Updated: Oct 19
Travis Lizotte “Full Contact Writer”
When long-time New England MMA promoter Joe Cav made his return to the New England MMA scene this summer he did so with authority, launching a newly branded fight promotion with early intentions of being “second to none” here in New England. It became very apparent on June 17th at Combat FC 1 that Cavallaro was not taking this shit lightly as he and his crew rolled out a jaw dropping inaugural show, highlighted by some of the region’s best combat sports athletes. Cavallaro and crew return to the Aleppo Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, Massachusetts this Friday October 21 with a fight card that will rival their first production and undoubtedly shake up the New England MMA landscape like no other event in recent memory. Combat FC 2 will include 16 mixed martial arts contests, ten of them being contested in the professional ranks, including an six fight main card that will be streamed live and exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
The Combat FC 2 fight card is absolutely littered with talent from top to bottom, so we are going to waste little time trying to add intrigue to this event as the line up speaks for itself, so let’s jump right in with a quick look at the Amateur portion of the card. A couple fights in particular stand out when scanning the Amateur card the first comes in the Amateur Featherweight division, as brother of the UFC’s “Boston Strong” Charles Rosa (14-8); Peabody, Massachusetts’ Lucas Rosa (6-0) makes his CFC debut when he welcomes New York’s Nestor Yuja (3-3) to the cage. 27 year old Lucas Rosa has some big footsteps to follow when it comes to the family “Hurt Business” as his 145 pound “big” brother has become a mainstay in the UFC’s Featherweight and Lightweight divisions. Younger brother Lucas is doing a great job keeping pace with older brother Charles however, as he looks to remain perfect at Combat FC 2 when he throws down with Yuja, looking to notch his fifth stoppage as an Amateur.
Spero’s Martial Arts’ Jarrod St. Jean (1-0) made a huge splash into the New England MMA waters at Combat FC 1 with an impressive first round Triangle Choke of the always tough Mike Jolicoeur that sent the Wilmington, Massachusetts crowd into a frenzy. St. Jean returns here at Combat FC 2 in search of his second consecutive victory to open his career with the promotion as he welcomes Massachusetts’ Joe Cortigiano (0-1) to the Combat FC roster at Lightweight. Also well renowned jiu-jitsu specialist; Conor Hews (0-0, New England Cartel) makes his first foray into the MMA world when he meets KTA’s Julian Menjivar (1-0) in an Amateur Flyweight contest. Hews sat down with our Steve Domenico this week on The Room Podcast to discuss trading in his rash guard for MMA gloves as he makes his highly anticipated MMA debut this Friday night. Check out the complete interview below.
In the final Amateur bout of the evening Combat FC will put its first title up for grabs as the promotion turns to Welterweights Dimitri Kabouris (1-1, Spero’s MMA) and Jon Viruet (3-0, G&G Wrestling) to decide the inaugural CFC Amateur Welterweight Champion. Western Massachusetts’ Jon “All Business” Viruet (3-0) captured the Cage Wars Amateur Welterweight strap last time out with a Unanimous Decision over Mende Cukalevski in April. Viruet returns to his home state of Massachusetts at Combat FC 2 looking to capture his second regional title, while keeping his perfect record unblemished against Dimitri Kabouris (1-1). Kabouris steps up on less than a week's notice to replace Teixeira MMA’s Kenyon Moore after Moore was forced from this bout in the waning moments of training camp. Kabouris made his amateur MMA debut at Combat FC 1 in a very entertaining back and forth contest with RJ Guardia that saw Kabouris succumb to a third round TKO. Kabouris returned to the cage just shy of two months later, taking home a first round armbar finish at Combat Zone 77. Dimitri obviously left a good impression on the CFC brass in his debut as they turned to him to replace the ailing Moore in this; the Combat FC promotion’s first ever Championship bout.
To open the Professional portion of the Combat FC 2 card, four local Amateur veterans punch their pro tickets all within the first three fights, beginning with KTA’s Jeff Reynolds who forgoes his 3-2 Amateur career when he meets 20 fight pro veteran Stephen Stengel (5-15) at Middleweight. After beginning his Amateur career 4-2, G&G Wrestling’s Chris Almestica puts an end to his Amateur career at Combat FC 2 following 4 consecutive losses, albeit to some tough competition, when he makes the jump to the pro ranks against Sityodtong’s Aaron “Earthquake” Trecell (0-3). Trecell looks to show the region that this rough stretch to begin his pro career is but a fluke, and he hopes to prove that Friday at Combat FC 2 at the expense of Almestica. And a pair of pro debuting New England big men; South Shore Sportfighting’s Jeff Soivillien (5-5 as an Amateur) and Cage JSA’s “Big” Max Lombardo (2-4 as an Amateur) share the cage as professionals, for the first time, when these two Heavyweights vie to open their Pro careers with a “W” under the bright Combat FC lights.
A pair of 20+ fight professional Featherweightsveterans lock horns when Sityodtong’s Rodrigo “The Young Lion” Almeida (15-5) meets New England MMA’s modern day “Road Dogg” Matt “Ken Doll” Denning (7-15, Denning’s MMA). Almeida is looking to bounce back off a tough first round submission loss to Jay Ellis…yes that Jay Ellis, nearly a year ago, Almeida lines up with one guy you don’t necessarily want to see across the cage when you’re in dire need of a win; the crafty Matt Denning to round out the undercard portion of Friday nights CFC2 fight card.
Main Card action commences live on UFC Fight Pass at 9 pm Eastern time and there may not be a name more synonymous with Beantown “Badassery” than Bulger. And New Emgland MMA’s Mike Bulger (1-0) kept that montra going at Combat FC 1, making quick work of Cody McCracken (0-1) by first round Knockout. Bulger returns here kicking off the Combat FC 2 main bill, as he looks to further his impressive resume against four-fight Vermont MMA veteran Bruce Richards (0-4) at a fight weight of 160 pounds. Also making his sophomore appearance in the Combat FC cage Friday night Florian MMA’s Sanad Armouti (2-1) will look to notch his second consecutive victory inside the not so friendly confines of the Combat FC cage, following a Unanimous Decision victory over Sage Philippe at CFC1, when he meets Massachusetts’ Anthony Pike (0-0) at a Catchweight of 175 pounds.
New England MMA fan favorite and former top regional prospect; Jake “The Gorilla” Pilla (1-0, Gorilla Crew) makes his return to the MMA cage for the first time in nearly 3 years Friday night. Still just 27 years of age, Jake Pilla has all the intangibles of a fighter ready to make a run here in New England and beyond. Backed by a team that includes highly regarded striking coach Shawn Graham and New England MMA Legend, and former UFC Fighter John “Doomsday” Howard, Pilla is ready to put three years of tribulations and inactivity to rest Friday night when he meets 34 year old Missouri native Josh Krejci (1-1). Krejci totes with him a 1-1 MMA record since turning pro in January of this year and is coming off another win in May when he took the gloves off for the BKFC and earned a fourth round Knockout of Kevin Benson at BKFC Fight Night: Omaha. And although Krejci may be somewhat of an unknown to most New England MMA fans, I actually became familiar with him in March of this year when he suffered his first pro loss at the hands of Nebraska Bantamweight phenom Jayson Scott (3-0) a fighter I personally have followed closely since striking up a friendship with Jayson’s father (Alan) through the MMA/UFC trading card world. Krejci finds himself, once again, locked inside the cage with another top flight Bantamweight prospect Friday night, when he meets Jake Pilla at Combat FC 2 with the World watching on UFC Fight Pass. Pilla also found time during prepattions for his return to chat with our Steve Domenico and Tommy SHahood about his return to the MMA cage, check out the interview below.
Renzo Gracie’s (Latham, New York) Chris “Showbiz” Disonell (6-5) returns to the New England MMA scene, winner of his two prior bouts within the region; a first round Submission of Andre Belcarris at Reality Fighting in 2018 and a first round knockout of Will Smith at CES 63 last year. Disonell, a Bellator veteran who also holds a win over New England’s Mike Kimbel inside the Bellator cage, was slated to throw down with CFC1 main event winner Rico Discuillo Friday night, before the injury bug bit the promising Bantamweight prospect Discuillo. Stepping in for Discuillo and squaring off with Disonell, now at Featherweight, none other than New England MMA stalwart; Lionel “Boogz” Young (11-18). At 38 years of age, “Boogz” has never looked better in his 13 years as a professional mixed martial artist, winner of three of his last four bouts, Young looks to bring the best version of himself to the Combat FC cage Friday night, in what will be the veteran’s UFC Fight Pass debut. Lionel sat down with our Steve Domenico following his late notice call to Combat FC to discuss his preparations for an uber tough Disonell, who stands across from him Friday night when the pin drops on their Featherweight feature. Check out an entertaining word with “Boogz” below.
We move to the evening’s Co-Main event next, that features two professional Lightweights who just don’t know how to be in boring fights. Northboro, Massachusetts’ Jay Bakanowski (5-3, 4 knockouts, 1 submission) put Jesse Erickson on the business end of a one way shalaquing at Combat FC1, finishing the savvy Maine veteran at the end of the second round with a combination that began with vicious knees from the clinch. Bakanowski impressed with his determination to finish the fight firing an all out striking assault that the 20 fight veteran Erickson just didn’t have the answer for. Bakanowski makes it back to back starts under the Combat FC banner Friday night when he meets yet another veteran of 20 fights; Leroy, New York’s Jacob “Jaguar” Bohn (10-10), in a matchup that is very worthy of the co-main event slot. Although Bohn currently finds himself mared in the midst of a three fight losing skid, one look at his resume and it’s easy to see that Bohn knows nothing about taking the easy road. In Jacob’s 10 career losses, seven of those opponents have the letters "UFC" tied to their names, and not including Ballator standout Lightweight; Justin Montalvo (5-0). In Bohn’s 20 fight career he has pretty much seen it all, including capturing the Reality Fighting Lightweight Championship in 2020 with a Decision over current CES MMA Featherweight Champion Dan Dubuque. If tough fights are what Bakanowski is looking for during his climb up the New England Lightweight ladder, that’s just what he is going to get here, when he is locked inside the cage with who very well could be the most seasoned Lightweight still left on the New England circuit. This fight should be an absolute barn burner as Jay Bakanowski looks to prove that he is on track for the next level, and Bohn looks to prove, once again, why the pinnacle of the New England Lightweight division runs through him. Plan your trips to the restroom or snackbar around this one as this fight will be non-stop action from bell to bell!
Finally, we find ourselves at the Combat FC2 main event which marks the return to the cage for New England MMA legend, former Bellator MMA mainstay and 2004 US Judo Olympian; Rick “Ghengis” Hawn (21-4, 11 Knockouts) when he takes on World Series of Fighting, K-1 and Strikeforce veteran; Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante (21-12) in a Welterweight showdown unlike anything we have seen on the New England scene…maybe, ever. At 46 years old, and seven years the elder to his opponent Cavalcante, Hawn returns to the MMA cage for the first time in over seven years. Still riding a personal three fight winning streak, Hawn will be looking to improve on an impressive 21-4 record that made him one of the best MMA competitors to ever come out of our region. Make no mistake about it, Hawn has not spent the last seven years of his life sitting on his couch, Hawn has been coaching some of the region’s top young talent as he is still a regular on the mats at his Professional Martial Arts Academy in Plaistow, New Hampshire. A foray into local professional grappling matches for Calvin Kattar’s Combat Zone over the last couple years helped Hawn scratch the “competitive combat itch” but when Combat FC approached Hawn about returning to professional MMA competition, little did we know that one of the biggest Main Events in the region’s history was about to come to fruition.
Now Combat FC matchmaker Rick Caldwell was saddled with the unenviable task of trying to find the New England Legend; Hawn, a worthy opponent for his return to New England and his return to competition Mixed Martial Arts. Caldwell and Combat FC brass would settle on none other than 35 fight veteran, most well known for his work in the Strikeforce promotion; JZ Cavalcante (21-12, 7 knockouts, 8 submissions). Like Hawn, Cavalcante has been active since his final MMA bout, which took place in 2018, competing in professional grappling matches across the globe. Now, with the bout agreements signed these two MMA legends are set to cap off what is sure to be one of the most memorable fight nights in recent New England memory Friday night. New England fans and Global MMA fans alike will be treated to a star studded spectacle along the outskirts of Boston, Massachusetts when Joe Cavallaro and Rick Caldwell present; Combat FC2: Rick Hawn vs. JZ Cavalcante!
Opening bell at Combat FC2 is due to sound at 6:30 pm local time from the Aleppo Shriners Auditorium in Wilmington, Massachusetts, with the Main Card streaming live, Worldwide, on UFC Fight Pass beginning at 9 pm. For Tickets and last minute information regarding Friday night’s event visit CombatFC.tv while supplies last.