Ghareeb, Panferov highlight newest additions to CES 69 on June 17

Russian light heavyweight Yuri Panferov and Southampton, MA, lightweight Nate Ghareeb are among the rising prospects added to the CES 69 card promoted by CES MMA on Friday, June 17 at Ballys Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort live on UFC FIGHT PASS®.

Panferov (2-0) aims for his third win in as many fights and Ghareeb (5-1), a fan-favorite who made headlines last November for fighting through a broken toe to beat the undefeated Tom Pagliarulo in Rhode Island, returns to the Ocean State with a chance to earn his third consecutive win.

Joining CES 69’s stacked lineup, unbeaten lightweight Dion Rubio of Pawtucket, RI, battles Connecticut’s Sam Watford; fellow Pawtucket native Tyrime Da Silva faces undefeated featherweight Alex Cardenas of Albuquerque, NM; and unbeaten middleweight Fran Collins of Worcester, MA, makes his long-awaited return against newcomer Deran Martinez of Phoenix.

Full fight card details are available online. CES 69 premiers live on FIGHT PASS at 8 pm ET with play-by-play announcer Michael Parente (@MichaelParente) and FUN 107 on-air personality and cageside correspondent Madelyn Levine (@maddieonair). Tickets are available at CESFights.com.

The main event of CES 69 features Ashiek Ajim (5-1) of New York battling Azjavkhlan Baatar (8-6) of Japan for the vacant CES MMA World Bantamweight Championship. Light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez (11-7) of Boston makes his long-awaited homecoming following a five-year stint with the UFC against Vero Beach, FL, native Jeremy May (13-11) and Richie Santiago (8-4) of Milford, MA, battles Harris Bonfiglio (4-1) of Gilford, CT, in an all-New England bantamweight showdown. Recent additions to the card include undefeated lightweight Eddy George (5-0) of West Haven, CT, facing New York’s Jacob Bohn (10-9) and UFC vet and Fall River, MA, flyweight Mitch Raposo (6-1) returning to CES for the first time in two years in a tough matchup against Los Angeles’ Heinrich Wassmer (7-5).

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Nicknamed “The Russian Polar Bear,” the 26-year-old Panferov (2-0), who now lives and trains in New Haven, CT, has won both of his bouts with CES in impressive fashion, first submitting Gregory Smith via rear naked check in the opening round of his pro debut at CES 62 and then returning a year later at CES 67 to beat Mus’Aib Baiyina by first-round armbar.

Fighting for the second time in three months, Rubio (2-0) has his hands full with Watford (2-2), a three-time Bellator vet. Rubio last fought at CES 66, making his promotional debut with a first-round knockout win over Bobby Casale. Watford boasts wins over Dean Hancock and TJ Hepburn at Bellator 153 and Bellator 144, respectively, and makes his CES debut June 17.

The Da Silva-Cardenas fight is another potential show-stopper. Da Silva (2-0) debuted at CES 65 in November, clobbering Josh Hardy in 41 seconds, and followed that performance with another impressive win via first-round knockout over Eduardo Rodrigues at CES 66. The fast-rising prospect meets Cardenas, who also won his pro debut by first-round knockout, albeit more than a year ago against Devon Seitz in March of 2021.

Collins (3-0) steps back into the cage June 17 for the first time in a decade, putting his perfect record on the line against the 32-year-old Martinez, who turns pro after seven amateur fights and none since October of 2021. Collins last fought in 2012 and made his first and only appearance with CES a year prior at CES 7, scoring a third-round knockout win over David Versailles.

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Ghareeb, as always, could steal the show at CES 69 as he continues to make his mark as one of the region’s most talented – and toughest – fighters. He is riding a three-fight win streak, highlighted by his CES 65 showdown against Pagliarulo, who took the fight on a week’s notice. Ghareeb broke his toe early in the fight, but controlled the striking to earn a split decision on the scorecards.

Stay tuned for more updates or follow CES MMA on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @CESMMA.