Category Archives: North East MMA



UFC veteran JOHN HOWARD returns to the CES steel cage

John “Doomsday” Howard (28-16-1) is ready to return to the CES cage to face Ozzie Alvarez (8-6) in professional MMA middleweight action August 6, 2021 at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.  John Howard is undefeated (6-0) competing on the CES platform and will be looking to for another big ‘W’ to add to an already decorated MMA career. 


JOHN “Doomsday” HOWARD was born and raised in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston.  He played football and basketball in high school and is still a resident of the area to this day.  When asked how he got the nickname “Doomsday”, his answer “from the infamous villain who killed superman.”  The thirty-eight year old Howard became well known for his wrestling skills despite never having official training.  He fights out of Boston and is an accredited black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Howard made his professional MMA debut with a unanimous decision victory over Jason Dublin at Combat Zone 8 back in October of 2004.  In April of 2006 just a little over a year and a half later he won the vacant Combat Zone Pro welterweight championship title at Combat Zone 15 by way of a second round submission.   

A few years later John captured the Ring of Combat Pro welterweight championship title in September of 2008 at Ring of Combat 21 with a unanimous decision against Charlie Brenneman.  It was clear Doomsday had the stuff needed to climb the MMA mountain. 

On January 31, 2009 Howard debuted in the UFC with a hard fought split decision victory against Chris Wilson at UFC 94.  “Doomsday” marched forward winning his next three fights under the UFC banner, two by way of knockout.  Howard grabbed four wins in seven UFC appearances between January of 2009 and June of 2011. 

The UFC caliber Howard returned to the northeast and made his CES debut in April of 2012.  It was a fight for the CES Pro Middleweight Championship Title.  It was a fight Howard won in devastating style via a second round TKO finish of Todd Chattelle.  John “Doomsday” Howard went on to defend his CES middleweight championship title four times, finishing all four challengers by way of KO/TKO. 

Howard returned to the UFC in August of 2013, demonstrating his ability inside the steel cage could not be denied.  He returned with a split decision win at UFC Fight Night over Uriah Hall in his hometown of Boston.  John went on to have six more fights in the UFC between December of 2013 and December of 2015. 

John returned to the CES promotion in October of 2017 winning a unanimous decision over a tough Roger Carroll at CES MMA 46.  He went on to make six appearances with the Professional Fighters League (PFL)

John Howard has had 45 professional MMA bouts, 28 pro victories, 7 of those wins coming in the UFC.  His experience inside the octagon is enormous and his accomplishments in the sport of MMA are truly noteworthy and admirable.  John Howard is a strong name among the MMA community in New England and the northeast.  He is a standout among Boston combat sports athletes and Boston fight fans.  Do not miss the opportunity to watch this New England MMA legend in action as he returns to CES MMA to take center cage under the lights of the MassMutual Center MGM in Springfield, Massachusetts. Article by – Thomas Vickers (Combat Sports Journalist)

Other incredible fights included on the CES MMA 63 Fight Card
(subject to change)

CARLOS CANDELARIO (7-0) vs MIGUEL RESTREPO (5-5-1) 125lb / Flyweight
CHRIS DISONELL (5-4)     vs WILL SMITH (3-3)    135lb / Bantamweight
KODY ALLEN MURRAY (debut) vs MIGUEL CUEVAS (1-0) 135lb / Bantamweight
JOHN HOWARD (28-16-1)  vs OZZIE ALVAREZ (8-6) 185lb / Middleweight
ASHIEK AJIM (3-1)           vs CARLOS ESPINOSA (6-4) 135lb / Bantamweight
TOM PAGLIARULO (1-0)   vs JOSH HARDY (debut)     145lb / Featherweight
NICK FIORE(1-0)       vs JAY ELLIS  155lb / Lightweight
SAGE PHILIPPE (debut)    vs THAD JEAN (debut) 170lb / Welterweight
EDDY GEORGE (2-0)   vs KOBE BOWEN (debut) 155lb / Lightweight
KENNY CHAMPION (2-1)  vs FRANK MAZEPA (0-1)  155lb / Lightweight






Matt Bessette and Bruce Boyington are set to battle it out for the CES MMA Lightweight Championship Title September 17, 2021 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Connecticut – CES MMA 64.  The winner will make CES MMA history and become the first ever 2-division CES champion.  Who will be CES Champ-Champ? 


He is known throughout the New England region and the northeast as Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington.  He is an exciting, explosive, and intelligent fighter who always brings action inside the cage.  With a professional record of (17-12) Boyington has battled it out for numerous promotions during his career.  Such promotions include CES, NEF (New England Fights), and the WSOF to note a few.  Boyington has gained eleven of his seventeen wins via finish.  He knows how to stop an opponent.  Three of his finishes have come via submission. 

The forty-two year old Boyington began his pro career inside the MMA cage back in June of 2009.  In April of 2014 he won his first pro title, the vacant CFX Lightweight Title with a unanimous decision victory over Ruso Khubejashvili.  In September of 2014 Boyington captured the NEF – Fight Night Pro Lightweight Championship belt in his very next bout.  He went on to successfully defend the Fight Night Lightweight Title four times. 

In August of 2018 he won the vacant CES MMA Featherweight Championship via a second round rear naked choke against a very formidable Sean Soriano.  He went on to successfully defend his CES MMA Featherweight Title in May of 2019 at CES 56. 


He is known throughout the northeast and New England as MATT “The Mangler” BESSETTE.
Bessette made his professional debut back in September of 2007.  With a professional record of (24-10-0 nc-1) Bessette has produced a strong career in the pro cage, fighting under such promotional banners as Bellator, CES, Reality Fighting, and GFL.  He fights out of Connecticut and has gained sixteen of his twenty-four wins via finish. 

In October of 2010 he captured the vacant Reality Fighting Lightweight Championship Title.  In April of 2011 Bessette won the Global Fight League Pro Lightweight Title belt via second round guillotine choke submission over John Benoit at GFL 10.  In July of 2017 his talents landed him on the prestigious Dana White’s Contender Series.  In January of 2018 Bessette debuted with the UFC at UFC 220.  In his very next bout Bessette fought on The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale in July of 2018.  Bessette has high level experience and in January of 2020 he won the vacant CES MMA Pro Featherweight Championship Title with a exciting third round stoppage. 

If you are an MMA fan from the northeast you probably are already aware of Boyington and Bessette.  If you are from New England you probably are already aware of the intensity both BOYINGTON and BESSETTE can bring to the cage.  Most likely you are already aware of the athletically orchestrated violence they are both capable of generating.  Boyington and Bessette are true seasoned veterans of the sport.  Both have evolved to become big pro names on the northeast and New England regional MMA scene.  These two fighters represent the tough fierce warriors of the northeast.  These two athletes are what MMA in the northeast and New England is all about.  Two hard-working high end professionals with top level talent and a history of delivering action packed fights.  Boyington knows how to dish out the dynamic booms and with a nickname like ‘Pretty Boy’ he looks good doing it.  Bessette knows how to grind hard, unload heavy strikes, and is always eager to make war on his feet or on the ground.  This is a very good matchup!  This is going to be a very good fight! 



By – Thomas Vickers (MMA Journalist)



CODY LAW vs KENNY CHAMPION / Featherweight Preliminary Bout / BELLATOR 254


On December 10, 2020 at the Mohegan Sun Arena two talented northeast area fighters will meet in pro MMA featherweight action at Bellator 254. 

Kenny “Rise of the Phoenix” Champion is an exciting fighter who is riding a strong three fight winning streak.  Champion is (2-0) in the cage as a professional with both victories coming by way of first round KO/TKO finish. Champion is a believer in hard work and he demonstrates it in every fight.  Kenny has smooth standup and accurate striking.  He is a smart fighter with good presence.  The Connecticut warrior has a background that includes Muay Thai and grappling.  He has sharpened his abilities with each fight and is ready for what many believe to be his biggest challenge to date inside the steel cage. With enormous challenges come enormous rewards.  Champion will be given the opportunity under the shining lights of Bellator to introduce a worldwide audience to the “Rise of the Phoenix”.

Cody Law carries serious skills.  He is a very well rounded fighter and brings a (1-0) pro record into the bout.  The Pennsylvania athlete made his professional debut at Bellator 250 with a big first round finish over Orlando Ortega via D’Arce choke.  Cody shined as an amateur producing a (5-0) record before turning pro in November of this year.   The twenty-five year old is riding the momentum of an impressive six fight winning streak and trains under American Top Team.  Cody wields stout wrestling and a tenacious attitude.  He has quick, hard effective hands in standup exchanges and can distribute a potent right.  Cody is dangerous on his feet and on the ground.  He made a solid impact on the Bellator scene in his debut and has shown he is clearly ready to evolve to the next level. 

KENNY CHAMPION vs CODY LAW set to collide at BELLATOR 254

This could turn out to be an important bout for both up and coming 145 pounders. Despite the featherweight matchup being scheduled as a preliminary bout do not be surprised if this fight produces as much excitement and energy as the main event. This fight has what it takes to be an explosive matchup, two hungry young guns eager to unload, and when the smoke clears we will find out who will walk away the winner.  It is fair to say both Law and Champion have what it takes.  Both have the tools to end it and neither fighter should overlook or underestimate the other.  There is little doubt both of these gladiators will leave it all in the cage come December 10, 2020.  Who wins this fight?  The lion with the greatest hunger. 



By – Thomas Vickers (MMA Journalist)




NORTH EAST MMA Media took the time to take a look into the amateur atomweights of the northeast.  In recent years the northeast region has produced some outstanding amateur atomweights who have moved on to have success at the professional level. Such atomweight standouts include; Lindsey “Damsel” VanZandt, Marisa “Spider Monkey” Messer-Belenchia, Elise Reed, and Jillian “Lionheart” DeCoursey. Lindsey VanZandt worked hard as an amateur atomweight and has gone on to fight as a professional under such prestigious promotions as Bellator, Invicta Fighting Championship, and Rizin. Marisa Messer-Belenchia produced a strong (4-1) record as an amateur and has went on to make an impact among the pro atomweights with an appearance at Invicta Fighting Championship and wins with both CES MMA and Premier FC. Jillian DeCoursey was a dominant northeast amateur atomweight who finished her amateur career with an excellent (8 – 1) record. DeCoursey has moved on to fight under Invicta FC and Cage Fury FC as a professional. Elise Reed is a New Jersey fighter who finished her amateur career with an exceptional record of (7 – 1). Reed has built an undefeated (2 – 0) record as a pro. Reed made her pro debut with Bellator and recently won the Cage Fury FC vacant Strawweight Title with a split decision victory over a very tough and talented Jasmine Jasudavicius.

It may be sometime before the northeast fans see another batch of atomweights rise up from the northeastern region to equal the most recent class of Lindsey VanZandt, Marisa Messer-Belenchia, Elise Reed, and Jillian DeCoursey.  With that said the northeast does continue to generate tough amateur atomweights with real talent and some of these amateurs may very well become tomorrows future pro prospects.


Brooke Fahey has tremendous potential for a nineteen year old amateur.  She has become a strong presence among the northeast amateur atomweights. Brooke made her amateur debut in June of 2019 with a unanimous decision victory over Taylor Samarco at Maverick MMA 13. The New Jersey fighter went on to win the vacant Primal Fight Promotions amateur atomweight title via second round armbar submission against Rachel Penkower, a northeast atomweight competitor who carried more experience in the amateur cage. All of Fahey’s bouts have been with northeast regional promotions and two of her three victories have come by way of submission.  Brooke is currently undefeated with a (3 – 0) record and has quickly established herself as one of the top amateur atomweights in the northeast.


Alejandra Betancourt fights out of Kentucky and has built a (4 – 2) record as an amateur.  The thirty-five year old Alejandra made her debut back in February of 2015 with an impressive win at Valor Fights 20 over Linda Gray by way of KO/TKO in the second round. She has made two appearances in the northeast; coming up short against Marisa Messer-Belenchia at Reality Fighting in May of 2016 and a big win over Meghen Williams via unanimous decision at Pinnacle FC 17 in June of 2018.  In August of 2018 Alejandra won the BCM Promotions amateur atomweight championship title with a third round rear naked choke finish of a very tough Jennifer Hicks.  Alejandra brings talent and considerable amateur experience into the cage. 


Ariana Cruz fights out of Connecticut and has produced an undefeated (2 – 0) record as an amateur.  She made her debut in June of 2019 with a very close split decision win over Ariana Melendez under the lights at Reality Fighting. Cruz brings fierce aggressive energy into the cage.  She has demonstrated she can deliver fast hands, sharp punching, and knockout power.  Ariana debuted as a strawweight and fought at atomweight in her last bout proving she can perform at both weight classes.


Rachel Penkower has produced a solid (2 – 2) record as an amateur.  She made her debut in October of 2017 as a strawweight gaining a win over Fernanda Alvarado at Ring of Combat AM 26.  The twenty-two year old fights out of New Jersey and has had all of her amateur bouts with northeast regional promotions.  She has proven she can win at both strawweight (115lbs) and atomweight (105lbs).  Currently her only loss at atomweight was against Brooke Fahey the number one ranked amateur atomweight in the northeast. 


Amy Golding is an aggressive atomweight with a strong background in wrestling.  She entered the amateur MMA game debuting against Elise Reed who many believe is one of the best strawweights in the northeast.  Her win over Jennifer Hicks and her loss to Samantha Seff proves she does not shy away from a challenge.  Golding has faced some of the top fighters in the region.  The combined amateur record’s of her opponents (13 – 8) is a clear example of this fact.  Her amateur record of (1 – 3) does not give a true indication of what she brings into the cage.  Look for her to begin the climb upwards as her striking improves and her experience grows.

By – T. Vickers (NORTH EAST MMA Media)




The sport of yesteryear has returned to the spotlight. Bare knuckle boxing has grown tremendously in popularity over the past few years. Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) is the first promotion to gain permission to hold a legal, sanctioned and regulated bare knuckle event in the United States since 1889. BKFC is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and headed by President and former professional boxer David Feldman. BKFC is based on the Broughton rules which had governed bare knuckle fighting in the 19th century, requiring combatants to “Toe the Line” which begins every round with fighters facing one another only a few inches apart.

“Most fighters are afraid to get hit by my kind of violence.  I am in the best shape of my life and I like to fight.” – Dan “The Bull” Bunyan

Deep in the dark cold north, a howling can be heard.  A young hungry bull salivating to bury his horns into BKFC. NORTH EAST MMA Media caught up with Dan “The Bull” Bunyan and discussed his desire to pursue the fast growing sport of bare knuckle boxing. Fighting plagued Dan Bunyan throughout his childhood. He explained how he had to overcome a lot while a youth, being unable to walk multiple times due to injuries, but he never gave up. Dan began training in combat sports several years ago. He believes he has the hands for Bare Knuckle. “I would be a perfect fit,” he explained. Dan has more than just heavy hands. He wields fists that bring wrecking ball devastation. At twenty-five years of age he fights out of New York ironically not all that far from the Bare Knuckle Boxing Hall of Fame located in Belfast, New York. Bunyan has produced an undefeated record of (2-0) as an amateur MMA heavyweight, brutally finishing both opponents in the first round. Fight fans thrive on seeing scary punching power and Dan brings it every time.  When asked if he felt he could handle a BK heavyweight punch Dan responded by showing me a bloody photograph where he had been clocked in the forehead with a 10,000 pound excavator at full swing with its bucket.  “It never put me on my ass.  I just turned around and went back to work,” explained Dan. Bunyan has never been knocked out. He has never even been knocked down, not even in training. “Most fighters are afraid to get hit by my kind of violence.  I am in the best shape of my life and I like to fight,” continued Bunyan. Considering the carnage Bunyan can deliver he seems like a nature fit for BKFC. It is fair to assume he would definitely bring explosive hard hitting heavyweight action to BKFC and its fans. Dan believes signing with BKFC would change his life.

NORTH EAST MMA Media – What attracted you to Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships? 

DAN “The Bull” BUNYAN – “Bare Knuckle is blood and gore, pure violence that don’t slow down.  That’s what attracted me to the sport.”

NORTH EAST MMA Media – Who would you want to be your debut opponent if you got the chance?  And why? 

DAN “The Bull” BUNYAN – “I want to fight the big names.  That’s how I get paid and earn a title shot.  I don’t get paid a lot for no names.  I get paid for big names. “

NORTH EAST MMA Media – It is my understanding you’re hungry for Arnold Adams.  Is this correct?  And if so why?

DAN “The Bull” BUNYAN – “Adams and Stamps would be easy work because they run and can’t take punishment.  Adams grabbed my attention from trying to scare their announcer.  Shows me he doesn’t wanna fight tough guys, he wants to fight people that can’t fight. Adams’ time is over and I am the one to take his place.”

NORTH EAST MMA Media – It is my understanding you broke the punching bag while working on your striking at Atlas in Glens Falls, New York.  Is this true? 

DAN “The Bull” BUNYAN – “I broke the bag at Atlas jiu jitsu Glens Falls, New York and it never got put back up.  I became known as the one that broke the punching bag.  My jiu jitsu trainer Joe seen it first hand and his eyes widened and he was silent.  You can always ask Atlas who broke the punching bag, they gonna say me.”

NORTH EAST MMA Media – Would you take on any of the BK heavyweights?

DAN “The Bull” BUNYAN – “Sarro, Mir, Adams, Beltran, Shewmaker, Lopez, all interest me.”

NORTH EAST MMA Media – It is my understanding that you would welcome with open arms a fight with the hard hitting Chris Sarro.  Is this true? 

DAN “The Bull” BUNYAN – “YES.”

NORTH EAST MMA Media – Some people feel Chris Sarro and yourself are two of the hardest heavyweight sluggers in the northeast.  Do you agree? 

DAN “The Bull” BUNYAN – “I definitely agree that me and Sarro are hardest hitters to come outta the northeast.  I think a lot of fans would agree that me and Sarro are the two hardest hitters outta the northeast. A fight between Sarro and myself would probably be the most gory fight in BK history if it went the distance.”

Dan “The Bull” Bunyan is a beast that brings one hell of a show. “The BULL” clearly wants BKFC and he wants it bad.

Article by – T. Vickers

Below are two brief videos of Dan “The BULL” Bunyan.