Andre Soukhamthath vs. Kody Norby in a title bout headliner in the nationally televised CES MMA fight card at Twin River Casino

Photo courtesy of Will Paul
RED-HOT BANTAMWEIGHT Kody Nordby (right) takes on fellow Rhode Islander Andre Soukhamthath for the vacant CES MMA Bantamweight Title in the five-round main event of “CES MMA XXXIII” at Twin River Casino on Friday, March 11th, 2016. The event airs live on AXS TV, featuring seven televised bouts. The Soukhamthath-Nordby rivalry began more than six years ago and will finally reach its boiling point next Friday in one of the most highly-anticipated fights of 2016. Nordby has won three fights in a row while Soukhamthath owns the second longest win streak in CES MMA history (seven bouts) between 2012 and 2013.

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 2nd, 2016) A fight more than six years in the making has finally become a reality, and now it’ll be showcased in front of a national television audience.

CES MMA will crown its 10th champion on Friday, March 11th, 2016 on AXS TV when Rhode Island rivals Andre Soukhamthath and Kody Norby battle for the promotion’s vacant bantamweight title in the five-round main event of “CES MMA XXXIII” at Twin River Casino.

Soukhamthath (9-3, 5 KOs) and Nordby (6-3) aren’t just from the same state; they graduated from the same high school, Woonsocket High in northern Rhode Island, less than 20 miles from the capital city of Providence. Though they graduated five years apart, both were accomplished high school wrestlers and both began their professional careers within four months of one another, at which point their rivalry began.

Prior to his last bout at “CES MMA XXXII,” in which he defeated Derek Shorey in 41 seconds, Nordby admitted he’s wanted to fight Soukhamthath since he turned pro in 2012 and promised he’d call out his adversary if he won that night. Soukhamthath, who last fought on the main card of “CES MMA XXXI” with a win over Carlos Galindo, gladly accepted the challenge, adding that he’d like to shut Nordby up next Friday.

Tickets for “CES MMA XXXIII” are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesmma.com, www.cagetix.com/ces,www.twinriver.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254, or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.The undercard begins at 7 p.m. ET with the first televised bout scheduled for 9.

The accomplished Soukhamthath has reason to be confident. After losing his pro debut in 2011, the Woonsocket native won his next seven under the guidance of CES MMA, the second-longest win streak in the promotion’s history. Nordby, meanwhile, is a breakthrough star in the making, starting with his surprise win over the red-hot Dinis Paiva at “CES MMA XXXI” in which he ended Paiva’s four-fight win streak via first-round submission. Nordby, who now fights out of nearby Cumberland, has now won three consecutive fights since his last loss in August of 2014, upping his record from 3-3 to 6-3, and has finished each of his last three opponents in the opening round.

The Nordby-Soukhamthath main event is one of seven fights scheduled for the main card on AXS TV. The co-feature is a potential redemption story for two well-established regional standouts, Chuck O’Neil and Dennis Olson, both of whom who’ve starred on the sport’s biggest stage.

Fighting for the second time since making the jump from welterweight to middleweight, O’Neil (15-8, 5 KOs), a former Ultimate Fighter alum from Bridgewater, Mass., hopes to avenge a loss to Daniel Vizcaya in his 185-pound debut at “CES MMA XXXI” while four-time Bellator vet Olson (14-10, 1 KO), an Amherst, N.H., native fights for the first time since suffering a knockout loss to Brennan Wardat Bellator 144.

The always-exciting Matt Bessette (16-7, 4 KOs) of Stafford, Conn., makes his third CES MMA appearance in a featherweight bout against Tito Jones (11-8, 4 KOs) of Panama City, Fla. Bessette is coming off a first-round submission win over Kevin Roddy at Bellator 144 in October after getting knocked out by Lenny Wheeler in his last CES MMA appearance in August.

The main card also features a heavyweight bout between Juliano Coutinho (6-2, 3 KOs) of Boston, by way Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and knockout artist Chaz Morgan (9-1, 7 KOs) of Hammond, La. Coutinho has not fought since April, when Steve Moccosnapped his six-fight win streak at World Series of Fighting 20 while Morgan is looking to avenge his first career loss at the hands of Alex Nicholson in August.

Also in the heavyweight division, Providence’s Greg Rebello (19-6, 11 KOs) puts his three-fight win streak on the line against Newport News, Va., vet Keith Bell (6-6, 4 KOs), who makes his second appearance with CES MMA and first since 2014. Rebello has become a primetime hit with the AXS TV audience, pummeling Tyler King in June and finishing Mike Mucitelli with a highlight-reel knockout in the first round of their scheduled three-round bout in October. The hard-hitting Bell is coming off a 26-second knockout win over Nathan Bryant in January.

Another familiar name with the AXS TV audience, former CES MMA titlist Julian Lane(9-5, 1 KO) of Mansfield, Ohio begins his comeback with a lightweight bout against the dangerous Nate Andrews (7-1, 4 KOs) of East Providence, R.I. Lane has lost back-to-back bouts since piecing together a three-fight win streak under the guidance of CES MMA, including a unanimous decision loss to current CES MMA Lightweight Champion Luis Felix in their rematch at “CES MMA XXX.” Andrews lost his national TV debut to Lane’s former stable mate, Gemiyale Adkins, in August of 2014, but bounced back at “CES MMA XXIX” with a first-round knockout win overJay Bakanowski.

Rounding out the main card, Providence featherweight Joe Pingitore (5-2-1, 1 KO) makes his second AXS TV appearance in a rematch against Littleton, N.H., nativeTaylor Trahan (5-5). Pingitore defeated James Grant Murrin at “CES MMA XXIX,” but lost to Trahan via third-round submission in February of 2014. Trahan seeks his first win in his third try with CES MMA and his first overall since September of 2014.

The undercard of “CES MMA XXXIII” features three regional bouts, starring the return of Cranston, R.I., welterweight Gary Balletto Jr. (0-1), the son of former Rhode Island boxer Gary Balletto. Balletto Jr. lost his pro debut to Anthony Giacchinain August and will face New York’s Cruz Johnson, who makes his own debut following a brief, four-fight amateur career in which he finished 2-2.

Featherweight Matt Tullos of Norwood, Mass., makes his debut against Russian Alvi Mochigov (2-0), now fighting out of Fairfield, N.J., while flyweight Shane DeCristoforo (1-1, 1 KO) of Cranston faces Dover, N.J., native Noel Arcibal (1-1, 1 KO).


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