Three months after successfully launching its New York division, CES MMA continues its east-coast expansion Friday night in the City of Brotherly Love.
The region’s leading mixed martial arts promotion makes its Philadelphia debut at the famed 2300 Arena with “CES MMA 52” live on AXS TV.
The event features six televised bouts, highlighted by the homecoming of Philly native Jeremiah Wells (5-1, 2 KOs), who fights for the vacant CES MMA World Welterweight Title in the five-round main event against Moorestown, N.J., native Jason Norwood (18-5, 5 KOs), plus four amateur bouts on the preliminary card.
The AXS TV main card begins at 9 p.m. ET with preliminary amateur bouts beginning at 7. Tickets for “CES MMA 52” are priced at $55.00, $75.00 and $125.00 and are available online at www.cesmma.com or www.2300arena.com.
Ohio’sChris Curtis reigned as CES MMA’s welterweight champion for two and a half years, including a successful defense against Norwood at “CES MMA 49,” before vacating the belt to compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Curtis won his fight, but didn’t earn a UFC contract and promptly retired.
Curtis is the second CES MMA welterweight champion to vacate the belt in the last three years; Dominique Steele, who won it from former title-holder Chuck O’Neil, signed with the UFC shortly after capturing the title on AXS TV. Curtis defended it twice, but the belt is now vacate again with two worthy challengers ready to add their name to the short list of CES MMA champions.
Wells is making his third appearance with CES MMA this year. His debut put him on the map as he landed a killer right hand that pulverized fan-favorite Gary Balletto Jr. at “CES MMA 49.” Two months later, Wells dominated Jon Manley to earn a unanimous decision win at “CES MMA 50” in the promotion’s welterweight title eliminator, setting the stage for Friday’s championship showdown.
Norwood will be his toughest test to date. The 34-year-old New Jersey native had won six of seven prior to his bout against Curtis at “CES MMA 49” and boasts experience with a number of different promotions, including Bellator and King of the Cage.
Wells is joined by six additional Philadelphia fighters on the main card, including Strikeforce, UFC, Bellator and CES MMA vet Nah-Shon Burrell (15-10, 10 KOs), who battles Temple Hills, Md., native Ron Stallings (14-8, 6 KOs) in a middleweight showcase.
Burrell made his first and only appearance with CES MMA at Foxwoods Resort Casino in 2016, defeating Curtis in a non-title bout at “CES MMA 34.” The well-traveled Burrell has also competed overseas in Russia with Absolute Championship Berkut. Friday will be his first fight on U.S. soil since June of 2017. The three-time UFC vet Stallings makes his long-awaited CES MMA debut after his scheduled bout with Justin Sumter at “CES MMA 50” was postponed following Sumter’s appearance on DWTNCS.
Fellow Philly native and submission specialist Pat Sabatini (8-2) makes his promotional debut against Omaha’s Boimah Karmo (5-4, 1 KO) in a three-round featherweight bout and heavyweight knockout artist Chris Daukaus (5-2, 4 KOs) of Philly faces Brentwood, N.Y., Jahsua Marsh (3-3, 2 KOs).
Seven of Sabatini’s eight wins have come by submission, including a win via rear-naked choke against Francisco Isata in December and a heel hook submission win over John de Jesus in September. Daukaus has won three in a row overall and back-to-back fights by knockout, most recently defeating Plinio Cruz in December in the first round of a scheduled three-round bout. Marsh makes his second appearance with CES MMA after defeating Ras Hylton in New York in May.
In the middleweight division, Philly’s Joe Pfyer (1-0, 1 KO) faces Derek Wilson Jr. (2-1, 1 KO) of Atlanta and Philly natives Eugene Aubrey and Ed Shupe make their pro debuts against one another in the opening bout of the main card. Pfyer earned his first career win via first-round knockout over Steven Covington in May. Wilson Jr. debuted with Bellator in 2017 and has won back-to-back fights since then, including his first career knockout over Brooks Conley in July.
The amateur preliminary card features six additional Pennsylvania fighters, among them light heavyweight Mark Khavinson, lightweights Shawn Stefanelli and Jace Kendle and welterweight Nick Bord.