Domingos “The Destroyer” Barros (8-1) and William “The Knightmare” Knight (11-6) spent the last few weeks trading insults in the lead-up to their highly anticipated clash at CES MMA 73 for the vacant CES MMA Heavyweight title.
The pair settled their differences in the cage on Friday night as the main event of a stacked card that electrified a boisterous crowd at the North Shore Music Theater in Beverly, MA, with Barros edging the Hartford, CT native by the slimmest of margins in a bout that was televised live on UFC Fight Pass.
The match up was a battle of styles, as the bigger and heavier Barros (265 lbs.) looked to impose his size on the shorter, more compact Knight (245 lbs.), while The Knightmare planned to land huge shots and attempted to take the battle to the ground.
The Destroyer’s strategy worked in rounds 1 and 2, as the Portuguese native continuously closed the distance on Knight, initiating clinches and leaning on his shorter opponent against the cage. Knight looked to land his big overhand right, but he often had to settle for leg kicks as Barros seemed just outside of reach. Knight enjoyed brief success with a take down late in round 2, but he was unable to capitalize as Barros quickly got up and proceeded to lean on his opponent.
Knight, who was criticized in his previous fight for inactivity, really let his hands go in round 3, landing a series of shots that got Barros’ attention. Domingos was able to weather the storm, however, and again imposed his size advantage by crowding Knight against the cage.
Knight landed a huge overhand right early in round 4, but unlike Knight’s opponents in the light heavyweight division, the Fall River, MA native didn’t seem to be fazed by The Knightmare’s power. Barros, who spent several weeks training with UFC legend Jon Jones under the watchful eye of coach Yorgan De Castro for this bout, was able to take Knight down to gain side control midway through the round. Knight spun his way out of trouble and got up, only to be pressed against the cage yet again.
Sensing that his title chances were slipping away, Knight mounted an onslaught in round 5, catching a Barros kick before sweeping him to the ground. Knight launched a series of elbows in the top position, but Barros held him close enough to nullify most of the impact. Desperate to end matters, Knight moved to side control and landed several knees to the side of Barros’ body, winning the round big as the bell rang.
It was not enough to win him the fight, however, as one judge had the bout a draw at 47-47 but was overruled by two scores of 48-47 for Barros, who was announced the new CES MMA World Heavyweight Champion.
Yemi Oduwale upsets Eddy George
In the co-feature of the night, Yemi Oduwale (10-4) outlasted the previously unbeaten Eddy George (6-1), submitting the West Haven, CT native by Peruvian Necktie in the third and final round of a lightweight contest.
George was winning a close fight early on and seemed the stronger of the two, but he was exerting a lot of energy. Oduwale patiently looked for opportunities to counter, which finally came in round 3 when he decisively turned the tide on a physically spent George.
The final sequence came as George looked to take Oduwale down, but the Douglasville, GA resident anticipated the shoot and ended up on top, dropping several hammer fists on his tiring foe. George was able to get out of trouble and back to his feet, but Oduwale unloaded a series of unanswered shots, battering the depleted George and finally submitting him at 3:47 of the round with a Peruvian Necktie.
Win the impressive win, Oduwale immediately called for the CES world title at lightweight.
Regivaldo Carvalho pounds out Alex Gilpin in a featherweight battle
With teammate Alex Pereira cheering him on, Regivaldo Carvalho (8-4) overcame a few scary moments before knocking Alex Gilpin (14-5) out in a back-and-forth war.
The fighters traded heavy leather from the opening bell, with Gilpin scoring first. The Madison, WI native came to fight, dropping Carvalho early in round 1 with a massive right hand. The Brazilian was somehow able to get up, landing a leg kick before launching a huge right hand of his own that stopped Gilpin in his tracks. Carvalho’s strikes continued to hurt Gilpin, but the Madison native was able to take the Brazilian down long enough to clear his head. When Carvalho got back to his feet, he quickly landed a few more shots as the round came to an end.
Carvalho continued to pressure Gilpin in round 2, throwing hard strikes before landing a big knee to the face. Gilpin went to shoot, but Carvalho ended up in side control, where he eventually took the full mount and pounded Gilpin until referee John English waved the contest off at 2:59 of the round.
To the delight of the New England crowd, Boston’s James Murrin (4-5) made short work of Shawn Rall (4-9), nailing the Ohio native with several knees against the cage before taking him down and submitting Rall with a rare naked chokehold in the very first round of a featherweight bout.
In an upset, Shawn “The Brutal Noodle” Johnson (4-4) of Anderson, IN knocked out the previously undefeated Travis Demko (3-1) at 4:53 of round 2 of a bantamweight bout. Johnson, who has arguably the best nickname in all of combat sports, showed great defense in surviving a rare naked chokehold attempt by the Stoughton, MA native in round 1. Demko had Johnson down again in round 2, but just as the round was ending, the ‘Brutal Noodle’ reversed the position, gaining a full mount and landing a fight ending flurry against his depleted foe.
Manchester, NH’s Ramano Medina (2-0) submitted New Haven’s Sam Watford (3-5) in round 2 of a lightweight bout. Watford quickly took Medina down in round 1, but the Manchester native seemed comfortable fighting on his back. Watford backed Medina against the cage in round 2, but this time Ramano put the New Haven native in an armbar, dropping him and forcing him to tap out via Kimura.
Mus’Aib Baiyina (1-2) won the first fight of his pro career, knocking out local favorite Jon Ciampa (1-1) at 3:59 of round 1. Baiyina found himself on the ground early on, but he was able to survive the assault long enough for the stronger Ciampa to tire out. Baiyina then turned the tide, mounting Ciampa and finishing the fight with a series of right hands against his exhausted opponent.
Felipe Soares De Silva made his pro debut a successful one, knocking out Bronx native Oscar Vera (0-5) with a ground and pound at 4:20 of round 1. The Boston resident of Brazilian descent went to work right away, getting Vera in a clinch before landing an accidental low blow that briefly halted the action. Once the bout continued, De Silva took Vera down and gained the top position before landing several unanswered blows to Vera’s face, causing Referee John English to end the welterweight contest.
Local sensation Lucas Rosa improved to 7-1, winning a unanimous decision over Norwich, CT’s Randy Francis (6-10) in a featherweight bout. In front of his older brother and UFC veteran Charles Rosa, Lucas came out fast, landing effective strikes and leg kicks against the game Francis. Rosa continued the assault in round 2, taking Francis down and pounding him against the cage. Francis absorbed lots of punishment but was able to survive the onslaught. Rosa again had Francis on the mat in round 3, trying his best to end matters. He almost did, getting Francis in a Peruvian Necktie just as the bout came to an end. Scores were 30-27 (3x)
Boston’s Wyatt Knopfke (1-0) made short work of Vincent Devoll (0-1), submitting the Fall River native in round 1 of a heavyweight contest. The end came at 2:21, when Knopfke got Devoll in a standing guillotine set up by a kick to the head that resulted in a cut and a flurry to the body.
Allen Gitelman and Jonathan Rivera’s pro debuts ended in a no contest, as Gitelman landed an illegal knee in the second round of a flyweight matchup.
In a special amateur grappling attraction, Fall River’s Hunter Brown needed just a few seconds before submitting Providence, RI’s Leon Davis via heel hook.
For more information on CES MMA 73 and all other CES MMA events, visit cesfights.com.