Three world-title bouts headline CES MMA’s 2020 kickoff

PROVIDENCE, RI: Three title bouts, two new champions, and a fond farewell to mixed martial arts.

CES MMA kicks off 2020 with a tripleheader to remember Friday, January 24 featuring three world-title bouts live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS® from the Twin River Casino Hotel.

Former world featherweight champion Matt Bessette (23-9, 7 KOs) headlines CES MMA 60 in an attempt to reclaim the now vacant title when he faces Houston’s Charles Cheeks III (14-7, 1 KO) in a five-round CES MMA World Featherweight Championship bout.

Joining the title chase are Cromwell, CT, prospect Johnny Lopez (12-4) and Pennsylvania’s Blaine Shutt (7-4), who battle in a five-round bout for the promotion’s first World Flyweight Championship, while reigning CES MMA World Heavyweight Champion Greg Rebello (25-9, 16 KOs) puts his title on the line one last time in his retirement bout.

The championship tripleheader streams live on FIGHT PASS with play-by-play man Michael Parente and UFC veteransTom Lawlor and Joe Lauzon on color commentary beginning at 9 pm ET. Doors open at 6 with the first preliminary bout scheduled for 7.

Tickets start at $47 and are available at or or by phone at 401-724-2253. Subscriptions to FIGHT PASS are available at

CES MMA’s featherweight crown is again up for grabs with the former title-holder Bessette facing a tall order against Cheeks, a Legacy FC and LFA veteran. Bessette held the title from 2016 through 2018 and vacated it upon his promotion to the UFC. Bessette recently returned to CES MMA in March with a win over Tim Dooling at CES MMA 55 in Connecticut.

Lopez and Shutt collide for the inaugural flyweight championship, each boasting impressive wins on their respective resumes. The red-hot Lopez has won his last four while Shutt dominated the Pennsylvania circuit winning four consecutive bouts.

Win, lose, or draw, Rebello walks off into the sunset January 24, ending a storied career in which he’s 25 bouts, including 16 by knockout. A veteran of the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Rebello won the heavyweight title against Travis Wiuff at CES MMA 48 and defended it in July with a knockout win over Kevin Haley.

In addition to the three championship bouts, the main card on FIGHT PASS features the return of UFC light heavyweightWilliam Knight who faces Rocky Edwards and the long-awaited return of red-hot undefeated welterweight prospectJohn Gotti III in a showdown with the dangerous Marcos Lloreda.

Atomweights Marisa Messer-Belenchia and Delaney Owen face off in the cage seven months removed from their professional boxing match against one another, which Messer-Belenchia won by unanimous decision. Popular strawweight Hilarie Rose returns in search of her fourth consecutive win and bantamweight Richie Santiago takes on vetGiorgi Kudakhashvili.

Highlighting the preliminary card is the return of local fan-favorite Thomas Evans who faces featherweight Zachary Johnson. Evans ends a seven-year layoff on January 24 as he returns to the cage in the midst of his campaign for City Councilman in Central Falls, RI. Also on the preliminary card are bantamweight Ashiek Ajim of Queens, NY; lightweightEddie George of West Haven, CT making his professional debut; and welterweight Hugh McKenna of Syosset, NY.


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