Photo courtesy of Kelly MacDonald
RHODE ISLAND HEAVYWEIGHT Eric Bedard, left, seen here dodging a right hand from Matt Thompson in their bout at “CES MMA XXIII,” returns to the cage Saturday, April 16th, 2016 at The North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Mass., when he faces regional rival Tyler King for the third time since 2012. The two exchanged first-round knockout wins in 2012 and 2014 before agreeing to face one another for the third and final time on the undercard of “CES MMA 35.” King, a North Attleboro, Mass., native, and Bedard each look to snap a two-fight losing streak in next Saturday’s rubber match.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 8th, 2016) — Their first two fights were so good, Tyler King and Eric Bedard figured it was worth trading blows one last time.
“The feeling was, ‘We have to do this,'” said King, who won the first bout between the two in 2012.
“Everybody wants to see it,” added Bedard, who avenged that loss in the rematch two years later.
Coincidentally, the two crossed paths in December at another event, squashed their differences and discussed a third and final fight. Just like that, a trilogy was born.
The rubber match will take place Saturday, April 16th, 2016 on the undercard of “CES MMA 35” at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, Mass., sponsored by Foxwoods Resort Casino.
Both King (9-4, 3 KOs) and Bedard (6-6, 4 KOs) are coming off back-to-back losses, so if a third fight was going to happen, it was now or never, especially with rumors swirling about King’s impending retirement. There was bad blood between the two, admits Bedard, a misunderstanding stemming from a rival promoter’s attempt to book the fight long before either side was ready, but that’s in the past now.
With two fights between them in the books, both ending in first-round knockouts lasting a grand total of 5 minutes, 56 seconds, there’s nothing but mutual respect along with a corresponding desire to “settle the score,” a common phrase in the fight game both King and Bedard are using loosely leading up this rubber match.
“I can’t help but respect the guy,” said King, a North Attleboro, Mass., native. “He goes in there and mixes it up with all the toughest guys. If you look at his last two fights, he fought Matt Thompson, who just fought Anton Berzin, and I know Matt and train with Matt and he’s a tough prick. He’s been around forever. Then he went out and fought Parker Porter, who I think is the best heavyweight in New England. He’s not taking easy fight, so I can’t help but respect the guy.”
Added the Providence, R.I., native Bedard: “When he came up to me at the fight in December, he said, ‘I’m not going to talk any shit. Let’s just get the fight done.’ I was cool with that. I have respect for him. Anyone who gets in that cage and fights, I’ve got to respect you. There are a lot of different personalities. Some people rub you the wrong way. I rub people the wrong way. It is what it is.”
Pleasantries aside, both sides are willing to do whatever it takes to win next weekend’s third and final installment. In Bedard’s case, that means more of the same, even if his approach is as predictable as it is effective.
“I never really have a strategy to fight,” he said. “I’m going to walk out there and everyone knows what I’m going to do. You can ask anyone who’s ever seen me fight. I’m going to walk out there and I’m going to throw bombs. Anybody that trains with me, they know I walk forward and throw bombs.
“Yeah, I’m not that great on the ground,” Bedard admits. “One of my two submissions is a tap out due to strikes. I just pounded the guy until he gave up. Realistically, I have one submission.
“I won’t try to give up position to go for a submission. I’ll punch you in the face. If there’s a position where I can crack you with an elbow, that’s what I’ll do. If you turn around and do something stupid and leave your neck out there, I’ll rip your head off, but that’s about all I’ll do. I’m not going to go for an omoplata or a gogoplata. You’re going to see keylocks, kimuras, guillotines, that’s about it.”
King plans on adding a new wrinkle to his game plan, even if the perception is he and Bedard know each other too well to fool one another at this point.
“I’m going to put out something he’s never seen before,” King said. “Don’t get me wrong, he trains with some of the best guys in New England, so I’m sure he’s seen plenty, but, hey, I’m me. I’m a different fighter.
“One thing I try to do is evolve every time out. I was much different fighter coming off my layoff. I had a couple of tough fights and had to go back and analyze what I’ve done. I’m going to have some new things out there. It’s not going to be the same old, same old. If you’re not evolving, you’re getting worse, and I pride myself on getting better every time I go out there.”
Whether next weekend’s fight ends in another quick knockout or unfolds over the course of three hard rounds, neither fighter will lean on excuses when the trilogy is finally over. Why start now? Both King and Bedard have owned up to their shortcomings in their losses and are ready to accept whatever happens on the 16th, win or lose.
“One thing in my career is I’ve had guys who I’ve beaten soundly make a ton of excuses and I promised myself I’d never do that,” King said, “so the one thing I’m going to say is he was the better man that night. There’s no two ways around it. I can’t say, ‘This happened,’ or, ‘I was pissed off because my dog ran away.’ None of that. You get in the cage and it is what it is. I have to be better this time out.”
“He won the first fight. I’m not going to take anything away from him,” Bedard said. “I’ve watched the fight since then and I’ve had a couple of people come up to me and say out of the blue, ‘Hey, when you fight Tyler you were winning that fight until you got caught.’ Whatever. He caught me and he won. That’s how it is. I don’t look back at fights and say, ‘Well, I could’ve,’ or, ‘I should’ve,’ or, ‘I was winning until …’ It doesn’t matter. Look at the Cheick Kongo fight [against Pat Barry]. [Barry] knocked him [down] three times, Kongo came back and knocked him out. You don’t win the fight until the ref raises your hand at the end and calls your name.”
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.
Headlining “CES MMA 35” is the return of Gloucester, Mass., bantamweight Pedro Gonzalez (10-5, 9 KOs), who faces Boston’s Andres Jeudi (7-5, 3 KOs) in the main event.
Having battled injuries and setbacks for more than a year and a half, Gonzalez steps back into the cage for the first time since 2014 against the seasoned Jeudi, who has squared off against regional standouts Saul Almeida, Matt Bessette, Leon Davis, Chris Foster and Lucas Cruz.
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.” Fall River, Mass., lightweight Josh LaBerge (9-5, 4 KOs) faces 37-fight vet Ran Weathers (18-21, 6 KOs) of Albuquerque, N.M.
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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