LINCOLN, R.I. – Ultimate Fighter alums Chuck “Cold Steel” O’Neil and Julian “Nitrane” Lane defended their respective CES MMA titles Friday night on the main card of “CES MMA XXVII” on AXS TV, each in much different fashion.
Lane (9-3-1), the Mansfield, Ohio, native who captured CES MMA’s vacant lightweight belt in August, needed all five rounds to hold onto his title while O’Neil needed a mere 11 seconds to bring his welterweight crown back to his hometown of East Bridgewater, Mass.
Facing the red-hot Emmanuel Walo (7-2-1) of Jersey City, who had won seven of eight entering Friday, O’Neil came out swinging and clipped Walo square on the chin with an overhand night. Referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the fight as Walo crashed to the canvas, wrapping up O’Neil’s fourth consecutive win and sixth in his last seven fights.
Continuing to make Rhode Island his second home, Lane won for the third time at Twin River, narrowly beating Somerville, Mass., vet Lucas Cruz (7-3) by split decision, 48-47, 47-48, 48-47, to retain the CES MMA lightweight title he won in August, also on AXS TV.
Reminiscent of his win over Gemiyale Adkins last June, Lane controlled the early rounds by mixing up his left jab and rear leg kicks to keep Cruz at a distance. Cruz’s best round was the fourth, when he scored a takedown midway through and maintained side guard for the remainder of the round, but Cruz didn’t let his hands go until the closing seconds, allowing Lane to survive despite momentarily giving up his back.
Lane bounced back in the fifth and final round, again peppering Cruz with his jab, and then closed out strong with a single-leg takedown in the closing minutes, preventing Cruz from executing his game plan. Judges Wayne Lima and Brian Minor scored it in favor of Lane while judge Nick Mahmood scored it in favor of Cruz. The Ultimate Fighter alum has won four consecutive bouts dating back to November of 2013.
Seven months removed from his impressive knockout win over Joe Cushman, New England’s Most Improved Fighter Dinis Paiva (6-5, 4 KOs) took another step in the right direction in his network television debut, knocking out Salem, Mass., bantamweight Dan Cormier (3-2) 10 seconds into the opening round of their scheduled three-round bout.
The East Providence, R.I., native came out swinging, clipping Cormier with a right cross shortly after the opening bell and landing an effective combination before finishing Cormier for good with another left to the chin. Referee Kevin MacDonald quickly stopped the bout as Cormier fell to the canvas. Paiva has now won three consecutive bouts, all by first-round knockout.
A late addition to the main card, Boston featherweight Kyle Bochniak (4-0) dominated in his AXS TV debut, earning a 30-27, 30-26, 30-27 unanimous decision win over Long Island vet Thomas English (5-6).
Providence, R.I., lightweight Luis Felix (12-8) rebounded from his loss on AXS TV in August with a hard-fought 30-27 unanimous decision win over Richmond, Va., vet D’Juan Owens (11-9). The pace picked up in the second round as two exchanged flurries in the center of the ring with Felix landing the cleaner, more effective shots. The slugfest continued in the third, but Felix took control with a handful of critical takedowns, allowing him to use his strong wrestling background to his advantage.
Ultimate Fighter alum Jon Manley (9-2) of Ludlow, Mass., submitted Dedham, Mass., welterweight Brett Oteri via American armbar at the 3:17 mark of the second round in a wildly entertaining, back-and-forth bout. Manley spent the majority of the opening round peppering Oteri with lefts and rights until Oteri clipped him on the chin with a right cross late in the round, sending Manley stumbling toward the cage.
Oteri landed two more clean rights before picking up Manley and slamming him to the canvas, which actually worked in Manley’s favor because it allowed him to recover and survive the round. Oteri began the second round by landing more flurries, momentarily stunning Manley, but Manley turned the tables with a crucial takedown and eventually worked his way into the armbar, earning his fourth career submission.
Once Bochniak found his distance after a slow opening round, he busted English open with a series of rights and short elbows. Bochniak scored a key takedown late in the second and nearly finished the fight with a flurry of elbows and fists. The third round was more of the same with Bochniak dominating the stand-up and coasting to his fourth consecutive victory.
Peabody, Mass., featherweight Rico Disciullo and Providence middleweight Eric Spicely both remained unbeaten Friday with victories on the preliminary card.
In the most entertaining bout of the preliminaries, Disciullo (4-0) earned a 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 unanimous decision win over newcomer Mak Kelleher (0-1) of Selden, N.Y., who made his professional debut. Disciullo came out swinging in the opening round, landing a series of overhand rights, but Kelleher scored a takedown late in the round and closed out the final minute with a flurry of hammerfists.
Saved by the bell in round one, Disciullo opened the second round with back-to-back roundhouse head kicks to catch Kelleher off guard and fought effectively in the third to stave off the hard-charging Kelleher in a bout much closer than the scores indicated.
Spicely improved to 6-0 with his third career submissions, forcing Dover, N.H., native Kevin Haley (3-3) to tap out via heel hook at the 2-minute, 26-second mark of the opening round.
Also on the undercard, Dorchester, Mass., lightweight Andres Jeudi (7-4, 3 KOs) – fighting on just 24 hours notice – stopped veteran Jeff Anderson (11-10) of Pawtucket, R.I., at 2:03 of the opening round with a flurries of lefts and rights, the last one sending Anderson tumbling to the canvas and forcing referee Dan Miragliotta to stop the bout.
Fan-favorite James Murrin (2-2) of South Boston, Mass., had his hands full with scrappy featherweight vet Robert Sullivan (5-3) of Baltimore as Sullivan used his sheer strength to grind out a 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 unanimous decision win. Murrin tried to trade hands with Sullivan, but Sullivan consistently scored takedowns and wore out Murrin with effective ground-and-pound over the first two rounds. Murrin finally had his opportunity late in the third and unleashed a series of overhand rights that stunned Sullivan, but didn’t have enough time to score a knockout and salvage the win.
Flyweight Chris Cole (4-2) of North Attleboro, Mass., also dominated in his bout against East Providence, R.I., native Dan Cormier (4-5), earning a 30-27 unanimous decision win.
The televised portion of “CES MMA XXVII” began at 9 p.m. ET and aired live on AXS TV.
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