CES MMA WELTERWEIGHT champion Chris Curtis of Cincinnati, seen here defeating Gil de Freitas for the title in January, returns to the cage Friday, April 1st, 2016 at The Fox Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in the main event of “CES MMA 34” against Nah-Shon Burrell of Philadelphia on AXS TV. Burrell and Curtis fought one another in 2010 with Curtis winning by unanimous decision. The Ohio native has won three in a row and six of his last seven.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 28th, 2016) — CES MMA invades Foxwoods Resort Casino for the first time in more than two years Friday, April 1st, 2016 with “CES MMA 34,” airing live on AXS TV.
The event, held at The Fox Theater, features the return of reigning CES MMA Welterweight Champion Chris Curtis (13-4, 5 KOs) of Cincinnati, who defends his title for the first time in a rematch against Philadelphia’s Nah-Shon Burrell (12-6, 8 KOs), one of five televised bouts on the AXS TV Fights main card.
Tickets for “CES MMA 34” are priced at $40.00, $60.00 and $100.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesmma.com, www.ticketmaster.com or www.foxwoods.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or 800-200-2882, or at the Fox Theater Box Office. All bouts are subject to change. Showtime is 7 p.m. ET.
Curtis and Burrell fought one another in October of 2010 with Curtis winning by unanimous decision, Burrell’s first loss in three pro fights. Burrell won his next six, including three in a row with Strikeforce before the promotion was bought out by the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).
The 26-year-old Burrell went on to fight twice under the UFC banner, defeating Brazilian Yuri Villefort, the younger brother of former UFC standout and current World Series of Fighting contender Danillo Villefort, and made three additional appearances with Bellator, competing in the promotion’s welterweight tournament in 2014.
A self-described reformed “headcase” who once lamented his inability to capitalize on major opportunities, Curtis finally got his big break in January, defeating champion Gil de Freitas at “CES MMA XXXII” to capture the CES MMA Welterweight Title.
Curtis’ climb to the top of the welterweight food chain ironically began with a loss in his professional debut in 2009, but the Ohio native battled through injuries and other missteps over the next seven years to land a well-deserved title bout with Freitas, once considered an unstoppable force on the regional circuit.
The win over Freitas came at the right time, just two years after Curtis participated on Bellator’s Fight Master reality television series, losing in his opening bout after tearing a knee ligament during training camp, a setback Curtis described as “the story of my life.”
Since his breakthrough victory in January, Curtis is now ready for the next chapter. A win Friday would be his fourth in a row and seventh in his last eight bouts dating back to 2013. Following his most recent appearance with Bellator, Burrell has returned to the northeast, facing fellow Bellator stable mate Lyman Good in Atlantic City in May and stopping WSOF vet Ryan Dickson in November.
The main card of “CES MMA 34” also features a middleweight bout between Calvin Kattar (14-2, 6 KOs) of Methuen, Mass., and Cortland, N.Y., vet Kenny Foster (11-10, 1 KO), a seven-time Bellator vet. Kattar last fought in 2013, beating Gabriel Baino for his sixth consecutive win, and is also remembered for defeating Saul Almeida at CES MMA’s “Real Pain” pay per view event in Providence in 2012. The 5-foot-8 Foster boasts win over Lester Caslow and Eric Larkin and also went the distance against 30-fight vet Anthony Morrison at Bellator 108.
Johnny Campbell (11-7, 5 KOs) of Boston battles Matt Lozano (5-3, 2 KO) of Red Lion, Pa., in a bantamweight bout and heavyweight Steve Skrzat (8-7, 7 KOs) of Burrillville, R.I., faces Rollinsford, N.H., vet Kevin Haley (4-3, 1 KO). Also on the main card, Ludlow, Mass., lightweight Leon Davis (7-3, 1 KO) faces Lorawnt-T Nelson (7-4, 5 KOs) of Arvada, Colo.
Lozano steps up to replace Rodrigo Almeida, who was forced to withdraw due to injury. Lozano appeared on two Bellator undercards in 2012 and later starred for the WSOF in 2014. Skrzat returns to CES MMA for the first time since 2011 having resurrected his career with wins in three of his last four bouts while Davis aims for his fifth win with CES MMA following recent victories over Jimmy Davidson and Andres Jeudi.
The “CES MMA 34” preliminaries feature four exciting bouts, including a middleweight showdown between unbeatens Carlos Candelario (2-0) of New Britain, Conn., and Syracuse’s Luay Ashkar (2-0), plus the professional debuts of bantamweight Geoffrey Then and Michael Maldonado, both fighting out of Danbury, Conn. Then battles Merab Dvalishvili (1-2, 1 KO) of Long Island, N.Y., and Maldonado faces Stoughton, Mass., native George Nassar (1-0). The prelims also feature a light heavyweight bout between Cape Cod’s Matt Thompson (19-10, 7 KOs) and Anton Berzin (3-1) of Philadelphia. The 29-fight veteran Thompson appeared for CES MMA in 2014 and defeated Eric Bedard via submission.