Three world-title bouts headline CES MMA’s 2020 kickoff

photo by Will Paul

REIGNING CES MMA World Heavyweight Champion Greg Rebello (above) defends his title for the final time January 24 in his farewell bout at CES MMA 60 live on UFC FIGHT PASS at Twin River Casino. Rebello attempts to successfully defend his title for the second time and finish his storied career with 26 victories.
Friday, December 20, 2019

Three world-title bouts headline CES MMA’s 2020 kickoff

Heavyweight champion Rebello defends title in farewell bout; unbeaten welterweight Gotti III returns to action

PROVIDENCE, RI (December 20, 2019) – Three title bouts, two new champions, and a fond farewell to mixed martial arts.

CES MMA kicks off 2020 with a tripleheader to remember Friday, January 24 featuring three world-title bouts live and exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS® from the Twin River Casino Hotel.

Former world featherweight champion Matt Bessette (23-9, 7 KOs) headlines CES MMA 60 in an attempt to reclaim the now vacant title when he faces Houston’s Charles Cheeks III (14-7, 1 KO) in a five-round CES MMA World Featherweight Championship bout.

Joining the title chase are Cromwell, CT, prospect Johnny Lopez (12-4) and Pennsylvania’s Blaine Shutt (7-4), who battle in a five-round bout for the promotion’s first World Flyweight Championship, while reigning CES MMA World Heavyweight Champion Greg Rebello (25-9, 16 KOs) puts his title on the line one last time in his retirement bout.

The championship tripleheader streams live on FIGHT PASS with play-by-play man Michael Parente and UFC veterans Tom Lawlor and Joe Lauzon on color commentary beginning at 9 pm ET. Doors open at 6 with the first preliminary bout scheduled for 7.

Tickets start at $47 and are available at or or by phone at 401-724-2253. Subscriptions to FIGHT PASS are available at

CES MMA’s featherweight crown is again up for grabs with the former title-holder Bessette facing a tall order against Cheeks, a Legacy FC and LFA veteran. Bessette held the title from 2016 through 2018 and vacated it upon his promotion to the UFC. Bessette recently returned to CES MMA in March with a win over Tim Dooling at CES MMA 55 in Connecticut.

Lopez and Shutt collide for the inaugural flyweight championship, each boasting impressive wins on their respective resumes. The red-hot Lopez has won his last four while Shutt dominated the Pennsylvania circuit winning four consecutive bouts.

Win, lose, or draw, Rebello walks off into the sunset January 24, ending a storied career in which he’s 25 bouts, including 16 by knockout. A veteran of the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Rebello won the heavyweight title against Travis Wiuff at CES MMA 48 and defended it in July with a knockout win over Kevin Haley.

In addition to the three championship bouts, the main card on FIGHT PASS features the return of UFC light heavyweight William Knight who faces Rocky Edwards and the long-awaited return of red-hot undefeated welterweight prospect John Gotti III in a showdown with the dangerous Marcos Lloreda.

Atomweights Marisa Messer-Belenchia and Delaney Owen face off in the cage seven months removed from their professional boxing match against one another, which Messer-Belenchia won by unanimous decision. Popular strawweight Hilarie Rose returns in search of her fourth consecutive win and bantamweight Richie Santiago takes on vet Giorgi Kudakhashvili.

Highlighting the preliminary card is the return of local fan-favorite Thomas Evans who faces featherweight Zachary Johnson. Evans ends a seven-year layoff on January 24 as he returns to the cage in the midst of his campaign for City Councilman in Central Falls, RI. Also on the preliminary card are bantamweight Ashiek Ajim of Queens, NY; lightweight Eddie George of West Haven, CT making his professional debut; and welterweight Hugh McKenna of Syosset, NY.

Visit, or for more information, and follow CES MMA on Instagram at @CESMMA.

CES MMA is a mixed martial arts promotional firm based out of Providence, R.I., founded by legendary boxing promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr. It promoted the first sanctioned professional mixed martial event in the state of Rhode Island on Sept. 17, 2010 at Twin River Casino Hotel. Since its inception, CES MMA has promoted and developed the careers of several current and former UFC contenders, including Charles Rosa, Rob Font, Calvin Kattar, Mike Rodriguez and Tony Gravely, among others. In October of 2012, CES MMA promoted its first pay-per-view event at The Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, featuring the professional MMA debut of former WWE superstar Dave Bautista before signing a multi-year broadcast deal with AXS TV.

UFC FIGHT PASS® is the world’s leading digital subscription service for combat sports. Since launching in 2013, FIGHT PASS is now available in more than 200 countries and territories. FIGHT PASS provides its members with unlimited access to live UFC FIGHT PASS Prelims; live mixed martial arts and combat sports from around the world; original series and historical programming; special features; behind-the-scenes content; in-depth interviews; and up-to-the minute reports on the world of combat sports. FIGHT PASS subscribers also have 24/7 access to the world’s largest fight library, featuring more than 17,000 bouts from dozens of combats sports organizations, as well as every fight in UFC history. Fight fans can access FIGHT PASS on personal computers, iOS and Android mobile devices, Apple TV, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs, and Sony TVs with Android TV.


Michael Parente, CES MMA, 401-263-4990 or
Stephanie Gorman, UFC, 702-222-0854 or
Kim Ward, Twin River Casino Hotel, (401) 475-8352 or