PROVIDENCE, R.I. (May 10th, 2017)
-- As it continues to enhance its reputation as the preeminent "Gateway to the UFC," CES MMA is teaming with Rhode Island's city of Woonsocket to honor its most recent success story.
On Friday, May 12, during the preliminary card of "CES MMA 44" at Twin River Casino, Woonsocket, R.I., native, former CES MMA World Champion and current Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath will receive the "Key to the City" from Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt.
The 28-year-old Soukhamthath, now 11-4, made his CES MMA debut in February of 2012 -- just his second fight as a professional -- and finished 11-2 with the promotion over the next four and a half years, including his nationally-televised win over fellow Woonsocket native Kody Nordby for the then-vacant CES MMA World Bantamweight Title at "CES MMA 33" in March of 2016.
Following a win over Kin Moy in August, his record 11th win with CES MMA, Soukhamthath debuted with the UFC at UFC 209 in Las Vegas, becoming the first fighter of Laotian descent to fight for the promotion.
In addition to his reign as the CES MMA World Bantamweight Champion, Soukhamthath was also named the CES MMA Fighter of the Year in 2012 and owns the promotion's longest win streak with seven consecutive victories between 2012 and 2014.
After moving to Woonsocket in 2003 at the age of 15, Soukhamthath quickly became a staple within the community, starring as a goaltender for the Woonsocket High School boys' soccer team, where he still holds the school record for most shutouts in a season. He was a two-time All-Division standout and team captain and MVP his senior season.
Soukhmathath also played varsity basketball for four years, performed in the school's theatrical version of "Jesus Christ Superstar" and ran the youth boxing program at the Woonsocket Boxing Club for two years in addition to winning a Rocky Marciano Tournament title as an amateur at Woonsocket's famed Stadium Theater.
"The city of Woonsocket is proud to witness the success that its beloved son, Andre Soukhamthath, has experienced early on in his professional career," said Baldelli-Hunt. "Within our community, Andre stands as a role model for those who work hard in order to reach their goals and achieve results. The support of the entire city of Woonsocket is behind Andre as he continues to accomplish great things while representing the city that holds him close to its heart."
Soukhamthath will be in attendance Friday as a cornerman for fellow Rhode Islander and teammate Sean Soriano (9-5, 4 KOs), who returns to the Ocean State for the first time in five years on the main card of "CES MMA 44" in a televised featherweight bout against Jacob Bohn (5-2, 1 KO).
Reigning CES MMA World Featherweight Champion Matt Bessette (21-7, 6 KOs) of Stafford, Conn., makes his second title defense in the five-round main event against Texas' Rey Trujillo (22-18, 15 KOs).
Providence heavyweight Greg Rebello (21-7, 13 Kos) returns in a scheduled three-round bout against Colorado's Kevin Ray Sears (6-3, 3 KOs) and welterweights Jon Manley (9-3) of Adams, Mass., and Manny Walo (11-2, 2 KOs) of Jersey City, N.J., clash in a CES MMA title eliminator with the winner facing reigning world champion Chris Curtis.
Light heavyweight Mike Rodriguez (6-2, 4 KOs) of Quincy, Mass., who has made quick work of his last two opponents in a combined 46 seconds, jumps right back in on the main card "CES MMA 44" against New Jersey's Alec Hooben (5-2, 1 KO) and undefeated flyweight Carlos Candelario (5-0, 1 KO) of New Britain, Conn., faces Brooklyn's Timothy Wheeler (2-2).
Rodriguez set a new CES MMA record with his 7-second knockout win over Hector Sanchez in January and pummeled James Dysard in just 39 seconds at "CES MMA 43," earning him his third appearance on AXS TV Fights on May 12th. Candelario, a rising star in the flyweight division, makes his fifth appearance with CES MMA after submitting Miguel Restrepo in January.
The preliminary card features the return of three-time CES MMA vet Toby Oden (2-1, 1 KO) of Milford, Mass., making his first appearance since 2015 plus two exciting female bouts. Oden faces Paul Sims of Philadelphia, who makes his professional debut. Oden last fought at "CES MMA 29," scoring a first-round knockout win over Wayne Alhquist.
Also on the preliminary card, renowned bantamweight prospect Kerri Kenneson of Hooksett, N.H., debut against unbeaten Jennifer Norris (3-0, 1 KO) of Baltimore.
Milford, Conn., middleweight Justin Sumter (3-1, 2 KOs), who earned an impressive first-round knockout win in his CES MMA debut at "CES MMA 43" in Massachusetts, returns to face unbeaten Sandwich, Mass., native Brian Sparrow (2-0), who makes his second appearance with CES MMA in his first fight since 2013. Middleweight Adam Quitt (1-4) of Framingham, Mass., ends his three-year layoff against Brazilian Reginaldo Felix (0-2).
-- CES --