Bessette makes second title defense at CES MMA 44

Friday, April 28th, 2017

Photo courtesy of Will Paul

REIGNING CES MMA World Featherweight Champion Matt Bessette, right, returns to defend his title for the second time on Friday, May 12th, 2017 in the main event of “CES MMA 44” on AXS TV at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I., when he faces challenger Jeremy Spoon of Oklahoma. Bessette recently dispatched of Kevin Croom (above) in his first title defense and now aims for his 22nd win as a pro in the five-round main event, one of six fights scheduled for the televised AXS TV main card. Spoon, a veteran of 23 pro fights, has earned submissions in 12 of his 20 victories.

Friday, April 28th, 2017
Bessette returns to Twin River to defend title against Spoon in main event of CES MMA 44 on AXS TV

Photo courtesy of Will Paul

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND heavyweight contender Greg Rebello returns to the cage Friday, May 12th, 2017 aiming for his second consecutive win when he faces Colorado heavyweight Kevin Ray Sears on the televised main card of “CES MMA 44” at Twin River Casino.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (April 28th, 2017) — CES MMA has upped the ante for its upcoming AXS TV showcase, featuring the return of World Featherweight Champion Matt Bessette, plus an intriguing welterweight bout between two rising prospects vying for their own shot at the title.

Bessette (21-7, 6 KOs), the widely-popular, reigning title-holder in the 145-pound division from Stafford, Conn., headlines “CES MMA 44” live on AXS TV Fights on Friday, May 12th, 2017 at Twin River Casino in a five-round title defense against Oklahoma’s Jeremy Spoon (20-3, 1 KO), Bessette’s second defense since capturing the title in August.
While Bessette’s loyal social media army continues to lobby for his promotion to MMA’s biggest stage, the 32-year-old simply keeps winning fights – six in a row, to be exact – in dominant fashion, including his systematic breakdown of Kevin Croom in January at “CES MMA 41” in which Bessette battered and bruised his opponent en route to a third-round TKO win.
The six-time CES MMA and nine-time Bellator vet now faces the dangerous Spoon, himself a four-time Bellator vet with 12 of his 20 pro wins coming by submission. The 32-year-old Spoon competed in the Seasons 6 and 7 Bellator Featherweight Tournaments, where he fought two-time champion Daniel Straus and Season 8 finalist Mike Richman, and recently defeated two-time Bellator vet Josh Tyler by unanimous decision.
The Bessette-Spoon main event title bout is one of six televised fights on the AXS TV main card, which begins 9 p.m. ET, with the preliminary fight card beginning at 7.
Tickets for “CES MMA 44” are priced at $40.00, $55.00, $100.00 and $125.00 (VIP) and can be purchased online at,, or by phone at 401-724-2253/2254 or at the Twin River Casino Players Club. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Also on the main card, Woonsocket, R.I., native and three-time Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) vet Sean Soriano (9-5, 4 KOs) makes his long-awaited homecoming in a featherweight bout against New Yorker Jacob Bohn (5-2, 1 KO), Soriano’s first fight in Rhode Island since his CES MMA debut in 2012 when he knocked out Lee Metcalf at “CES MMA 9.”
As an added bonus, fellow Woonsocket native and Blackzillians teammate, UFC bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath, will also return to his home state to work Soriano’s corner against Bohn. The two have combined for 15 CES MMA appearances, including Soriano’s last bout inside the CES cage at “CES MMA 38” on AXS TV against UFC vet Levan Makashvili.
“CES MMA 44” also features the return of Providence heavyweight Greg Rebello (21-7, 13 KOs), looking to continue his climb back to the top of the division in a scheduled three-round bout against Colorado’s Kevin Ray Sears (6-3, 3 KOs).
Welterweights Jon Manley (9-3) of Adams, Mass., and Manny Walo (11-2, 2 KOs) of Jersey City, N.J., clash in a CES MMA title eliminator with the winner facing reigning world champion Chris Curtis.
Manley, a standout on Season 16 of The Ultimate Fighter, makes his third CES MMA appearance and first since 2015 while Walo returns hoping to earn a second shot at the CES MMA World Welterweight Title following a stunning, 11-second knockout loss to then champion Chuck O’Neil in his first opportunity at “CES MMA 27.” Manley has won his last four, including two appearances with World Series of Fighting (WSOF), and eight of nine overall.
The reigning champion Curtis, now 15-5 overall, recently defended his title at “CES MMA 42,” stopping challenger Wilfredo Santiago via second-round knockout on AXS TV.
Light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez (6-2, 4 KOs) of Quincy, Mass., who has made quick work of his last two opponents in a combined 46 seconds, jumps right back in on the main card “CES MMA 44” against New Jersey’s Alec Hooben (5-2, 1 KO) and undefeated flyweight Carlos Candelario (5-0, 1 KO) of New Britain, Conn., faces Grand Rapid, Mich., native Shawn Mack (6-2, 1 KO).
Rodriguez set a new CES MMA record with his 7-second knockout win over Hector Sanchez in January and pummeled James Dysard in just 39 seconds at “CES MMA 43,” earning him his third appearance on AXS TV Fights on May 12th. Candelario, a rising star in the flyweight division, makes his fifth appearance with CES MMA after submitting Miguel Restrepo in January.
The preliminary card features the return of three-time CES MMA vet Toby Oden (2-1, 1 KO) of Milford, Mass., making his first appearance since 2015 plus two exciting female bouts. Oden faces Paul Sims of Philadelphia, who makes his professional debut. Oden last fought at “CES MMA 29,” scoring a first-round knockout win over Wayne Alhquist.
Also on the preliminary card, undefeated female flyweight Maria Rivera (2-0, 1 KO) of Framingham, Mass., returns for the third time since January in a three-round bout against New Haven, Conn., pre debut Marisa Messer-Belenchia while renowned bantamweight prospect Kerri Kenneson of Hooksett, N.H., debut against unbeaten Jennifer Norris (3-0, 1 KO) of Baltimore.
Milford, Conn., middleweight Justin Sumter (3-1, 2 KOs), who earned an impressive first-round knockout win in his CES MMA debut at “CES MMA 43” in Massachusetts, returns to face unbeaten Sandwich, Mass., native Brian Sparrow (2-0), who makes his second appearance with CES MMA in his first fight since 2013.
Visit, or for more information, or follow CES MMA on Instagram at @CESMMA.
— CES —
Michael Parente, Classic Entertainment & Sports, (401) 263-4990 or
Kim Ward, Twin River Casino, (401) 475-8352 or

AXS TV is a television network dedicated to providing the best in music programming and festivals, comedy performances, current events and mixed martial arts promotions. AXS TV is a partnership between founder Mark Cuban, AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and CBS. “AXS TV Fights” presents more live mixed martial arts and kickboxing events than any other television network with more than 40 world-class fight cards each year. “The Voice” Michael Schiavello and UFC Hall of Famer Pat Miletich call all the action as champions, challengers, and top prospects take center stage every Friday night.

Twin River Casino, located in Lincoln, Rhode Island, is the state’s largest gaming and entertainment venue as well as its top tourist and cultural attraction. Formerly known as Lincoln Park, the renovated facility offers 162,000 square-feet of gaming space with more than 5,000 gaming positions. The casino operates more than 4,200 video slot machines and virtual table games (including blackjack and roulette), as well as 108 live table games including blackjack, roulette, craps, a poker room and more. A great alternative to Connecticut and Massachusetts casinos, this unique gaming facility also hosts simulcasting of the best thoroughbred and greyhound racing from around the country, a 29,000+ square foot Twin River Event Center with headline entertainment, free concerts at the Lighthouse Bar, signature cocktails and premium cigars at Blackstone Cigar Bar, award winning beer and live music at the Shipyard Pub, as well as live comedy & karaoke every weekend at Rhodehouse Live. Home to the incredible Fred & Steve’s Steakhouse, you can have an award-winning steak and seafood dinner, or enjoy the exciting sports bar scene at Wicked Good Bar & Grill, as well as 18 other dining outlets. Twin River offers both smoking (1st Floor) and smoke-free (2nd Floor) casinos. Twin River Casino is situated just 10 minutes from Providence and less than an hour from Boston. 

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