For years, Cage Titans FC and CES MMA have run neck-and-neck as two of the premier mixed martial arts promotions in the northeast.
Cage Titans has developed an incredibly deep talent pool of up-and-coming amateur fighters, many of whom have starred on past CES MMA events, while CES MMA has earned its reputation as a gateway to the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) with help from its relationship with AXS TV, which will extend into 2017, as announced by the network earlier this week.
The two promotions had always talked about running an event in association with one another, but it never made sense until now. CES MMA recently had another TV date added to its 2016 slate and Cage Titans had the venue, hence the concept behind “CES MMA 39,” which takes place Friday night at Memorial Hall in Plymouth, Mass., Cage Titans’ home base where it’s sold out its last 12 events.
Friday’s event features 11 bouts — eight professional, three amateur — with the preliminary card beginning at 7 p.m. ET and the AXS TV Fights televised main card beginning at 9.
“When this opportunity presented itself, it made perfect sense,” Cage Titans owner and matchmaker Mike Polvere said. “It was the right place, right time.”
It was a no-brainer as well for CES MMA, which had hoped to promote a second event in Massachusetts before the end of the year after making its Bay State debut in Beverly in April with a sold-out show at the North Shore Music Theatre.
“We were all in,” said CES MMA CEO Jimmy Burchfield Jr. “Mike does an incredible job. A lot of the CES fighters initially made a name for themselves at Cage Titans FC. This will be a night of unforgettable action and the start of things to come!”
Friday’s event features the best from both promotions. Cage Titans is also running its next event the following night, “Cage Titans 31,” also from Memorial Hall, which had been planned long before “CES MMA 39,” so Polvere took some of the top names from that event and moved them up one night for the opportunity to fight on the AXS TV platform.
Among them are Abington, Mass., standouts Manny Bermudez (7-0, 1 KO), who previously fought on AXS TV when he was featured on “CES MMA 32,” and brothers Peter Barrett (6-0, 5 KOs) and Max Barrett (3-0, 2 KOs), and Milford, Mass., flyweight Remo Cardarelli (6-4), in addition to Lawrence, Mass., vet Wilfredo Santiago (6-3, 5 KOs), who faces 11-time CES MMA vet Chuck O’Neil (17-8, 6 KOs) of Bourne, Mass., in the main event.
Bermudez, a featherweight, faces 25-fight vet Saul Almeida (18-7, 1 KO) of Framingham, Mass.; Peter Barrett puts his unbeaten record on the line in a featherweight bout against undefeated Clearwater, Fla., native Jeremy Davis (3-0, 1 KO); his younger brother, Max, faces Cage Titans bantamweight vet Dan Dubuque (3-1) of Waterbury, Conn., and Cardarelli faces Josh Ricci (2-0) of Whitesville, N.Y.
“It made sense for us to take our more established pros, like Manny, Peter, Max, and give them that nationwide exposure on national TV,” Polvere said. “CES has done a great job of showcasing the best talent on the east coast and it’s a great opportunity for Cage Titans to offer up some of our up-and-comers.
“They’re well-known, household names to our audience, and to the Massachusetts audience, but now here is their opportunity to get that exposure on a national level, a chance to spread their wings a little bit. CES has established itself as the staple for getting to the UFC for east coast fighters. With Manny, Peter, Wilfredo and others, we feel they have the talent to be there.”
CES MMA’s reputation as a “gateway” to the UFC began primarily when Boston’s John “Doomsday” Howard dominated the regional circuit under the promotional guidance of CES MMA and earned a second stint with the UFC. Since then, other regional fighters have carved their path to the UFC through CES MMA, including Tateki Matsuda, Rob Font, Joey Gomez, Dominique Steele, Kyle Bochniak, Charles Rosa and others.
The co-promotion between CES MMA and Cage Titans also shows the tremendous depth of talent in the northeast, which continues to grow as CES MMA prepares for another full slate of AXS TV broadcasts in 2017, starting in late January.
“We have 20 fights scheduled for Saturday and 11 with the CES card. The east coast is a hot bed for MMA,” Polvere said. “We have fighters from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and all the way up to Maine and New Hampshire on these cards, and, with the CES portion, from every further.
“At Cage Titans, we have a deep talent pool and with the blossoming of the sport of MMA, it’s only growing. The number of new people in this sport is growing. What’s interesting now is kids growing up are training MMA. In the early days, most MMA fighters were kids who wrestled in high school and picked up the sport when it became popular when they were 25. Now kids are starting to train as early as nine years old. It’s been a fun evolution the last couple of years.”
Tickets for “CES MMA 39” are priced at $45.00, $55.00, $75.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com or www.cagetix.com or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
“CES MMA 39” also features Sandwich, Mass., welterweight Bobby Flynn (6-3, 1 KO), fresh off his win over Kevin Horowitz at “CES MMA 36,” battling unbeaten Crofton, Md., native Micah Terrill (6-0, 5 KOs) and Quincy, Mass., light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez (5-1, 3 KOs) facing New Hampshire’s Kevin Haley (5-3, 2 KOs), both on the main card, while Connor Barry (1-0) of Holbrook, Mass., faces lightweight Anthony Giachina (1-0) of Selden, N.Y., on the preliminary card.
“CES MMA 39” also features two amateur bouts; Charles Bonnar faces Zach Fritz-Kill and Joe Mikolinksi battles Shane Brady.