Gonzalez hopes to take advantage of major opportunity as headliner in CES MMA’s Massachusetts debut

Photo courtesy of Will Paul
BOSTON BANTAMWEIGHT ANDRES Jeudi (above right) carries of wealth of experience into his Saturday, April 16th, 2016 main event bout against fellow Massachusetts native Pedro Gonzalez at The North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Mass. The two will headline “CES MMA 35” with Gonzalez competing in MMA for the first time since June of 2014. Jeudi, who has never been stopped in 12 pro fights, hopes his striking can carry him to victory after losing his last bout with CES MMA to Leon Davis at “CES MMA XXX.”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 7th, 2016) — They say it’s sometimes better to be lucky than good, but Pedro Gonzalez hasn’t even had enough good fortune lately to show he good he might be.

How many fighters have had to withdraw from a fight due to a poison ivy outbreak? The list — if there is one — is probably short, yet it actually happened to Gonzalez not too long ago, canceling what would’ve been a must-see bout against Chris Foster.

A series of strange mishaps have kept Gonzalez (10-5) on the shelf for far too long. Other than Muay Thai fights, Gonzalez hasn’t competed since June of 2014, but still carries a three-fight win streak into his long-awaited return Saturday, April 16th, 2016 in the main event of “CES MMA 35” at the historic North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Mass.

The talent and the foundation are there. The Gloucester, Mass., native now needs the consistency and activity to put his name back in the mix among the best bantamweights in the northeast.

“I want to go somewhere,” said Gonzalez, who fights Boston’s Andres Jeudi (7-5, 3 KOs) in next Saturday’s main event. “I need someone who can sign me so I can perform like I know I can.”

A win next weekend would be a step in the right direction. The experienced Jeudi, who has faced regional standouts Saul Almeida, Matt Bessette, Leon Davis and Lucas Cruz, among others, makes his seventh CES MMA appearance on the 16th, so he knows what to expect at this level. He’s also the more effective striker of the two, whereas Gonzalez is a noted submission specialist with nine of his 10 wins coming by submission.

“I feel like if I overwhelm him with my striking, he’ll try to take me down,” Jeudi said. “I’ve always had those guys who want to strike or say they want to strike until I hit them once.

“He can try to make the attempt to submit me, but I’ve fought some pretty good grapplers, brown belts, and even they couldn’t submit,” continued Jeudi, who’s never been stopped in 12 pro fights. “He can make all the attempts he wants, but I don’t think he’s going to submit me.”

Though not considered a striker, Gonzalez competed at Lion Fights 26 in November, a Muay Thai event, and stood toe-to-toe with Sean Fagan, winning by unanimous decision. Jeudi promises to bring a different look into next weekend’s fight, perhaps more well-rounded than in the past.

“I’m going to go into this fight as an MMA fighter and not a Thai boxer,” he said. “Pedro has fought for Lion Fights a bunch of times, but this is MMA, not Muay Thai.”

Gonzalez doesn’t care how he wins as long as he leaves Beverly with his streak intact. Coming from a region where so many fighters have carved their path to the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) through CES MMA — Rob Font, Tateki Matsuda, Kyle Bochniak, to name a few — it’s hard for Gonzalez to not feel as though his long layoff might’ve prevented him from getting the call instead.

“This is probably one of my greatest opportunities,” Gonzalez said. “It’s not televised, but just to fight close to home and headline for CES, I can’t thank them enough for this opportunity. I just want to shine now.

“If things go well, I’d love to be on one of those televised cards and go from there. A lot of guys who come from CES have gone onto the UFC. I’ve been here a long time, eight years in the game. I just feel like it’s my time. It’s now. I need to put in the work and I need to get there. I have two kids I need to support. Money right now isn’t where it needs to be. I need big bucks and I need the right fights. I want to get there.

“Those other guys that got there, they were busy. The UFC wants guys that are busy. They were busy, they looked good and they got the call.”

Whatever prevented Gonzalez from staying as active as he needed to be, he’s put that in the rearview mirror and is instead focused on the present. Three days away from his anticipated return, his weight is on point and — “fingers crossed,” as he says — there’s nothing standing in his way of stepping back inside that cage.

“I had some injuries in camp and I was still fighting injuries from my last fight in November, but, luckily, I’m healthy and I feel good,” Gonzalez said. “I feel good about this one.”

Tickets for “CES MMA 35” are priced at $35.00, $50.00 and $100.00 (VIP) and can also be purchased online at www.nsmt.org, by phone at 978-232-7200 or at the North Shore Music Theatre Box Office. Doors open at 6 p.m. ET and the first bout begins at 7. All bouts are subject to change.

Sparks will fly in the heavyweight division when Tyler King (9-4, 3 KOs) of North Attleboro, Mass., faces Providence’s Eric Bedard (6-6, 4 KOs) for the third time in four years with each fighter having won once by first-round knockout. King beat Bedard in February 2012, only to have Bedard avenge the loss nearly two years to the date in 2014.

There’s even more at stake in the rubber match as each fighter looks to snap a two-fight losing streak. King last fought in October, losing to Patrick Walsh at World Series of Fighting 24, while Bedard suffered a submission loss to Parker Porter at Bellator 140.

Also on the pro portion of the card, Quincy, Mass., middleweight Mike Rodriguez (2-0, 2 KOs) puts his perfect record on the line against Buck Pineau (1-2) of Ashland, Maine in a rematch of their amateur bout in which Pineau won by third-round submission. Pineau returns to CES MMA for the first time since October when an arm injury cut short his match against Pat McCrohan at “CES MMA XXXI.”

Rounding out the main card of “CES MMA 35,” Medford, Mass., lightweight Lewis Corapi (6-2, 3 KOs) faces Keenan Raymond (3-2, 1 KO) of Providence, R.I., who scored his first career knockout win in January at “CES MMA XXXII,” and Boston’s Devin Carrier (0-1) searches for his first win as a pro in a lightweight bout against Meriden, N.H., native Wayne Ahlquist (1-2, 1 KO). Corapi looks to rebound from a stunning second-round knockout loss to Jay Bakanowski at “CES MMA XXVIII.”

Rico DiSciullo (5-0, 2 KOs), an undefeated Peabody, Mass., native with three appearances each for Bellator and CES MMA, will face Ohio’s Jake Constant (6-9, 2 KOs) in a rematch. The two went toe-to-toe at “CES MMA XXX” with Constant forced to tap out in the opening round due to a shoulder injury.

On the amateur side, Mark Bordieri of Foxborough, Mass., faces Nick O’Connell of Cranston, R.I., in a bantamweight bout; welterweight Jamie Collins of Woonsocket, R.I., battles Boston’s Jon Ciampa; and Aaron Reverdes of Pawtucket, R.I., faces Joao Ramos of Framingham, Mass., in a featherweight bout.

Also on the amateur portion of the card, Providence’s Marquis Brewster faces Billy Keenan of Salem, Mass., and Boston’s Sean Murrin (1-0, 1 KO) battles featherweight John Douma (2-1) of Providence. All amateurs are competing for a promotional contract with CES MMA.


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