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WOONSOCKET â€” Having called Providence home for half of his life, Andre Soukhamthath is no stranger to attending events at the Dunkinâ€™ Donuts Center.
Heâ€™s seen concerts, pro wrestling events, and Providence College basketball games there. And on Oct. 6, he will be at The Dunk for the arenaâ€™s first mixed martial arts show.
But instead of attending the show, Soukhamthath will be the show and fight on the undercard of Classic Entertainment & Sports, Inc.â€™s â€śReal Painâ€ť show at the well-known Providence arena.
â€śIâ€™m really excited,â€ť remarked the Woonsocket bantamweight prospect. â€śIâ€™m more excited to be fighting in Providence. I was born in Providence, I spent half of my life living there, and I have a lot of friends and family in the city. Itâ€™s going to be really cool to fight there downtown.â€ť
Soukhamthath will be part of an all-star lineup that also features two of his stablemates from the Tri-Force MMA complex, Pawtucket middleweight Todd â€śThe Hulkâ€ť Chattelle and Providence lightweight Mike Campbell, and former Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) title contender John â€śDoomsdayâ€ť Howard.
But the big name of the bunch that is sure to attract fight fans to the Dunk is David Bautista, who is best known throughout the world by his World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) stage name, Batista.
The 43-year-old former six-time WWE world champion, who is a beast at 6-foot-6, 290 pounds, will make his MMA debut against heavyweight Rashid Evans of Newburgh, N.Y.
â€śI canâ€™t wait to see him fight,â€ť added Soukhamthath.
â€śIâ€™ve always been a wrestling fan. My little brotherâ€™s a fan too, so heâ€™s going to be really excited. Batistaâ€™s been really successful in life, and itâ€™s going to be cool fighting on the same card as a big celebrity like him.â€ť
Soukhamthath, meanwhile is expected to fight Rob Costa of Fall River, Mass. in a contest of 2-1 fighters. Costa, who represents Mass. Alliance/Team JBA, is a purple belt in jiu-jitsu, and while his victories have come via a split and an unanimous decision, Soukhamthathâ€™s wins have come via a second-round submission and a first-round TKO.
Both of those victories have come in what has been a magnificent seven-month stretch in and out of the cage for Soukhamthath.
In addition to winning both fights in front of his home fans at the Twin River Event Center in February and June, he and his manager/fiancĂ©e, Jamie Thompson, became the proud parents of a baby boy, Benson, on Aug. 19.
â€śThis has been a great year for me,â€ť said Soukhamthath. â€śOn the Chinese calendar, itâ€™s the Year of the Dragon. I was born on the Year of the Dragon in (1988), and itâ€™s great to see my son born on the same year.â€ť
Soukhamthath knows he can add to his magnificent year with an impressive victory in October, especially since the show is going to air live on Direct TV pay-per-view.
â€śItâ€™s a really exciting card, and I canâ€™t wait to fight on TV worthwhile,â€ť he added. â€śIâ€™m going to definitely put on a good show. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m focused on. I want to either put on a good show or have a strong finish.â€ť
Tickets for the show are priced at $20, $35, $55, $75, $125, and $250 and can be purchased at the Dunkâ€™s box office or through any TicketMaster outlet.