Greg Rebello isn't quite too sure what Mike Mucitelli is thinking by agreeing to fight him Oct. 30th, especially after Rebello recently dismantled the same Tyler King who dominated Mucitelli in the cage earlier this year.
"I think for some strange reason he thinks the King fight was a fluke, but King won all three rounds," said Rebello (18-6, 10 KOs), the Providence, R.I., heavyweight who has now won three out of four fights since his return to MMA in 2013, including the aforementioned knockout win over King June 12th on AXS TV.
"Maybe it's a redemption thing where if he beats me it'll erase the Tyler King, but I'm going to knock him out, so it's not going to matter."
Without hesitation, or consideration for what many consider simple grade-school logic, the Syracuse, N.Y., native Mucitelli (7-2, 1 KO) returns to Twin River Casino on the 30th for his second consecutive appearance on AXS TV, challenging Rebello on the main card of "CES MMA XXXI."
Tickets 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.
"If people always went with the A versus B, then B versus C type of logic, then no one would be fighting each other at all," Mucitelli said. "Every fight has its own outcome. Every fight has its own different matchups. It doesn't matter how he did versus Tyler King or how I did. It's how I'm going to do against Rebello. That's the difference."
The two were supposed to face one another March 13th -- same venue, same network -- until Rebello withdrew from the card due to a staph infection. Mucitelli instead faced the 6-foot-5 King, who smothered him en route to a unanimous decision win.
"It was definitely a bummer," Mucitelli said. "We prepped hard for Rebello. He's a southpaw, a bit of a brawler, shorter than me, King's a different fighter, but that doesn't excuse the performance I put on last time. I put on a shit fight, for lack of a more eloquent term.
"For me, it's about coming back up there and fighting like I can fight rather than that terrible night I had last time when I just got laid on for two of the three rounds."
Three months later, King fought Rebello and left the cage a bloody mess via third-round knockout, a fight the hard-hitting Rebello dominated from the opening bell.
"Everyone thought I was going to lose," Rebello said. "Look online. I have friends in California and Vegas, who all watched on AXS TV. They said all the betting odds were against me. A bunch of my friends bet on it. Most people thought I'd lose. For me, it was exactly what I expected. I knew I'd keep the fight standing up and knock him out. It was no surprise to me."
Rebello expects a similar outcome Oct. 30th despite Mucitelli's claims of being a much better striker than his record indicates.
"He's a Jiu-Jitsu guy. He wants to get me to the ground," Rebello said. "He can tell the whole world he can stand up, but that's not the case."
"I'm looking forward to showing people I'm not just a submission guy or just a Jiu-Jitsu guy. I'm more than happy to throw down in the middle of the cage," Mucitelli countered. "You'll see I'm much more capable of striking than people want to give me credit for. It sucks because I usually hit a person once or twice and they say, 'Well, that's enough,' and they take me to the ground, where I finish it off."
This is a major crossroads fight for both sides. A seven-time Bellator vet, Mucitelli needs another win to remain on the primetime television radar, while the 33-year-old Rebello could be in line for a major breakthrough as he approaches the stretch run of his celebrated career.
"I try to look at what's in front of me and not jump ahead. That always adds a little pressure," Rebello said. "But to get another knockout, I've already won more than half my fights by knockout, so that'd be a major factor for the bigger shows and puts me as a major player."
First, he must get through Mucitelli, who's changed up his conditioning program and diet since the loss to King in an attempt to right the shape after losing two of his last three fights.
"I kind of settled into not necessarily a groove or a rut either, but more or less a routine. There were a couple of things where I was getting burnt out in a couple of aspects. I really had to get back to the drawing board, get my head re-centered," he said.
"I'm matched up with some great guys now and they've taken charge in helping me out and helping me train smart. It's going to be a different showing. It's going to be a different fight."
The vacant CES MMA Welterweight Title is on the line in the main event of "CES MMA XXXI" as Plymouth, Mass., vet Chip Moraza-Pollard (10-8, 5 KOs) battles Sao Paulo, Brazil native Gil de Freitas (17-5, 6 KOs) in a five-round bout. Also on the main card, former welterweight champ Chuck 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., while 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.
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