Photo courtesy of Will Paul
PROVIDENCE HEAVYWEIGHT GREG Rebello returns to the cage to face Minnesota’s Danyelle Williams on the main card of “CES MMA 41” at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., on Friday, Jan. 27th, 2017. The fight will air live as part of AXS TV’s telecast beginning at 9 p.m. ET. Rebello is coming off a loss to Ashley Gooch in August, but has put the past behind him as he moves on to the next challenge, something he’s become accustomed to doing over the course of his career.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Tues, Jan. 24th, 2017) — He got knocked out on national television and instantly became a trending topic on Twitter.
Others (see: Ronda Rousey) might’ve gone into hiding out of sheer embarrassment. Greg Rebello joined in on the fun, even if it was at his own expense.
“I feel like they should’ve outlined my body in chalk and just left it there,” Rebello said of his knockout loss to Ashley Gooch in August.
“It’s part of the game. Look at every champion in the [Ultimate Fighting Championships] right now. Every one of them has either been finished or knocked out within their last five fights. It happens. You’ve got to know how to handle it.”
This is the seventh time in Rebello’s career he’s had to deal with a loss. His ability to sweep it under the rug and clear the next hurdle is part of what drives the Providence, R.I., heavyweight as he returns to the cage Friday night to face Minnesota’s Danyelle Williams (8-4-1, 5 KOs) on the main card of “CES MMA 41” at Twin River Casino on AXS TV.
The loss to Gooch, via third-round knockout in their scheduled five-round title bout six months ago on AXS TV, became a must-see highlight on social media and spawned the phrase, “Gooched,” another way of saying “knocked out.” Even Rebello himself has used it.
“I laugh about it with people all the time,” he said. “You’ve got have fun with it.”
Rebello (20-7, 12 KOs), who turns 35 this summer, has learned to role with the punches, even those from the opponent. The loss to Gooch, he says, was one of the best performances of his career. It just didn’t go his way. Rebello hit him with everything but the kitchen sink, and the 41-year-old Tennessee heavyweight absorbed it all before scoring the come-from-behind win.
“With those small, four-ounce gloves, anything can happen in this sport. It’s not boxing. MMA is different,” Rebello said. “There are so many ways to lose. I’m not one of those guys who’s going to fire all of his coaches. It’d be one thing if I was getting my ass kicked, but, honestly, it was one of the best fights I ever had. I couldn’t miss with my punches. I made one lazy, stupid mistake. I’m going to keep doing exactly what I’m doing except now I’m going to be more disciplined.
“Everything from my training to my work in the gym, I’m the best I’ve ever been,” he continued. “I know a lot of people say that all the time, but I’m at the best point in my career. I’m in my prime as far as I’m concerned. I thought I had Gooch knocked out a few times, but he’s a pretty tough dude. I had him hurt numerous times. It is what it is.”
Williams presents a similar challenge. The 6-foot-2 striker has won four of his last five dating back to 2013, three by knockout, and faces one of the toughest challenges of his career in his first fight in more than two and a half years.
“He’s tough,” Rebello said. “He’s faced some tough competition. He hasn’t faced anyone like me, but I won’t take anything away from him.
“I’m in the toughest fight on the card,” he joked. “What else is new?”
Staying true to his promise he made upon his comeback in 2013, Rebello continues to approach MMA on a fight-by-fight basis, though he admits the idea of a rematch with Gooch sometime down the road has crossed his mind.
“Anyone who tells you they don’t want to avenge one of their losses is a liar,” he said. “If it happens, it happens. I just look at what’s in front of me, but everyone who says they’ve moved on or whatever, they’re lying. Anytime you lose, it stinks.”
What’s helped Rebello remain relevant in his mid-30s is his ability to put the losses behind him without dwelling too much on the past. He might get that rematch one day, but first he must handle another tall task Friday night and perhaps trend on Twitter this weekend for the right reasons.
Tickets for “CES MMA 41” 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.
The main event of “CES MMA 41” features reigning CES MMA Featherweight World Champion Matt Bessette (20-7, 5 KOs) of Stafford, Conn., defending his title against Missouri native Kevin Croom in a five-round. Massachusetts native Tyler King (12-4, 3 KOs) faces two-time CES MMA vet Keith Bell (6-8, 4 KOs) of Newport News, Va., and Pat Walsh (8-2, 3 KOs) of Stoughton, Mass., battles New Hampshire’s Kevin Haley (6-3, 2 KOs) in an intriguing regional showdown.
The main card also features a flyweight bout between undefeated New Britain, Conn., vet Carlos Candelario (4-0, 1 KO) and fellow unbeaten Miguel Restrepo (4-0, 2 KOs) of Queens, N.Y., plus a bantamweight battle between Kody Nordby (7-4) of Woonsocket, R.I., and Illinois vet David Garcia (4-1, 2 KOs).
Nordby looks to continue his climb back to the top of the division following his loss to Andre Soukhamthath against the dangerous Garcia, who recently handed Rico DiSciullo his first career loss in September via submission at “CES MMA 38.” Candelario makes his fourth appearance with CES MMA and first since “CES MMA 36” in June when submitted Roosevelt Archie via guillotine in the opening round of a scheduled three-round bout.
Fresh off his comeback win at “CES MMA 40” in November, East Providence, R.I., bantamweight Dinis Paiva (8-6, 5 KOs) faces Findlay, Ohio, vet Jordan Espinosa (8-4, 1 KO). Paiva ended a 13-month layoff in his last bout with a first-round knockout win over Zane Behrend and returns to the network television stage for the first time since his loss to Nordby in October of 2015.
The six-fight preliminary card includes a female flyweight bout between Bourne, Mass., native Sarah Click (1-1) and newcomer Maria Rivera of Framingham, Mass., plus a bantamweight bout between unbeaten Kris Moutinho (2-0) of Milford, Mass., and Fredericktown, Ohio, native Jason Rine (0-1). Fellow Ohio native Raymond Yanez (4-8, 1 KO) of Columbus battles Milford’s Richie Santiago (2-0) and lightweight Connor Barry (2-0) of Stoughton faces New Jersey’s Travis Foster (0-2).
In the flyweight division, David Baxter (3-1, 1 KO) of Bellingham, Mass., battles Pawtucket, R.I., vet Dan Cormier (4-6, 1 KO) and Quincy, Mass., light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez (5-2, 3 KOs) returns to face 16-fight Woonsocket, R.I., vet Hector Sanchez.
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