UFC and PFL alum John Howard will return to CES on Friday, facing Ozzie Alvarez in the main event of CES 63 from the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.
The fight headlines a busy 10-fight card that includes many undefeated prospects along with regional veterans.
Follow along throughout the evening for live coverage.
Bout 1: Thad Jean def. Sage Philippe via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 3, 3:59)
Bout 2: Nick Fiore def. Jay Ellis via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 1:29)
Bout 3: Nathan Ghareeb def. Dajun Robinson via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 5:00)
Main Card (8:00PM EDT) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 10: Ozzie Alvarez (8-6) vs. John Howard (28-16-1) (Middleweight)
Howard Earns Decision Nod In CES Return
John Howard had a controlling return to CES in Friday’s main event, fighting three rounds for a unanimous decision win against Ozzie Alvarez (29-28, 29-27 & 29-26).
Howard had a dominant opening round to the fight, taking Alvarez down early and keeping him on the ground for the majority of the round. He scored shots often during the fight and was also able to attempt a rear naked choke late in the frame.
The second round was just as successful for Howard, as he was able to get Alvarez down early on. He kept control for the rest of the round, moving into full mount before the round concluded.
Alvarez was able to notch control time in the final round, although it wasn’t enough to get the win on scorecards.
Howard, a 14-fight UFC vet, was returning to CES after fighting in the 2018 and 2019 PFL seasons. He is no stranger to CES, having fought for them six times in the past.
Howard mentioned afterward that he hopes to become a CES Champion soon.
Like Howard, Alvarez was competing for the first time since 2019. He was coming to CES after a three-fight stint in Combate Global (known at the time as Combate Americas) that resulted in one win.
Bout 9: Carlos Candelario (7-0) vs. Miguel Restrepo (5-5-1) (Bantamweight)
Candelario Defeats Restrepo In Return Bout
Carlos Candelario’s undefeated record remained intact in his return bout on Friday, defeating Miguel Restrepo via unanimous decision after a close three rounds of battle (29-28, 30-27 & 30-27).
Candelario and Restrepo were eager to grapple in the first two rounds, both scoring with numerous takedowns. A large portion of the fight took place from a clinch position where the fighters would work for takedowns.
The fighters were also active with strikes from all positions during the fast-paced fight, scoring with shots while on the ground, in a clinch and at striking range.
Candelario was appearing for the first time since 2017. His previous bout was on the UFC TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series,” where he defeated Ronaldo Candido but did not get a UFC contract.
Five of Candelario’s previous wins were in the CES cage.
The co-main event bout was a rematch. Candelario had won in their previous meeting, submitting Restrepo with a rear naked choke in 2017.
Restrepo had lost four of his previous five fights before Friday.
Bout 8: Chris Disonell (5-4) vs. Will Smith (3-3) (Bantamweight)
Disonell Stops Bellator Alum Smith With Left Hook
Chris Disonell put an abrupt end to his close fight with Will Smith in the opening round, using his punches to stop him in the fourth minute.
Disonell dropped Smith with a left hook, flooring him and causing the fight to be finished shortly after.
The fight was close in the first half of the opening round prior to the stoppage. Both fighters were throwing a fair amount of strikes early on in what was a strictly stand-up battle.
Disonell entered Friday’s card with the momentum of a decision win he took over Turpal Khamzayev on a CFFC card four months back.
Bout 7: Kody Murray (0-0) vs. Miguel Cuevas (1-0) (Featherweight)
Murray Chokes Out Cuevas Early In Pro Debut
Kody Murray executed a perfect game plan in his pro debut, scoring a takedown and a subsequent submission against Miguel Cuevas in only 44 seconds.
While an early takedown attempt was met with some resistance, Murray was able to take Cuevas down early. He quickly moved into side control to apply the triangle choke, which put Cuevas unconscious and finished the fight.
Murray called out pro wrestler Nick Gage and UFC fighter Kris Moutinho after his win.
Cuevas had his first pro fight in early 2020, where he stopped his opponent in just over a minute.
Bout 6: Eddy George (2-0) vs. Tony Jackson (0-0) (Lightweight)
George Stops Jackson Early With Vicious Ground and Pound
Eddy George showed his damaging ground and pound skills on Friday, stopping Tony Jackson in the first round of their lightweight bout.
George secured a takedown early in the first round. After escaping a guillotine choke from Jackson, George postured up and landed a flurry of punches and elbows that went unanswered. The referee eventually opted to end the bout after George’s pace of strikes didn’t let up.
Jackson was seemingly hurt his left shoulder during the fight, as he was holding it while the official decision was being read.
The win kept George’s career-long streak of first-round finish wins alive. George earned a first-round stoppage win in his two previous fights. His previous fight was in August, where he defeated Frank Mazepa.
George said after his win that he wants another fight soon.
“I’m gonna take a week to get my body good, then I’m gonna get back in here,” said George in his post-fight interview.
The fight on Friday was Jackson’s pro debut.
Bout 5: Tom Pagliarulo (1-0) vs. Josh Hardy (0-0) (Featherweight)
Pagliarulo Stops Hardy With Right Hand For Second Pro Win
Tom Pagliarulo scored a big stoppage win on Friday’s card, stopping Josh Hardy within a round with punches.
Pagliarulo landed a knockout shot early in the first round, catching a kick and dropping Hardy with a right cross. After Hardy fell hard with the back of his head hitting the canvas, Pagliarulo landed a punch on the ground before the referee stopped the fight.
Pagliarulo succeeded in the opening minute of the fight as well, using his reach advantage to out-land Hardy.
Pagliarulo won his pro debut earlier this year on a CFFC card, stopping Shawn Stefanelli in the third round of a bout due to corner stoppage.
Hardy was turning pro after fighting as an amateur from 2017 to 2019.
Bout 4: Ashiek Ajim (3-1) vs. Richard Barnard (2-6) (Bantamweight)
Ajim Bounces Back From Sole Loss With 34-Second Win
Ashiek Ajim bounced back from his sole pro loss to open the main card, stopping Carlos Espinosa in only seconds with strikes.
Ajim significantly wobbled Barnard early on with a left hook. He was able to then drop him with the same punch again only seconds later.
Ajim landed a flurry of punches and elbows that hurt Barnard on the ground, causing an end to the fight in just the first minute.
Ajim’s previous fight, his sole pro loss, came against now-UFC fighter Kris Moutinho last year. Prior to then, he scored three wins in CES from 2019 to 2020.
Barnard’s record is now a negative two wins and seven losses. He was returning to MMA after losing three boxing bouts via stoppage earlier this year.