Kris Moutinho eager to bounce back at CES 61: “I want to be the best”

Kris Moutinho (left) throws a jab. Credit: Will Paul, CES MMA.

Massachusetts native and CES mainstay Kris Moutinho (7-4) has become a local fan favorite for New England promotion CES MMA’s die-hard fans. A bantamweight who loves to square off with the top fighters in the region, Moutinho can’t hide his excitement for the return of CES on October 14th.

“I’m extremely excited. I’m just happy to do what I love to do again,” Moutinho told MMA-Prospects. “My heart is filled with excitement; I can get on with my career.”

Moutinho, although wishing he was inside the cage competing, used his quarantine training wisely. As well as focusing on his physical skills, Moutinho also spent time working on his mindset, which he believes is the most important aspect of being a fighter.

“It’s paramount. You have to have that,” Moutinho said. “Lots of guys need to be coddled, need to be told their the best; I don’t need that – all I need is myself. Coaches aren’t there fighting for you, you need to have that mentality.”

Moutinho steps back in the cage for the first time since the summer of 2019 to face New York’s undefeated Ashiek Ajim (3-0), someone for whom Moutinho had high praise.

“I’m fighting a very game opponent, a tough dude who comes to fight,” said Moutinho. “The point of fighting is to challenge yourself. This guy could finish me. That is how you get better that is why I am here.”

The bantamweight prospect is coming off of two back-to-back losses, both of which came against top tier talent, fellow regional standout Johnny Campbell (20-12) and UFC bantamweight Tony Gravely (19-6).

Moutinho knows a win in his next fight would be huge for his career, but he doesn’t feel the pressure is anything new.

“I always need a win,” Moutinho explained. “This game is a ‘Do for me, do for you’ business. If you aren’t winning, they don’t care about you. I do this sport not for [the] money: I want to be the best and do something I love to do.”

There are certain names that are always brought up when you enter the Twin River Casino for a CES fight night. PFL veteran Nate “The Snake” Andrews, top prospect John Gotti III, New England MMA legend Greg Rebello, and someone Moutinho calls an inspiration, recent Contender Series alumnus Dinis Paiva.

“[He’s the] hardest working man in New England,” Moutinho stated of Paiva. “He is a guy I look up to most. He’s a Portuguese dude just like me; trying to make it, just like me.”

Moutinho, although on a losing streak, is still deeply focused on his dream job, a stint in the UFC.

“I want to show that I’m the best. The UFC is the epitome of the best MMA, [so] I’ll keep working my butt off. I’ve fought a lot of tough guys and grown from each one; the UFC will come.”

When asked for a prediction on his fight against Ajim, Moutinho relayed that he believes he will win via finish, in any round he so chooses.