Matt “The Mangler” Bessette defends the CES MMA Featherweight Championship for a record third time against challenger Jamall “Pretty Boy” Emmers in the main event of CES 48 on Feb. 2 at Twin River Casino, LIVE on AXS TV Fights.

Bessette enters the CES MMA cage having won his seven most recent fights in New England. In the champion’s most recent bout on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in Las Vegas, however, the Hartford, Conn., product injured his hand early in his main event bout before suffering just his second loss since 2015.

The seven-time Bellator MMA vet has been training hard since his defeat in Nevada. As always, the amiable fighter puts a positive spin on his latest loss. Still, “The Mangler’ can’t wait to get in the cage and enter the next chapter of his career.

“You’ll see,” Bessette, now 22-7 with 15 finishes, says when asked how good it will feel to fight again.

“I’m always training and always trying to improve, but it’s much more motivating when you’ve got a date — it all makes sense after that,” he continues, smiling. “Now, all I’ve gotta do is train and focus.”

Emmers, meanwhile, is riding high on a three-fight win streak, including two big wins on AXS TV. Widely regarded as one of California’s most dangerous featherweight contenders, the dynamic Redlands, Calif., fighter has won five of his past six bouts heading into his New England debut.

The former college wrestler has a lot of respect for Bessette. But he’s coming to the the East Coast to make a statement and, ideally, punch his ticket to the UFC’s Octagon.

“He’s a really tough veteran who’s been running through a lot of his opponents. I’m impressed by what he’s done, but I’m going to get that W,” Emmers says. “Winning this belt will show everyone how good I am, and it’s going to help me get my hands on a UFC contract in 2018.”