The heated rivalry between Andre Soukhamthath and Kody Nordbyreached its boiling point at Thursday’s weigh-in when the two bantamweight title challengers nearly came to blows after stepping off the scale.
Soukhamthath (9-3, 5 KOs) and Nordby (6-3), both born in Woonsocket, R.I., made weight easily with Soukhamthath clocking in at 136 and Nordby tipping the scales at 135 ½.
They’ll square off Friday in the five-round main event of “CES MMA XXXIII” at Twin River Casino for the promotion’s vacant bantamweight title, which airs live on AXS TV, but the drama began during Thursday’s face-off when Soukhamthath shoved his opponent after Nordby got a little too close for comfort and the two butted heads.
“That’s the only time he’s going to get to touch me. The kid’s a clown,” Nordby said. “He’s a twig. The dude’s got the body of a 12-year-old girl. That’s the only time he’s going to get to touch me.
“Tomorrow’s going to be a very exciting night, because I’m going to hurt him. I’m going to throw him around like a goddamn rag doll. I can’t wait to knock him out.”
The pre-fight skirmish is no surprise considering the two sides have done their fair share of talking since the fight was announced in January. Soukhamthath is coming off a win over Carlos Galindo in October while Nordby has won three in a row, including back-to-back victories over Dinis Paiva and Derek Shorey on AXS TV to earnFriday’s title shot.
“I gave him some space because I thought it was going to be a regular face-off. That’s why I didn’t get in his face, but I saw him stepping forward and forward and then all of a sudden I feel his forehead on my head,” Soukhamthath said.
“I just reacted. I’m a grown man. I’m a grown man, but if you’re going to go out and do that, I’m going to do something about it. I’m from the streets. I don’t play that. I grew up in a rough area and I would never let any man disrespect me like that.”
Tickets for “CES MMA XXXIII” are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and available for purchase online at www.cesmma.com, www.cagetix.com/ces, www.twinriver.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at401-724-2253/2254, or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.The undercard begins at 7 p.m. ET with the first televised bout scheduled for 9.
The co-feature is a potential redemption story for two well-established regional standouts, Chuck O’Neil and Dennis Olson, both of whom who’ve starred on the sport’s biggest stage.
Fighting for the second time since making the jump from welterweight to middleweight, O’Neil (15-8, 5 KOs), a former Ultimate Fighter alum from Bridgewater, Mass., hopes to avenge a loss to Daniel Vizcaya in his 185-pound debut at “CES MMA XXXI” while four-time Bellator vet Olson (14-10, 1 KO), an Amherst, N.H., native fights for the first time since suffering a knockout loss to Brennan Ward at Bellator 144.
The always-exciting Matt Bessette (16-7, 4 KOs) of Stafford, Conn., makes his third CES MMA appearance in a featherweight bout against Tory Bogguess (18-12, 2 KOs) of Silvis, Ill., who has 14 submission victories on his resume. Bessette is coming off a first-round submission win over Kevin Roddy at Bellator 144 in October after getting knocked out by Lenny Wheeler in his last CES MMA appearance in August.
The main card also features a heavyweight bout between Juliano Coutinho (6-2, 3 KOs) of Boston, by way Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and knockout artist Chaz Morgan (9-1, 7 KOs) of Hammond, La. Coutinho has not fought since April, when Steve Mocco snapped his six-fight win streak at World Series of Fighting 20 while Morgan is looking to avenge his first career loss at the hands of Alex Nicholson in August.
Also in the heavyweight division, Providence’s Greg Rebello (19-6, 11 KOs) puts his three-fight win streak on the line against Newport News, Va., vet Keith Bell (7-6, 4 KOs), who makes his second appearance with CES MMA and first since 2014. Rebello has become a primetime hit with the AXS TV audience, pummeling Tyler King in June and finishing Mike Mucitelli with a highlight-reel knockout in the first round of their scheduled three-round bout in October. The hard-hitting Bell is coming off a 26-second knockout win over Nathan Bryant in January.
Another familiar name with the AXS TV audience, former CES MMA titlist Julian Lane (9-5, 1 KO) of Mansfield, Ohio begins his comeback with a lightweight bout against the dangerous Nate Andrews (7-1, 4 KOs) of East Providence, R.I. Lane has lost back-to-back bouts since piecing together a three-fight win streak under the guidance of CES MMA, including a unanimous decision loss to current CES MMA Lightweight Champion Luis Felixin their rematch at “CES MMA XXX.” Andrews lost his national TV debut to Lane’s former stable mate, Gemiyale Adkins, in August of 2014, but bounced back at “CES MMA XXIX” with a first-round knockout win over Jay Bakanowski.
Rounding out the main card, Providence featherweight Joe Pingitore (5-2-1, 1 KO) makes his second AXS TV appearance in a rematch against Littleton, N.H., native Taylor Trahan (5-5). Pingitore defeated James Grant Murrin at “CES MMA XXIX,” but lost to Trahan via third-round submission in February of 2014. Trahan seeks his first win in his third try with CES MMA and his first overall since September of 2014.
The undercard of “CES MMA XXXIII” features three regional bouts, starring the return of Cranston, R.I., welterweight Gary Balletto Jr. (0-1), the son of former Rhode Island boxer Gary Balletto. Balletto Jr. lost his pro debut to Anthony Giacchina in August and will face New York’s Cruz Johnson, who makes his own debut following a brief, four-fight amateur career in which he finished 2-2.
Featherweight Matt Tullos of Norwood, Mass., makes his debut against fellow newcomer Shan Bachok of Fairfield, N.J., while flyweight Shane DeCristoforo (1-1, 1 KO) of Cranston faces Dover, N.J., native Noel Arcibal (1-1, 1 KO).
The official weigh-in results for CES MMA 33 are as follows.
Main Card (AXS TV)
Main Event – Bantamweight title Fight – Andre Soukhamthath (136) vs. Kody Norby (135.5)
Co-Main Event – Middleweight Fight – Dennis Olson (185) vs. Chuck O’Neil (185)
Catchweight (150 pound) Fight – Taurean Bogguess (149.5) vs. Matt Bessette (150)
Heavyweight Fight – Chaz Morgan (263.5) vs. Juliano Coutinho (263.5)
Heavyweight Fight – Keith Bell (251) vs. Greg Rebello (239)
Lightweight Fight – Julian Lane (155) vs. Nate Andrews (155)
Featherweight Fight – Taylor Trahan (145.5) vs. Joe Pingitore (146)
Welterweight Fight – Cruz Johnson (172) vs. Gary Balletto Jr. (169.5)
Featherweight Fight – Shan Bachok (147.5) vs. Matt Tullos (148)
Flyweight Fight – Noel Arcibal (125) vs. Shane Decristoforo (123)Check out our latest podcast episode featuring Desmond Green & Matteo Urella.