LINCOLN â It wasnât much of a surprise for the standing-room-only crowd at the Twin River Event Center to see Pawtucketâs Todd Chattelle capture the inaugural CES Mixed Martial Arts middleweight title.
What was surprising was the manner in which he won the championship belt -- with a submission.
An established standup fighter who recorded all eight of his career knockouts with his punching ability, Chattelle picked up the biggest victory of his career with his first-ever submission by slapping an unexpecting guillotine chokeout on Brett Oteri of Dedham, Mass. 3:18 into their fight.
To add to the surprise, Chattelleâs triumph came against a veteran submission specialist in Oteri, who entered the duel with an 8-2 mark and half of his wins via submissions.
And a minute before Chattelle put away Oteri, it was Oteri who had Chattelle on the mat and looking to finish him off with a guillotine of his own.
In the early stages of the fight, Oteri caught Chattelle offguard with an array of front kicks before slamming him into the ground near the fence in front of Oteriâs corner of the cage.
Chattelle (10-6) eventually broke free from Oteriâs grasp, but not before Oteri took him down again in almost the same spot and tried to apply his guillotine.
Thatâs when Chattelle made his move.
âWhen he got me down that first time, I was patient,â he recalled. âI was just waiting for him to start striking so I could get back up. He went for another takedown and his arms were underneath my butt, so I figured, âOK, no matter what I do, heâs probably going to lift up.â
âI figured Iâve been doing jiu jitsu for what, 10 years now? I said to myself, âI might as well jump guard and grab a junk guillotine,â and it worked.â
When Chattelle was awarded the victory, there was nearly a second of silence in the arena until Chattelleâs corner stormed into the octagon in jubilation and the large pro-Chattelle crowd burst into applause.
âI canât believe it,â said Chattelle, who was carried out of the cage and to the locker room on the shoulders of two of his coaches and a couple of fans. âI thought this fight was going to be a long and tough one, but all of a sudden, it was over.â
The win was the fourth of the year in as many fights for Chattelle, who came into 2011 with a .500 record, but will come out of it with a championship belt and his stock in the New England ranks continuing to soar.
âItâs my moment,â said Chattelle. âI give thanks to God because He brought me to this point and everything happens for a reason. Maybe this can show people what Iâve been through and show people you can do anything if you dare to dream.
âNow I want to get to the next level. I feel like Iâm one of the best (fighters) around here, and Iâm going to just keep training hard and take it from there.â
The co-feature of the âUndisputedâ card, presented by Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc., was an intrastate lightweight duel between Lincolnâs Jeff âThe Candymanâ Anderson (10-5, 2 KOs) and Providenceâs Mike Campbell (10-4, 6 KOs), which on most nights, could have been a main event.
This fight also turned into one of the most talked about bouts of the night, as it ended in a controversial stoppage in Campbellâs favor that some fans felt could have easily been a disqualification that would have awarded Anderson the victory.
Midway through the second round, Campbell landed a left kick to Andersonâs chest and followed it with an overhand right to his face that sent him spiraling backwards and to the canvas.
While Anderson was on all fours, Campbell delivered a swift right to his face that sent Anderson on his back, and then he proceeded to unleash a barrage of punches on him before the referee stopped the fight at 2:53 of the round.
Andersonâs corner appealed the decision, claiming that Campbell should have been disqualified for kicking him while he was down, and Anderson asked for a review of the bout. The replay of the kick was aired on the four TV screens in each corner of the arena, and some of the fans booed what they saw.
âWeâre warriors,â said Campbell. âWe come here to fight. I donât agree with the stoppage because I thought (the referee) should have let us keep fighting. I told Jeff that if he wants a rematch, weâll get it on.
âIt was a real tough call to make. (Anderson) wasnât answering my punches and he wasnât responding, and the ref had to make a quick call.â
Part of the reason some of the fans booed the decision was because of what happened to East Providence bantamweight Dinis Paiva Jr. earlier in the night in his battle with Cliff Moulton of Watertown, N.Y., who was making his pro debut.
Paiva saw his record drop to 1-2 when he was disqualified for an illegal knee strike of Moulton while he was down on one knee 4:25 into the fight. Moulton tried to attack Paiva early with an assortment of kicks, but he shook them off. Three minutes into the fight, Paiva caught Moulton with a right hand that stunned him, and a few seconds later, he slammed him to the canvas.
Paiva was dominating the match until his ill-advised knee caught Moulton in the face. Moulton, who dropped to the ground, needed medical assistance and was escorted out of the octagon.
The nightâs card also saw another local fighter, Pawtucket welterweight Keith Jeffrey of the Tri-Force MMA complex in Pawtucket, boost his record to 6-2-1 with his fifth career submission, as he put away Kevin Horowitz of Queens, N.Y. with a rear naked choke 1:45 into the third round.
Jeffrey, who was fighting for the first time in more than a year, was taller and more muscular than his shorter, chubbier opponent. He quickly took Horowitz to the ground in the second round and did his best to choke him out. Horowitz (3-4) escaped his attempts, but he wasnât so fortunate in the third.