Rebello, Andrews and Santiago return to Twin River to celebrate successful 2017 in CES MMA’s season finale

From redemption to respect

CES MMA 47 brings variety


Photo courtesy of Will Paul
RED-HOT NATE Andrews of East Providence, R.I., who has won his last five fights, returns to the cage Friday, Nov. 17th, 2017 at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., on the main card of “CES MMA 47,” the final show of the year for CES MMA. Andrews has not lost since 2014 and now faces Tyler Combs as he looks to end the year unbeaten in 2017 while perhaps stating his case for a world title shot in 2018. Regional favorites Greg Rebello and Richie Santiago also highlight the main card.

Photo courtesy of Will Paul
UNBEATEN FLYWEIGHT PROSPECT Richie Santiago of Massachusetts aims for his sixth win Friday, Nov. 17th, 2017 at CES MMA 47 at Twin River Casino. Santiago is 5-0 as a pro with one win by knockout.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Nov. 15th, 2017) — CES MMA’s season finale at Twin River Casino features fighters from all walks of life, fighters with varying backgrounds all coming together for one last event to celebrate another successful year for the region’s premier combat sports promotion.

“CES MMA 47” is the promotion’s seventh and final event of 2017, a year that began with a world championship title defense for Matt Bessette and ends with another stacked card featuring eight exciting bouts, five of which will air live on AXS TV beginning at 9 p.m. ET, CES MMA’s sixth nationally-televised event of the year.

Tickets for “CES MMA 47” are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesmma.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.

Redemption is a common theme for many fighters, specifically Providence, R.I., heavyweight Greg Rebello (22-8, 13 KOs), making his 15th appearance with CES MMA. Rebello started his run with the promotion at “CES MMA 3” back in 2010 when he earned a unanimous decision win over veteran Tiawan Howard. He’s 10-4 under the CES MMA banner, including back-to-back wins over Danywelle Williams and Kevin Sears earlier this year after losing his world title shot against Ashley Gooch in 2016.

Long considered one of the region’s top contenders, well-deserving of an opportunity to fight at the highest level, Rebello rolled the dice in July when he traveled to Nevada to star on the premier edition of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, a showcase for up-and-comers and veterans alike to make a positive impression in front of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) president.

Rebello came up short, getting stopped in the second round by Azunna Anyanwu, who ultimately appeared on UFC Fight Night 116 in September. No one would’ve blamed him had he decided to walk away from the sport, but Rebello insists he still has the desire to fight, unlike when he retired in 2013 due to the inability to balance fatherhood and fighting.

On Friday, Rebello faces Derrick Brown (7-4, 3 KOs) of Myrtle Beach, S.C., his 11th fight since announcing his retirement four years ago. Before fighting, Rebello worked as a laborer sand-blasting water towers. With a wife and two children, he now mixes fighting with his new day job as a personal trainer at his wife’s gym in Lincoln.



Rebello has respect for Brown, but warns “he’s never faced anyone like me.” Whether his appearance on the inaugural Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series was his first and only shot at getting to the UFC remains to be seen, but Rebello isn’t even thinking that far ahead.

Asked what he considers the key fight in his career, he says, “the next one,” perhaps an indication that his second run is far from over. As long as the journey remains enjoyable, Rebello will continue to move forward, win or lose.

From redemption to respect, the mood Friday is considerably different for East Providence, R.I., lightweight Nate Andrews (11-1, 5 KOs), who has done nothing but win since his only career loss, five victories in a row, to be exact. His latest challenge, Tyler Combs (14-13, 8 KOs) of Miamisburg, Ohio, is perhaps his shot at earning respect among the top lightweights in the northeast.

Since losing to Gemiyale Adkins in 2014, Andrews has demolished everyone in his path, dusting Jay Bakanowski in just 2:50 at “CES MMA 29” and then beating former world lightweight champion Julian Lane far worse than anyone else on the roster, stopping the six-time CES MMA vet at the 3:58 mark of the second round at “CES MMA 33.”

Combs insists Andrews “hasn’t fought anyone good,” but his last four opponents, including Lane, boast 42 combined wins, including 15-win vet George Sheppard and 14-win vet Bruce Boyington, both of whom he defeated by submission.

Will Andrews get a shot at the CES MMA World Lightweight Title? Only time will tell. A win Friday sets the stage for what could be a banner 2018 as remains a key player in the ever-changing 155-pound division.

While Andrews has become a household name on the regional circuit, undefeated flyweight prospect Richie Santiago (5-0, 1 KO) of Milford, Mass., might be the region’s best-kept secret.

The up-and-coming Santiago, who faces Shawn Mack (0-1) of Grand Rapids, Mich., fights for the sixth time in 14 months and makes his sixth appearance with CES MMA. The rear-naked choke is his weapon of choice as the finishing move in four of his five wins, including an impressive dismantling of 7-fight vet Miguel Restrepo in the second round at “CES MMA 45” in August.

The 25-year-old Santiago basically fell into MMA by accident. He started in 2012 because, as he explains it, “I didn’t have anything better to do after high school.”

Working at Taco Bell wasn’t cutting it, so Santiago hit the mats, and the transition has been seamless. After winning his final four amateur bouts, Santiago made the jump to the pro circuit at “CES MMA 38,” submitting Brandon Warne in under a minute. His win streak, including amateurs, reached nine at “CES MMA 45” in what might’ve been his most impressive win to date.

With the AXS TV platform working to his advantage, stardom could be right around the corner for Santiago. His opponent, who admits he’s been off the radar following a 15-month layoff, is intent on reminding fight fans why he was once considered the No. 1 MMA prospect in Michigan.

Mack was supposed to face Carlos Candelario at “CES MMA 44” in May, but the fight fizzled at the last minute. Now he gets his shot to embrace the national TV platform against one of New England’s hottest fighters.

“He’s young, talented and aggressive,” Mack said of his opponent. “He definitely comes to fight, but nothing spectacular. I’ll beat him wherever the fight goes.”

The “CES MMA 47” main card also features a bantamweight battle between Milford, Mass., native Kris Moutinho (4-1, 1 KO) and two-time CES MMA vet David Garcia (4-3, 2 KOs) of La Grange, Ill.; plus the network television debut of Newport, R.I., featherweight John Douma (1-0) of Newport, R.I., who faces unbeaten Mark Trader (2-0) of Gastonia, N.C.

Debut flyweight Jose Lugo of Woonsocket, R.I., who boasts a 4-1 amateur record, and Groton, Conn., lightweight and fellow debut Tyler Hamilton highlight the preliminary card.

Lugo faces Syracuse, N.Y., native Michael Taylor (1-0, 1 KO), who recently debuted at “CES MMA 46” with a pulverizing win over Jessie Pires on the preliminary card, earning the knockout at 2:43 of the opening round. Hamilton faces Watertown, N.Y., vet Montoyia Swilling (0-5). Also on the preliminary card, Fall River, Mass., light heavyweight Yorgan DeCastro makes his debut against James Dysard (0-2) of Plattsburgh, N.Y.



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