April 9th XXVIII Recap

April 20th, 2016

Plymouth Memorial Hall played host to an amazing night of fights as Cage Titans delivered its 7th consecutive sold-out event. The Undercard warmed the crowd up with some amazing performances highlighted by Tommy Davis’ knock-out and an epic back and forth battle between female fighters Jeannette Pomales and Caroline Wilhelm. As for the Main Card, we saw champion Richard Santiago successfully defend his title, handing his undefeated opponent his very first loss, and also the crowning of new champion Ryan Dibartolomeo, who edged out the victory on the judges’ scorecards capturing the vacant belt. And in the Main Event, the fight lived up to the hype as Remo Cardarelli and Andy Aiello battered each other from opening bell to finish. When the decision was read, Cardarelli was the one with his hand raised, avenging his loss to Aiello from back in April of 2015 and setting up a potential trilogy! Below please find results of all the fights as well as various media outlets that covered the event.


Fight 1: 145lb AM – Dan Shapiro (0-0, Redline) vs Matt Burton (0-0, DCNU)

Fight 2: 205lb AM – Stephen Kimball (1-2, Nostos) vs Ron Marshall (0-0, Team Anubis)

Fight 3: 155lb AM – Austin Schalla (1-2, Dexter MMA) vs Mike Bulger (1-0, Sityodtong)

Fight 4: 150lb AM – Quentin Harris (0-0, Independent) vs Chris Sniger (0-1, Team EVT/SBG)

Fight 5: 165lb AM – Trevor Gudde (0-0, Florian MMA) vs Donnell Ford (0-0, DCNU)

Fight 6: 185lb AM – Chris Marriott (0-1-1, Team Anubis) vs Kris Silck (1-0, Hard Knocks/SSSF)

Fight 7: 155lb AM – Derek Peterson (1-3, Gillett’s MMA) vs Dan Bardellini (1-5, Rivera Athletics)

Fight 8: 185lb AM – Dave Sheehan (0-0, Connors MMA) vs Tommy Lee Davis (0-0, Juniko)

Fight 8: 135lb AM – Caroline Wilhelm (0-0, Nostos) vs Jeannette Pomales (2-1, Sityodtong)

Fight 8: 170lb PRO – Alex Dolan (0-0 UFC Gym) vs. Carlos Correia (DCNU 0-0)

Fight 8: 155lb PRO – Jeff Anderson (11-10 Independent) vs. Peter Barrett (Sityodtong 5-0)


Amateur 125lb Featherweight Title Fight (Vacant)

145lb AM – Justin Bombardier (0-0, MAXX) vs Antoine Caparotta (1-0, SSSF)

135lb AM – Joe Smith (1-0 Lauzon MMA) vs. Josh Meehan (0-0 Juniko)

Amateur 155lb Lightweight Title Fight

Ryan DiBartolomeo (Team Link NH 4-4) vs. Alex Ortiz (3-1 Speed School)

Amateur 125lb Flyweight Title Fight

Champ Rich Santiago (RAC 4-4) vs. Nate Russell (4-0 FAA)

155lb AM – Arslan Otchiyev (Speed School 3-2-1) vs. Bryan Rossi (Sityodtong 3-2-1)

Pro 170lb Welterweight Fight

Sean Lally ( 3-2 Juniko ) vs. Keegan Hornstra (Nostos 2-8)

Pro 195lb Catchweight Fight

Joe Levasseur (1-1 Triforce) vs. Roger Brackett (6-4 Lakeville)

Pro 125lb Flyweight Fight

Remo Cardarelli (RAC 5-3) vs. Andy Aiello (Lauzon 3-1)


Amateur SUB of the Night

Antoine Caparotta

Amateur Fight of the Night

Jeanette Pomales vs Caroline Wilhelm

(T)KO of the Night

Tommy Davis



Photos – Courtesy of Crossface Productions


Combat Sports Nation – Review and Results AMMY     Review and Results PRO

WesternmassMMA.com – Review and Results

Mass-MMA.com – Review and Results


barrettvsandersonThere can form within one person a duality; a fracture of identity where such extremes exist that different personalities are required to keep sanity in check. In this way, one personality can divorce itself from the thoughts and actions of its counterpart, like oil and vinegar sharing the same bottle. While this compartmentalization of life may seem in itself crazy, this is a coping mechanism for people who, by necessity or desire, must exist in two worlds. For most people, this boundary is intangible, brought on by circumstance, but for undefeated professional fighter Peter Barrett, the boundary is very much physical. Three steps, a door, and a wall of chain links that keep Slippery Pete safely away from spectators, and keep his victims within arm’s reach.

“I have a dark side. I deal with impulses all the time.” Peter Barrett shared with me, speaking on the inception of his alter ego.

Unlike the ad nauseam Beast Mode mentality of the average athlete, who gets fired up in the weight room and simmers down before the sweat has even dried on the dumbbells, Barrett’s switch is one easily thrown but having a tendency to get stuck in place, courtesy of some good old-fashioned American practice.

“My friends would joke that you couldn’t compare your partying to mine because I was wired differently. I would always go bigger and harder and longer with everything. Slippery is the side of me that was forged in my party years and has been refined to a cage fighting, bad MFer.”

If Slippery were a plant, being liberally watered during college in Colorado, his roots thirst for whiskey, having been raised Irish Catholic like much of the Boston area. Though his parents divorced when he was young, the split did little but grow a massive family of step brothers and sisters; remaining connected with his father, though living with his mother and two brothers. The Irish have never been known for their easy hand or outward displays of affection, and Peter worked in the family restaurant even as a boy, earning spending money one washed dish, peeled shrimp, or emptied trash can at a time. It’s a work ethic that has carried him far, not just with his meticulous gym routine, but in his day job, working as a buyer for a whole sale company.

It’s a life that Barrett balances well, yet his ability to walk this razor’s edge came from watching his father slip and fall many times in his formative years, costing the elder Barrett nearly everything.

“My dad’s been in and out of rehab since I was in junior high. Thankfully he’s clean now, but it cost him his business, that my grandfather built.”

The best method of learning isn’t necessarily through experience, but through watching others and avoiding those mistakes yourself. With the prospects of frequenting those same bars; having those same issues with the law; brooding over the same regrets, Peter would make the decision to aim higher, attending a private school to keep his nose in books, rather than bottles, and ultimately earning a dual degree at a Jesuit college. These years would see Peter bloom, not just academically, but also athletically, wrestling in high school before turning to the equally brutal sport of rugby in college.

Life outside of college wouldn’t suddenly cool down however, and Barrett saw himself pulled in an interesting new direction that spoke to that caged killer within.

“I got into fighting because I live and die on the extremes. Fighting is my escape. It lets me tune out and tune in, and it turns out I’m really good at it”

Sporting a sterling professional record of 5-0 with all finishes, and the majority in the first round, it’s hard to argue with Barrett’s assessment of his skills. Splitting time between Daniel Gracie’s Juniko schools as well as the legendary Sityodtong Boston, Barrett is constantly sharpening the axe, and has some plans for his opponent on April 9th. What’s in store for Jeff “Candyman” Anderson?

“Highly-calculated violence.” Barrett answers. “Everything I can control is in place, all the details have been covered, and now I get to go do what I do. Knock MFers out.”

As that win column swells, there is a certain expectation in the fight world to do more: Take bigger fights, and dish out more punishment. Rather than a vice on his mind however, that pressure of all-eyes-on-Slippery acts more like a wind at his back.

“The only pressure there is, is to continue to perform in the same way I’ve been performing. You know, people come and expect me to show up and decimate my opponents, and I embrace that pressure. I love that stress added into my fights.”

While it’s Slippery doing the dirty work in the cage, plain old Peter Barrett has as critical of an eye on himself as his opponents.

“Every time we get back in the gym after a fight, I work on my weaknesses, because martial arts are all about learning and evolving; by reflecting on my fights and seeing what I like and what I don’t like about my performance. While there’s stress externally to maintain that record, a lot of my motivation comes from internal forces that push me to be the best I can be, and to continue to grow.”

If Slippery Pete gets his way in the cage, the biggest growth will be the pool of blood forming under another vanquished adversary; six down and the entire fight world to go.

~ Mike Hammersmith

santiagovsrussellAs a young man stepping onto the mats or putting on gloves for the first time, it’s easy for the imagination to go wild, with dreams of UFC glory, international fame, and master status within martial arts. Having lofty dreams is easy, yet it’s when those plans unravel, like hand wraps at the end of a training session, that a fighter’s character is truly tested. When it’s not yourself with your hand raised, but rather your opponent time and again, what is left?

“I remember going into my third fight thinking “If I lose, that’s it. It’s over.” and then after losing that fight I just remember walking in the back with my head down, in tears thinking “That’s it. I’m done. This isn’t for me. I can’t do this”

It was Richard Santiago’s third loss in three fights, and the silver lining on that UFC dream was fading to black against the reality of his situation. Coming from the tremendously successful Rivera Athletic Center with amateur champions and professional fighters in all directions, being the odd man out would be enough to make someone unpack their locker and head out for good, yet Santiago wasn’t going to walk away so easily.

“Time passed and I didn’t stop coming to the gym. I just couldn’t. Jorge [Rivera] booked my next fight without even asking me, so I nervously accepted and one night he looked me in the eye and said “You’re a winner. I believe in you and I don’t care about any of this BS” and I went on to win that fight.”

While there would be other bumps in the road for Santiago, that one win was enough to keep his foot on the gas and frame up one of the most unlikely runs in New England’s amateur MMA history, going from a 0-3 fighter to the cusp of the Cage Titans Flyweight title; Santiago proving to be one of the scrappiest underdogs to emerge on the scene in years.

Facing Ryan “Razzle Dazzle” Kane at Cage Titans 27 and counted out by the majority of fans in the sold out Plymouth Memorial Hall, Santiago put on a short and sweet jiu-jitsu clinic against his adversary, snatching victory with a rear naked choke and hoisting a title that seemed a million miles away for a man who was once winless in three fights. Pulling a quote from UFC great Matt Hughes, Santiago claims “You’re not really the champion until you defend the title”, now heading into Cage Titans 28 ready to solidify his claim as the best Flyweight in New England.

Opposite Santiago will be a man who has never had that painful walk out of the cage; holding back tears as the crowd roars for another. Yet his path to this title fight has been a painful grind that started as a homeless youth on the streets of Hartford, Connecticut. As a boy, Nate Russell faced an uphill battle; his father having passed away and mother battling drug addiction, yet the young man found solace on the wrestling mats; a place he not only survived from a life asunder, but thrived. Taking a state championship in high school, Russell would be given an opportunity to wrestle at William Penn University in Iowa. While he’d struggle with grades and injury, taking five years to attain that degree, Russell made the most of his opportunity to improve his life by virtue of his physical prowess.

Russell made that walk, graduating with a degree in physical education and moving on to earn his Masters at Springfield College. With school out of the way and wrestling over, Russell turned to MMA and found he loved the gym grind as much as ever, his work ethic and physicality impressing team mates and the audience alike across four amateur bouts.

“The guy is as tough as they come.” Commented team mate Nick “Juice Box” Mancinone. “He doesn’t care about getting hit, he loves to trade and he just pushes through any barriers regardless of the situation. He’s constantly improving.”

Already holding a title with Premier FC, Nate Russell will look to continue his undefeated streak and pick up another strap, this time looking to add the most coveted amateur belt in New England; two underdogs looking to remain top dog on April 9th at Cage Titans 28.

~ Mike Hammersmith

rossivsotchiyevOne of my favorite things about local MMA is that success isn’t confined within a promotion, but radiates out and draws the attention of others looking to elevate young stars. It was in this way that two fighters, coming off spectacular wins at Warrior Nation, suddenly find themselves across from each other at Cage Titans; contesting for the Featherweight Title.

For Bryan Rossi, this opportunity has been a long time coming for the amateur scrapper of seven years, yet Rossi has been throwing haymakers for much longer than his sanctioned career.

“I got into MMA because I needed something to do with myself. I was always in and out of trouble, fighting at school, in the neighborhood, and anywhere else you could find a scrap. I found MSA 2 in 2006, where Jorge Rivera was teaching at the time, and just stuck it out.” Rossi spoke, concerning his transition from neighborhood tough guy to athlete.

Rossi would begin fighting three years later, but was in no real hurry to mix it up in the cage, dropping his first two fights over two years, but growing into himself as a fighter. While most modern fighters are stuck in the habit of light training, hard camps, fighting and bingeing, Rossi has a more traditional approach to combat sports.

“I’m not one of those guys that goes out of his way to be ready to fight. I’m always ready. I train everyday. It’s a lifestyle; it’s who I am and what I do.”

Now having put a substantial feather in his cap with a ground and pound KO at Warrior Nation, Rossi finds himself geared up for the biggest fight of his career, though if truth be told, it’s not so much his own journey here that’s important to him, but what he can do along that path.

“I do want to fight at the highest level in the sport, but at the end of the day it’s more about the difference I can make. I’ve helped people get over their PTSD, young kids find their confidence, older men find their happiness, even helped a friend quit smoking. These things mean the world to me, and it pushes me to push myself when I see these people pushing to win their own mental battles.”

Perhaps with some good karma giving Rossi’s career a push in the right direction, he’ll square off against another terror in the division.

A quiet character within the New England MMA scene, Arslan Otchiyev has dazzled far more with movement than with words, with a skill set seldom seen stateside. Originally from Turkmenistan, Otchiyev would move to the Ukraine and fall in love with Pride FC and national hero Fedor Emelianenko. Otchiyev’s passion for MMA would start as rough housing with his family in the living room, but with Fedor’s sport base of Sambo readily available to learn in the Ukraine, Otchiyev soon found himself working those skills in earnest.

Moving to the US in 2011, Otchiyev would link up with a series of gyms before starting his amateur career in 2014; facing one of the toughest rosters of any fighter in the last several years. Battling the likes of Matt Tullos, Max Barrett, Billy Keegan, Otchiyev found limited success, yet was never out of any fight due to his unorthodox style for American MMA. Foot sweeps, hip throws, and a nasty functional sambo game awaited every opponent, with Ali Zebain suffering the effects in their bout at Warrior Nation.

Having secured an impressive win over a top-ranked opponent, Otchiyev enters the fray in seach of the Cage Titans Featherweight Title.

“The man’s a workhorse and easily one of the toughest guys we know.” Commented team mate Timothy Cenabre. “He’s relentless, cold and calculated; and he’s a lot more intelligent that he puts out, but at the end of the day the guy is just tough. He literally went to work the morning of and the night after his last fight.”

With no rest for those striving for UFC dreams, or leading from the front, Otchiyev and Rossi will head into their title tilt on April 9th in search of the greatest wins of their respective careers; years and miles in the making.

~ Mike Hammersmith

ortizvsdibartWhile there is a bell to signal the start of an MMA match and a bell to signal its end, the battles waged in this sport extend well outside those chain links; hours, days and even years into the past. The dedication to the craft, to diet, to gym battles and past losses are all tied into that moment, with some fighters carrying accursed scars few know about, some acting as catalyst to action and others as hindrance on the mind. It is these battles we cannot see, enveloped inside that moment of victory or defeat, that defines those who would call themselves warriors and differentiate chaff from champions.

On April 9th, the recently vacated amateur Lightweight title is up for grabs, with two fighters from opposite ends of New England meeting in Plymouth, yet both with ghosts at their back.

For Ryan Dibartolomeo, his fight began as a baby, his mother passing away before he’d ever had the chance to know her. Dibart would grow from boy to man with a chip on his shoulder and a hole in his heart, yet would find positive outlets for that simmering anger, playing hockey in his youth before making the jump into martial arts. Getting his start at The Factory, Dibart would find himself thrown to the wolves to start his MMA career, his debut at 170lbs against Cody Anderson, as well as playing welcoming party for Addison O’Neil short months later.

Dibart would go 0-3 to start his career, yet he wasn’t about to hang up the gloves. Jumping ship to Triumph BJJ, the home of former adversary Cody Anderson, Dibart would start to pick up those pieces he’d been missing early in his career, adding skill sets to a frame built for endurance, and yoking a heart that won’t stop pumping in the cage. The time on the mats at Triumph changed Dibart from a floundering fish on the mats to a relentless pressure grappler, forcing opponents to match will for will and come up wanting. Dibart would see himself go from 0-3 amateur to 4-3 amateur champion, snatching Combat Zone’s Lightweight Title in a short notice fight where he was counted out as the underdog. A loss in Maine to Josh Harvey, as well as team and management conflicts have seen Dibart switch views, heading to Team Link Hooksett where he will sharpen the ax en route to another title tilt in his Cage Titans debut.

Opposite Dibartolomeo will be a different breed of fighter in Speed School’s Alex Ortiz, who will look to vanquish the ghosts of his first loss, suffered in search of the same title he seeks now. An exceptional natural striker, Ortiz has worked to refine his game over years and fights, yet it was his last battle at Cage Titans that wounded him deeply. Contesting for the Lightweight title against Don “Shameless” Shainis, Ortiz would walk into the bout on short notice and with injury, yet it wasn’t his body that was hurt in the fray, but his confidence.

“I came up extremely short in that fight and it taught me a lot about myself” Ortiz spoke about the title tilt with Shainis, in which he suffered a TKO in the first championship round. It was a nasty grind of a fight that left Ortiz physically and emotionally spent and set him to making bold decisions about his career moving forward.

“I took some time to allow my body to heal and relocated to a new team in Speed School. I’m reinvigorated and I’m ready to claim something I feel I could’ve already won if I made better decisions.” Explained Ortiz, with the change of gym having already yielded a win that positions him to contest for the same title he’d lost.

Regardless of loss, regret, mistakes and misfortunes, these two will come together and leave their baggage at the bottom of the cage stairs; the strongest will and sharpest skill taking home the 155lb title on April 9th.

~ Mike Hammersmith