Jimmy Burchfield Jr. and his crew returned to their home base of Twin Rivers Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island after a 3 year hiatus from the venue, and boy did they return with a BANG! CES had two of their belts up for grabs in front of a raucous sold out crowd, as well as 6 other pro fights that produced a flurry of action. It was a night of quick finishes, bloody faces, and local fighters getting their hands raised.
Billy Goff Cements His #1 Welterweight Ranking in New England
The co-main event of the evening was one that had a massive amount of hype around it, and boy did it deliver! CES mainstay and 3rd ranked welterweight in New England, Gary Balletto Jr., brought a massive following with him into this championship bout against Groton, Connecticut's Billy Goff. The Dexter MMA product came into the fight as the top ranked welterweight in New England, and was riding a 3 fight win streak after claiming the Cage Titans 170 pound belt late last year. This was arguably the most anticipated professional welterweight matchup in New England MMA history, pitting #1 versus #3, and both fighters streaking towards the big leagues.
As the opening bell sounded, the capacity crowd was on their feet with a large majority of the fans backing Rhode Island's Gary Balletto Jr. The first 3 or so minutes of the fight took place on the feet, with both fighters throwing tactical punches and landing. Balletto Jr. landed a stiff right cross that dropped Goff to his ass, but the Connecticut native recovered quickly and grabbed a leg to avoid giving Balletto Jr. the positional advantage on the mat.
After some more back and forth exchanges on the feet, Balletto Jr. grabs a body lock on Goff, and Billy used this opportunity to get the fight to the mat. You could tell that Goff was initial cautious when the fight hit the mat, but he found himself in side-mount and utilizing his notorious heavy top pressure. Based on instructions from his corner, Goff looked to jump to mount, but "Batman" defended well, and Goff was forced to settle for half-guard. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to him though, as he started raining down hellish elbows that Balletto Jr. was partially defending.
After about a minute of Goff throwing heavy elbows on his downed foe, Balletto Jr. was able to work his way back to his feet. Once standing, the damage that was inflicted was evident, as blood poured down Balletto Jr.'s face from multiple cuts. It was evident that Balletto Jr. couldn't see once standing, and he made a gesture to referee Brian Minor that forced him to step in and stop the fight, and ultimately crown Billy Goff the new CES welterweight champion, and improving his record to 6-2.
The Goff hype train continues to roll on, and with a few more high-level wins, Billy should be getting the call from the big leagues. His 6-2 record is littered with high-level fighters that he has dispatched, so there is no question on whether he has been tested. I think it's only a matter of time until we see Billy Goff performing under the bright lights of the UFC.
Andre Soukhamthath Calls it a Career After Losing a Unanimous Decision to Diego Silva
Rhode Island's Andre "The Asian Sensation" Soukhamthath started his MMA career 12 years ago on the New England regional scene, and over that time he's reached the highest levels of the sport and amassing a 2-5 record with the UFC. But before getting the call to the big leagues, Andre cut his teeth under the CES banner and competing for the Burchfields 14 times.
Friday night was Soukhamthath's homecoming, and he was focused on capturing the CES bantamweight belt (for a 2nd time) that Jay Perrin recently vacated after getting the call to the UFC a few weeks back. He was taking on a very experienced fighter in Diego Silva (14-6) in the main event with a huge portion of the venue their to witness Andre perform. Those who showed up to witness 25 minutes of stylish striking out of "The Asian Sensation" the pace of the fight ended up being somewhat upsetting, Silva landed early takedowns in each of the first four rounds and forced Andre into a 25 minute grappling war.
Soukhamthath came out in the fifth round with an extreme sense of urgency, knowing he was down four rounds to none, Andre mustered all the strength he could from the roaring hometown crowd as he made one last attempt to finish the advancing Silva. Dre's striking really opened up in the fifth and final round as he finished the last stanza on top of Silva raining down ground and pound. But it was too little too late for the homecoming Soukhamthath as all three judges saw this fight the same 49-46 for the NEW CES Bantamweight World Champion; Diego Silva.
Following the conclusion of the contest Soukhamthath remained in the cage and in his interview with Madelyn Grimaldi Andre laid his gloves in the center of the CES cage, signifying an end to his illustrious career. Andre finishes his career 14-10 and comes up just short his effort to recapture his CES Bantamweight World title before riding off into the Rhode Island sunset.
Two Young Tri-Force MMA Studs Improve to 2-0
Dion Rubio (2-0) and Tyrime Da Silva (2-0) have a lot of hype behind them after very successful amateur careers, and they were given a huge platform to perform on Friday night in front of their hometown crowd. Both guys showed up and elated the crowd with TKO victories in the 1st round, sending the crowd into a frenzy.
Rubio took out a debuting Bobby Casale at 3:37 of the 1st round with unanswered strikes, and looked very sharp in the process. He was able to defend a few takedown attempts, keep the fight on the feet, and utilize his hands to punish Casale before forcing the ref to step in and stop the fight. The always humble Rubio improves to 2-0 in his burgeoning MMA career.
Rubio's teammate, Tyrime Da Silva, matched his teammates performance just 2 fights later, as he dispatched Eduardo Rodrigues (1-2) via TKO at 1:42 of the very first round. Tyrime scathed off an early Guillotine attempt by the Brazilian Rodrigues, ending up on top of Rodrigues landing heavy ground and pound that opened up cuts on the face of Rodrigues and caused the referee to call a stop to the contest.
Great showing by these two Tri-Force MMA rising prospects as both advance their professional records to 2-0 and continue to create hype behind their names. New England MMA fans should keep their eye on these two talented young finishers.
Takeaways from the rest of the CES 66 card
In the evenings opening bout Long Island's Robert Varricchio made his CES debut in the Lightweight division against Turner Williams and wasted little time getting his striking going. Varricchio landed an early spinning backfist that not only rearranged the nose Williams, but appeared to break the Long Islander's forearm. Varricchio still managed to follow Williams to the ground and finish him with ground and pound, with a broken arm to boot.
Also former UFC Bantamweight Joey Gomez made his return after six years away from competition last night and unfortunately for the Gomez contingent Joey didn't even have time to get his offense going before right hands from Vlad Kazbekov put an early end to Gomez's return. Gomez wasted no time taking to social media to let his fans know, this was not the last time we will see the "KO King" as he fully intends to "fight another day."