Updated: Oct 14
The pro bantamweight division has a mix of veterans, peaking stars, and rising prospects. A clown is currently atop the division, as Jay "Joker" Perrin (9-4) is 6-1 in his last 7 fights, with his only loss coming on the Contender Series. That loss was a controversial one, and many thought Perrin should have got the nod on the judges' scorecards. Perrin's on a roll, and after notching wins over #2 ranked Johnny Campbell, recently retired Kin Moy (who'd definitely be in the top 5 if he was still active), and Florida's Diego Silva, "The Joker" knows he's close to getting a call from one of the major promotions. He needs 1-2 more quality wins and he'll be on the big stage, but there aren't many matchups for Perrin to entertain within the New England region. A rematch with "Cupcakes" Campbell is one of the only fights that makes sense when it comes to a New England battle. Most likely Cage Titans will get a stud from outside the region to come to Plymouth Memorial Hall and challenge Perrin on his home turf. Regardless if it's a "Cupcakes" rematch or another regional title holder, Perrin's improvement over the last 3 years has been impressive, and if he continues to evolve, having a winning record at the next level isn't out of the question.
Speaking of fighters who are on a roll, Johnny "Cupcakes" Campbell (20-12) is on an absolute tear! The South Shore Sportfighting product has gone 4-0 over the past year with monster wins over Jose Lugo (#8 FLW), Kris Moutinho (#9 BW), Brun Dias (NR), and Jeff Perez (NR). Those 4 opponents had a combined record of 35-14 going into their fights with "Cupcakes"! Campbell is a 32 fight veteran who has been within an arms reach of the next level for the majority of his career, but has never gotten the call. Campbell did have a fight scheduled for Bellator MMA, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. A chance to revenge the loss to Perrin would give the bearded wonder a chance to claim the top spot in the division, but we'll have to wait and see if this is on Mike Polvere's "to-do" list. Regardless if Campbell gets the Perrin rematch, we all know that his next fight will be incredibly exciting, as Campbell is one to leave it all in the cage!
With all the talk about Perrin and Campbell at the top of the rankings, Dinis Paiva (13-7) is getting the cold shoulder. Paiva has been fighting professionally for 9 years, and actually fought on Cage Titans 1 and CES 2. All 20 of his professional fights have come alongside Jimmy Burchfield Jr. and under the CES MMA banner. "Sweetbread" is 10-2 dating back to 2014, but he still hasn't been able to crack the regional ceiling. With a few more quality wins Paiva will be there, and we wouldn't be surprised if he gets a call for the Contender Series this summer. In terms of matchups, there's been some chirping on social media between Johnny Campbell and Paiva about possibly being each other's dance partners at a near date. This would most likely happen under CES, and the fans would be in for a special treat!
Other notable fighters showing up on our Summer 2020 rankings are a few rookies to keep your eye on. "Killer" Mitch Raposo (4-0) burst onto the pro scene to no one's surprise. Raposo is 10-0 (combined ammy & pro) in the last 3 years, and the kid's only 21 years old! The sky's the limit for Raposo, but it's going to be tough lining up fights with anyone ahead of him in the rankings.
Jornel Lugo (3-0) fights out of Florida, but the 24 year old has made his mark on the New England scene by claiming victory in his first 2 CES appearances, and then beating 7th ranked John Douma (4-2) at Bellator 232 last October.
"The Joker" rules the 135ers in New England, but there's not shortage of talent nipping at his heals in the region. There's 4-5 ranked fighters that could find themselves fighting under the bright lights within the next 12 months, so keep your eye on this division.
You can find our full rankings here: https://www.newenglandmma.org/rankings