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Local fighters thrill MMA fans



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George Papoutsidis tries to lock up his opponent. Walter Bird Jr.. (click for larger version)
December 22, 2009
MANSFIELD — The last time he fought here, Southbridge's George Papoutsidis saw his body let him down when his right elbow popped out less than 20 seconds into the fight.

That was just a few months ago. On Saturday night — hours before a snowstorm hit the area — Papoutsidis stepped back into the ring as part of a Cage Fighting Extreme card that had another Southbridgian, Pedro Rivera, make his debut as an amateur.

There were no elbow problems this time; in fact, while he ended up losing the match, Papoutsidis earned himself "a place with us for life," according to matchmaker Gary Forman.

He did so on the strength of an inspirational performance that saw him batter, bruise and bloody an opponent in Shawn Galeno, who most ringside observers thought would utterly dominate the 48-year Papoutsidis.

See Tuesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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