The heavyweight title will be on the line in August when CES MMA returns to Rhode Island.
Champion Ashley Gooch (10-5) will defend his belt against Juliano Coutinho (7-3) at CES MMA 45, the promotion today announced. In addition, the card will feature a a lightweight bout between Nate Andrews (10-1) and Bruce Boyington (14-10).
CES MMA 45 takes place August 11 at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I.. The main card will air on AXS TV Fights.
Gooch, who trains at The MMA Lab near Phoenix, won CES MMA’s heavyweight title with a comeback TKO of Greg Rebello at CES MMA 37 in August 2016. That win gave him eight straight, all by stoppage.
Two months later, though, he took a fight at WSOF 33 against Shawn Jordan and was knocked out in the first round for his first setback in more than three years. Still, he holds the CES MMA title and is ready to defend it.
Coutinho, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, has won both his fights under the CES MMA banner. The Massachusetts-based fighter has won seven of his past nine fights. But like the champ, his downfalls have come for WSOF. For that promotion, Coutinho has a 2015 knockout loss to Steve Mocco and a knockout loss a year ago to Justin Willis.
Additional fights for CES MMA 45 are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.