John “Doomsday” Howard continued his quest to return to the Ultimate Fighting Championships and kept his win streak intact Friday, forcing Scott Rehm to verbally tap out after Rehm suffered an arm injury in the opening round of their middleweight bout at Twin River Casino.
Facing long odds at 44 years old, Rehm (6-6) came out firing in the opening round, catching Howard (17-7) with an overhand right that rocked the former UFC veteran, but Rehm tore his left triceps in the process and was forced to quit moments later when Howard rebounded and scored a takedown.
The long-awaited showdown between the two Boston natives was the main event of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Far Beyond Driven” mixed martial arts show. The fight officially ended at the 1 minute, 28-second mark of the first round.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Rehm, who has trained with Howard in the past. “I just tore it throwing a punch. I give all the credit in the world to John; he deserves it.”
For Howard, the win could vault him back to the UFC, which released him last July following three consecutive losses, but Howard – the reigning CES MMA middleweight champion – hinted that he would like to fight on Burchfield’s upcoming Oct. 6 show in Providence before making his return to the UFC.
“Stuff happens,” Howard said. “I’m sorry it had to end this way. Scott has been with me since my days in the UFC. I have all the respect in the world for him for taking this fight. I just wish we could have put on a better show.”
In the lightweight co-feature, Providence’s Mike “The Beast” Campbell won his second consecutive bout, outlasting Bombsquad veteran Don Carlo-Clauss by unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27. The fight appeared even after two rounds, but Campbell utilized his superior boxing skills, particularly his jab, and avoided the late takedown attempts by Carlo-Clauss (9-7) to earn the decision. Campbell (11-4) has now won back-to-back fights for the first time since 2010.
The knockout of the night belonged to former amateur standout Tyson Chartier (4-2) of Waltham, Mass., who dropped Tim O’Connell of Wakefield, Mass., with a sneaky overhand left to end the bout at the 4:48 mark of the opening round. Chartier faked a takedown and then went up top, catching O’Connell (4-5) on the chin.
Searching for the first win of his professional career, Providence’s Joe Reverdes (1-2) bounced back from a slow start and came through swimmingly, beating newcomer Anthony Carmenetti (0-1) of Boston by unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28. The younger, faster Carmenetti came out strong, but Reverdes’ experience and exceptional stand-up game turned out to be the difference in the final two rounds.
Woonsocket, R.I., middleweight Hector Sanchez (1-3) also secured the first win of his career, but didn’t need nearly as much time; Sanchez came out firing from the opening bell, dropping newcomer Dave Maggiore (0-1) with a right hook just eight seconds into the bout and landing two big overhand rights before the referee stopped the bout. Bantamweight Billy Giovanella (2-0, 1 KO) returned to Twin River for the first time since winning his debut in June and pieced together another impressive performance, stopping Providence’s Theo Desjardin (4-5) with a series of unanswered blows at the 1:41 mark of the second round. Also on the undercard, featherweight Joe Pingitore (2-0) of Johnston, R.I., stood toe-to-toe with newcomer Ahsan Abdulla (0-1) of Cortland, N.Y., escaping with a 28-29, 30-27, 29-28 split-decision win. Neither fighter recorded a takedown, instead utilizing their boxing technique throughout the fight.
East Providence, R.I., bantamweight Dinis Paiva Jr. (2-3) snapped a three-fight losing streak, submitting tough veteran Gilvan Santos (0-4) of Framingham, Mass., via a head and arm choke at the 2:14 mark of the second round. In the flyweight division, Robbie Leroux (4-1) of Fall River, Mass., outlasted game challenger Chris Cole (3-2) of nearby Attleboro, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27; and featherweight Sergio Cabrera (2-0) took down Providence’s Ruben Rey (5-4), submitting the home-town favorite with a rear-naked choke at the 4:30 mark of the second round and spoiling Rey’s homecoming; Rey hadn’t fought in Rhode Island in two years prior to Friday.