Orlando, FL (Tuesday, March 23, 2021) – CES MMA is back and ready to break new ground in
the Sunshine State.
The northeast’s undisputed leader in mixed martial arts makes its 2021 debut Friday, April
30with CES MMA 62, live on UFC FIGHT PASS® from the Caribe Royal Orlando.
The event marks CES MMA’s first live show since October and its first in Florida, one of several
states to allow limited-capacity crowds amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. BUY TICKETS HERE
Several CES MMA fan favorites will make the trip south of New England, including veteran
bantamweight “Sweetbread” Dinis Paiva, welterweight Gary Balletto III, bantamweight Ashiek
Ajim, and welterweight John Gotti III.
Headlining CES 62 is a pair of bantamweight world title eliminator bouts as four of the division’s
top stars compete for the opportunity to hoist the CES MMA World Bantamweight Championship
in 2021. The title has been vacant since the summer of 2019 when previously champion Tony
Gravely was called up to the UFC. Gravely is one of three bantamweight champions in the
promotion’s history, joining Andre Soukhamthath and Andre Ewell, each of whom competed for
the UFC shortly after winning the title.
One title eliminator is an intrastate showdown between Orlando bantamweight Diego Silva (12-
5, 2 KOs) and Coconut Creek veteran Andrew Whitney (18-6, 7 KOs), both making their CES
MMA debut. In the other title eliminator, Paiva (13-8, 7 KOs), a 20-time CES MMA veteran and
former bantamweight title contender, faces off against Pensacola native Josh Smith (9-6, 5
KOs). The bantamweight winners will face off in a five-round world title bout at a later date.
Limited tickets for CES 62 are available online. Doors open at 6 pm ET. Showtime is 6:30 with
the live FIGHT PASS stream beginning at 8. To sign up for UFC FIGHT PASS,
visit www.ufcfightpass.com, or download the UFC app.
CES MMA launches its 2021 season with a springtime spectacular fresh off signing a multi-year
extension with UFC FIGHT PASS in January to continue its partnership with combat sports’
premier streaming service and its tradition of bringing competitive, evenly-matched bouts to a
Other bouts include heavyweight Rashaun Jackson (5-3, 3 KOs) of Orlando battling four-time
UFC vet Marcelo Golm (8-3, 6 KOs) of Miami (by way of Sao Paulo, Brazil), plus the longawaited return of Gotti (5-1, 4 KOs), who faces Michigan native Jared Chauvin (3-2, 1 KO).
The elder statesman of CES MMA, Paiva is back for his record-setting 21st bout with the
promotion, a well-documented run that began with his pro debut in 2011 at CES 6 in Rhode
Island. Nearly 10 years to the date, Paiva steps outside of the Ocean State for just the second
time in his career in hopes of earning a second shot at the bantamweight title, which he fought
for in 2018 against Ewell at CES 50.
In recent months, Paiva has enjoyed a career renaissance, rebounding from the Ewell fight with
back-to-back wins over Antonio Castillo Jr. and Tim Dooling to earn his first appearance on Dana
White’s Contender Series. Since 2016, Paiva has won six of his last eight bouts and eight of 11
– including a win over UFC veteran Jordan Espinosa – since switching fight camps and linking
with renowned trainer Mike Gresh.
CES 62 also features the long-awaited return of the 26-year-old Balletto (5-2, 2 KOs), ending a
three-year layoff following his loss to Jeremiah Wells in 2018. The son of iconic pro boxer and
former The Contenderreality television star Gary “Tiger” Balletto, the younger Balletto took time
off from MMA to make his own boxing debut in 2019 – also on UFC FIGHT PASS – with a fourthround knockout win. Now he returns to the cage in April to face Pensacola’s Dahlen Watson (4-
3, 2 KOs) in a three-round welterweight bout.
Making his fifth appearance with the promotion, the New York City native Ajim (3-1, 2 KOs)
returns to face Tampa’s Carlos Espinosa (5-4, 3 KOs). Long Island middleweight Hugh
McKenna (3-4), a three-time CES MMA veteran, puts his two-fight win streak on the line in a
preliminary bout while New Haven, CT, light heavyweight Yuri Panferov – an undefeated
amateur, Moscow native, and former Golden Gloves and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation champion
– makes the trip south for his professional debut in a three-round bout against North
Carolina’s Gregory Smith (0-1).
CES 62 is also stacked with several interstate bouts featuring Florida’s top talent.
Lightweights Blake Smith(4-2, 2 KOs) of Tampa and Charlie Radtke (3-2, 1 KO) of Naples battle
on the preliminary card alongside Orlando’s Guilherme Neves (2-1) and James Hay (3-1) of
Port Saint Lucie facing one another in a special lightweight showcase.
Visit CESMMA.com for more information, and follow CES MMA
on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @CESMMA.
CES MMA is a mixed martial arts promotional company based out of Providence, RI, founded by
legendary boxing promoter Jimmy Burchfield Sr. It promoted the first sanctioned professional
MMA event in the state of Rhode Island on Sept. 17, 2010 at Twin River Casino Hotel. Since its
inception, CES MMA has been a gateway to the UFC developing the careers of UFC contenders
Calvin Kattar, Rob Font, Charles Rosa, William Knight, Mike Rodriguez, Tony Gravely, Andre
Soukhamthath and others. In October 2012, CES MMA promoted its first pay-per-view event at
The Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, featuring the professional MMA debut of former WWE
superstar Dave Bautista, and recently signed a two-year extension to broadcast exclusively on
UFC FIGHT PASS®.
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launching in 2013, UFC FIGHT PASS is now available in more than 200 countries and territories.
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Follow the event with #cesmma