Return of CES
CES brings the cage back to its home venue in Lincoln, Rhode Island for CES 54. The promotion returns for its first event of 2019 with an incredible bantamweight title fight. Champion Tony Gravely looks to waste minimal time as he steps back in just a few months removed from earning his bantamweight title to defend it. The champion makes his first defense against Massachusetts prospect, Kris Moutinho.
New Englands bantamweight division is on fire as of lately. From rising prospects, Randy Costa, and Kris Moutinho to veterans such as Dinis Paiva and Kin Moy the pool of the New England weight division is teaming with talented fighters. The previous CES bantamweight champion, Andre Ewell, signed with the UFC after capturing the title in early summer at CES 50. Both champion and challenger of CES 54 strive for something similar.
For Tony Gravely, the journey to CES champion came with a side of undeniable emotion. Since losing consecutive bouts to then-unsigned UFC fighters Merab Dvalishvili and Manny Bermudez, Gravely won 8 of his last 9. In his last 4 appearances, the out of state champion is undefeated. Each of the 4 recent performances came by way of KO/TKO.
Theoretically, the prospect stock of Tony Gravely couldn’t be much higher. The Virginia fighter has a record stained with highly talented opponents. He holds wins over Bruno Ferreira, James Quigg, and Kody Nordby. While his losses came to notable fighters like Ricky Bandejas and the undefeated Patrick Mix.
The challenger, Kris Moutinho, is also on a hot streak coming into the new year. Moutinho made three appearances in 2018. The Milford fighter reigned victorious in all three, with the latter two being ‘fight of the night’ contenders.
At CES 51, Moutinho took on Da’Mon Blackshear in what was a battle between rising prospects. After falling behind in points at the conclusion of round one, the BST MMA fighter captured the final two rounds to defeat Blackshear by unanimous decision. This impressive victory put the former amateur champion in a peculiar position.
The position Moutinho found himself in was the conversation for title contention. What muddled the prospects of his opportunity was the previous challenger and teammate of Moutinho, Dinis Paiva. Paiva also held a claim to challenge for the vacant 135 lb. title. The Rhode Island fighter put on an exciting display against Andre Ewell before falling just short. After the loss, Paiva received the next title shot at the divisions vacated title.
Unfortunately, complications due to weight cutting forced Paiva to withdraw from the CES 53 main event. Kody Nordby took his place but ultimately fell to Gravely.
CES 54 takes place in Lincoln, Rhode Island at Twin River Resort and Casino on January 19th. Also set for the first card of the new year is an exhilarating middleweight matchup. UFC veteran Eric Spicely returns to the CES cage for CES 54. Spicely takes on New Jersey’s Stephen Regman in a featured main-card matchup.