The stars are coming out for "CES MMA XXVI," including the reigning heavyweight champ, the return of the "Rockstar," and an intriguing title bout between two former UFC vets.
CES MMA heavyweight champion "Big" John Johnston returns for the first time since winning the belt in March and Chuck O'Neil locks horns with fellow Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) alum Ricardo Funch for the promotion's vacant welterweight title on Friday, Oct. 10, 2014 at "CES MMA XXVI" from Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I.
The card also includes the return of "Rockstar" Luis Felix, who faces tough Philadelphia lightweight Gemiyale Adkins, a winner on CES' last card in August.
After beating UFC vet Josh Hendricks to capture CES' vacant heavyweight title seven months ago, Johnston (6-0, 6 KOs), a Malden, Mass., native, puts his unbeaten record on the line against Newport News, Va., vet Keith Bell (5-4-1, 3 KOs) in a non-title fight.
All six of Johnston's wins have come by knockout, including the title bout against Hendricks in which Johnston bloodied the 37-year-old Ohio native with a flurry of punches until referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight. The 35-year-old Bell, nicknamed "Bad News," has won three of fights in the past year and a half and appeared on the undercard of Bellator 109 in November.
For Felix (11-8, 4 KOs), the Providence native who was choked out by The Ultimate Fighter alum Julian Lane in August on national television, "CES MMA XXVI" is a shot at redemption, albeit against a tough opponent who took out one of his teammates that same night (also in a nationally televised bout).
With six losses in his last seven bouts entering August, Adkins (9-8, 3 KOs) pulled off one of the biggest upset wins of his career, defeating the previously unbeaten Nate Andrews by unanimous decision at "CES MMA XXV." The 5-foot-10 slugger nicknamed "Baby Hercules" will make his fourth CES MMA appearance in October.
The Funch-O'Neil bout could steal the spotlight. A police officer in his hometown of Ludlow, Mass., Funch (8-4, 4 KOs) fought four times for the UFC before the promotion released him in 2012 following a loss to Dan Miller. He hasn't fought since. Now he faces the scrappy O'Neil (13-6, 4 KOs), a Bridgewater, Mass., vet who appeared on Season 13 of TUF and has won four of his last fights under the guidance of CES MMA, in a five-round bout for the inaugural CES welterweight championship.
"CES MMA XXVI" also features the long-awaited return of fan favorites "The Hulk" Todd Chattelle, who hasn't fought since breaking his hand in a loss to Shedrick Goodridge in January, and "The Asian Sensation" Andre Soukhamthath, also looking to avenge a loss to Kin Moy that same night.
Both Chattelle (12-10, 9 KOs) and Soukhamthath (7-2, 4 KOs) have been inactive for the past nine months, but for different reasons. With his hand fully healed, Chattelle, a Pawtucket, R.I., native will face veteran middleweight Nuri Shakir, of Andover, Mass., a 38-fight vet. Soukhamthath, originally from Woonsocket, R.I., and now living and training with the Blackzillians in West Palm Beach, Fla., faces Long Island, N.Y., bantamweight Tom English (5-4, 2 KOs).
Also included on "CES MMA XXVI" is Providence's Greg Rebello (16-6, 9 KOs), who's looking to avenge a loss in June in a cruiserweight bout against submission specialist J.A. Dudley (7-14) of Kearny, N.J., and unbeaten lightweight prospect Jimmy Davidson (7-0, 4 KOs) of Sandwich, Mass., matched up with the tough Leon Davis(5-2, 1 KO) of Springfield, Mass.
Middleweight Joe Cronin (2-1, 1 KO) of Mansfield, Mass., battlesTerrell Clark (1-1, 1 KO) of nearby Worcester; unbeaten featherweight Kyle Bochniak (2-0, 1 KO) of Winthrop, Mass., faces fellow Massachusetts vet Ruslan Khubejashvili (2-1) of Norwood; and South Boston featherweight James Murrin (1-1, 1 KO) takes on North Providence's Devin Pilkington (0-1).
Visit www.cesmma.com for more information, follow CES MMA on Twitter at @CESMMA and Instagram at CESMMA, or "like" CES MMA on Facebook.
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