After coming just short in his summertime CES MMA Featherweight Championship bout, Joe “Lights Out” Pingitore is on a mission Thanksgiving Eve at CES MMA 40 on November 23 at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I.
Pingitore’s path to another shot at gold goes through Honolulu’s Spencer Higa, a 16-fight vet who has plans to spoil Pingitore’s Thanksgiving.
“There’s definitely going to be a finish, and I’m bringing fireworks to Rhode Island,” said the 29-year-old, Higa, who’s on a three-fight win streak heading into this featherweight bout. “The fans in New England don’t know me yet, but they will after this fight. I’m going to put it all on the line and come home to Hawaii with my fourth straight win.”
The hard-hitting Pingitore, who’s nothing if not confident, couldn’t help but smirk when told of Higa’s Fight Night prediction for November 23.
“That’s very funny, but he’s very wrong,” said the six-time CES MMA vet. “I’m better than I’ve ever been and every day I’m getting more dangerous. My title fight left a horrible taste in my mouth. I think about it every day I’m on the mats, and I think about it every time I think about my next opponent. He’s in for a very long night, man.”
Plus, New England fight fans now have more reason to be thankful, with Providence fan-favorite Joe Reverdes returning to the CES MMA cage against Rhode Island-born, Indiana fighter Rich Hazard. One of the most respected figures in New England MMA, Reverdes fights for the first time since 2014.
Reverdes says it’s an honor to fight on the same card as his friends, and New England superstars, like Greg Rebello, Nate Andrews and Dinis Paiva.
But the 47-year-old brawler isn’t satisfied to just be on the special Thanksgiving Eve card. He’s hungry for his second straight stoppage, and third overall win.
“To be around these guys motivates me and makes me a winner already. But nothing compares to putting on a great show for my fans,” he says with a big smile. “You can never predict what happens in the cage but I definitely wouldn’t be surprised to get another knockout.”
For Hazard, this is a long-awaited, highly anticipated homecoming fight. The lifelong martial artist was born and raised in Rhode Island before moving to Indiana in 1996. This is his first time fighting in New England in front of his family and friends.
“I’m usually fighting everywhere but Rhode Island, so I’ve got a lot of family coming out to support me that night,” said Hazard, 37. “It does add a little pressure, because you don’t want to go out and not perform to the best of your abilities. But I’m confident in my skills and I’m confident that I’m going to be able to go out there and do what I have to do to get my hand raised.”
The full updated fight card is as follows (bout order TBD):
Heavyweight: Josh Hendricks vs. Greg Rebello
Lightweight: Nate Andrews vs. George Sheppard
Bantamweight: Zane Behrend vs. Dinis Paiva
Featherweight: Spencer Higa vs. Joe Pingitore
Featherweight: Rich Hazard vs. Joe Reverdes
Featherweight: Gary Balletto Jr. vs. Montoyia Swilling
Featherweight: Ruso Khubejashvili vs. Dylan Lockard
Bantamweight: Michael Karam vs. Kris Moutinho