Tickets for “CES MMA XXIV” are on sale now at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at www.cesmma.com or www.twinriver.com or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
A rugged, 5-foot-10 brawler from Mansfield, Ohio with a strong wrestling background, Lane (6-3-1, 1 KO) began his pro career in 2011 with four consecutive wins, including a first-round submission win over Joe Helland at Bellator 66, but he’s more commonly known in mixed martial arts’ circles for his antics on TUF: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson, the 16th season of the popular reality series.
The video of a visibly intoxicated Lane trying to initiate a fight with teammate Dom Waters before breaking down in tears quickly went viral, as did Lane’s now infamous cries of, “Let me bang, bro!” to his other teammate Michael Hill, who tried to play peacemaker. Lane lost his only fight that season and never got a contract offer from the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), but while most reality TV misfits disappear once their 15 minutes of fame expire (e.g., Angelina from Jersey Shore), Lane has achieved remarkable sustainability in a world where fighters come and go like seasons.
“I got a little drunk and acted crazy,” Lane admits, “but that shit happens everyday out here.
“I’m sure people judge me based off of that, but I’ve had no problem getting fights. It’s publicity. That’s the way I look at it. The whole world knows who I am. It got my name out there and gave me exposure, whether it’s good or bad. I just take it for what it is.”
Lane insists he’s a different fighter – and a different person – than the one audiences caught a glimpse of on TUF, and while his appearance on the show didn’t pay immediate dividends, not getting the call at such a young age (just 23 at the time) might’ve been a blessing in disguise.
“That was only my first year as a pro,” Lane recalled. “I feel like I kind of got ahead of myself, but everything happens for a reason. I didn’t get the ticket to the UFC, but maybe I would’ve gotten there and lost three fights. Now I have time to prepare, so when I do get there I’ll be ready.”
Like everyone else in the MMA world, Felix (11-7, 4 KOs) has seen the video of Lane’s meltdown on TUF and heard all the jokes, but what happened on the show has nothing to do with how Felix is preparing for the fight on the 27th.
After knocking out 63-fight veteran and former UFC standout Drew Fickett in March, Felix is another step closer to punching his own ticket to the big show in his seventh year as a pro, meaning every fight is bigger than the last.
“Nothing you do outside of fighting and training really comes into play once the fight starts,” Felix said. “No matter how crazy you act, or pretend to be, or how nice some guys might be outside of the cage, it doesn’t play into what you do once you’re inside that cage.
“I don’t judge him based on what he did on the show. That’s more for the general public to enjoy.”
Felix himself is a prime example of why one should never judge a book by its cover. Outside the cage, Felix is polite and relaxed, a humble, jovial star in a sport often overflowing with redundant machismo and arrogance, but once the bell rings, he’s all business, tenacious and unrelenting in dissecting his opponent.
What’s even more impressive is Felix’s self-described ability to “flip the switch” when the pressure’s on. In addition to Fickett, the Providence native has also beaten former TUF alumni Marc Stevens and Joe Proctor, cementing his status as the type of fighter who saves his best for the sport’s biggest stage.
“I can’t speak for everyone, but the cage is my comfort zone,” Felix said, “and my current fight is always the biggest one. I like it. I enjoy that pressure. I thrive off it.
“It actually brings out a better fighter in me knowing how big the fight is. At times, I’ve fought down to the level of my competition. All these fights against guys who are supposed to be better than me, it’s a mental thing. That’s why I enjoy it.”
Though he admits he doesn’t pay too much attention to video, Felix has browsed the Lane library to get an idea of what he should expect on the 27th.
“When I see his style, I think of him more as a brawler,” Felix said. “He’s a tough kid. He can take a punch. Who knows what I’ll see from him that day. There have been times where I haven’t looked that great myself, so I can’t judge him off that.”
Lane shares Felix’s general disinterest in studying video – “Game plans usually don’t work out how they’re supposed to,” he said – but watched enough to pick up on some of Felix’s tendencies, particularly his use of the southpaw stance despite being a right-handed fighter.
“That means all of his power is in his right,” Lane said, “so I don’t have to worry about his straight left.”
While Felix is often lauded for his exemplary high-school wrestling background, Lane notes that he, too, excelled on the mat as a teenager, wrestling in more than 800 matches.
“A lot of guys don’t know that I’m a wrestler,” he said. “I love fighting wrestlers, especially ones who like to stand up. Once they get hit, they resort to their wrestling, and that’s what I like. I like to stand and bang. If they want to wrestle, that’s their mistake.”
Felix and Lane fighting one another for a title next Friday proves there are second chances in mixed martial arts. Both fighters have made their share of mistakes. Lane’s have been well documented, but Felix dealt with his on his own, learning to treat the sport as a career instead of just a hobby and fighting with a renewed sense of purpose.
They’re both chasing the same dream, and one of them will move another step closer on the 27th.
“I’m ready to get this belt,” Lane said, “and hopefully get my ticket to the UFC, too.”
“I’m preparing myself to face the best he has to offer come fight night,” Felix added. “I have to prepare myself the same way.”
The undercard of “CES MMA XXIV” features the Twin River debut of UFC vet Ricardo Funch (8-4, 4 KOs) of Ludlow, Mass., who’ll face welterweight Brett Oteri (12-5, 1 KO) of Dedham, Mass.; and the return of Providence heavyweight Greg Rebello (17-5, 9 KOs), who’ll take on Kennesaw, Ga., native Aaron Johnson (12-8, 1 KO).
Also on the card, East Providence, R.I., vet Dinis Paiva (4-5, 1 KO) faces Joe Cushman (11-5, 3 KOs) of Bridgewater, Mass., in a featherweight bout; lightweight Andres Jeudi (6-2, 2 KOs) of Dorchester, Mass., battles Framingham, Mass., vet Saul Almeida (15-5); and female flyweight sensation Kaline Medeiros (2-3, 1 KO) of Fall River, Mass., faces Brigitte Narcise of Fairfield, N.J., in Narcise’s pro debut.
Fan-favorite Willie Brown (2-0) of Meriden, Conn., returns to battle J.A. Dudley (6-11) of Plainfield, N.J., in a light heavyweight bout; Providence’s Keenan Raymond (1-0) puts his record on the line against Dorchester featherweight James Murrin (1-0); featherweight Pete Rogers Jr. (1-1, 1 KO) of Norwich, Conn., faces Mike Lamm (0-1) of Newton, Mass.; and Providence vet Joe Reverdes (1-3) returns to battle newcomer Randy Campbell of Elizabeth, N.J., in a bantamweight bout.
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