CES MMA returns this week for CES MMA 42 which is set to take place on March 31 at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I. The main card of the event will air live on AXS TV.
The main event features a CES MMA World Welterweight Championship bout as current champion Chris Curtis looks to defend his strap against challenger Wilfredo Santiago Jr.
A Cincinnati native now training out of Team Quest in California, Curtis won the 170-pound title with a first-round demolition of former champ Gil de Freitas in early 2016. An unfortunate series of injuries, and a non-title bout with Nah-Shon Burrell, has kept Curtis out of the winner’s circle for far too long, “The Action Man” said.
Now, Curtis is back and ready to make up for lost time.
“I don’t know much about Santiago, aside from the fact that he’s a tough guy and a game opponent, but honestly it doesn’t matter. I just can’t wait to fight again and defend my title,” said the champ from Team Quest in California, where he trains with UFC fighters like Sam Alvey, Sean Strickland and former CES headliner Joey Gomez.
“There’s no way I’m leaving the CES cage without my belt. I’m improving every day, and I can’t wait to show how far I’ve come since winning the title. I’m going to put on a show, have my hand raised, and leave with that belt.”
But the heavy-handed Santiago is ready to rise to the occasion.
Now training under the famed Jackson’s MMA banner in New Mexico, the Lawrence, Mass., native, has plowed through his past four opponents, taking out each in less than a round of action, including former CES MMA World Welterweight Champion Chuck O’Neil.
March 31, “The Brown Bomber” said, can’t come soon enough.
“I’m very thankful for this opportunity and very thankful to CES for giving me a title shot,” said Santiago, who brings six years of pro fighting experience to the cage. “Chris is a very tough guy and is always ready to fight. That’s great, because so am I. I’m looking forward to putting on a show. Two great fighters going at it will never disappoint. I can’t wait to get back in the CES cage and bring that belt home with me.”
Luis Felix returns to the CES MMA cage in the co-main event versus Arkansas’ Dawond Pickney.
Following a series of injuries, Felix, the pride of Cranston, R.I., couldn’t contain his excitement while signing his bout agreement at Arias Lounge in Providence.
“It’s been way too long. I just can’t wait to be back in there, man,” said Felix, who has fought 10 times in the CES MMA cage since making his debut at CES 1. “During my long layoff it made me realize that you can’t take your time in this sport for granted, and I’m just excited to make up for lost time.”
But Pickney, a Bellator MMA vet with 17 pro fights on his record, plans on stealing Felix’s thunder.
“I’m coming to make a statement,” said Pickney. “The fans up in New England might not know too much about me right now, but they will once that cage door locks. I’m coming to fight, and I’m coming to win.”
Felix is quick to praise Pickney for his experience, toughness and willingness to enter hostile territory. But “Rockstar” predicts his hand will be raised, one way or another, when the dust finally settles at Twin River Casino.
“I’m going to win,” Felix said with his trademark smirk. “Whatever it takes, I’m going to win.”
“We’re excited to have Luis back in the CES MMA cage,” added CES MMA Matchmaker Pat Sullivan. “Based on his activity from a series of injuries, this is a non-title fight.”
Check out the full fight card below along with a video preview of the event.
Chris Curtis (C) vs. Wilfredo Santiago Jr. for the CES MMA World Welterweight Championship
155: Luis Felix vs. Dawond Pickney
125: David Baxter vs. Kody Nordby
145: Kenny Foster vs. Joe Pingitore
215: Dirlei Broenstrup vs. Pat Walsh
155: Josh LaBerge vs. Saul Almeida
135: Kris Moutinho vs. Lloyd Reyes
135: Marquis Brewster vs. Cody Hier
170: Gary Balletto Jr. vs. Chris Torres
135: Chad Kelly vs. Richard Santiago
115: Maria Rivera vs. Jessica Sotack