On August 3, Nate “The Snake” Andrews will return to the CES cage to defend his lightweight belt for the first tie as half the main event of CES 51. On the other side of the cage will be D’Juan Owens, a matchup CES matchmaker Pat Sullivan said he has been eyeing for a while.
“It’s a matchup style that we really we’ve kinda been throwing around for a while and it just happened to work out.”
“It’s definitely going to be a fight where I imagine if it goes five if it goes three if it goes two, however long it goes, it’s going to be exciting the entire time.”
Andrews has the more impressive record at 13-1 and in his whole career, amateur and professional, all of his wins have come by finish. His lone loss was also the only fight in his career to go to a decision. Most recently, Andrews defeated Chris Padilla by rear naked choke in the second round at CES 59 in March.
Owens will have the experience advantage with 29 professional fights in his career and a 16-12-1 professional record. He has faced notable names such as Marlon “Chito’ Vera, Adam Townsend and Luis Felix. The latter was at CES 27 in 2015, the former CES lightweight champion Felix defeated Owens before he was a CES champion. But Owens impressed the CES brass enough to want to invite him back. In fact, Owens is coming off a knockout loss in his last fight to Mike Stevens in March of this year, but Sullivan believes he is still worthy of a title shot.
“There’s fighters who coming off a loss are still worthy of a shot like this. It really all depends on the fighter. MMA such a tough game, you can be on the greatest of win streaks and have a tough loss and that doesn’t mean you’re any less of a fighter. For us, it’s a matchup we like, and I think it’s going to be really good not just for the fans not only at Twin River but on AXS as well. The most important thing is we want to make sure whoever wins our championship is going to represent us well as a professional. Which I know Nate already is and I know D’Juan would be if he wins and that they’re going to bring it and that it’s going to be an exciting fight. There’s no question about those two. I mean, they’re probably two of the most exciting lightweights you can put together.”
Andrews was surprisingly not scooped up by the UFC for an outright contract or for a spot on the Contender Series. Sullivan is very happy to have his champion back.
“We love having Nate on our card, so for us, we’re excited for August 3.”
The co-main event has a very local feel, the featherweight title fight features UFC veteran Sean Soriano, who hails from Rhode Island and Bruce Boyington who lives not too far away in Maine. Soriano lost his three fights in the UFC but has bounced back on the regional scene going 3-2 to make his record 11-5. Boyington has taken on all comers, having faced the likes of the last World Series of Fighting (WSOF) featherweight champion Andre Harrison, current CES lightweight titleholder Nate Andrews and UFC veteran Des Green. He has victories over UFC veteran Devin Powell and WSOF fighter Saul Almeida.
“Soriano is really deserving of this and Bruce is deserving of it and we’re really excited, I think with especially a little bit of a local flair, I think that’s pretty cool.”
CES has been making strides to promote female fighters throughout their history and at CES 51 they will hit another milestone when they feature their first atomweight bout. Kaiyana Rain will take on Marissa Messer-Belenchia. Rain doesn’t have the record she’d like to have but the losses did come to top-level opponents, her first two fights were against Tecia Torres and Kailin Curran. Messer-Belenchia will come in with an undefeated record of 1-0. Sullivan says there aren’t that many atomweights in the area so it’s hard to form a division, but he is hoping the fight will attract more and make CES a destination for female fighters.
“Hopefully this will open up eyes to some more female fighters.”
“We’re going to more out into this, Jimmy Burchfield, he was one of the pioneers of women’s boxing and it’s something he’s instilled into me since day one is wait till you have the right females to have our first fight and that was Kaline Medeiros and make sure you do it justice and make sure that whatever females you put in there they’re good fighters and professionals. We’ve always believed that a good female fight can rival a good male fight any day. And that’s what we’re trying to do, show the world and our fans that female fighting is just as good as male fighting.”
On the main card, two top prospects in Kris Moutinho and Da’Mon Blackshear will face off. Moutinho is making a quick turnaround as he recently scored a first-round knockout on June 30 at CES 50. Blackshear will be making his CES debut.
“Kris definitely has his hands full, I mean the kid is 5-1 and he fought some good fighters and is coming from a good fight team. Kris had a little rough patch, two losses in a row, but man did he come back with a knockout in the last fight. When Kris is in there and he’s on, and he’s in there with bad intentions, he’s one of the best fighters around.”
With the two title fights and top prospects competing on the card, attention is hard to come by, but on the main card, Sullivan believes a lightweight matchup between Lewis Corapi and Jacob Bohn can steal the spotlight.
“I think one of the most underrated fights on the card is Lewis Corapi and Jacob Bohn, that’s a fight I’m really excited about, we were really excited to make that fight with both guys. Lewis hasn’t fought in a while and he comes from such a strong fighting background with Charles Rosa and Rico Disciullo, guys that he’s trained with his whole life. Now he’s finally getting back to a point where he can get back and showcase his skills on AXS.”
“Jacob Bohn had the fight of the night at our CES NY show. He and Kenny Foster went toe to toe for 15 minutes. It was blood everywhere, I think we had to throw away our first canvas from New York because he and Kenny spilled their blood all over it. It was a fun fight which really opened up a lot of eyes on to our team. I can tell you, Jimmy Burchfield, Sr. himself came up to me after the fight and said Jake was really impressive let’s make sure to keep him active.”
“Definitely a fight we didn’t see coming, but once we realized Corapi was ready to return and ready to fight again this was a fight that was too good to be true.”
Another fight that Sullivan has his eyes on is a heavyweight matchup between Ras Hylton and Eric Bedard. Hylton is coming off of his first career loss at CES NY and Bedard has a record of 6-7, but Sullivan believes that this undercard fight (not televised) will bring the crowd and locker room to their feet and set the tone for the night.
“One fight that I’m really excited about, aside from the two title fights is a fight that’s on the undercard that’s going to be a really excited one is Ras Hyltin from Maine and he’s fighting Eric Bedard from Providence. It’s going to be such a fun matchup because both guys are such good guys to work with and both have been really respectful of the sport and their opponents. I think the type of fight, fighters in the locker room are gonna want to come out and watch because it’s two good guys who are going to go out there and bang. It’s definitely going to be a slugfest and I think that fight is definitely going to be fireworks.”
CES has grown a reputation not only as one of the top MMA and boxing promotions in the northeast but also as a strong member of the New England community. They have made efforts to give back and that continues as Sullivan raises money in honor of his mother who past away from breast cancer a decade ago. Sullivan said that over the past eight years, he and his family have has raised 300,000 dollars for research at Dana Farber. The research has led to many lives saved but Sullivan is determined to make sure no one has to go through the pain he did when he lost his mother.
“Every day I try to raise more money and awareness for this because even though 97.5 of the women are cancer-free, there’s still that two and a half percent that still have it, that was my mother, she passed away from it. So we grind for it every day to get that cure.”
To make a donation, please go to this link: JoAnneSullivanMemorialFund.org
CES 51 is on August 3 and is live on television on AXS TV.
On the night McGregor “earned” his title shot by beating Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 59 Sean Soriano lost in front of his hometown New England fans and was subsequently released from the UFC. He’s had some ups and downs since then but is now riding a two-fight winning streak coming into this CES 51 Co-main event.
To learn more about the fighters, read interviews done by myself and our friends at MMA Today:
Kris Moutinho – https://mymmanews.com/kris-moutinho-ces-51/
Lewis Corapi – https://mymmanews.com/lewis-pretty-boy-corapi-ces-51/
Lightweight World Championship
Nate Andrews vs. D’Juan Owens
Featherweight World Championship
Sean Soriano vs. Bruce Boyington
Kris Moutinho vs. Da’Mon Blackshear
Dylan Lockard vs. Brandon Seyler
Lewis Corapi vs. Jacob Bohn
Blair Tugman vs. Shane Manley
Eric Bedard vs. Ras Hylton
Hilarie Rose vs. Ivana Coleman
Fabio Cherant vs. Buck Pineau
Marissa Messer-Belencia vs. Kaiyana Rain
Jesse Pires vs. Jeff Silva
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