CES MMA 64: Bessette wins lightweight title, announces retirement -- Perrin wins bantamweight titleby Brian Woodman Jr. on 09/18/21
(September 17 – Hartford, CT)
UFC veteran Matt Bessette (25-10) announced his departure from MMA in dramatic fashion on Saturday night in front of a hometown crowd at the latest CES MMA event.
Bessette, who started as a lightweight champion for Reality Fighting and also competed in Bellator’s featherweight tournament, threw down his gloves following a submission victory over Ryan Dela Cruz (11-7) during the main event that evening.
He and Cruz traded punches and kicks throughout the bout with Bessette generally getting the better of the exchanges. Bessette, who fell on his rear end after missing a high kick during the second round, landed some strikes in the third round before he clinched and brought Cruz to the ground.
The win, which he clinched at 4:48 into that round with a reverse triangle choke, earned him the organization’s vacant world lightweight title. He also holds the organization’s featherweight title.
He verbally confirmed his retirement from the sport in front of the crowd at the Connecticut Convention Center. He reflected briefly on an MMA career that spanned 14 years and included an appearance on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
During the evening’s other title fight, Jay “the Joker” Perrin (9-4) tapped out Joshua Smith (8-6) during the second round with a rear naked choke at about 1:30 and secured CES MMA’s bantamweight world title. The two clinched a lot during the first round, with Smith landing at least one knee. But Perrin generally dictated the pace of the fight and secured the win following a striking exchange.
Appropriately, a fighter nicknamed “Batman” won the previous fight on the card. Gary Balletto Jr. (7-2) secured a first round win over fellow welterweight Daniel Frunza (4-2) at 1:56 with a rear naked choke (there were a lot of these that evening).
Justin “the Fort” Sumter (8-4) opened his middleweight fight against Albert Tadevosyan (7-2-1) with a double-leg takedown. He then dominated a striking exchange that brought Tadevosyan to the ground. Sumter submitted Tadevosyan at 2:23 in the first round with a rear naked choke.
Eddy George (4-0) knocked down Rodolfo Barcellos (1-2) at least three times during the first round and stood until the referee waved the lightweight fight off at 1:27. George won by TKO with a right shot to the jaw ending the bout.
Gabriella Gulfin (3-3) earned a split decision from the judges following her lightweight bout with Alexandra Ballou (2-2). Two judges scored it 29-28 in favor of Gulfin and one scored 29-24 in favor of Ballou.
Ballou knocked Gulfin down with a straight punch to the face virtually at the end of the first round. Gulfin got at least two single-leg takedowns, attempted a rear naked choke and landed some strikes against a downed Ballou during the second round. Gulfin pulled of another single-leg takedown during the third round and throw some punches from the top – Ballou landed an elbow strike from the bottom before the round ended.
Harris Bonfiglio (2-2) submitted Kyle Lindner (0-1) at 2:14 in the first round of a flyweight bout. Bonfiglio landed a high side kick that dropped Lindner before he pounced on him and ended the fight with a rear naked choke.
Nate Ghareeb (4-1) ground and pounded his way to a TKO victory over Eduardo Rodrigues (1-1). Ghareeb ended the featherweight bout at 4:31 in the first round.
Israel Galvan (2-2) lifted and dropped David Durao (0-1) during the first round of their flyweight bout and later tried to stomp on his body. Durao threw a knee at Galvan, missed and fell during the second before the latter pounced on him. Galvan attempted a rear naked choke during the third and later dropped hammer fists on Durao. The judges all scored it 30-27 and awarded Galvan a unanimous decision.
The evening opened with a bantamweight bout Charra Phon (0-1) and Aaron Reese (1-2). A smattering of striking exchanges marked the fight, which the referee briefly stopped when Reese received a kick to the groin. Reese earned a unanimous decision with the judges scoring the bout 30-27.