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The Preview: Gold on the Line at Cage Titans 53

Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"

Michael Polvere's Cage Titans returns this Saturday night at their home inside Plymouth Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Massachusetts as five Cage Titans Championship belts are up for grabs at Cage Titans 53. The Cage Titans Championship belts have become a feather in the cap for many of New England's top athletes on their climb to the sport's pinnacle. Saturday night we have four of those coveted titles on the line as part of a stacked 12 fight fight card, three coming in the Amateur ranks and the Cage Titans Professional Featherweight strap is on the line in the evenings main event. The entirety of the fight card fills out with four professional contests and eight amateur bouts littered with the regions top prospects and biggest names.

Cage Titans 53 action kicks off in the Amateur Flyweight division as Sityodtong's Neil Mazumdar (1-1-1) looks to secure the second win of his Cage Titans amateur career when he throws down with newcomer Pedro Baez (Amateur Debut). Mazumdar has had his share of ups and downs across his first three amateur bouts finally tasting victory last time out with a unanimous decision against Omar Gurrero at Cage Titans Combat Night 3. Mazumdar looks to make it back to back wins Saturday night when he welcomes the Amateur debut of Ironbody MMA's Baez.

Up next we meet at an Amateur Catchweight of 140 pounds when two amateur MMA veterans square off in search of their first career victories. On one side of the Cage Titans cage; Lauzon MMA's John Payne (0-3) will look to harness the energy from the hometown crowd as he guns for his first career victory against fellow winless Gym X product Jonif Tucker (0-3). Payne makes his first walk to the cage since Cage Titans 26 in November of 2015 where he suffered a second round submission loss to Jesse Pires (2-7 amateur, 0-3 professional). New York's Tucker makes his second walk to the Cage Titans cage (TKO loss to Sean Costello at Cage Titans 51 in February) at Cage Titans 53 chasing his first MMA victory when he locks horns with Lauzon's John Payne.

Moving on to the amateur Featherweight division we have two more winless combatants looking to break into the win column when Sityodtong's Phil LoCigno (0-2) meets Thunder MMA's Anthony Rivera (0-3). Do not let LoCigno's 0-2 record fool you, Phil has gone to war for six rounds inside the Cage Titans cage since his debut at Cage Titans 50 in November of last year, finding himself on the wrong side of two narrow judges decisions. LoCigno's losses are not due to lack of effort however as he stood toe to toe with both Jake Caskey (1-1, Cage Titans 50) and Danny Wahlburg (1-0, Cage Titans 51) earning his stripes inside Plymouth Memorial Hall. LoCigno has a chance to break out of his slump Saturday night when he meets Anthony Rivera. Rivera has also experienced some extremely tough competition throughout his time on the New England MMA scene with his 0-3 record reflecting losses to Pastor Angel Acevedo, Bret Casey and Joe Poirier at Cage Titans 52. Do not sleep on this matchup as these two Featherweights have been to war early in their amateur careers and have never produced boring fights.

South Shore Sportfighting's Brendon "Motor" Boates (1-0) returns at Cage Titans 53 with a score to settle as he welcomes a once former adversary, New York's Gage Looby (0-8) in an Amateur Catchweight affair. Boates was originally scheduled to fight Looby earlier this year, in what was supposed to be the only fight of Boates' career, however after Looby was forced to withdraw from that contest, Boates ended up fighting Looby's teammate Mohammad Islam (0-1) at Cage Titans Combat Night 3, taking just over a minute to smash Islam into the canvas for a TKO finish. Boates has made it clear, that if he was ever to take a second fight, it would have to be against Looby who launched a war of words with Boates on social media before pulling out of their scheduled bout. I predict this fight to go much like Boates debut, as the yolked 50 year old looks to ride into retirement boasting a perfect 2-0 record. Give him that neck! Give him that check! And give him that AARP card!

Next we move to the Amateur Bantamweight division where we will have the chance to witness one of the most high level amateur contests in recent regional memory. Gunslinging gangster; Andrew "The Gladiator" Valdina (4-2, Lauzon MMA) takes on his toughest test to date in Birmingham, Alabama's Tyler "Suga Free" Stevens (8-4, SBG Alabama). Stevens has been on absolute fire over the last year, riding a current three fight winning streak into Plymouth, Massachusetts with his sights set on hometown favorite Andrew Valdina. Valdina got back to his winning ways last time out at Cage Titans 52 when he sat down Pastor Angel Acevedo in under a minute via KO, if he can let his hands do the talking again Saturday night we could be seeing the rise of the regions next Bantamweight star. Don't blink when the pin drops on this amateur Bantamweight feature.

Our first Cage Titans Championship belt is up for grabs in our next bout as Nostos MMA's Kyle Pufahl (3-0) takes on Miguel "MF'n" Sevasin (2-2-1) square off for the Cage Titans Amateur Lightweight belt left vacant when former champion Mo Al Kinani turned pro. Pufahl began his career outside of the region at WCFL in Florida, compiling a 2-0 record with 2 finishes before coming home to fight for NEF at NEF 44 where he made it three stoppages in three starts as an amateur when he knocked out Ryan Savage (0-3) in the second round. Pufahl makes his Cage Titans debut Saturday night against one of the regions fastest surging Amateur Lightweights in Lakeville MMA's Miguel Sevasin. After beginning his amateur journey 0-2, Sevasin has shown a resurgence in his last three bouts where he is the owner of two finishes to go with a decision draw against Ashwath Rao at Cage Titans 50. Sevasin hopes to prove that he is one of the most dangerous amateur Lightweights in the region Saturday night, and if he can become the first to solve Pufahl and capture the Cage Titans Amateur Lightweight strap, he may just gain the recognition he feels like he deserves.

Saturday's main card kicks off when Cage Titans Amateur Welterweight Champion; Jack Congdon (4-0, Lakeville MMA) makes his first title defense when he throws down with North Carolina's Shane Dillehay (2-1) for a scheduled five three minute rounds. Dillehay is the owner of two knockouts over his two amateur wins, and an upset of the Champ Congdon would be the biggest accomplishment of his young career. Congdon is just what you want in a promotional champion; young, good looking and very talented. Congdon has finished all four of his amateur fights before the closing bell, boasting 3 knockouts and a submission on his impressive resume. The new champion receives a step up in competition here as he tries to cement his spot atop the New England MMA amateur Welterweight heap. This fight is going to show us a lot about the potential of Congdon as he continues to receive top-regional-prospect status, the next step is a successful attempt to defend his Cage Titans crown.

In the next bout it's time to decide who will replace former Cage Titans Amateur Featherweight Shane Dougherty as the promotions next 145 pound champion. On one side of the cage; current Cage Titans amateur Bantamweight Champion; Arthur Mpofu (5-3) looks to enter rarefied air and become a Cage Titans Champion in two weight classes. Standing across the cage from the aspiring Champ Champ may be one of the regions best kept secrets; G & G Wrestling's Marcel "The Jackal" Romero (3-0). In three career bouts Romero is perfect, 3-0 with three knockouts, including a first round knockout of Dan Walsh at Cage Titans 50. It would be hard to deny Romero's talents if he can get past his toughest test to date in the well versed Bantamweight Arthur Mpofu for the vacant Cage Titans belt.

The first professional bout of the evening comes in the Heavyweight division when heavy handed Brendan Battles (1-1, Loco Lobo) returns to Cage Titans for the first time since his amateur debut in 2015. Battles makes his return following a 5 year hiatus as he awaits the pro debut of 33 year old pro boxer Fred Gray (Debut) there is not much on Gray who hails from Georgia and will be looking to silent the Cage Titans contingent Saturday night as these two big men offer us a rare glimpse at two professional Heavyweights throwing down in one of our New England MMA cages, and Heavyweights almost never disappoint, hold on to your asses folks.

We welcome another return to action in the Welterweight division next when South Shore Sportfighting's Justin Burrill (3-2) enters the MMA realm for the first time since 2013 when he squares off with the always dangerous Cage Titans veteran Trevor "The Scarecrow" Gudde (3-2). Both of these men are notorious finishers, in their 10 combined professional bouts, only Burrill has been to the judges scorecards, just once. There is a good chance these two 170 pounders are going to give the judges a bout off here as someone is likely ending their night with their toes pointed at the Memorial Hall ceiling

We come to the evenings co-main event and it signifies not only the return of "The Unpredictable One" Sean Lally (8-6) but the promotional debut of New England MMA veteran Matt "Ken Doll" Denning (5-13). Lally was initially scheduled to fight Cage Titans veteran Roberto Yong (3-7) however Yong was forced to pull out of the contest. Enter Matthew Denning who is just three weeks removed from a first round submission loss to Jesse Erickson in the main event at NEF 47, and just two weeks removed from getting married, he takes the late notice flyer here when he meets Sean Lally at 165 pounds. Denning has recently been taking the toughest route he can find as he continues to lock himself inside the cage with absolute killers, and at Cage Titans; Sean Lally is the ultimate killer! This fight should be violent.

The main event showcases "Shameless" Don Shainis (12-3. #1 FW) quite possibly shooting for his last regional victory before getting a call to the UFC. Plymouth's Shainis is unbeaten in his last 4 fights and is 8-1 in his last 9 fights. His resume has some quality names on it, and his recent performances tell us all that this kid is ready for the big time. Last time out Shainis captured the FAC Lightweight title when he TKO'd former UFC rosteree Cody Pfister (16-8) in the first round of their headlining bout at FAC 13 last month. Shainis will look to add the Cage Titans Featherweight title to his list of accolades in Saturday nights five round main event against France's Brice "Lion Kid" Picaud (9-6). Cage Titans president Michael Polvere confirmed that this is the first time the promotion has flown a fighter in from across the pond to challenge one of our regions athletes. Picaud carries with him five finishes amongst his nine career victories (2 Knockouts, 3 Submissions) as he rolls into New England upset minded. Awaiting his arrival is the man with quite possibly the largest fanbase in Cage Titans nation, as #ShamelessNation hopes to bring the energy needed to propel their idol to the next level. This is a high level main event with a laundry list of implications that will unfold in the center of Plymouth Memorial Hall tomorrow night, you will not want to miss this card!

Cage Titans 53 has 12 fights on tap that will surely wet the palates of all New England MMA fans! There is a fuck-ton of gold on the line between our regions most talented mixed martial artists, and the option of witnessing the festivities in person is off the table, as the show is sold out, but you can watch all the action on PPV by purchasing through this link.

Below is the full fight card, and make sure to follow along on via our blog and social media channels.

Main Card

Don Shainis (12-3, Glory MMA) vs Brice Picaud (9-6, Lion Fight Team)

Featherweight Title Main Event

Sean Lally (8-6, Kill Combat) vs Matt Denning (5-13, Independent)

Catchweight (165 lbs.)

Justin Burrill (3-2, South Shore Sportfighting) vs Trevor Gudde (3-2, Citadel)


Brendan Battles (1-1, Loco Lobo) vs Fred Grey (Debut, MOC)


Arthur Mpofu (5-3, SBG Alabama) vs Marcel Romero (3-0, G&G Wrestling)

Amateur Featherweight Title

Jack Congdon (4-0, Lakeville MMA) vs Shane Dillehay (2-1, Triforce MMA)

Amateur Lightweight Title


Kyle Pufahl (3-0, NOSTOS MMA) vs Miguel Sevasin (2-2-1, Lakeville MMA)

Amateur Lightweight Title

Andrew Valdina (4-2, Lauzon MMA) vs Tyler Stevens (8-4, SBG Alabama)

Amateur Bantamweight

Brendon Boates (1-0, South Short Sportfighting) vs Gage Looby (4-8, Gym X)

Amateur Catchweight

Anthony Rivera (0-3, Thunder MMA) vs Phil LoCigno (0-2, Sityodtong)

Amateur Featherweight

John Payne (0-3, Lauzon MMA) vs Jonif Tucker (0-3, Gym X)

Amateur Catchweight (140 lbs.)

Pedro Baez (0-0, Ironbody MMA) vs Neil Mazumdar (1-1, Sityodtong)

Amateur Flyweight

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