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CFFC 109 Main Event Preview: Santo Curatolo vs. Hugo Paiva

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The month of May is just about over and in the sport of MMA, this means that two of the sport’s major promotions inside the United States, the UFC and Bellator MMA, take the Memorial Day weekend off to throw some hamburgers and hot dogs on the barbecue.

While the UFC and Bellator are both dark this week, your holiday weekend inside the United States belongs to the regional circuit in MMA, beginning this Friday night with Cage Fury Fighting ChampionshipsCFFC 109 and the CFFC 109 main event.

Interim Flyweight Championship At Stake in CFFC 109 Main Event Friday

All told, eight fights will take place on Friday night, including a battle for supremacy at 125 lbs.

Santo Curatolo (6-2 MMA, 6-1 CFFC) looks to get back to the win column when he faces Hugo Paiva (5-0 MMA, CFFC promotional debut).

As with all CFFC championship bouts, the CFFC 109 main event this Friday night will be an advertised maximum of four rounds at five minutes per round.

If the scorecards produce a draw after 20 minutes of action, the CFFC 109 main event will progress to a tiebreaking fifth round.

Will There Be a New Champion or a Second Reign as Champion?

Regardless of what happens, the winner of the CFFC 109 main event

Counting interim title reigns, should Hugo Paiva win the CFFC 109 main event on Friday night, he would become the eighth different man to hold the CFFC Flyweight Championship all told.

If Santo Curatolo wins on Friday night, it would be his second overall reign as champion in CFFC.

Prior to this main event, he won the then-vacant CFFC Flyweight Championship by knocking out James Mancini inside the first round of the CFFC 82 main event in August of 2020, the promotion’s first card back from a hiatus of several months caused by COVID-19.

A Pairing Rebooked

Initially, Santo Curatolo and Hugo Paiva were slated to have met inside the cage on Tax Day during the CFFC 107 main card, but the April 15 pairing was scrubbed prior to its scheduled date for undisclosed reasons.

It’s now a month and a half removed from the original booking, and Curatolo will get his chance at Paiva this Friday night in the main event with a belt at stake.

CFFC 109 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the CFFC 109 main event on Friday night, Hugo Paiva stands as the taller man at 5-foot-5, compared to the 5-foot-3 frame of former champion Santo Curatolo.

Additionally, Paiva owns a 6.7-inch reach advantage (68.9 inches to 62 1/2 inches) over Curatolo ahead of this headlining bout.

For Santo Curatolo, The Road to Another Chance at the UFC Begins Friday

Santo Curatolo enters Friday’s headliner having posted a record of 3-2 in his last five appearances, alternating wins and losses in his last four fights.

Most recently, the former champion had an opportunity to impress Dana White and get a shot at a UFC contract when he appeared on the Sept. 21, 2021 episode of Contender Series.

Curatolo was booked to fight Kleydson Rodrigues that September night, but the latter proved to be too tough of an adversary, scoring the unanimous decision victory after 15 minutes and scored a UFC deal at the end of the program.

Although Curatolo wouldn’t secure a UFC contract last year, he’s been on the promotion’s radar for the better part of the last couple of years.

“Nothing has been confirmed,” Curatolo said in 2020. “I still haven’t seen a contract. I haven’t spoken to anybody from the UFC, so, I mean it’s not definitely confirmed but CFFC and my coach are telling me there’s a zero percent chance I don’t get a call.”

While he might not have gotten a UFC deal in September of 2021, a victory in the CFFC 109 main event on Friday night may mean that he’s right back in the mix.

Tune in and find out how Santo Curatolo does.

Hugo Paiva Brings Unbeaten Record Into CFFC 109 Main Event

In the other corner, Hugo Paiva still has yet to lose so far in his professional career, and counting appearances in amateur MMA, he’s won 10 fights in succession.

Last time out, he scored a first-round knockout of Marceu Pasin on Oct. 10 of last year, but Friday’s main attraction is particularly noteworthy for the Brazilian and his camp, as it will be the first time that Paiva will have fought outside of his home country.

Paiva is unbeaten on home soil, but now he’s entering hostile territory, so the question is can he bring the CFFC Flyweight Championship back to Brazil with him after Friday night’s main event?

Analysis, Film Study and Prediction

The CFFC 109 main event on Friday night looks to be another one of those fights that’s a toss-up, as both of these men have been notorious in getting the win inside the distance, but a slight edge is given to Santo Curatolo due to his Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess.

Santo Curatolo Can Score The Stoppage Quickly

One aspect of the former champion’s fight game that’s particularly evident on video is the fact that he can win the fight via stoppage in a hurry, as he showed in 2019 against Elgun Khanoghlani.

Although the fight was slated for an advertised maximum of three rounds that evening, Santo Curatolo only needed 45 seconds to close the show, starting things off with a leaping knee to his opponent and knocking him down with a vicious right-handed punch a few seconds later.

Although Curatolo poured it on with a flurry of ground and pound shots, Khanoghlani was out from the right-handed punch.

All Curatolo will need to become the champion again is as little as one punch.

Hugo Paiva Can End a Fight Quickly, As Well

In the other corner, counting amateur MMA appearances, Hugo Paiva boasts an 80 percent finish rate going into the CFFC 109 main event on Friday night.

Back in 2020, Paiva met Vander Ferreira in the Thunder Fight promotion in his native Brazil, and it was all Paiva, all the time for as long as the fight lasted.

The two men started off the fight trading leg kicks before Paiva turned it into a boxing match, repeatedly teeing off against Ferreira with flurry after flurry of punches, establishing control of the contest, backing him up against the cage fence and throwing in an occasional kick to the body for good measure.

Whenever Ferreira went to the cage mat, Paiva landed serious ground and pound shots to the head, showing that he was ready for anything, and although Ferreira managed to return to his feet, Paiva ended the proceedings with one last flurry of punches to the head, folding his opponent like an accordion.

Ferreira ended the fight with another burst of ground and pound shots from the back mount, but the referee had seen enough by that point.

If Hugo Paiva comes out landing successive punches, this main event will be over in a hurry.

Final Thoughts

Not much more needs to be said about the CFFC 109 main event on Friday night but this:

Pay the pizza delivery guy before the fight starts, as you might not have a chance to cough up the cash after it begins.

Prediction: Diego Paiva by First-Round TKO.

Featured image credit to Cage Fury Fighting Championship

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about MMA since the spring of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.