Two world-title bouts highlight CES MMA’s long-awaited return to Twin River Casino and AXS TV

Photo courtesy of Will Paul
REIGNING CES MMA World Heavyweight Champion Ashley Gooch makes his first title defense Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., when he faces fan-favorite Juliano Coutinho in the five-round main event of “CES MMA 45,” airing live on AXS TV. Gooch earned the strap with a knockout win over Greg Rebello and now faces Coutinho, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and submission specialist. Also on the main card, Saul Almeida and Pedro Gonzalez of Massachusetts face off for the CES MMA Interim Featherweight Title in a five-round bout. The televised main card begins at 9 p.m. ET.

Photo courtesy of Will Paul
FRAMINGHAM, MASSACHUSETTS TITLE contender Saul Almeida faces Pedro Gonzalez on Friday, Aug. 11th, 2017 at Twin River Casino for the CES MMA Interim Featherweight Championship on the AXS TV main card of “CES MMA 45.”

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (July 14th, 2017) Returning to its home base of Twin River Casino for the first time in nearly three months, CES MMA is bringing out the heavy artillery for its next AXS TV showcase.

“CES MMA 45,” scheduled for Friday, Aug. 11th, 2017, live on AXS TV Fights, features two world-title bouts, including the long-awaited return of reigning CES MMA Heavyweight Champion Ashley Gooch (10-5, 7 KOs) defending the strap against fan-favorite Juliano Coutinho (7-3, 3 KOs), plus longtime regional stalwarts Saul Almeida (19-8, 1 KO) of Framingham, Mass., and Pedro Gonzalez (11-5) of nearby Gloucester battling for the promotion’s Interim Featherweight World Title.

The two five-round championship bouts headline another stacked card for the region’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, including six televised bouts on AXS TV, beginning at 9 p.m. ET. The five-fight preliminary card, which begins at 7, features four action-packed bouts, including the long-awaited professional debuts of regional featherweights John Douma of Providence, R.I., and Billy Keenan of Salem, Mass., who earned a promotional contract with CES MMA by way of victory in his amateur finale at “CES MMA 43.”

Tickets for “CES MMA 45” are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at,, or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.

The heavyweight championship main event features a contrast of styles with the heavy-handed Gooch locking horns with the submission specialist Coutinho, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt fighting out of Wareham, Mass., making his third appearance with CES MMA.

Gooch captured the then-vacant title at “CES MMA 33” in August, knocking out Greg Rebello in the third round and snapping the Providence native’s four-fight win streak. Aug. 11th will be his third appearance at Twin River, where he is currently 2-0 following wins over Rebello and Connecticut’s Josh Diekmann in January of 2016.

The Almeida-Gonzalez title bout is a long time coming for both fighters. One of the most polarizing figures in regional MMA, Almeida makes his 11th appearance with CES MMA, the only fighter on the Aug. 11th card with the distinction of having fought on CES MMA’s inaugural event in September of 2010.

Coming off a big win over Josh LaBerge at “CES MMA 42,” Almeida now gets his long-awaited title shot against the resurgent Gonzalez, who earned his opportunity with a submission win over Bruno Dias at “CES MMA 43.” Amidst a myriad of last-minute cancellations and injuries that limited him to just two bouts during a 16-month stretch, the Gloucester native carries a five-fight win streak into next month’s title bout and hasn’t lost since 2012.

In a highly-anticipated regional showdown that could steal the spotlight Aug. 11th, rising lightweight star Nate Andrews (10-1, 5 KOs) of East Providence, R.I., puts his four-fight win streak on the line against Maine native Bruce Boyington (14-10, 8 KOs), a veteran of 24 professional fights and a three-time World Series of Fighting (WSOF) vet.

Also on the main card, Cranston, R.I., welterweight Gary Balletto Jr. (3-1, 1 KO) makes his television debut against Hooksett, N.H., vet Nick Alley (3-1, 1 KO). Balletto carries a three-fight win streak into next month’s bout, most recently dismantling Chris Torres by first-round submission on the preliminary card of “CES MMA 42.”

Unbeaten Milford, Mass., bantamweight Kris Moutinho (4-0, 1 KO) battles Erie, Pa., native Brandon Seyler (6-5-1, 1 KO), who makes his second appearance with CES MMA, and undefeated female flyweight Maria Rivera (2-0, 1 KO) of Framingham makes her network television debut and third appearance with CES MMA, facing 29-year-old Mandy Polk (3-3) of Germantown, Tenn. Moutinho is off to a flying start as a pro with wins in all four of his bouts under the guidance of CES MMA, including an impressive unanimous decision win over seven-fight vet Lloyd Reyes at “CES MMA 42.”

Highlighting the preliminary card, Salem’s Keenan faces fellow debut Timothy Tyler of Pennsauken, N.J. Keenan earned his spot at “CES MMA 43,” submitting Cody Dickershaid in the first round of his final amateur bout. The 20-year-old Douma turns pro against Jason Rine (0-2) of Danville, Ohio, following wins in each of his last three amateur bouts.

Also on the preliminary card, bantamweight Richie Santiago (4-0, 1 KO) puts his unbeaten record on the line against Queens, N.Y., vet Miguel Restrepo (4-3-1, 2 KOs). The 4-0 Santiago, 24, finished each of his four fights by submission, most recently at “CES MMA 43” against Chad Kelly. Restrepo returns to Rhode Island after challenging unbeaten bantamweight Carlos Candelario at “CES MMA 41.”

Ludlow, Mass., lightweight Leon Davis (8-3, 1 KO) returns to face Andrew Osborne (7-10, 2 KOs), the two-time CES MMA vet and North Carolina native who now lives and trains in North Providence, R.I. Osborne comes off an upset win over previously-unbeaten Connor Barry by unanimous decision at “CES MMA 43” while Davis, a winner in his last four fights, makes his seventh appearance with CES MMA.

Also on the preliminary card, unbeaten featherweight Dylan Lockhard (3-0) of Hollis, N.H., faces Cortland, N.Y., vet Ahsan Abdullah (7-7, 3 KOs). Lockhard earned his first two wins as a pro under the guidance of CES MMA, including a first-round submission win over Russell Campbell at “CES MMA 40” in November.

Visit, or for more information, or follow CES MMA on Instagram at @CESMMA.