PLYMOUTH, MASSACHUSETTS WELTERWEIGHT Chip Pollard (right) lands one of his trademark right hands in a win over Dan Lauzon at "CES MMA XXX." Pollard returns to the cage Friday, Oct. 30th, 2015 at Twin River Casino in the televised five-round main event of "CES MMA XXXI" at Twin River Casino against Brazilian Gil de Freitas for the vacant CES MMA Welterweight Title on AXS TV. The hard-hitting de Freitas has won four in a row, including two by knockout, and last beat George Sheppard, also on AXS TV.
Chip Pollard knows his upcoming title bout against Gil de Freitas won't be a walk in the park. He hopes it's more like a tango for two.
"If you want to play my game, I'm more than willing," Pollard said. "You can't consider yourself a striker and then run when you face someone who wants to strike with you.
"I want someone who'll be a fun dance partner."
Whether or not it's fun for other side remains to be seen, but heavy hands and quick strikes will be the No. 1 menu item Friday, Oct. 30th, 2015 when Pollard (10-8, 5 KOs) and de Freitas (17-5, 6 KOs) face one another for the vacant CES MMA Welterweight Title in the five-round main event of "CES MMA XXXI" live on AXS TV from Twin River Casino.
Known for his boxing background and impeccable head movement, the Plymouth, Mass., native Pollard has long been considered one of the top strikers in the northeast, while the Brazilian de Freitas has been a wrecking machine of late, winning each of his last four fights, including two by knockout.
"I am on a win streak and I plan on keeping it that way Oct. 30th," de Freitas said. "I'm training hard for it and I want that belt. I will end the night with that belt around my waist!"
Needless to say, Pollard has other ideas. Never one to shy away from a challenge, he lost both of his fights in 2013, dropping his record to 7-6, yet still accepted a challenge in March of 2014 against Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) vet Tom Egan. Pollard won by unanimous decision and has since won two more times, including a nationally-televised knockout win over Dan Lauzon on the main card of "CES MMA XXX."
"Whenever I used to play basketball, I never expected to win every game of the season. At some point you lose. Whatever," Pollard said. "You bounce back. I never really think about winning or losing. I just try to fight to the best of my abilities.
"If I fight like I should, I will leave with the win. That's all that really matters."
So, how does one approach fighting de Freitas, who absolutely annihilated his opponents (former welterweight champ Chuck O'Neil and George Sheppard) the last two times he fought for CES MMA?
"I see myself hitting and not getting hit," Pollard said. "Sometimes you get in a brawl like I did with Ralph Johnson [in January]. Ideally, it'll be just like the sweet science, hit without getting hit."
"I definitely don't care what his plans are," countered de Freitas. "I'm only focusing on imposing my game plan and ending this fight with a brutal knockout. I want to make a statement in this fight."
Given their respective backgrounds, logic suggests this fight won't go the full five rounds. No ground and pound or any breaks in the action, just a back-and-forth slugfest that promises to deliver as advertised.
"When CES asked me what kind of opponent I wanted, ideally it was someone like Gil," Pollard said. "Gil will be coming a me, trying to put me away. That's the fight I like being in and it's the kind of fight I like watching, two guys standing up trying to put the other one down."
Despite all the talk of his striking ability, the key to Pollard's success might actually be his defense, a skillset he picked up while working with his boxing coaches and sparring with professional boxers at the Cape Cod Fighting Alliance. His head movement, a lost art with some MMA fighters, is one of his greatest strengths.
"You don't see it too often in MMA, except for the upper echelon strikers," he said. "Look at any kickboxer or pro boxer. The level of head movement is usually a lot higher than it is in MMA.
"I bring my striking to the highest level so I can compete with anybody. I feel I can hold my own against anyone in striking."
Will it be enough to capture the vacant CES MMA title on Oct. 30th? Having built his record in Brazil, de Freitas is still somewhat of an unknown in the northeast despite now training out of Team Link in Ludlow, Mass. That could change come Oct. 30th with another nationally-televised win.
"I'm not sure if I'm a secret," de Freitas said, "but anyone who doesn't know me will know who I am after this fight!"
"He has very heavy hands. You don't want to get hit by him. No too many people do," added Pollard. "He's a very powerful guy and very good on the ground. It should be a fun night.
"Me, I've always fought pretty much anybody. If they say I'm fighting so and so on this date, I say let's do it. I'm always going to be fighting someone tough. It's just another day at the office."
Tickets for "CES MMA XXXI" are priced at $50.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesmma.com or www.twinriver.com, www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 401-724-2253/2254, or at the Twin River Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Also on the main card, O'Neil (15-7, 5 KOs) of Bridgewater, Mass., makes the move to the middleweight division against Daniel Vizcaya (8-3, 2 KOs) of Aurora, Ill.; Providence, R.I., heavyweight Greg Rebello (18-6, 10 KOs) faces Syracuse, N.Y., vet Mike Mucitelli (7-2, 1 KO); and bantamweight Dinis Paiva (7-5, 4 KOs) of East Providence, R.I., looks to extend his four-fight win streak against Cumberland, R.I., vet Kody Nordby (4-3).
The main card also features the return of Woonsocket, R.I., native Andre Soukhamthath (8-3, 4 KOs) in a bantamweight bout against Carlos Galindo (10-3, 3 KOs) of Woburn, Mass. Providence middleweight Eric Spicely (7-0, 2 KOs) puts his unbeaten record on the line in his toughest test to date against Charlotte, N.C., vet Aaron Johnson (13-9, 1 KO) and Remo Cardarelli (5-2) of Milford, Mass., makes his CES MMA debut in a flyweight bout against New York native Darren Mima (6-4, 1 KO).
The preliminary card includes a flyweight bout between Carlos Candelario (1-0) of New Britain, Conn., and Jesse Gutierrez (1-1) of West Roxbury, Mass., in addition to a middleweight bout between Buck Pineau (0-1) of Ashland, Maine and Berkley, Mass., native Pat McCrohan, who is making his professional debut. Flyweights David Baxter (1-0) of Bellingham, Mass., and newcomer Brandon Warne of Ovid, N.Y., battle in a three-round bout and featherweight Shane Manley (2-2) of Cortland, N.Y., battles Taylor Trahan (5-3) of Littleton, N.H.
For more information on "CES MMA XXXI" visit www.cesmma.com, follow @CESMMA on Twitter and Instagram and "like" the official CES MMA Facebook fan page.
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