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CES MMA Returns to Foxwoods Casino on March 18

CES MMA is set to make its return to Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT after over six years away from the particular venue. On March 18, CES and its crew will bring an electrifying card to the fans as they open up 2023 with some of the best talent around. Fighters from all over New England and more will be featured on the card and by how its looking, this card will be thrilling!

The Main Event is set for five rounds in the Middleweight division as New Hampshire's Tim "The Bear" Caron (12-5) takes on the Worcester, Massachusetts native, Fran "The Fury" Collins (4-0). This is a very intriguing matchup as Collins is currently undefeated, finishing all of his opponents. Caron is an experienced fighter with 17 professional fights but has also fought under the Bellator, DWCS, and LFA lights. One thing in common between both fighters is their age. Both are thirty-five years old. The vacant CES Middleweight Championship will be up for grabs with these two lock horns. Will the experienced fighter in Caron be the one to stop "The Fury" and his 100% finish rate?

The co-main event is just as compelling. Massachusetts's own, "Nasty" Nate Ghareeb (7-2) makes his return to the CES cage after an impressive victory over Antonio Castillo Jr. with an extraordinary Suloev stretch in the second round at CES 71 in November os 2022. He takes on a young lightweight prospect in Damion Nelson (4-1). Nelson, too comes off a win. In mid-December, he fought in the Cage Fury FC cage and won a unanimous decision against Thomas Picciano. Ghareeb is spending a lot of his time training in Coconut Creek, FL at American Top Team. Nelson, also trains with some more of the best coaches and athletes like Ray Longo, Chris Weidman, Aljamain Sterling, Merab Dvalishvili and many more right at his home gym, LAW MMA. This should be a very fun fight as Ghareeb seeks to climb his way back to main events and title fights. Nelson looks to add a big New England name to his resume and continue his way to bigger things as well. Two very game lightweights set to throw down at Foxwoods Casino.

This card also features a lot more New England talent with the following:

Fighting out of CT, Justin Valentin (3-2) looks to open up 2023 with a notch in the win column and pick up where he left off when he won via doctor stoppage in the first round at Reality Fighting just over a year ago. Valentin was set to make another appearance in the Reality Fighting cage this past January but things fell through and he ended up finding a last minute opponent for a grappling match on the same card. Valentin got his hand raised, although it wasn't the way he expected, via heel hook. He takes on the 3-1 Flyweight in Tim Flores. Tim trains out of Fighting Arts Academy: Springfield and won his most recent fight by split decision when he took on Matt Almy at CES 65 back in November of 2021. Both fighters have been out of the octagon for awhile and will look to ignite a hot streak here in early 2023.

Connecticut's own, Harris Bonfiglio (5-1) steps back into the CES cage on March 18 across from Giorgi Kudukhashvili (5-4) from Mutant MMA of Long Island, NY. These two will battle it out in the flyweight division, contracted for three rounds. Bonfiglio looks to keep his hot streak going as he currently rides a 3 fight win streak. As a submission specialist, Kudukhashvili will need to be careful on the ground with Bonfiglio as Harris is known to have the ability to tie his opponents up quickly on the mats.

Waterbury, CT's favorite, Mike Kimbel returns to the MMA cage after his boxing day debut just two months prior. On January 21, Kimbel delivered a beautiful and amazing boxing performance to the fans of Mohegan Sun at the CES Boxing Winter Brawl. Kimbel's striking and movement was impressive for all 4 rounds as he pieced his opponent up all fight and was right next to finishing his opponent a couple times throughout the fight. In this case, Kimbel will look to add another win to his MMA record. Kimbel has been spending lots of time with his boxing coach, Chad Dawson and team, but he also frequents Fighting Arts Academy, training with coaches like Nick Newell, Roger Denton, and more. At both gyms, Kimbel gets to work with many high-level athletes. At CES 72, Kimbel will take on Daniel Arriaga in a featherweight bout.

In the lightweight division, New England prospects Cullen Johnson (2-1) and Tristan Turano (3-1) will lock heads. Both are young fighters with 7 combined professional fights. At Combat FC 2 in October of 2022, Turano finished Zach Denesh in the second round by punches. He is a young fighter training with some of New England's best like Coach Greg Rebello and the team. Training out of Fighting Arts Academy with Coach Nick Newell and team, Cullen Johnson will make his fourth professional walk looking to up his win streak to three. Cullen fought for the Flex Fights Lightweight Championship in NY back in November and got his hand raised via unanimous decision when he fought Eric Shifter. At CES 72, both men will look to add another win to their resumes as young fighters.

The CES 72 card is still in the works but here is where we stand as of now:

Vacant CES Middleweight World Championship

Tim Caron (12-5) vs. Fran Collins (4-0)

Nate Ghareeb (7-2) vs. Damion Nelson (4-1), Featherweight

Justin Valentin (3-2) vs. Tim Flores (3-1)

Harris Bonfiglio (7-1) vs. Georgi Kudukhashvili (5-4)

Mike Kimbel (4-3) vs. Daniel Arriaga (0-2)

Tristan Turano (2-1) vs. Cullen Johnson (3-1)

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