Photo courtesy of Will Paul
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND featherweight Joe Pingitore, who also works as a full-time EMT, returns to the cage in a rematch against Taylor Trahan of New Hampshire on the main card of “CES MMA XXXIII” at Twin River Casino on Friday, March 11th, 2016. The event airs live on AXS TV, featuring seven televised bouts. Pingitore lost to Trahan in February of 2015 and promises next Friday to finish what he started more than 13 months ago. Trahan has lost four of his last five since beating Pingitore.
New and improved Pingitore preps for rematch Friday against Trahan on main card of CES MMA XXXIII
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (March 4th, 2016) — The challenge of balancing a full-time job in a competitive, fast-paced field with a career as a professional cage fighter is nothing new to Joe Pingitore.
In high school, Pingitore would work during the day for his father’s construction company and then train at night, sacrificing sleep for the thrill of competition after putting in more than eight hours of physical labor.
As a full-time emergency medical technician (EMT) for the past seven years, the Providence, R.I., continues to burn the candle at both ends, though the demands — and expectations — in both fields have increased dramatically over the past year and a half.
Pingitore (5-2, 1 KO) returns to the cage Friday, March 11th, 2016 in a rematch against New Hampshire featherweight Taylor Trahan (5-5), who beat him by submission 13 months ago, on the main card of “CES MMA XXXIII,” airing live on AXS TV at Twin River Casino, Pingitore’s third consecutive fight on national television.
“It’s tough, but mostly every fighter has another job in order to make ends meet. Mine is just a little bit more mentally wearing,” Pingitore said.
“I sometimes do two or three overnights in a week, wake up, and then by the time you get ready to go to that practice at 4 or 5 p.m. the next day, mentally you’re like, ‘I’d rather just stay home and be in bed.’
“Some weeks are worse than others as far as your workload,” he continued. “You never know what you’re going to get on a call or how many calls you’re going to get in a shift. Sometimes I work a day. Like Mondays, I’ll work a 16-hour shift, get out at 4 p.m. and get to practice at 6. Monday is a shitty day, but I pull through. I love what I’m doing and I love being on the ambulance, too, so it makes it easy. If I hated my job and had to do something like that, I don’t think I’d be able to do it.”
With the possibility of more highly-publicized fights and appearances on even bigger stages following his win over James Murrin at “CES MMA XXIX,” Pingitore has no choice but to continue his exhausting balancing act, a routine he admits has become easier to deal with, except during a full fight camp. The worst part? Cutting weight.
“No one realizes what it’s like to diet in that type of situation when you’re always on the road and the easiest thing to do is just pick up some fast food and keep going throughout your day,” he said. “The dieting thing really sucks and obviously when you’re cutting weight you don’t have as much energy as you’d like to. That turns into how you perform throughout your work day, but I make it work.”
Switching camps has helped make the process run more smoothly. After losing to Trahan last February, Pingitore began training at Tri-Force MMA in nearby Pawtucket, owned and operated by former regional standouts Keith and Pete Jeffrey.
“I’ve been improving leaps and bounds over there as far as skill-level goes. I’m doing one-on-ones with Pete Jeffrey two or three times a week now. Every little thing helps. We’ll see what happens next week.”
Three months after the Trahan fight, he agreed to face undefeated bantamweight prospect Darrion Caldwell, a formerNCAA national wrestling champion, at Bellator 141, a major step up in competition. Caldwell won by submission 1 minute, 32 seconds into the opening round and tonight faces former two-time Bellator champion Joe Warren in the main event of Bellator 151 in Oklahoma.
The result that night wasn’t what Pingitore had hoped for, but the experience under the bright lights helped him prepare for his eventual win over Murrin last summer.
“That Bellator fight was the first time I was ever on live TV. I fought a kid I think is going to win the world title at 135,” Pingitore said. “I think he’s going to beat Joe Warren. Fighting a kid like that on that stage, I took the fight not even knowing if I was going to win or not because the kid’s accolades are insane. It was more about seeing what it was like and see what that top level of competition is like, so I’m glad I took that fight.
“When it came time to fight Murrin on AXS TV, the transition was pretty easy.”
Trahan has been trending in the opposite direction. He’s lost four of his last five since beating Pingitore, but has remained active, appearing twice on televised CES MMA cards, and is convinced he’s improved since the aforementioned Pingitore bout despite the string of losses.
“I’ve been working a lot at being a well-rounded fighter and fighting Joe again would show that,” Trahan said. “As far as seeing improvement with Joe, I really haven’t looked at that. I’ve looked at his strengths and weaknesses and have been game-planning on that. I’m planning on a battle and I’m looking forward to March 11th.”
The first time the two fought, Trahan earned the submission via rear-naked choke in the third and final round. Pingitore, a known striker, felt confident on his feet, but lamented letting several opportunities to finish the fight slip through his fingertips.
“I was mostly on my end why he beat me,” Pingitore said. “I gave up my back four times in that fight and the last time I did he snuck in the rear naked on me. He capitalized.
“I knocked him down twice, but I didn’t finish him. I thought I put him out, but the bell saved him. He survived. This time, when I put him down I’m just going to go for broke.”
On March 11th, it’s up to Pingitore and Trahan to show who has improved the most since the last time they faced one another.
“That’s how it is. In the fight game, you’re always progressing,” Pingitore said. “Your styles change, everything changes. Like I said, when I go back and watch my earlier fights and then watch my last fight with Murrin, it’s two totally different fighters. I feel like it depends on who’s coaching you and what kind of game plan you have. I feel like my style has improved leaps and bounds.”
Tickets for “CES MMA XXXIII” are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesmma.com, www.cagetix.com/ces, www.twinriver.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254, or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change. The undercard begins at 7 p.m. ET with the first televised bout scheduled for 9.
Another champion, the 10th in the promotion’s history, will be crowned in the main event when Woonsocket, R.I., natives Andre Soukhamthath (9-3, 5 KOs) and Kody Norby (6-3) battle for the vacant CES MMA Bantamweight Title in a five-round bout, one of seven on the AXS TV main card.
The co-feature is a potential redemption story for two well-established regional standouts, Chuck O’Neil and Dennis Olson, both of whom who’ve starred on the sport’s biggest stage.
Fighting for the second time since making the jump from welterweight to middleweight, O’Neil (15-8, 5 KOs), a former Ultimate Fighter alum from Bridgewater, Mass., hopes to avenge a loss to Daniel Vizcaya in his 185-pound debut at “CES MMA XXXI” while four-time Bellator vet Olson (14-10, 1 KO), an Amherst, N.H., native fights for the first time since suffering a knockout loss to Brennan Ward at Bellator 144.
The always-exciting Matt Bessette (16-7, 4 KOs) of Stafford, Conn., makes his third CES MMA appearance in a featherweight bout against Tito Jones (11-8, 4 KOs) of Panama City, Fla. Bessette is coming off a first-round submission win over Kevin Roddy at Bellator 144 in October after getting knocked out by Lenny Wheeler in his last CES MMA appearance in August.
The main card also features a heavyweight bout between Juliano Coutinho (6-2, 3 KOs) of Boston, by way Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and knockout artist Chaz Morgan (9-1, 7 KOs) of Hammond, La. Coutinho has not fought since April, when Steve Mocco snapped his six-fight win streak at World Series of Fighting 20 while Morgan is looking to avenge his first career loss at the hands of Alex Nicholson in August.
Also in the heavyweight division, Providence’s Greg Rebello (19-6, 11 KOs) puts his three-fight win streak on the line against Newport News, Va., vet Keith Bell (6-6, 4 KOs), who makes his second appearance with CES MMA and first since 2014. Rebello has become a primetime hit with the AXS TV audience, pummeling Tyler King in June and finishing Mike Mucitelli with a highlight-reel knockout in the first round of their scheduled three-round bout in October. The hard-hitting Bell is coming off a 26-second knockout win over Nathan Bryant in January.
Another familiar name with the AXS TV audience, former CES MMA titlist Julian Lane (9-5, 1 KO) of Mansfield, Ohio begins his comeback with a lightweight bout against the dangerous Nate Andrews (7-1, 4 KOs) of East Providence, R.I. Lane has lost back-to-back bouts since piecing together a three-fight win streak under the guidance of CES MMA, including a unanimous decision loss to current CES MMA Lightweight Champion Luis Felix in their rematch at “CES MMA XXX.” Andrews lost his national TV debut to Lane’s former stable mate, Gemiyale Adkins, in August of 2014, but bounced back at “CES MMA XXIX” with a first-round knockout win over Jay Bakanowski.
The undercard of “CES MMA XXXIII” features three regional bouts, starring the return of Cranston, R.I., welterweight Gary Balletto Jr. (0-1), the son of former Rhode Island boxer Gary Balletto. Balletto Jr. lost his pro debut to Anthony Giacchina in August and will face New York’s Cruz Johnson, who makes his own debut following a brief, four-fight amateur career in which he finished 2-2.
Featherweight Matt Tullos of Norwood, Mass., makes his debut against Russian Alvi Mochigov (2-0), now fighting out of Fairfield, N.J., while flyweight Shane DeCristoforo (1-1, 1 KO) of Cranston faces Dover, N.J., native Noel Arcibal (1-1, 1 KO).
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