Curtis returns to defend world title against hard-hitting Santiago in televised main event of CES MMA 42

Photo courtesy of Will Paul
REIGNING CES MMA Welterweight World Champion Chris Curtis celebrated his win over Gil de Freitas to capture the then-vacant title at “CES MMA 32” in January of 2016. Curtis returns to the CES MMA cage on Friday, March 31st, 2017 for the first time since April when he defends his title against hard-hitting Lawrence, Mass., native Wilfredo Santiago in the five-round main event of “CES MMA 42” live from Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., on AXS TV Fights. Santiago recently scored a first-round knockout win over Chuck O’Neil while Curtis has won four of his last five as he appears for his third appearance with CES MMA. The Curtis-Santiago main event is one of seven televised bouts on March 31st.

Photo courtesy of Will Paul
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND lightweight contender Luis Felix ends his 14-month layoff on Friday, March 31st, 2017 on the main card of “CES MMA 42” at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 14th, 2017) — “The Action Man” returns to Twin River Casino later this month to defend his world title against a heavy-handed underdog capable of stealing the belt and, perhaps, the nickname.

Ohio’s Chris Curtis (14-5, 5 KOs), the reigning CES MMA World Welterweight Champion, faces the one-punch knockout power of Lawrence, Mass., vet Wilfredo Santiago (7-3, 6 KOs) on Friday, March 31st, 2017 in the five-round main event of “CES MMA 42” live from Twin River on AXS TV Fights, one of seven televised bouts on the main card.

“CES MMA 42” kicks off a busy three-week stretch for the most prolific combat sports promotion in the northeast. The schedule continues April 7th in Rhode Island with CES Boxing’s second fight card of the year, followed by CES MMA’s long-awaited return to Beverly, Mass., with “CES MMA 43” at the North Shore Music Theatre.

“CES MMA 42” airs live on AXS TV’s AXS TV Fights beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Doors open at 6 and the preliminary card begins at 7.

Tickets for “CES MMA 42” are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesboxing.com, www.twinriver.com, www.ticketmaster.com or www.cagetix.com/ces by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

Curtis makes his second title defense since capturing the belt in January of 2016 with a win over Gil de Freitas while Santiago hopes to build off his devastating 41-second knockout against Chuck O’Neil at “CES MMA 39” in Plymouth, Santiago’s fourth consecutive victory over a span of two and a half years, three of which have come by knockout.

“CES MMA 42” also features the return of fan-favorite Luis Felix (14-9, 5 KOs) of Providence, R.I., who faces Hot Springs, Ark., vet Dawond Pickney (10-6, 7 KOs) in his first fight since suffering a knee injury against Ryan Sanders that forced him to verbally tap at “CES MMA 32.”

The two were supposed to fight a second time at “CES MMA 36” with Felix’s lightweight title on the line, but the Providence native suffered another setback, delaying his long-awaited return to the cage. His 14-month layoff finally ends on March 31st against the upset-minded Pickney, who recently faced seven-time Bellator vet Treston Thomison at Bellator 166.




The show-stopper of the evening might come in the lightweight division when Fall River, Mass., native Josh LaBerge (11-5, 5 KOs) steps up to face longtime CES MMA vet Saul Almeida (18-8, 1 KO) of Framingham, Mass.

A three-time CES MMA vet, LaBerge returned to the promotion at “CES MMA 35” in Beverly, defeating Ran Weathers by unanimous decision. He’s won his last two since suffering a loss to reigning CES MMA World Featherweight Champion Matt Bessette and nine of 10 overall.

The polarizing Almeida makes his 10th appearance at CES MMA, a run that began seven years ago at the promotion’s inaugural event in 2010. He ended a two-year hiatus at “CES MMA 39” in a controversial split-decision loss to undefeated prospect Manny Bermudez, one of 18 bouts in his 26-fight career that have gone the distance.

Also starring on the televised main card, Woonsocket, R.I., flyweight Kody Nordby (8-4) aims for his third consecutive win in his ninth appearance with CES MMA when he faces Bellingham, Mass., native David Baxter (4-1, 1 KO), who recently earned his second win in a row by submitting Dan Cormier at “CES MMA 41” in January.

Johnston, R.I., featherweight Joe Pingitore (7-3, 2 KOs) also returns to the CES MMA cage in a featured bout against Cortland, N.Y., vet Kenny Foster (11-11, 1 KO). A former CES MMA world-title challenger, Pingitore made quick work of Spencer Higa at “CES MMA 40,” submitting his opponent at 4:54 of the opening round via guillotine. Foster last fought at “CES MMA 34” in a narrow, split-decision loss to Calvin Kattar.

Stoughton, Mass., cruiserweight and former Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) vet Pat Walsh (10-2, 4 KOs) makes his sixth appearance with CES MMA in a showdown against Brazilian Dirlei Broenstrup (14-4, 5 KOs), a winner in eight of his last nine bouts. Walsh has won his last five, including back-to-back victories with CES MMA, most recently in January via submission against Kevin Haley.

Rounding out the main card, Milford, Mass., bantamweight Kris Moutinho (3-0, 1 KO) makes his network television debut in just his fourth fight with CES MMA when he battles Ontario’s Lloyd Reyes (4-3, 2 KOs). Moutinho fights for the fourth time since September, a run that includes his first knockout win at “CES MMA 41” via head kick against Jason Rine. The red-hot Reyes has won four of his last five – three by stoppage – after suffering losses in his first two professional bouts.

The return of Cranston, R.I., welterweight prospect Gary Balletto Jr. (2-1, 1 KO) and unbeaten Providence bantamweight Marquis Brewster (2-0) highlights the preliminary card. Balletto Jr. aims for his third consecutive win against Syracuse native Chris Torres (0-0) while Brewster battles newcomer Cody Hier of Philadelphia.

Fresh off her debut win at “CES MMA 41” female flyweight Maria Rivera (1-0) of Framingham, Mass., battles Hot Springs newcomer Jessica Sotack and unbeaten bantamweight Richie Santiago (3-0) battles Winchendon, Mass., native Chad Kelly (3-3, 1 KO). Santiago is undefeated under the guidance of CES MMA with all three wins by submission.

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