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Santiago stuns O'Neil in AXS TV main event

Posted on November 11, 2016 at 12:25 AM

Santiago stuns O’Neil with first-round knockout in main event; Barrett stops the unbeaten Davis

PLYMOUTH, Mass. (Nov. 4th, 2016) – Middleweights Chuck O’Neil and Wilfredo Santiago entered Friday’s “CES MMA 39” main event at Plymouth Memorial Hall with 11 combined knockouts, so it was only fitting one of them met a quick demise on AXS TV Fights.

Santiago (7-3, 6 KOs), a natural welterweight jumping up 15 pounds to challenge the 12-time CES MMA vet O’Neil (17-9), ended this one quicker than expected, catching O’Neil with an overhand right that knocked his opponent cold 41 seconds into the opening round.

O’Neil threw a short left hand on the inside, but left his guard down and the Lawrence, Mass., native made him pay with a looping right hand that sent O’Neil crashing to the cage unconscious, a surprising finish for both Santiago, who has now won four in a row, and the Bourne, Mass., native O’Neil, who had won his last two since moving up to the middleweight division.

“I saw that he stays wide. He throws punches, but he stays wide,” Santiago said. “He doesn’t block himself too well. I kept baiting him and he finally took it.”

Friday’s event at historic Memorial Hall, co-promoted by CES MMA and Cage Titans FC, featured seven televised bouts on AXS TV’s AXS TV Fights and four preliminary bouts.

The co-feature between undefeated Abington, Mass., featherweight Manny Bermudez (8-0) and Framingham, Mass., veteran Saul Almeida (18-8) was the back-and-forth grinder everyone expected as Almeida survived several submission attempts over the course of the first two rounds before mounting a late surge in the third.

Though Bermudez couldn’t finish the fight, he did just enough to secure a 29-28, 28-29, 29-28 split decision win on the scorecards, much to the dismay of Almeida, who bolted the cage in disbelief over the decision. Almeida controlled the pace in the final round, but Bermudez kept him at bay in the first two rounds while attempting to lock in several guillotines, all of which Almeida escaped after long stretches on the canvas.

A night filled with knockouts featured a killer liver shot from Abington featherweight Peter Barrett (7-0, 6 KOs), who finished off previously unbeaten Clearwater, Fla., native Jeremy Davis (3-1) with a well-executed kick to the ribcage, sending Davis crumbling to the canvas at the 1:55 mark of the second round.

Barrett was in complete control midway through the second after finishing the opening round with effective ground and pound. Davis had just taken a breather early in the second after an inadvertent kick to the groin by Barrett, but once the fight resumed Barrett continued to press the action and landed the liver shot to put an end to Davis’ night.

A back-and-forth slugfest between Max Barrett (3-1) of Abington and Rocky Hill, Conn., vet Dan Dubuque (4-1) ended with Barrett suffering his first career loss via split decision, 29-28, 30-27, 28-29. The rounds were difficult to score as both fighters traded blows primarily in the center of the cage. Barrett mixed in more leg kicks in the later rounds, but Dubuque’s accuracy with the overhand right was the difference.

The main card continued with two quick finishes; Millersville, Md., welterweight Micah Terrill (9-6, 8 KOs) continues his trend of impressive knockout victories, stopping Palmer, Mass., native Bobby Flynn (6-4) with a flurry of punches at 1:10 of the opening round. Not to be outdone, Pittsburg, N.H., light heavyweight Kevin Haley (6-3) scored a big win against Mike Rodriguez (5-2) when he sunk in an early ankle lock, breaking Rodriguez’s ankle and forcing him to tap at the 1:08 mark of the first round. The loss snapped Rodriguez’s three-fight win streak while Haley won his third in a row.

Selden, N.Y., flyweight Josh Ricci (3-0), who won his pro debut at “CES MMA 32,” remained unbeaten, defeating Uxbridge, Mass., vet Remo Cardarelli (6-5) by split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 30-27, in the opening bout on the main card. Cardarelli controlled the opening round, nearly sinking two submissions, but Ricci survived the bell and took over in rounds two and three, using his superior ground game to control the pace.

Friday’s event, promoted by CES MMA in association with Cage Titans FC, featured four preliminary bouts prior to the start of the televised AXS TV Fights main card beginning at 9 p.m. ET.

Holbrook, Mass., lightweight Connor Barry closed the preliminary portion of “CES MMA 39” in style, submitting New Yorker Anthony Giachina at 1:39 of the opening round. Connor (2-0) scored the early takedown and locked in the guillotine choke to force the quick submission against Giachina, who dropped to 0-2 with the loss.

In the opening bout of the pro portion of the preliminary card, Milford, Mass., featherweight Richard Santiago (2-0) earned his second win by submission, forcing North Providence, R.I., native Devin Pilkington (0-5) to tap via rear-naked choke at the 4:04 of the opening round.

Friday’s preliminary card also featuring two amateur bouts. Joe Mikolinski (1-0) of the Fighting Arts Academy in Springfield, Mass., defeated Shane Brady (0-1) of Franklin Martial Arts in Franklin, Mass., and Charles Bonnar (3-0), also fighting out of FAA, won his third amateur bout in as many fights with a submission win over Broadway BJJ’s Zach Fritz-Kill (1-1) at the 1:29 mark of the third and final round via side choke.

– CES –


Michael Parente, Classic Entertainment & Sports, (401) 263-4990 or [email protected]

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