PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 7th, 2014) — Trying to top the streak of knockouts that made March such a memorable month, CES MMA returns April 25th with an even bigger, bolder fight card.
“CES MMA XXIII” will feature the return of reigning featherweight champion Rob Font, hard-hitting heavyweight Josh Diekmann, and the CES debut of four-time Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) veteran Ricardo Funch.
Tickets are on sale now at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesmma.com or www.twinriver.com or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Coming off an impressive win in January, Font (9-1, 2 KOs) will return to face Tristan Johnson (8-4, 3 KOs) of Nova Scotia, Canada, in the main event. The 30-year-old Johnson has won three of his last five fights, including a split-decision victory over Bellator vet Will Romero in 2012, while Font has won his last eight. The Boston featherweight, originally from Tampa and now training out of Sityodong, submitted Bombsquad vet Ahsan Abdullah in January in the opening round of their scheduled three-round bout.
Diekmann (14-5, 10 KOs), a Groton, Conn., native, returns to Twin River with wins in two of his last three fights. Following back-to-back first-round knockout wins in September and November, Diekmann’s scheduled three-round bout at Bellator 110 against Manny Lara ended in a no contest due to an accidental eye poke. On April 25th, Diekmann will face Keith “Bad News” Bell (5-3-1, 3 KOs) of Newport News, Va. Bell has won three out of four since 2013 and appeared on the undercard of Bellator 109 in Pennsylvania.
The 33-year-old Funch (8-4, 4 KOs), a native of Ludlow, Mass., will make his CES and Twin River debut against a familiar face in Dedham, Mass., veteran Brett Oteri (12-5, 1 KO), who has won seven fights by submission and enters this fight fresh off a big win over Dennis Olson in December.
Funch is hoping to regain his form following back-to-back losses to Dan Miller and Mike Pyle with the UFC in 2012 that led to his release from the promotion. He hasn’t fought in more than a year, but owns wins over regional standouts Ryan Quinn, Woody Weatherby and Chandler Holderness.
That’s just the beginning. “CES MMA XXIII” also features the return of fan-favorites Andre Soukhamthath, Tateki Matsuda and Eric Spicely, three rising stars with a combined record of 18-7.
Soukhamthath (7-2, 4 KOs), a Woonsocket, R.I., native now living and training in Florida, will return to Twin River hoping to rebound from a tough loss to Kin Moy in December, his first loss since his pro debut in 2011. This time he’ll face Joshua Killion (9-4) of Defiance, Ohio, a tough veteran with seven submission wins on his resume, in a three-round bantamweight bout.
Matsuda (8-5, 4 KOs), the Boston bantamweight who’s fought everywhere from Maine to Tokyo since his last appearance with CES in 2010, will battle the unbeaten Matt Doherty (3-0, 2 KOs) of Salem, Mass., in what figures to be one of the most intriguing intrastate matchups on the card. Matsuda has lost his last two while Doherty is coming off a submission win over Shaun Marmas in January.
Spicely (3-0) will put his unbeaten record on the line against 37-fight veteran Nuri Shakir (17-20, 8 KOs) of Nashua, N.H., in a three-round welterweight bout. Providence’s Spicely last fought in December with a first-round knockout win over Tyler Rose. The 35-year-old Shakir owns wins over UFC vets Tom Egan and Nick Serra.
Also on the undercard, Pawtucket, R.I., welterweight Abe Pitrowski (5-2, 1 KO) will face Samuel Almeida (2-0) of Framingham, Mass.; lightweight Bobby Flynn (4-1, 1 KO) of Mashpee, Mass., will battle Providence’s Tundee Odumuso (2-2); and featherweight Pete Rogers Jr. (0-1) of Baltic, Conn., will face Manny Torres (2-2) of Hartford, Conn. Two-time Bellator vet Rico DiSciullo (1-0) of Peabody, Mass., will face Jordan Espinosa (3-3) of Findlay, Ohio in a three-round bantamweight bout.