Rhode Island-based MMA promotion CES started 2020 with a bang, stacking CES 60 with prospects and championship fights. Headlining the card was Matt Bissette and Charles Cheeks III fighting for the vacant CES Bantamweight Championship. The card also saw the flyweight and heavyweight belts on the line too.

Quick Results

Bout 1: Richie Santiago def. Giorgi Kudukhashvili via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 1:15)

Bout 2: William Knight def. Rocky Edwards via KO, Punch (RD 3, 2:56)

Bout 3: Ashiek Ajim def. Andres Rodriguez via TKO, Punches (RD 3, 3:14)

Bout 4: Blaine Shutt def. Johnny Lopez via Decision, Split (CES Flyweight Championship)

Bout 5: John Gotti III def. Marcos Lloreda via Decision, Unanimous

Bout 6: Greg Rebello def. Jordan Mitchell via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 1:07) (CES Heavyweight Championship)

Bout 7: Matt Bessette def. Charles Cheeks III via KO, Punch (RD 3, 4:01) (CES Featherweight Championship)

Full Coverage

Bout 1: Richie Santiago (7-2) vs. Giorgi Kudukhashvili (5-3) (Bantamweight)

After an unsuccessful fight on Dana White’s Contender Series, Richie Santiago returned to CES to face Giorgi Kudukhashvili. Kudukhashvili put Santiago against the cage in a clinch in the first minute after some close striking. He eventually got a takedown, although Santiago was quick to get back up into the clinch again. Kudukhashvili landed a slam to put Santiago back down, though they got back up again soon. Kudukhashvili landed a knee to the head with a minute left in the round which seemingly dropped Santiago. They went back to the feet with under a minute left. A left hook rocked Santiago, shooting for a takedown. Kudukashvili threw Santiago for a takedown, getting on his back and throwing some punches. Santiago had a great scramble, getting top position and throwing a few punches before the round ended.

Santiago slipped because of a kick at the start of the second round, going to the ground because of it. Kudukashvili kept ahold of Santiago, throwing him back down when they got back up. Santiago took top position and started to throw tons of strikes. He started to throw elbows, eventually doing enough for the referee to step in and end it. Getting out of a tough first round, Richie Santiago got his first win via strikes.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Santiago 9
Kudukhashvili 10

Bout 2: William Knight (6-1) vs. Rocky Edwards (12-9-1) (Light Heavyweight)

William Knight, who is a Dana White’s Contender Series “development fighter,” fought Rocky Edwards in this next fight. Knight was coming off a loss from CFFC in November, being stopped within a round by Tafon Nchukwi. Knight landed a loud kick to the body in the opening seconds. They went into a clinch and eventually went to the ground, with Knight getting top position. He landed shots to the body while in half guard. They got back up with just over two minutes left in the round. Knight got another takedown, but had to defend a kimura attempt that Edwards was trying for on bottom position. Edwards swept Knight, flipping the position. Knight flipped it back around before the round ended.

Knight let some strikes go to start the second round. He got some more in when they got into a clinch. Edwards got on Knight’s back on the ground. They were in a bit of a stalemate, as Knight had a hold of one of Edwards’ arms. They stayed in that position basically for the rest of the round.

Knight was throwing lots of kicks to start the final round. With two minutes left in the round, Knight landed a left jab and an overhand right that dropped Edwards. The referee was quick to step in and end the fight. Bouncing back from his first loss as a pro, William Knight has still yet to go to the judges as a pro.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Knight 10 9
Edwards 9 10

Bout 3: Ashiek Ajim (2-0) vs. Andres Rodriguez (4-0) (Bantamweight)

In the next fight, undefeated bantamweights Ashiek Ajim and Andres Rodriguez battled. Both fighters were showing quick hands at the start. Rodriguez was hit with a leg kick which made him stumble. Ajim connected with a good few strikes, but then fell while throwing a kick, and got hit with a punch while getting back up. They went into a clinch, separating eventually. Ajim was the better striker for the rest of the round.

In the first minute of the second round, a pause came as Ajim was poked in the eye. When they resumed, both fighters were landing good punches. Ajim shot for a takedown after more than a minute of stand-up. Rodriguez did a good job stopping it and bringing the fight back to striking. He landed a takedown with a minute left in the round. They got back to their feet shortly after.

Ajim was the better striker in the third round, landing some shots which were clearly hurting Rodriguez. They went into a clinch after Rodriguez was hit with many punches up against the cage. Ajim landed a left hook and right straight which dropped Rodriguez for a walk-ff knockout win. Advancing his undefeated record to 3-0, Ashiek Ajim showcased his powerful striking.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Ajim 10 10
Rodriguez 9 9

 

Bout 4: Johnny Lopez (12-4) vs. Blaine Shutt (7-4) (CES Flyweight Championship)

In the first of three championship fights of the evening, CES crowned their flyweight champion. Competing for the vacant crown was Johnny Lopez and Blaine Shutt. They went into a clinch against the cage in the first minute. Shutt got the throw takedown, although Lopez stod back up. After battling for a long time against the cage, they finally separated with just over a minute left in the round. Lopez tried again for a takedown before the round ended.

There were two minutes of inactive striking in the second round before Shutt went into another clinch. Shutt got on Lopez’s back in the final moments, trying for a leg hold before the round ended.

After Shutt landed a decent few strikes, Lopez put them in a clinch yet again. Very slow-paced fight. Lopez threw some elbows to the head while Shutt had him against the cage. They returned to stand-up for only 30 seconds with a minute left. Shutt got Lopez to his knees in a takedown attempt but didn’t finish it before the round ended.

Shutt had Lopez against the cage for a large portion of the fourth round. Shutt climbed on his back for a moment. When they went to the ground, Lopez was the one in top position.

At the start of the fifth round, Shutt put Lopez to the cage. Lopez got some good strikes in before they returned to stand-up. Lopez came in with a few punches before shooting for a takedown. They went to the ground where Shutt had a hold of one of Lopez’s arms. Shutt tried for a banana split, with Lopez escaping the position by starting to throw strikes. From one rare submission to another, Shutt then tried for a twister. He couldn’t fully lock it in. Shutt landed some knees in the clinch before the fight ended. Being the first main card fight to go the distance, Blaine Shutt became the CES Flyweight Champion in what was quite differentiating scorecards (50-44 Shutt, 50-45 Lopez & 49-46 Shutt).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Lopez 9 9 9 9 9 45
Shutt 10 10 10 10 10 50

Bout 5: John Gotti III (4-0) vs. Marcos Lloreda (5-7) (Welterweight)

Before the final two title fights, undefeated John Gotti III fought Marcos Lloreda. The crowd was quite behind Gotti, even booing Lloreda when he was introduced. Lloreda was landing good leg kicks early on. A pause came in the first round as Gotti was hit low by accident. Gotti punch combinations which had Lloreda retreating. Llorda got a takedown, getting on Gotti’s back. Gotti eventually spun out of the position, taking top position on the ground. The crowd was chanting Gotti’s name at this point. Gotti landed some good hammerfist strikes in top position.

Gotti shot for a takedown in the first minute of the second round. He was not successful, getting hit with some strikes when he got back up. Damage from previous leg kicks started to show on Gotti’s legs. Lloreda came in for a flying knee, but Gotti caught him and slam him to the ground. Gotti got on Lloreda’s back with a minute and a half to go in the round. Gotti stayed in control on the ground until the round ended.

At the start of the final round, Gotti shot for a takedown. Lloreda tried for a submission from bottom position. Gotti got on Lloreda’s back. Lloreda spun around and took full mount. Gotti turned around, letting Lloreda take his back. Lloreda tried for an armbar, but never really secured it. Gotti found himself in scary positions many times on the ground. When they got back up, Gotti threw Lloreda back down and got on his back. The fight went all fifteen minutes with John Gotti III earning a unanimous decision victory, extending his undefeated record to five (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Gotti 10 10 9 29
Lloreda 9 9 10 28

Bout 6: Greg Rebello (25-9) vs. Jordan Mitchell (8-13) (CES Heavyweight Championship)

In the co-main event, Greg Rebello defending his CES Heavyweight Championship against Jordan Mitchell. The challenger, Mitchell, went into this fight with a negative record and had lost in his last fight before. Rebello put Mitchell up against the cage for a little before landing a takedown. Rebello tried for a kimura from side control, although Mitchell was able to prevent it. Rebello landed lots of short punches to Mitchell’s head from side position. On Mitchell’s back, Rebello threw even more punches. Numerous unanswered strikes happened, knocking Mitchell’s mouthpiece out at some point. It arguably could have been stopped, although the fight did continue to the second round.

A doctor checked Mitchell out before the second round started. Mitchell charged forward at the start, going into a clinch. They separated, with Mitchell eating some shots while cornered. They took turns throwing lots of punches. Mitchell got a takedown, returning to the ground and pound that he had success with in the round before. He kept with the punches until the referee stepped in and ended it. After the fight, Rebello announced that this fight would be his last. Ending his career on his own terms, Greg Rebello retained his Heavyweight belt and put a stop to Jordan Mitchell in the second round.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Rebello 10
Mitchell 8

Bout 7: Matt Bessette (23-9) vs. Charles Cheeks III (14-7) (CES Featherweight Championship)

 

Finishing the trio of championship fights, Matt Bessette and Charles Cheeks III fought for the vacant CES Featherweight Championship. Right off the bat in the fight they went into a clinch. Cheeks brought it to the ground with a trip takedown. He tried for a head and arm choke from side position. Cheeks hopped on Bessette’s back, trying for a rear naked choke. When they got back up, Bessette landed a few punches. They went back into a clinch again, where Cheeks landed a few punches to the body. They separated with under a minute left. Bessette scored with an uppercut. Cheeks caught a kick, taking Bessette to the ground.

Bessette tried for a flying knee as the first round started. Cheeks got a takedown. They got back up in a clinch as the round as closing out.

Cheeks held onto Bessette for a clinch after he was hit by a combo of punches. Bessette got a guillotine, bringing Cheeks to the ground in the second minute of the third round. Cheeks got out of the choke, and they stood back up shortly after. Cheeks was the one landing punches when they first got up. He tried for a takedown that Bessette denied. With just over a minute left in the fight, Bessette landed a right hand which knocked Cheeks out cold. After a close few rounds, Matt Bessette won back the CES Featherweight Championship with a hard walk-off knockout. 

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
Bessette 9 9
Cheeks 10 10