PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 17th, 2014) — There’s no real science to Josh Diekmann’s game plan.
“I go out there and try to hit the other guy hard and not let him hit me that hard,” Diekmann said. “It’s a lot simpler than people make it out to be.”
And what if the other guy does hit as hard?
“Who gives a fuck?” Diekmann said. “Sometimes you’ve got to walk into one in order to get one.”
What you see is what you get with Diekmann — unafraid, unfiltered, and always ready to let his hands go. When “The Freight Train” steps inside the cage, there’s a strong chance (a 94 percent chance, to be exact) the fight won’t go the distance, and that’s precisely what Diekmann is hoping for again Friday, April 25th, 2014 when he faces veteran heavyweight Keith Bell (4-4-1, 3 KOs) of Newport News, Va., on the undercard of “CES MMA XXIII” at Twin River Casino.
“To me, if you win a decision, you really don’t win the fight,” Diekmann said. “You’re just ahead when time runs out. To me, you finish the fight. That’s how you win a fight.”
“I’m not that guy,” said Bell, a former standout wrestler at Niagara County Community College. “I’m real calm, collected. I’ve been put out before and have come back and won.
“Why train so hard just to blow it in 30 seconds? You can’t make it to the next level playing that game, and I’ll be the one to make you look like a dumbass when we touch gloves.”
Tickets for “CES MMA XXIII” 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.
The 6-foot-2, 37-year-old Diekmann (14-5, 10 KOs), a Groton, Conn., native, has won 10 fights by knockout and four by submission. The only time he went the distance in 19 professional fights was a year and a half ago in a loss to Tyler King. He’s also been knocked out once and submitted three times.
Diekmann either finishes or gets finished, and it’s the reason he’s become one of New England’s most popular fighters, a welcome reprieve from the common stall tactic in mixed martial arts derisively referred to as “lay and pray.”
“Who wants to see that? I wouldn’t want to see that if I was buying a ticket,” Diekmann said. “I’m an entertainer, first and foremost. People pay to watch me fight. They’re not just there to see me win. Without fans, we don’t have a sport. It’d just be two guys punching each other. There has to be something there.
“That’s why I sell a lot of tickets. Either I get knocked out, or the other guy gets knocked out.”
Except in February, when Diekmann’s scheduled three-round bout against Manny Lara on the undercard of Bellator 110 ended in 18 seconds after Lara absorbed an inadvertent thumb to the eye, resulting in a no contest, hence why he’s back at Twin River next Friday. Needing a fight to stay sharp, Diekmann immediately turned to CES, with whom he had fought three of his previous four bouts.
“They always take care of me,” Diekmann said. “Even when I’m not fighting, they make sure I have a good seat and take good care of my buddies.
“A lot of other promoters preach that family shit, but in my experiences with CES it’s been true. I lost my first two fights with them and they still treat me well. They’re top shelf. I’ve fought for a lot of guys. I’ve been doing this for 11 years and have fought for nearly every local promotion, and hands down CES is the best. They’re the most professional, and they put on the best fights by far. If I’m going to fight for anyone else, it’s going to be them.”
After beating Chris Guillen in a rematch on CES’ November Pro-Am event at Foxwoods Resort Casino, Diekmann has a chance to even his record with CES against Bell, a 6-3, 256-pound Bellator vet with a similar penchant for finishing fights. He’s won two of his last three since 2013, while each of his last five fights dating back to October of 2012 have ended within the first round.
“I always pick up something along the way,” Bell said. “I’m a bigger heavyweight, not a 5-foot-10 heavyweight who swings for the fences. I don’t need to do that. I have reach. I do other things heavyweights don’t do, and that’s why it works.
“I wouldn’t say [Diekmann] is one-dimensional. I just haven’t seen him in a lot of tough situations. I watched his fight in 2012 [against King] and he got taken down over and over again. Anytime he fights a bigger heavyweight he has problems because he tries to slug it out with the guy. That’s what people want to see, but that’s not the best option.
“If he wants to do that against me, that’s fine. We have a game plan for that.”
Diekmann’s not concerned about Bell’s size or reach, nor is making his own game plan more difficult than it needs to be.
“He’s a big boy,” Diekmann said, “but I’ve fought big guys before. Sometimes, guys get crazy with their game plans. Just go fight. Work on your stuff and use it. It’s you and another guy fighting. That’s it. What’s the best way to win? Go out and hurt the other guy. When you see a fight in the street, one guy hurts the other guy and it’s over.
“I’m not really great at anything, but I can do a little bit of everything. Sometimes that gives me an advantage.”
Having already fought for more than a decade, Diekmann treats every fight as if it’s his last, so when asked what’s next on the schedule, he says, “When you get to my age, you just take it one fight at a time. That’s one thing I’ve learned. Take it how it comes. I only have so many of these left, so I’m trying to enjoy them.”
Only if they last long enough to savor. These days, Diekmann is making quick work of everyone put in front of him.
“I used to get scared, thinking I’m not good enough to do this or that,” Diekmann said. “Now I just take each challenge as it comes.”
Coming off an impressive win in January, Boston featherweight Rob 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.
“CES MMA XXIII” also features the return of fan-favorites Tateki Matsuda and Eric Spicely. 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, and East Providence, R.I., heavyweight Eric Bedard (6-4, 4 KOs) will battle Matthew Thompson (18-9, 7 KOs) of Austin, Tex.