Candelario, Dvalishvili score dramatic wins in ‘CES MMA 34’ prelimaries at Foxwoods Casino

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MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (April 1st, 2016)Carlos Candelario and Merab Dvalishvili earned victories Friday on the preliminary card of “CES MMA 34” at Foxwoods Resort Casino.

Candelario (3-0), fighting out of New Britain, Conn., kept his perfect record intact in dramatic fashion, knocking out previously unbeaten Syracuse vet Luay Ashkar (2-1) 31 seconds into the opening round of their scheduled three-round flyweight bout.

Candelario caught Ashkar with a hard right hand moments after the opening bell, but Ashkar quickly rose to his feet, only to absorb another flurry that forced referee Todd Anderson to stop the bout.

In the most entertaining fight of the prelims, Danbury, Conn., flyweight Geoffrey Then (0-1) withstood a brutal onslaught from Long Island’s Dvalishvili (2-2) and managed to survive the full 15 minutes despite losing unanimously, 30-26, across the board.

Dvalishvili sent Then to the canvas three times from strikes in the opening round, but Then scrambled to his feet each time and even landed a few clean blows of his own before the final bell. Dvalishvili answered in the second with more effective striking mixed with a series of takedowns.

Then continued to take Dvalishvili’s best and made it to the third, where he survived an early guillotine attempt and later got back to his feet following a hard slam by Dvalishvili in the closing minutes. Then managed to open up a cut above Dvalishvili’s in the round, but it wasn’t enough to overcome his opponent’s dominance, including the lopsided opening round in which two of three judges scored it 10-8 in favor of Dvalishvili.

The opening bout of the evening featured amateursDan Randall from Chicopee, Mass., and Mount Holly Springs, Pa., native Gavin Nickel. Randall made quick work of his opponent, earning the stoppage at 1:25 of the opening round due to a series of unanswered strikes.


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