Fan-favorites Rebello, Paiva return Friday to Twin River
CES MMA’s most accomplished fighters return to the cage Friday night at Twin River Casino Hotel as the region’s No. 1 promotion presents a throwback to its historic origins streaming live on UFC FIGHT PASS®.
CES 59, scheduled for October 25 and streaming live on combat sports’ top platform, features reigning CES MMA World Heavyweight champion Greg Rebello and former bantamweight world-title challenger Dinis Paiva, who’ve combined for 36 appearances with the promotion since its inception in 2010.
No. 1 on the list is Paiva (12-7, 7 KOs), the East Providence, RI, native who fights under the CES MMA banner for the record 20th time Friday in a three-round bout against New Jersey’s Tim Dooling (8-5, 3 KOs). Right behind him is Providence’s Rebello (24-9, 15 KOs) making his 18th appearance with CES MMA in defense of his world title in a five-round bout against an opponent to be determined.
Seasoned vet Paiva returns home where it all began
CES MMA’s elder statesman makes record 20th appearance with the promotion Friday night
PROVIDENCE, RI (October 23, 2019) – There’s loyalty, and then there’s Dinis Paiva loyalty, the kind of unbreakable bond between fighter and promoter almost unheard of in today’s combat sports environment.
The 31-year-old East Providence, RI, native and fan-favorite at Twin River Casino Hotel returns to CES MMA for the record 20th time – more than any fighter in the promotion’s history – Friday night when he faces New Jersey’s Timothy Dooling (8-5, 3 KOs) in a three-round bantamweight bout on the main card of CES MMA 59 live on UFC FIGHT PASS®.
Since he made his professional debut eight years ago at CES 6 with a knockout win over Jon Marcheterre, Paiva (12-7, 7 KOs) has yet to leave CES MMA or Twin River Casino. All 19 of his professional fights have been at the same venue, which is just a stone’s throw from his hometown and has since become the hub for mixed martial arts in New England.
To some degree, Paiva’s career is the MMA version of The Truman Show; fans have watched him mature through the years from a young, up-and-comer who entered the sport with no goals or expectations to a legitimate world-title contender on the brink of stardom. They experienced his growth through CES MMA’s network television and live streaming platforms. They cheered the highs and mourned the lows, developing the same sense of devotion to Paiva and his journey as the fighter bred with his promoter.
That kind of bond these days is rare. Fighters come and go and some promoters part ways with a once-prized prospect in the aftermath of what may seem like a temporary bump in the round. For Paiva, it was simple: He had no reason to go anywhere else.
“How could Tom Brady not retire with the New England Patriots? That’s his legacy. That’s how people know him,” Paiva said. “That’s how I feel about CES MMA.
“[President] Jimmy Burchfield has been good to me. They’ve always treated me fair. Leaving never crossed my mind or made any sense to me. I’ve been spoiled in a sense because I’ve always had that comfort level of fighting in my backyard. Not a lot of fighters get to experience that the way I have. I’m thankful.”
Tickets for CES 59 start at $47 and are available online at www.cesmma.com or www.showclix.com or by phone at 401-724-2253. Doors open at 6 p.m. ET with the first preliminary bout beginning at 7. The UFC FIGHT PASS® live stream kicks off at 8 with the broadcast team of Michael Parente and 11-time UFC vet Tom Lawlor. Start your free trail or purchase a UFC FIGHT PASS® subscription at www.ufcfightpass.com.
Paiva’s road to becoming the most prolific fighter in CES MMA history has had its share of bumps along the way. After winning his pro debut, he lost his next three before rebounding with back-to-back wins to close out 2012. The up-and-down journey continued with two more losses, leaving Paiva at 4-5 facing a career crossroads in what was considered at the time a major step-up bout against 11-5 Joe Cushman at CES 24. Paiva won by knockout 49 seconds into the opening round, a moment he looks back on as the turning point of his career.
“I’ve been more focused on my goals since then,” Paiva said, “and it shows.”
Paiva is 9-2 in his last 11 fights dating back to 2014. He nearly quit following a loss to Rob Sullivan in 2013, but instead began working with trainer Mike Gresh, whom he credits for talking him off the ledge and turning him into a world-title contender. Paiva eventually got his shot at championship glory at CES 50, the promotion’s golden anniversary, but came up short against Andre Ewell. Twenty fights in, the goal remains the same – win a world title and further cement his status as a future CES MMA Hall of Famer.
“Fighting for CES MMA, the people I’ve met along the way, it’s one of the things I’ll always be able to look back on,” Paiva said. “I remember making my pro debut as the first fight of the night in front of a half-empty arena. I worked my way up the ranks, learning things as I went along, and, most importantly, learned the right way to do things.
“Winning a world title is still what it’s all about. I wouldn’t be doing this if there wasn’t a bigger prize at the end. I don’t know how I could ever walk away from the sport without being a CES MMA champion.”
Well-rested Nordby ready for another run to the top
Bantamweight Kody Nordby contemplated retirement following his shocking loss to Tony Gravely at CES MMA 53. He had just returned home from a nine-month deployment to Iraq and Syria as a Sergeant with the U.S. Army and his wife was pregnant with their second child.
Not so fast.
While sitting at home watching Dana White’s Contender Series week in, week out, the 26-year-old Cumberland, RI, native realized he had a lot left in the tank, not to mention an opportunity to take his dormant career to the next level.
“Each week, I’m watching, and I’m like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe that guy made it so soon,’” Nordby said of the groundbreaking series, which offers winners a chance to earn a contract with the UFC.
“I can’t just sit on the sidelines watching these people I know I can beat go out there and win. It lit a fire.”
The heat is back on Friday night as Nordby (9-5) makes his long-awaited return at CES 59 at Twin River Casino Hotel on UFC FIGHT PASS® against Da’mon Blackshear (4-3, 1 KO) of Fayetteville, NC. It’s been 11 months since Nordby’s loss to Gravely on AXS TV, but it didn’t take long for the former standout high school wrestler to get back into fight shape.
As someone who always stays ready – even with his second son entering the world only a month ago – Nordby is as ready as he’ll ever be for what he hopes is another run back to the top of the 135-pound division.
“We’ll see where it goes,” he said. “I’m excited, but I’m going to take it one fight at a time.”
Tickets for CES 59 start at $47 and are available online at www.cesmma.com or www.showclix.com or by phone at 401-724-2253. Doors open at 6 p.m. ET with the first preliminary bout beginning at 7. The UFC FIGHT PASS® live stream kicks off at 8 with the broadcast team of Michael Parente and 11-time UFC vet Tom Lawlor. UFC FIGHT PASS® subscriptions are available at www.ufcfightpass.com.
The last time Nordby fought, he was supposed to face Zachary Burhans, but when Gravely’s original opponent, Dinis Paiva, was forced to withdraw the day of the weigh-in, CES MMA presented Nordby with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“I was in the sauna and I suddenly get the call asking if I wanted to step up to the main event and fight Gravely for the vacant title,” Nordby said. “It was an easy decision. There’s no way you can say no.”
Just a few hours before stepping on the scale, Nordby agreed to change course, knowing he’d have to adapt to facing an accomplished wrestler as opposed to Burhans, a natural striker, in addition to stepping up from a scheduled three-round bout to a potential five-round affair. Nordby came out firing from the opening bell and locked in what appeared to be a solid armbar attempt, but Gravely picked him up off the canvas and slammed him on his head twice. The second blow knocked Nordby unconscious, ending the fight in just 36 seconds.
“It is what it is,” Nordby said. “You just have to roll with the punches.”
Since then, he’s remained active outside the cage, adding a new layer to his game by training with fellow Rhode Islander Nate Andrews, a noted striker who is currently competing with the Professional Fighters League. The goal is to return to the cage with a new skill set in addition to his wrestling acumen.
“I want to showcase my standup more,” Nordby said. “I knew going back and working at Tri-Force MMA would help me bridge that gap.”
“Physically, I feel great,” he continued. “This has been one of the best camps of my life. I’m in really good shape. My wife is doing a great job with the baby letting me get out and train twice a day. Mentally, I’m ready. I’m looking forward to getting back in there.”
Friday’s show also features the return of fan-favorites Paiva (12-7, 7 KOs) of East Providence, RI, and Jose Lugo (4-1, 1 KO) of Woonsocket, RI, in addition to a special appearance by unbeaten light heavyweight William Knight (5-0, 5 KOs) of Connecticut, who recently signed a development deal with the UFC following his win over Herdem Alacabek in Week 8 of the Dana White’s Contender Series. Reigning CES MMA World Heavyweight champion Greg Rebello’s scheduled five-round title defense for Friday’s main card has been postponed to 2020 due to an injury sustained by challenger Parnell Davis.
Making his record 20th appearance with CES MMA, Paiva battles New Jersey’s Tim Dooling (8-5, 3 KOs) while Lugo returns in an intriguing showdown against fellow CES MMA veteran and Whitesville, NY, native Josh Ricci (4-2).
Also on the main card, lightweight Moses Monteiro (2-1, 1 KO) of Everett, MA, battles Darius Estelle (5-2, 2 KOs) of Michigan. Boston lightweight Andres Jeudi (7-6, 3 KOs) fights for the first time since 2016 in a showdown against upstate New York veteran Jacob Bohn (7-6, 1 KO), and Sanad Armouti (1-0, 1 KO), also of Boston, faces Miami’s Marcos Lloreda (6-5, 2 KOs) in welterweight action. Preliminary bouts include bantamweight Askik Ajim (1-0) of Long Island battling Arslan Otchiyev (1-1) of Stratford, CT; welterweight Hugh McKenna (2-4) of Syosset, NY, against fellow New Yorker and undefeated amateur Jarell Davis; and featherweight Nate Ghareeb (1-0, 1 KO) of Southampton, MA, facing East Rochester, NY, native Zachary Johnson (0-2).