via @AXSTVFights

CES 45 Recap: Banana Coutinho Crowned the Baddest Man in New England

Pedro Gonzalez Booked a Date with Matt Bessette in the Co-Main Event

Massachusetts heavyweight Juliano Coutinho stepped up to the plate for a heavyweight title shot in the CES main event against Ashley Gooch and managed to execute a flawless gameplan against the dangerous defending champ. Gooch is an extremely hard hitter, so “Banana” spent the early part of round one wearing his man down against the cage without really pressing for the takedown. Gooch rallied late in round one with strikes, but never managed to catch Coutinho with anything significant. When Coutinho sensed that Gooch was tiring in the second, that’s when he put his foot on the gas and started tossing the bigger man to the mat with double-leg and single-leg attempts. Once it became a grappling match Gooch gassed quickly, which allowed Coutinho to take the back and start raining down shots for the TKO stoppage with 42 seconds left in round 2. Although referee Brian Minner may have stepped in a bit early, Gooch was completely flattened out and a violent finish seemed a likely outcome if the fight had continued.  Either way, terrific stuff for 39 year old Juliano “Banana” Coutinho (8-3) who claimed the CES heavyweight title and, in his own words, the coveted title of “Baddest Man in New England”.


Saul Almeida (19-8)  vs. Pedro Gonzalez (12-5), 145 lbs CES Interim Title

After CES featherweight champion Matt Bessette suffered a hand injury while auditioning for the UFC at Dana Series 1, local jiu-jitsu aces Pedro Gonzalez and Saul Almeida stepped up for an interim title bout.  As we often see when two ground specialists meet, the pair spent nearly the entire bout kickboxing, with Gonzalez retreating for most of the first three rounds and landing leg kicks. Meanwhile Almeida had trouble getting much of anything going offensively with his hands or his takedown tries. Things finally heated up in the fourth. First Almeida landed a short left hook that constituted the biggest punch of the fight for either man, while Gonzalez fired back later in the round with a solid kick to the sternum that sent Almeida down to a knee briefly. In round five, Gonzalez stunned Almeida with a kick to the liver but found himself pinned to the mat shortly thereafter. Almeida spent much of the round on top while Gonzalez landed opportunistically from the bottom. “The Spider” finished strong as he held Gonzalez in back mount, but never really threatened to finish from the mat. In the end the judges awarded Pedro Gonzalez (13-5) the biggest victory of his career by unanimous 50-45, 49-46, 48-47 scorecards. Gonzalez is now riding the momentum of a six fight winning streak that dates back to 2013, and he’s slated to fight for the unified CES belt whenever the champ Bessette is ready to return.


Nate Andrews (10-1) vs. Bruce Boyington (14-10)

Every round starts on the feet, and as long as WSOF regular Bruce Boyington could stay upright he proved to be a puzzling opponent for touted lightweight prospect Nate Andrews. Andrews is usually the superior striker inside the cage, but Boyington kept him off balance with solid footwork and an array of powerful kicks and punches. Andrews didn’t shoot for takedowns, instead relying on mistakes from Boyington to get the striker to the mat off of slips and spins. Boyington tried to turn the tables with a takedown of his own in the second frame, and that’s when “The Snake” struck with a triangle choke that forced the WSOF vet to tap just over two minutes into round 2.  Andrews (11-1) didn’t look as sharp as usual in this one, but he still came away with the finish and at 32 is primed he’s at the peak of his powers and looks primed for a shot at the big show.


Kris Moutinho (4-0) vs. Branden Seyler (6-5-1), 135 lbs

On paper this looked like a showcase for undefeated prospect Kris Moutinho, but rugged Texan Branden Seyler proved that his middling record is deceptive as he immediately bullied Moutinho to the mat. After briefly controlling Moutinho, Seyler baited his opponent into sticking his neck into a guillotine attempt. Seyler applied the squeeze, and moments later Moutinho tapped out for the first time in his pro career. Nice upset authored by Branden Seyler (7-5-1), who has tested himself against very tough fighters throughout his early career and appears to be rounding into form at just 27 year old.


Gary Balletto Jr. (3-1) vs. Nick Alley (3-1), 170 pounds

Announcers Pat Miletich and Ron Kruck expected a slugfest in this welterweight battle, but Gary Balletto Jr. surprised Nick Alley by dropping for kneebar and heel hook attempts early on. Once they returned to the feet Balletto showed off his heavy hands, as it didn’t take him long to stagger Alley with right hands. The 22 year old Balletto got a little overzealous looking for the finish, though, and ended up on bottom for a bit. But he scrambled nicely off his back and returned to tagging Alley with opportunistic right hands for the rest of the first round.  The talented boxer finally finished off Alley with a crisp, crushing short right hand and a few follow up shots a minute into round 2!  Impressive stuff from Gary Balletto Jr. (4-1), who showed off terrific technical boxing skills and picked up his fourth straight finish in the process.


Richie Santiago (4-0) vs. Miguel Restrepo (4-3), 130 pounds

The first undefeated prospect to step into the cage in a very busy weekend for top New England prospects was bantamweight submission specialist Richie Santiago who faced a very stiff challenge in 35 year old Miguel Restrepo.  The two engaged in a midpaced toe-to-toe brawl for the whole first round, with Santiago showing off sharper skills early before Restrepo roared back just before the bell. Restrepo really laid it on the younger man in the second, and Santiago looked on the verge of getting KO’d literally seven or eight times. Then after eating a huge shot, Santiago suddenly exploded forward with a burst of energy, grabbed Restrepo’s neck, and got the shocking comeback tapout!  This was a unique fight that showed some holes in Santiago’s game, but the Milford Mauler’s toughness and ability to finish when wounded were impressive.


And on the Untelevised CES 45 Undercard:

  • Lightweight Leon Davis (11-3) scored a TKO 91 seconds into his match with overmatched Andrew Osborne (7-11). Davis has now won five straight since falling to Dagestani destroyer Islam Mamedov at WSOF 20, but those wins have come against opponents with a cumulative record of 43 wins, 104 losses on fight night.
  • After a 5-2 run in the amateur ranks, 21 year old featherweight John Douma (1-0) enjoyed a successful pro debuted as he tapped out Jason Rine (0-3) by RNC with just 12 ticks left in the first round.
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