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LINCOLN â€” When fans last saw Todd Chattelle at the Twin River Event Center, it was last Nov. 18 and the Pawtucket native was being triumphantly carried from the octagon to the locker rooms on the shoulders of a few of his friends.
Chattelle has just recorded the biggest triumph of his 5Â˝-year career with his first-ever submission on an unexpected guillotine chokeout of Brett Oteri of Dedham, Mass. 3:18 into their fight for the inaugural CES Mixed Martial Arts middleweight championship.
It was the fourth victory in a row for Chattelle, and with it, bumped his record to 10-6 (8 KOs) and brought him a shiny championship belt and the promise of bigger and better fights in the near future.
Well, it didnâ€™t take long for Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc. to land their champion with a bigger and better fight, because tonight back at Twin River, Chattelle will defend his title belt against an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran that he is quite familiar with.
Boston product John â€śDoomsdayâ€ť Howard (15-7, 4 KOs) will fight Chattelle in a five-round main event that will headline CESâ€™s â€śNever Surrenderâ€ť show and give the winner of the fight exactly what they need in their stages of their respective careers.
For the 33-year-old Chattelle, a win over Howard will only increase his rising stock as one of New Englandâ€™s best fighters and move him closer to a bigger prize in the sport, most notably a lucrative contract to fight for Bellator, Strike Force, or the UFC.
â€śI feel like in my last four fights, I fought Top 10 guys,â€ť Chattelle said. â€śAfter this one, against a top, top guy whoâ€™s one of the best around in New England, if I beat him, itâ€™s going to be huge for me, so hopefully, Strike Force, Bellator, the UFC, somebody really big will want to take a look at me.â€ť
For the 29-year-old Howard, who claimed 10 of his first 14 pro fights to land an UFC contract in 2009, a win could possibly help him get closer to a return to an organization such as the UFC, which released him from his contract last July after he suffered his third straight loss.
â€śDoomsdayâ€™s a well-rounded fighter,â€ť said Chattelle, who attended Howardâ€™s UFC debut on Jan. 31, 2009 in Las Vegas, a split decision that began a four-fight win streak for Howard. â€śHeâ€™s a strong guy, but he has a couple of holes in his game that Iâ€™m hoping to expose in this fight.â€ť
Howard has picked up his 15th victories in every way possible. In addition to his four knockouts, Howard (who is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu) also has a half dozen submissions and the reputation as an excellent ground fighter.
Chattelle, meanwhile, is extremely tough on his feet as a standup fighter, with four-fifths of his wins coming by way of his fists, but in the biggest victory of his career over Oteri, a submission specialist, he managed to shock everyone with his first career submission.
â€śDoomsdayâ€™s a striker, but I feel like his better game is on the ground,â€ť noted Chattelle. â€śMy strong point is obviously standing up, so Iâ€™m going to try to do that and make it my fight, not his fight.â€ť
If Chattelle has a clear advantage over his opponent, it could be in the weight department. The middleweight fight is an 185-pound duel, and while Chattelle normally fights in this weight class, Howard, a 170-pound welterweight, will be putting on the extra pounds for this fight.
â€śI feel like I have the upper hand in the size department,â€ť Chattelle remarked. â€śI have to cut to get to this weight, but he went up to get to it. And sometimes putting on weight works against you. It messes with your cardio and stuff like that. Youâ€™ll feel real strong, but for how long?â€ť
Another advantage for Chattelle is fighting a town away in Twin River, where he expects to have a strong group of supporters pulling for him to nail down a convincing victory.
â€śI think heâ€™ll have a lot of fans there because heâ€™s not far away, but Iâ€™ll have a bigger crowd,â€ť he noted. â€śIâ€™ll have Rhode Island backing me, so itâ€™s going to give me no choice but to put my heart out there. The people around here want to see me do well, so Iâ€™m going to give them everything I got.â€ť
Rhode Island wonâ€™t only be backing Chattelle, but six other fighters from the state and a strong cast from Chattelleâ€™s Tri-Force MMA compound on Conant Street in Pawtucket.
The Jeffrey brothers, Pete and Keith, who own and operate Tri-Force MMA, will also fight on the undercard. Pete, a lightweight, will take a 5-4 (2 KOs) record into his battle with Boston prospect Lucas Cruz (3-0), while Keith, a welterweight with a 6-2 mark and five submissions, will fight Chip Moraza-Pollard (6-3, 4 KOs) of Plymouth, Mass.
â€śThe good thing is that weâ€™ve all had this camp together at Tri-Force, so we all pushed each other,â€ť added Chattelle. â€śI feel like no matter the outcome -- win, lose, or draw -- I did everything possible that I was supposed to do, and Iâ€™m going to do everything in my power to do what I have to do on Friday.â€ť
Another match involving a Tri-Force MMA fighter thatâ€™s worth watching is a 175-pound fight between Pawtucketâ€™s Abe Pitrowski, who is 5-1 with three submissions, and Oteri (8-3, 1 KO). The 22-year-old Pitrowski lost his last fight last June 10 at Twin River via a three-round unanimous decision.
Pawtucket lightweight Tom Evans (2-0, 1 KO) will also fight Dominic Warr (1-2) of Maynard, Mass., and East Providence bantamweight Dinis Paiva Jr. (1-2) will try to spoil the pro debut of Bostonâ€™s Sergio Cabrara.
Another Tri-Force fighter, Providence middleweight and former Johnson & Wales University wrestler Brennan Ward (1-0, 1 KO), will be involved in a featured fight when he takes on also-unbeaten Harley Beekman (4-0, 2 KOs) of Amsterdam, N.Y.
And another contest worth watching is the showdown between two of the top three light heavyweight fighters in the northeast, top-ranked Mike Stewart (6-3, 2 KOs) of White Plains, N.Y. and third-ranked Cody Lightfoot (6-2, 4 KOs) of Somersworth, N.H.
Only select $35, $55, and $100 tickets are available for the show and can be purchased by calling CES at 724-2253, going online at www.cesmma.com or www.twinriver.com, or visiting the Players Club booth at Twin River or any TicketMaster location.
The doors open at 6 p.m. and the first bout is scheduled for 7. Twin River has waived its 18-plus rule for the show, and anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and enter through the West entrance.