CES 70 stacks the deck with new bouts and special features

With an abundance of regional talent up and down the lineup, CES 70 has quickly become the most highly-anticipated fight card of 2022.

The event is just eight days away, scheduled for a 7 pm ET kickoff Friday, September 9 from the MassMutual Center live on UFC FIGHT PASS®.

In addition to the five-round CES MMA World Featherweight Championship bout between regional rivals Dan Dubuque and Nathan Ghareeb, CES 70 features Springfield’s own Pat Casey and Ali Zebian in separate bouts, plus Connecticut natives Sam Waterford, Regivaldo Carvalho, Harris Bonfiglio, and Kenny Champion vying for the opportunity to steal the show on combat sports’ largest viewing platform.

And in what might be the most intriguing bout of the night, New England legend and seven-time CES vet John “Doomsday” Howard makes his long-awaited return in a special combat jiu-jitsu grappling match against the iconic Gesias Cavalcante of Brazil. Created by renowned martial arts instructor Eddie Bravo, combat jiu-jitsu is a cross between Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA in which all bouts are scheduled for a 10-minute time limit and must end via finish (submission, knockout, or technical knockout). Open-hand strikes while on the ground are allowed.

Tickets for CES 70 are available online at CESFights.com or MassMutualCenter.com. Preliminary bouts begin at 7 followed by the FIGHT PASS live stream at 8 with play-by-play announcer Michael Parente (@MichaelParente); color commentator Joe Lauzon (@JoeLauzon), a 27-time UFC vet; and FUN 107 on-air personality and cageside correspondent Madelyn Levine (@maddieonair).

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The main event showdown between friends-turned-foes Ghareeb and Dubuque is just the tip of the iceberg. CES 70 also features a five-round battle for the vacant CES MMA World Flyweight Championship between Fall River, MA, native Mitch Raposo and Israel Galvan of Dallas.

The fun begins earlier in the night with an eclectic mix of old favorites and new faces, highlighted by the two-time CES vet and welterweight contender Casey (9-5), who returns to the promotion with three wins in his last four bouts facing a tough test against Miami’s Daniel Frunza (4-2), who last appeared at CES 64 against Gary Balletto III.

The 28-year-old Zebian (8-3), a Bellator, LFA, and PFL lightweight vet, makes his promotional debut against New Haven’s Waterford (3-3), which is a rematch of their exhibition bout in 2021 won by Zebian via split decision. Zebian has won his last four dating back to 2020. Waterford makes his second appearance with the promotion in just under two months following a hard-fought battle with Dion Rubio at CES 69.

Also debuting with CES, Danbury featherweight Carvalho (6-4) steps up to face Miami’s Keith Speed (5-5). Carvalho, a Bellator and LFA vet, boasts a win over former CES bantamweight title-holder Jay Perrin in 2017.

Red-hot Gilford flyweight Bonfiglio (5-1) puts his four-fight win streak on the line against Vermont’s Kody Murray (1-0) in an intriguing main card showdown. Bonfiglio enters fresh off an impressive submission victory over Richie Santiago at CES 69 and has won each of his professional bouts by submission – three under CES’ guidance.

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West Haven native Champion (2-2) steps inside the CES cage for the first time in a featherweight bout against Latham, NY, native Cody Zappone (1-2) and flyweight Jon Ciampa of Boston makes his pro debut against David Versailles (0-1) of Central Falls, RI, who last fought in 2011 on the main card of CES 7 in Rhode Island. Versailles ironically lost his only pro fight to Worcester, MA, middleweight Fran Collins (4-0), who continues his comeback at CES 70 against Rochester, NY, vet Mus’Aib Baiyina (0-1). Collins officially returned in June at CES 69 following a decade-long layoff.

Howard’s long history with CES continues September 9. A 14-time UFC vet, “Doomsday” is undefeated in seven bouts with CES, including a 2012 win over Todd Chattelle for the promotion’s inaugural middleweight championship. His success with CES paved the way for his return to the UFC, where he fought seven more bouts between 2013 and 2015. Howard last fought for CES in 2021, defeating Ozzie Alvaraz by unanimous decision at CES 63. A K-1, Strikeforce, Shooto, and DREAM vet, Cavalcante boasts more than 30 pro MMA bouts in addition to his most recent foray into grappling and has fought for several titles over the span of 18 years.