LINCOLN --- Sometime tonight, Andre Soukhamthath and his family will finish packing their belongings and begin the long drive to Boca Raton, Fla. Thatâ€™s where they will move so the Woonsocket bantamweight can train full-time with the multi-talented Blackzilians combat team.
But before setting his sights on his future, Soukhamthath made sure that he took care of the present and concluded one of the greatest years by a Rhode Island MMA fighter with a magnificent performance in the co-feature of this past weekendâ€™s â€śCES MMA XXâ€ť show at the Twin River Event Center.
Soukhamthath wrapped up 2013 with a 4-0 mark and became the winningest fighter in Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc.â€™s four-year MMA history by landing an impressive TKO victory over Corey Simmons of Defiance, Ohio.
â€śThe Asian Sensationâ€ť (7-1, 4 KOs) wasnâ€™t awarded the TKO until seconds before the second round was going to begin. Thatâ€™s when Simmons spit out his mouthpiece, began dry-heaving, and collapsed in his corner.
Simmons (5-6) absorbed his share of abuse from Soukhamthath throughout the first round. After dealing a handful of kicks to Simmonsâ€™ body and legs, Soukhamthath bodyslammed Simmons to the mat with 2:51 left in the five-minute round.
There, Soukhamthath was thinking submission as he tried to slap a crucifix on Simmons, but Simmons, who almost rolled Soukhamthath over, was able to squirm free and get back on his feet.
With 50 seconds left, Soukhamthath again slammed Simmons to the canvas, and in the remaining time, he landed three sharp right elbows, with the last one (in the final seconds) creating a gash near Simmonsâ€™ right eye.
After the bell ended the round and both fighters returned to their corners, the showâ€™s physician entered the cage to look at Simmonsâ€™ cut and see if he was able to continue.
Simmons passed the mini-examination and both fighters left their stools to begin the second round, but seconds later, it became obvious that Simmons was unable to continue, and when he dropped to the canvas, referee Kevin MacDonald mercifully stop the fight.
â€śIf he came out for the second round, he was going to get knocked out,â€ť said Soukhamthath, â€śbecause I saw in his eyes that he was done.â€ť
Soukhamthath came out of the fight without a scratch on his face or a bruise on his body, and while Simmons didnâ€™t do any damage to him, he did worry Soukhamthath a little at the beginning of the fight when he came out strong and tried to control matters early.
â€śI had to focus on weathering that storm,â€ť remarked Soukhamthath. â€śI think he tried so hard to dominate me that he probably gassed himself out.â€ť
The victory was the seventh in a row for Soukhamthath (another record for R.I. fighters), and it snapped a tie between him and Pawtucket middleweight and Tri-Force MMA teammate Todd Chattelle for the most in CES history.
And speaking of Pawtucketâ€™s Tri-Force MMA, this was Soukhamthathâ€™s last fight as a full-time fighter for the organization. He will be joining the famed Blackziliansâ€™ stable, but continuing to fight with CES and training with Tri-Force MMA during the weeks leading up to his fights in the northeast.
â€śI have some of the best coaches in the world at Tri-Force MMA,â€ť admitted Soukhamthath. â€śTim Burrill Jiu-Jitsu has really helped me out, and I also did some cross-training at Sityodtong [Boston] for this fight with Rob Font.
â€śIt hurts me to leave Tri-Force, but Iâ€™m not really leaving. Iâ€™m just going out to venture off so I can help build [my career] and train with some of the best fighters in the world, but Iâ€™m always going to be a part of the family.â€ť
Font, a tough featherweight from Reading, Mass., fought in the nightâ€™s main event and defended his CES MMA championship belt by also coming away with his seventh straight win (and his fourth with CES), defeating Welland, Ontario native Matt DiMarcantonio.
Font improved his record to 8-1 by ruling DiMarcantonio (4-3) from start to finish â€“ mostly on the ground â€“ and earning an unanimous decision triumph that saw him claim the fight by three scores of 30-27.
In a fight that featured another of R.I.â€™s well-known fighters and was a CES lightweight title eliminator bout, Providenceâ€™s Luis â€śRockstarâ€ť Felix (10-7) nipped Somerville, Mass.â€™s Lucas Cruz (6-2) in a close split decision, taking the fight by scores of 29-28, 28-29, and 29-28.
Another R.I. fighter was able to end 2013 with a 4-0 mark, East Providence lightweight Nate â€śThe Snakeâ€ť Andrews (6-0, 3 KOs), who was impressive in recording a knockout victory Chelsea Mass. fighter Franklin Isabel. Andrews put away Isabel 51 seconds into their fight with a high rear leg kick.
Three other R.I. fighters delighted the local crowd with victories. Providence heavyweight Greg Rebello ended a brief retirement and improved to 17-5 (9 KOs) with a second-round TKO victory of John Doyle of Newark, N.J.
Ex-Johnson & Wales wrestling standout Charles Rosa remained unbeaten at 6-0 with a first-round submission of Worcesterâ€™s Ralph Johnson, and East Providence welterweight Eric Spicely also kept a zero in his loss column (3-0) with a first-round stoppage of North Branford, Conn.â€™s Tyler Rose.
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