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LINCOLN ‚ÄĒ Raise your hand if you can name the two winningest fighters in the three-year history of Classic Entertainment & Sports‚Äô mixed martial arts division.
If you can name Pawtucket middleweight Todd Chattelle and Woonsocket bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath, you can go to the head to the class.
Both fighters, who train out of Tri-Force MMA in Pawtucket, have won a record five times under the CES colors, and they will look to continue their winning ways tonight at the Twin River Event Center.
Chattelle will appear in his first main event fight in more than a year on the ‚ÄúRise Or Fall‚ÄĚ card when he takes on a battle-tested veteran in John Troyer of Louisville, Ky., and Soukhamthath will also have his hands full battling an experienced vet in Billy Vaughan of Columbus, Ohio.
Tonight action-packed show will feature nine fights, including the first-ever professional female bout in Rhode Island history between Kaline Medeiros of Fall River, Mass. and Rachel Sazoff of Hamilton, N.J., but the bulk of the attention will be focused on the area‚Äôs top two attractions.
Chattelle, who already owns two CES MMA marks ‚Äď most bouts by a fighter (eight) and most first-round stoppages (four) ‚Äď enters his clash with Troyer with an 11-9 (8 KOs) record, but losses in three of his last four fights, those coming after a banner 2011 that saw him deliver a 4-0 record.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm feeling good,‚ÄĚ said Chattelle. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm feeling ready, focused. I‚Äôm feeling like I‚Äôm ready to bring the main event to you.‚ÄĚ
Troyer, a three-time Bellator Fighting Championships veteran who is 14-9 with TKO losses in his last two fights, presents a very difficult challenge for Chattelle. He is an all-around fighter who can take care of business with his fists (five KOs) and on the ground (seven submissions).
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a fighter like me, a complete MMA fighter,‚ÄĚ added Chattelle. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a striker and he‚Äôs not afraid to go for the submission. It should be an exciting fight, a very good main event.‚ÄĚ
To help prepare for Troyer, ‚ÄúThe Hulk‚ÄĚ spent a great deal of his camp working out with Greg Rebello, a light heavyweight from Providence and one of the pioneers of the state‚Äôs MMA scene.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs been torturing me,‚ÄĚ Chattelle added with a laugh, ‚Äúwith conditioning, things like that, so everything has been a little different than usual. I just had my last hard sparring, and that was probably harder than any fight I‚Äôm ever going to be in in my life.‚ÄĚ
Soukhamthath also went through a rigorous training camp, which included two weeks in Delray Beach, Fla. training at the highly-touted Blackzilians compound with such big names in the sport as Eddie Alvarez, Abel Trujillo, and Tyrone Spong.
‚ÄúThey don‚Äôt play around down there,‚ÄĚ said Soukhamthath. ‚ÄúWhen they spar, they spar hard. You better have your guard up because you‚Äôre not going to get one easy round. Every round is hard because everyone there is that good and at such a high level.‚ÄĚ
Soukhamthath was introduced to the camp by one of the Blackzilians, Sean Soraino, a Providence native who had trained with Soukhamthath before he moved to Florida four years ago and told the coaches about the Woonsocket fighter while he was on vacation in Florida last year.
‚ÄúI feel like the sky‚Äôs the limit after training with those guys,‚ÄĚ Soukhamthath added. ‚ÄúIt made me feel more confident. Everyone there‚Äôs pretty successful, and we worked out every day for two weeks ‚Äď sometimes two or three times a day.‚ÄĚ
Soukhamthath, who is 5-1 (3 KOs) and holds the CES MMA record for most consecutive victories with five, will look to extend his streak with a win over Vaughn, an eight-year veteran, who despite a 12-15 mark (3 KOs) and losses in six of his last seven fights, has Soukhamthath‚Äôs full attention.
‚ÄúHis record‚Äôs not the best, but he‚Äôs fought a lot of the big names,‚ÄĚ remarked Soukhamthath. ‚ÄúI can probably name 10 of them, and he‚Äôs even beaten some guys that are in the UFC. He‚Äôs one of those guys that no matter what, he‚Äôs going to be tough, and he‚Äôs not going to be an easy fight.‚ÄĚ
While Soukhamthath‚Äôs fight would be worthy of a co-feature on any given night, that distinction will go to the historic fight between Medeiros (1-3, 1 KO) and Sazoff, who will be making her pro debut. Medeiros‚Äô victory was an amazing seven-second knockout last year in North Dakota.
Some of the fighters with R.I. ties on the undercard are lightweight Charles Rosa (4-0, 2 KOs), a Johnston & Wales University graduate who hails from Delray Beach, Fla., and welterweights Tommy Venticinque, a Warwick native who will make his pro debut, and Tundee Oduyingho, a Johnston resident who lost his pro debut on June 7.
Only $36 tickets are available for tonight‚Äôs show, and they can be purchased by calling CES at 401-724-2253/2254, going online at www.cesmma.com or www.twinriver.com, or visiting the Players Club booth at Twin River or any TicketMaster location.
The doors open at 6 p.m., and the first bout gets under way at 7. The casino has also waived its 18+ rule, and anyone who is under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and enter through the West entrance.
Follow Eric Benevides on Twitter @EricBen24