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CES 25 REVIEW!! Sorry we're late....

The Regional Fight Sports team had a wonderful evening at CES 25 at the beautiful Twin River Casino in Lincoln, Rhode Island, where we were able to see some of the best talent in New England go head to head in one of the region’s ultimate proving grounds. Local stars, wild brawls, razor-thin decisions and amazing stoppages littered the card, in what is sure to be one of the better fight nights in recent memory.

Opening things up, Keenan Raymond and Jay Bakanowski went to war in a five minute round that must have felt like a lifetime for the fighters. Raymond battered Bakanowski for much of the opening frame with punches and kicks, but the resilient Bakanowski was able to survive the onslaught before biting down on his mouthpiece and mounting an offensive of his own. The two battled back and forth for the better part of the round, before an errant kick seemed to injured the powerful Raymond, who ultimately would break his foot and be unable to continue the bout, giving Bakanowski the TKO victory due to injury.

Next up on the card, a quick fight indeed, as New Hampshire’s Wayne Ahlquist needed only nine seconds to drop opponent Tommy Venticinque with a vicious liver kick. Simple, violent, beautiful.

Following these two stand-up clinics, the audience was treated to a grappling clinic by the always impressive Billy Giovanella, as he engaged power-wrestler Kody Nordby in a flyweight tilt. While it was Nordby who got top position with his typical powerful takedowns, it was Giovanella who controlled the action on the ground through his active and offensive guard. Nodrby seemed to be on the defense for most of the fight’s action, until ultimately surrendering a vice-grip of a triangle choke to Billy, and Kody was forced to tap. In a fight that was as fast as it was brutal,

Eric Spicely dispatched talented journeyman Nuri Shakir via a vicious TKO along the fence. Grabbing a trip, Spicely expertly pinned Nuri’s hands as he tried to wall-walk, opening a hole for Spicely to feed the struggling Shakir a steady diet of knuckle-sandwiches, until the ref had no choice but to end the fight. Spicely is now on a roll, and continues forward in the welterweight division undefeated.

In a fast-paced and fun fight, formerly ranked Bantamweight Robbie Leroux engaged perennial top-10 Bantamweight Tateki Matsuda. Leroux started off strong with his old go-to…powerful slams and wrestling. Scooping Matsuda to the crowd’s applause, Leroux slammed Matsuda to the mat with authority, and seemed to be controlling the fight. That said, the cagey veteran in Matsuda found a way out, sneaking out of the bottom position and onto Leroux’s back, where he was able to lock in a fight-ending Rear Naked Choke to win the bout, putting Matsuda to 10-5. The defeat leaves Leroux at 6-5, and on a four-fight losing streak.

In an easy pick for “Fight of the Night”, the man with the best nickname out there, Gemiyale “Baby Hercules” Adkins did battle with the dangerous Nate “The Snake” Andrews. For three grueling rounds, Adkins and Andrews traded punches, kicks, knees, submission attempts and reversals on the mat, battering each other from pillar to post. That said, when the smoke cleared, it was “Baby Hercules” who would be awarded the unanimous decision victory, in a fight that both men should be proud of. Adkins now improves to a record of 9-8, while Andrews will have to rebound from his first defeat, and holds a new record of 6-1.

In the most contentious decision of the night, savage striker Chip Moraza-Pollard engaged in a brawl with the talented Harley Beekman, to decide for good and all, who was the true #1 contender in New England. The fight was a difficult one to score, so difficult that even the RFS team was divided on the victor, as Moraza-Pollard’s crisp and precise striking had to be weighed against Beekman’s constant takedowns and pressure against the cage. In the end, it was Beekman who was awarded the razor-thin split-decision victory, and the decision was met with just as many boo’s as cheers….maybe we can get a sequel fight to see what happens there?

In another Fight of the Night contender, local hero and potential superhuman Charles Rosa took the cage against All-American wrestler Jake Constant. However, it seems like Constant forgot about all his accolades before the bell rang, as from the second the clock started in the first round, Constant was headhunting with those bowling-ball hands. Flinging punches with aggression and pace that would crumble many fighters, Constant battered Rosa in the opening minute, rocking the American Top Team product in the process. That said, the “Boston Strangler’s” chin held, and once he was able to get his bearings and slow down the furious Constant, Rosa got to work. Catching Constant with a diverse array of kicks and sharp punching combinations, eventually, it would be Rosa who landed the takedown, and once the fight hit the mat, Constant was in trouble. Rosa calmly got his positioning, waited for his opportunity, and snatched that famous arm-bar for his ninth consecutive stoppage victory, and his eighth first round stoppage in his young career.

In the co-main event of the evening, the criminally underrated Gil de Freitas engaged the game George Sheppard, who proved that just because you lose the fight via knockout, doesn’t mean you don’t have a hell of a chin. De Freitas came forward with a simple game-plan…one-two Sheppard’s face repeatedly, stopping only to batter him with leg kicks. This proved to be an effective strategy. While Sheppard had his moments, throwing some flashy, lightning-quick combinations and cutting Gil, it was the back-to-basics approach that Gil applied to this fight that secured the victory. Ultimately, in the second round, Sheppard ended up with his back to the fence, and Gil uncorked a missile of a right hand, knocking Sheppard silly for the Knockout victory. De Freitas is now 16-5 as a fighter and has to be hoping for something big in his future, he deserves it. Sheppard falls to 15-8.

Finally, the main event. The fight that everyone was talking about. Julian Lane, of “TUF” fame, taking on local superstar Luis “Rockstar” Felix. True to his nickname, Felix must have had 200 fans in attendance to see him alone. The fight started extremely slow, as the two fighters seemed content to feel each other out, and the two seemed hesitant to engage. Felix was the more active striker, attacking a tad more than Lane with kicks, primarily. Two rounds went by, and Lane began to look a bit gassed, in spite of a relatively slow affair. Felix floored the “TUF” alum with a savage side kick, once Lane returned to his feet, Felix went for the takedown, and that was it. Lane slapped on a guillotine with expert technique, looking every bit the part of champion, when Felix slowly slipped into unconsciousness. Lane choked Felix out cold with that hold, and in turn, silenced the vast majority of fans, and grabbed the belt he had waited for patiently. Submission of the night for sure.

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