.

Rodolfo "The Crocodile" Barcellos


Fighting out of: Brooklyn, New York

Affiliation: Xtreme Ambition MMA

Record: 1-1 (1 Submission)

Last Fight: First round Knockout loss to Vinicius De Jesus at Bellator 216.

Breakdown: CES matchmakers keep lining em up and West Haven's Eddy George keeps sitting em down, Raymond Yanez, Frank Mazepa and Tony Jackson have all faced the same fate when locked in the CES cage with Eddy George; Lights out round 1. This time it's Brooklyn New York's Rodalfo Barcellos who is assigned the task of lasting more than five minutes in the cage with the heavy handed George. A slick submission specialist; Barcellos could pose a threat to the unblemished record of George if this fight hits the mat, but on the feet Barcellos has had a tough time dealing with heavy handed strikers, falling victim to the powerful boxing of Vinicius De Jesus in the first round at Bellator 216 his last time out. George should be taking a page out of De Jesus' gameplan Friday night as I expect George to be in the face of Barcellos, throwing bombs, from bell to bell, however long that may be.

Alexandra Ballou (2-1) vs. Gabriella Gulfin (2-3)

Women's Bantamweight

Alexandra "The Great" Ballou

Age: 29

Fighting out of: Bristol, Connecticut

Affiliation: Underdog MMA

Record: 2-1 (2 Knockouts)

Last Fight: Second round Knockout of Christina Adcock at Valor Fighting Challenge 83.

Gabriella "GDaddy" Gulfin

Age: 29

Fighting out of: New York

Affiliation: Class One MMA

Record: 2-3 (1 Submission)

Last Fight: Split decision loss to Diana Avsaragova at Bellator 262.

Breakdown: We knew the day would come when Underdog MMA's Alexandra "The Great" Ballou finally made her CES debut, initially slated to make that debut at CES 61 last year, it just feels like a long time coming for the promising Bantamweight to finally be locked inside the CES cage. Ballou has proven to be one of the most dangerous women in the New England region and it's only fitting to to have her skills showcased with New England's premier MMA promotion live on UFC Fight Pass. Standing across the cage from Ballou Friday night will be New York's Gabriella Gulfin, a veteran of both Bellator MMA and fellow UFC Fight Pass partner CFFC, Gulfin looks to the bright lights of CES MMA for somewhat of a career resurgence. Following a 2-0 start to open her professional career, Gulfin has since dropped three straight outings albeit against some stiff competition; Erin Blanchfield, Jasmine Jasudavicius and Diana Avsaragova. Gulfin's search for her third professional victory won't come any easier Friday night at CES 64 against a fast rising Alexandra Ballou.

Justin Sumter (7-4) vs. Albert Tadevosyan (7-1-1)


Justin "The Fort" Sumter

Age: 31

Fighting out of: Springfield, Massachusetts

Affiliation: Fighting Arts Academy

Record: 7-4 (1 Knockout, 4 Submissions)

Last Fight: First round Submission (Rear Naked Choke) loss to Romero Cotton at Bellator 254.

Albert "K-9" Tadevosyan