Unbeaten Olympic Judoka Rick Hawn Added to Rhode Island's First Sanctioned MMA Event

Rhode Island's first sanctioned, professional MMA event, "First Blood," takes place in Lincoln, RI, on September 17.

The smallest state in the country legalized mixed martial arts last October, and almost one year later, Rhode Island is getting its first sanctioned, professional MMA event.

Promoter Jimmy Burchfield's Classic Entertainment and Sports announced the addition of several participants to September 17's "First Blood" at a press conference in Providence today, including unbeaten Olympic judo convert Rick Hawn (8-0). The Sityodtong-trained welterweight notched the biggest win of his career on July 31 when he TKO'd 80-fight veteran Shonie Carter in New Hampshire.

Hawn will face an opponent to be announced, as will 20-year-old lightweight prospect Saul Almeida (7-0), who won Bellator's open tryout in Boston last year and just returned from two months of training with Anderson Silva's Black House team in California.

Headlining the show - which takes place at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI - is Rhode Island's own 155-pound WEC vet Mike Campbell (8-2), who meets Brazilian transplant Magno Almeida (6-0).

Read the full press release after the jump.

R.I. MMA fans to taste ‘First Blood’ in historic show
Campbell-Almeida headline inaugural R.I. MMA show Sept. 17 at Twin River Event Center, RI
 
PROVIDENCE (Aug. 31, 2010) – History will be made Friday night, Sept. 17 when "First Blood"  becomes the first sanctioned, professional Mixed Martial Arts show ever held in Rhode Island.
 
"First Blood," presented by Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment and Sports, Inc., (CES) will be held at the Twin River Event Center in Lincoln, RI. All fights feature three, 5-minute rounds.
 
The main event pits arguably New England’s hottest prospect, Providence lightweight Mike "The Beast" Campbell (8-2-0), against undefeated Magno Almeida (6-0), of Wakefield (MA). In an exciting match-up of contrasting styles, Campbell has five knockouts, while five of Almeida’s six opponents have tapped-put.
 
In the co-feature, Bridgewater (MA) heavyweight Lee Beane (7-1-0) takes on Parker Porter (3-1-0), while Wakefield (MA) welterweight Rick Hawn (8-0-0) faces an opponent to be determined.
 
"Fighting is fighting and we know what fans want – fast action, entertainment and competitive matches," CES president Jimmy Burchfield said. "We’re taking the same grassroots promoting and marketing plan we’ve used so successfully for many years in boxing and taking it into MMA. I’ve been studying MMA for nearly three years in order to learn how to build the best team possible. Boxing plays a big part in MMA. Some athletic boxers want to try MMA, some powerful-punching strikers want to box. CES is now in the unique position to offer boxers and MMA fighters opportunities to cross over.
 
"Our goal is to develop MMA fighters and help bring them to the top of the mountain – UFC. We have a good relationship with UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Mark Ratner, from when he was Executive Director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. We believe our first show has the potential to be the best show ever in New England in terms of showcasing New England talent. We will have some of the best in action on ‘First Blood.’ We’re thrilled to be having this great show at our home base in beautiful Twin River."
 
Also scheduled to fight on "First Blood" are Cranston’s (RI) Luis "Rock Star" Felix (4-5-0) vs. Joe Dechaves (3-2-0); Woonsocket’s pro-debuting lightweight Justin Switzer vs. Cranston’s Eric Fams; Maine welterweight Glenn Reaves vs. pro-debuting Bill Burley;  Whitman (MA) featherweight John Campbell in his pro debut vs. Kurt Calash, of Middleton (CT); and Somerville (MA) lightweight Jimmy "Jimbo Slice" Davidson in his first fight vs. John Sienna (0-1-1).
 
Also on the card against opponents to be determined are undefeated Framingham (MA) light heavyweight Saul "The Spider" Almeida (7-0-0), Ludlow (MA) lightweight Alexandre "Vaca" Moreno (10-2-0), East Greenwich (RI) and Rhode Island MMA pioneer Mat Santos, along with welterweights Lionel Young (2-4-0), Antwann Penn and Mark Skeltcher. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
 
Tickets for "First Blood," priced at $50.00, $75.00, $125.00, $150.00 and $200.00 (front row) are available to purchase by calling CES (401.724.2253/2254), going online at www.cesboxing.com or www.twinriver.com, at Twin River’s Players Club booth at Twin River, or any TicketMaster location.
 
Contact CES (401.724.2253/2254/www.cesboxing.com) or the Twin River Event Center (877.82.RIVER/ www.twinriver.com) for more information. Doors open at 6:00PM/ET, first bout at 7:30 PM/ET.
 
(Twin River has waived its 18+ rule for "First Blood." Anybody under the age of 18 must be accompanied at all times by an adult and they must enter through the West entrance.)

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