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Pro Middleweight Rankings: Sumter is Sumthing Else

The pro middleweight division in New England has had its ups and downs over the past few years, but that doesn't mean there aren't any studs on this list. Justin "The Fort" Sumter (8-4) is only 2-3 in his last 5 fights, but he is still the #1 ranked middleweight in the region, and for good reason. In 2 of those 3 losses he was taking on high-caliber competition on The Contender Series, and those two high-profile losses came against Ian Heinisch (14-5) and Maki Pitolo (13-9), who are both currently signed to the UFC. Sumter recently got back on the winning track at CES 64 by taking out highly-touted Albert Tadevosyan (7-2-1) via rear naked choke in the 1st round. The Fighting Arts Academy product look very impressive in that most recent bout, and is deserves to sit atop the middleweight rankings here in New England.

Slotting in at the #2 position is former #1 ranked middleweight, Tim "The Bear" Caron (10-4), and although he is only 1-3 in his last 4 fights and on a 2 fight skid, Caron is still one of the most talented middleweights in the region, and has only taken on the toughest of the tough. His most recent loss at Premier FC 31 came against former UFC fighter, Marcel Fortuna (10-4), and before that he dropped a fight to former UFC fighter Kyle Stewart (14-5) under the LFA banner. One to never shy away from tough competition, "The Bear" started his career 7-0 and actually holds a win over #1 ranked Sumter on a Bellator card back in 2016. The skills are there, and you have to give credit to Caron from never backing down from tough competition. Hopefully we'll see "The Bear" get back on the winning track in 2022 here in New England.

Speaking of tough stretches, 3rd ranked Eric Spicely (12-8) started his career 8-0, but has dropped 4 fights in a row over the last 2.5 years, but against very stiff competition. The former UFC fighter is a grappling wiz, but the evolution of his striking game has hampered his ability to find success against high-level competition. Spicely was a competitor on the 23rd season of The Ultimate Fighter, and had success, but ultimately lost in the finals. He then went 2-4 in the UFC before being cut by the organization. The Rhode Island native is now 35 years old, and seemingly has his best fighting days behind him, but that won't stop Spicely from taking on tough competition all over the globe.

Yu Ji (3-2) and Pat Casey (8-4) find themselves at #4 and #5 respectively, and these two also clashed in a bout a few years ago at Premier FC 30 where Ji dropped Casey and won the Premier FC middleweight belt in the process. Ji has most recently fought at light heavyweight, dropping 2 in a row to current UFC fighter Fabio Cherant, and most recently, George Tokkos, in a 205 scrap for the Premier FC belt. Yu Ji's home should be at middleweight and not light heavyweight, so hopefully we'll see him drop down a weight class, and start rattling off some wins on the regional scene here in New England.

Pat Casey, who really is a welterweight, has found himself competing up a weight class, thus the reason he also finds himself in our middleweight rankings. After a 3 fight losing streak that started with the loss to Yu Ji, and then dropping 2 more against high-level competition on the Bellator stage, Casey has most recently rattled off a few victories against Timmy Tyler and Jay Ellis under the Premier banner. With Premier FC unlikely to put on a show anytime soon, the Springfield native is looking for a new home to continue his winning ways.

A few less noticeable fighters on this list to keep an eye on this year are Jon McNeil (1-0) and Tommy Lee Davis (2-1). The 31 year old McNeil recently had an impressive performance in his pro debut on a Bellator card and currently holds down the 10th position in our rankings. The 23 year old Davis (2-1) grabs our 9th spot in the rankings, and has a lot of hype around him, but he hasn't fought in almost 2.5 years. Both of these guys have loads of talent, and could easily shoot up our rankings with a few wins on the regional scene.

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