It is not every day in MMA that a fighter with less than five fights goes viral on social media, but that is exactly what happened when Paris Artis (4-0) made his CFFC debut in October of 2020.
The 26-year-old product of Team R.O.C in Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA began his amateur career with five stoppages in six wins before transitioning to the professional circuit. The aptly named “Ares” won his first two fights by rear-naked choke under the Elite Warrior Challenge banner before picking up a sub-one-minute knockout in Next Level Fight Club.
Artis’s talents certainly caught the eye of the widely respected CFFC talent operations, as his debut was a main card feature bout at lightweight against 2-0 New Jersey product Ryan Rizco. The bout proved to be entertaining, with both fighters exchanging on the feet before Rizo landed a takedown and began initiating strikes from top position. An errant strike to the back of the head forced a restart on the feet, and the two men were noticeably more aggressive. In the midst of a wild salvo of strikes between the two men, Artis countered with a headkick that sent Rizco crashing to the canvas. In just the blink of an eye, the undefeated finishing streak of “Ares” was frighteningly extended.
— UFC FIGHT PASS (@UFCFightPass) October 31, 2020
Artis was noticeably shaken up after the knockout, reminiscent of the Uriah Hall-Adam Cella knockout from Season 17 of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Luckily, Rizco was okay, and recently extended his record to 3-1, proving he is also a formidable lightweight talent.
CFFC has long functioned as a proving ground for MMA prospects, often for the eventual glorious UFC careers of many fighters, including bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling, and contenders Jimmie Rivera, and Paul Felder. CFFC has showcased a slew of other fighters over the years that have gone on to fight in the UFC and Bellator, so they are certainly skilled at finding worthwhile talent.
While Artis does not currently have a fight booked, a bout against CFFC lightweight champion Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov (5-1) would most certainly be an exciting matchup. The two were meant to meet once before in August of 2020, but the bout was canceled prior for unknown reasons. Since the cancellation, Artis knocked out Rizco, while Kamchybekov picked up three stoppages under CFFC, eventually winning the vacant title and extending his record to 5-1. With both men bringing well-rounded games but preferring the KO, this bout would serve as an excellent headliner for a future card.
If a title shot is not next for the surging “Ares,” perhaps a bout against fellow lightweight contender Jesse “Jackpot” Smith (4-1), who Kamchybekov recently stopped for the title. This bout could potentially put an exclamation point on Artis’ title shot claim or prove that Jesse Smith is not to be forgotten as a player in this division.
It remains to be seen just how far Artis can go in this game, but if he is already making viral headlines under the CFFC banner at just 4-0, the future is blindingly bright. In any event, it is simply a privilege to have CFFC showcasing this much elite talent.