Charles Rosa thrills a sold-out Foxwoods at CES MMA 75

Foxwoods Resort Casino’s Great Cedar Showroom was all shades of pink on Friday. CES MMA 75 – Fight for a Cause gave fans everything they wanted: devastating knockouts, jaw-dropping submissions, and intense action throughout.

Marked as the largest New England fight event of the year, the card had 7 pro fights, 4 amateur scuffles, and 5 great grappling fights. But it wasn’t just about punches and submissions; it was about making a difference. Honoring Breast Cancer Awareness Month, CES bigwigs Jimmy Burchfield Sr. and Jr. handed a $10,000 check to fight organizer Patrick Sullivan, commemorating JoAnne Sullivan, Patrick’s mother, who lost her fight with breast cancer in 2008. The funds are set to boost cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston.

What a heartfelt opening to an exciting main event. Charles “Boston Strong” Rosa, with a 15-8 record, gloriously re-entered the CES ring, taking down the resilient Jonathan Gary (13-14-2) with a guillotine choke merely 47 seconds into the second round.

Rosa, a Peabody native, started with a sparkling 5-0 record at CES MMA and then rose to fame in the UFC, gracing the octagon 13 times from 2014 to 2022.

“To return to New England and soak in this love is beyond words,” an overjoyed Rosa expressed, igniting cheers from every corner of the packed venue.

The match was intense from the get-go. Rosa, looking fit as ever at 37, was eager to begin, dominating ‘The Junkyard Dog’ with kicks. Gary, experienced and an ex-Marine, held his ground, attempting to halt Rosa’s momentum. The opening round was a roller-coaster, but round 2 saw Rosa’s missed spinning kick swiftly followed by a perfectly executed guillotine choke, ending Gary’s resistance at 0:47.

Post-fight, Rosa showcased his big heart, donating his $1,000 fight bonus to the night’s fundraiser. “Pat Sullivan has been a pillar since my CES debut in 2013,” Rosa mentioned, urging fans to support the cause.

The co-feature fight was equally enthralling. Ali “VIP” Zebian (10-3) gave fans a shock, ending former CES Lightweight champ Nate “The Snake” Andrews (16-6) just 51 seconds into their welterweight bout. A vicious kick from Zebian to Andrews’ left forearm ended in a cringe-worthy injury, making it impossible for Andrews to continue.

In other significant fights, Regivaldo “Gato Negro” Carvalho snatched the vacant CES Featherweight World Championship title with a swift takedown and guillotine choke, leaving “Shameless” Don Shainis no choice but to tap out in the first round. Justin Sumter (9-5) used sheer power to overcome Eric Spicely (13-9) in a light heavyweight bout. Tim Flores knocked out John Medina (0-2) early in their bantamweight fight. Quentin Pasley’s debut saw him dominate Turner Williams (0-6) with two knockdowns, forcing the ref to intervene. And Arslan Otchiyev (3-2) left fans laughing and cheering as he defeated Pat Gilbrade (4-3) with relentless leg kicks.

In amateur fights:

  • Joe Cortigiano (2-3) triumphed over Justin Graves (2-2)
  • Jojo Gonzalez (3-1) bested Naduev Rakhman (0-1)
  • Alexander Reigosa (1-0) made Maximus Fernandez (0-1) submit in the second round
  • Tommy Kempton (1-0) earned a unanimous decision against Gilani Ibragimov (0-1).