Category Archives: amateur mixed martial arts

HEAVYWEIGHTS PREPARE FOR WAR AT NEF 27

 

Lewiston, Maine (December 7, 2016) –New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on February 11, 2017 with its next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 27: RESURGENCE.”  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of a professional contest to the card.  Ras “Rasquatch” Hylton (0-0) will make his professional debut against Mike “The Mustache” Hansen (5-4) in the heavyweight division.

 

Hylton’s now-legendary rise through the ranks of the amateur heavyweight division in NEF is one of the major stories of 2016.  At 6’6″ and towering over the top of the MMA cage, Hylton cuts an imposing figure.  The only thing more impressive than Hylton’s size and appearance might be his athletic abilities.  A prolific striker, Hylton finished all three of his opponents this year by either knockout or technical knockout.

 

“Rasquatch,” or as some fans call him “The Jamaican Shamrock,” really began to raise eyebrows with a highlight-reel head kick knockout of Matt Glover (1-1) last spring.  Then, last month at “NEF 26,” Hylton pounded an extremely tough Kevin Smith (3-3) to a bloody pulp.  It was immediately after that dominant performance that Hylton’s coaches at First Class MMA and Dragon Fire Martial Arts felt the time was right for him to make the jump to the pro ranks.

 

“I am so grateful to be fighting a man of Mike Hansen’s stature in front of my family and friends,” said Hylton.  “As the first professional fighter to come out of both Dragon Fire Martial Arts and First Class MMA, and with the instruction of Shihan Andy Campbell, John “First Class” Raio and my team, we are preparing for me to go to war because that is what Mike always brings to the cage.”

 

A former Maine state heavyweight wrestling champion out of Mountain Valley High School, Mike Hansen has never shied away from taking a fight with someone bigger than him.  In fact, Hansen, who also competes in the light-heavyweight and middleweight divisions, has gained a reputation as somewhat of a “giant killer.”

 

Earlier this year, Hansen submitted a substantially bigger Jesse Baughman (0-2) in the first round at “NEF 22.”  He followed up that impressive performance by nearly knocking out a much larger Brendan Battles (1-1) with a right hand at “NEF 23.”  This fall Hansen gave up nearly half a foot to Matt Andrikut (2-1) and submitted his bigger opponent in the first round.  Indeed, Hylton’s size advantage will play little role in the outcome of this fight should Hansen have anything to say about it.

 

“I’m super excited for this fight,” exclaimed Hansen.  “I like being part of these ‘super fights.’  I know Ras has a great camp behind him and he will come 100% prepared. I’ll expect nothing less from Raio, but I feel my experience and composure in the cage will be my best asset and that’s not something that he can train up on in 10 weeks. February 11th we will go to war, so expect just that.”

 

NEF’s next event, “NEF 27: RESURGENCE” takes place on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 7 p.m.  Tickets start at $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009, extension 525.

 

For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com.  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”

 

“Round 7, Operation Knockout” charity event for Randy Couture’s G.I. Foundation Airing this Sunday night on CBS Sports Network

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
LAS VEGAS (November 25, 2016) – The “Round 7, Operation Knockout” amateur mixed-martial-arts and grappling card, presented by Tuff-N-Uff in association with Neon Star Media, will air TONIGHT (Nov. 27), starting at 11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT on CBS Sports Network.
The seventh annual “Operation Knockout,” held last Saturday evening at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, was created to help Randy Couture’s G.I. Foundation raise funds and awareness for wounded soldiers and their families.
There was something for everyone with nine amateur MMA fights, four of which were for title belts, and six super-fight grappling bouts featuring Bellator’s Ryan Couture, ex-UFC fighter Ulysses Gomez and current UFC fighter Anthony Birchak, former Bellator fighter and active military, Michael Parker, former Lion Fight fighter Fanny Tommasino, and current Combate Americas fighter and former Tuff-N-Uff fighter, Kyra Batara.
Veteran MMA announcers Sean Wheelock, Joey Varner and living legend Couture called all the action live from ringside.
Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation provides necessary support and services for wounded soldiers and their families, many of whom return with traumatic amputations, gunshot wounds, burns and blast injuries. One-hundred percent of the proceeds are given as Operation Knockout continues to build on its efforts to raise more money and help more wounded soldiers and their families. With help of its generous sponsors and donations, “Operation Knock” had raised more than $170,000 going into this year’s event.
CBS Sports Network is available across the United States through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com
 
INFORMATION:
 
Twitter: @tuffnuff, @Neonstarmedia, @randy_Couture

“Round 7, Operation Knockout” charity event for Randy Couture’s G.I. Foundation To air Sunday, Nov. 27 on CBS Sports Network

LAS VEGAS (November 22, 2016) – The “Round 7, Operation Knockout” amateur mixed-martial-arts and grappling card, presented by Tuff-N-Uff in association with Neon Star Media, will air Sunday, November 27 (11 p.m. ET / 8 p.m. PT) on CBS Sports Network.
The seventh annual “Operation Knockout,” held this past Nov. 19th at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, was created to help Randy Couture’s G.I. Foundation raise funds and awareness for wounded soldiers and their families.
This exciting, unique charity event featured a night of amazing fights and a fabulous silent auction that featured gloves signed by Randy Couture, Luke Rockhold, Miesha Tate and Gray Maynard, tickets to Criss Angel, Rock of Ages and Legends in Concert, and many more items. There was something for everyone with nine amateur MMA fights, four of which were for title belts, and six super-fight grappling bouts featuring Bellator’s Ryan Couture, ex-UFC fighter Ulysses Gomez and current UFC fighter Anthony Birchak, former Bellator fighter and active military, Michael Parker, former Lion Fight fighter Fanny Tommasino, and current Combate Americas fighter and former Tuff-N-Uff fighter, Kyra Batara.
Veteran MMA announcers Sean Wheelock, Joey Varner and living legend Couture called all the action live from ringside.
“Tuff-N-Uff is honored to have a hand in helping to raise funds for and bring awareness to our brave service members who have sacrificed so much for our great country,” Tuff-N-Uff CEO Jeff Meyer said. “Any little bit helps and the least we could do was put together a fight card with the Future Stars of MMA, as well as some big names in MMA who participated.  We can’t thank everyone enough for helping put this amazing event together for a good cause.”
Xtreme Couture G.I. Foundation provides necessary support and services for wounded soldiers and their families, many of whom return with traumatic amputations, gunshot wounds, burns and blast injuries. One-hundred percent of the proceeds are given as Operation Knockout continues to build on its efforts to raise more money and help more wounded soldiers and their families. With help of its generous sponsors and donations, “Operation Knock” had raised more than $170,000 going into this year’s event.
“I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the support from Tuff-N-Uf, Downtown Las Vegas Events Center and the D Las Vegas of ‘Round 7, Operation Knockout’ and wounded veterans through xcgif.org,” Couture commented. “We at XCGIF appreciate your help and support of this cause.
“We train our warriors to suppress strong emotional reactions in the face of adversity, to tolerate physical and emotional pain, and overcome the fear of injury and death. The military can’t decrease the intensity of that conditioning without negatively affecting the fighting capability of our military. It is a Catch-22.  A chilling truth is service members are, simply put, more capable of killing themselves by sheer consequence of their professional training and we are losing 22 a day. This must change. We need to retrain our warriors on what defines success for them.”
“It’s going to be a great night of fighting and grappling. Thank you all for your contributions.”
CBS Sports Network is available across the United States through local cable, video and telco providers and via satellite on DirecTV Channel 221 and Dish Network Channel 158. For more information, including a full programming schedule and how to get CBS Sports Network, go to www.cbssportsnetwork.com
 
INFORMATION:
 
Twitter: @tuffnuff, @Neonstarmedia, @randy_Couture

 

 About Tuff-N- Uff:  A 22-year old combat sports organization, the Las Vegas-based TUFF-N- UFF presents the best amateur mixed martial arts (MMA) action in the nation. It has given rise to some of the biggest stars in the sport today, including former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, as well UFC and Strikeforce veteran Ryan Couture and UFC welterweight Alan Jouban. TUFF-N-UFF has helped grow the careers of many other MMA athletes including Jessamyn Duke, Ashlee Evans-Smith, Tonya Evinger, Jon Fitch, Jesse Forbes, Chris Holdsworth, Brad Imes, Jimmy Jones and Jesse Taylor. In 2013, TUFF-N- UFF became the first combat sports organization to be included on the UFC International Fight Week schedule of events. In 2014,

TUFF-N- UFF presented a second event Thursday, July 3 live from Texas Station, earning status as the first event promotion to be listed on the UFC International Fight Week schedule two years in a row. TUFF-N- UFF celebrated its historic 20th anniversary Saturday, June 7, 2014, with over 15,000 fans, in a sold-out live event inside the Thomas and Mack Center. In 2014, TUFF-N- UFF partnered with the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) to present, as part of UFC International Fight Week 2014, the first-ever amateur MMA World Championships. Jeff Meyer is the CEO of TUFF-N- UFF and runs the organization in dedication to his late brother, Barry Meyer, who founded TUFF-N- UFF in 1994. TUFF-N- UFF is committed to growing the sport of MMA and building the “Future Stars of MMA”.
 
About Neon Star Media LLC:  Neon Star Media is a marketing and content company that creates highly effective brand-integration experiences for our clients, executed through a unique “story-telling” approach that empowers client’s product messaging to soar while delivering results. At Neon Star Media, we maximize client media spends by leveraging our relationships with various sporting events, cable channels, digital platforms and other social media outlets.  We work with our clients to engage, endorse and advance their message with audiences on all platforms 24/7.
 
About the D Las Vegas:  the D Las Vegas delivers the fresh, energetic attitude and fun atmosphere synonymous with downtown Las Vegas. The new casino hotel boasts 629 remodeled rooms and suites and a unique two-level casino featuring modern and vintage floors. Cocktails, beer and frozen beverages abound inside the casino at LONGBAR and on the Fremont Street Experience at D Bar.  the D offers contemporary American fare at D Grill, Detroit’s legendary Coney Dogs at American Coney Island and premium steaks and authentic Italian dishes at Joe Vicari’s Andiamo Italian Steakhouse. The Showroom at the D Las Vegas features outstanding entertainment ranging from award-winning dinner theater and Broadway productions to music, comedy and more. Follow the D on Facebook and Twitter.
About Downtown Las Vegas Events Center:  Located at the corner of Third St. and Carson Ave. across from the D Las Vegas, the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center can accommodate up to 11,000 guests and features state-of-the-art stage, sound and lighting. The open-air design is inviting to both tourists and locals and offers the perfect spot for concerts, conventions and other large-scale events. Embracing the uninhibited spirit of Downtown Las Vegas, the new venue plays host to a line-up of curated events including premier concerts, food festivals and more. The venue is also the first entertainment arena in Las Vegas to accept Bitcoin as currency. For more information, visit www.dlvec.com or follow on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @dlveventscenter.

BLOOD REIGNS SUPREME ON FINAL LEWISTON FIGHT CARD OF 2016

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (November 19, 2016) – New England Fights (NEF) held its latest mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event, “NEF 26: SUPREMACY” on Saturday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine.  The promotion presented a total of 14 MMA bouts before a robust crowd of fight fans.

 

Blood flowed early and it continued to flow liberally throughout the night.

 

In the main event of the evening, Ryan Sanders (12-8) defeated Jon Lemke (5-7) via unanimous technical decision.  The fight was stopped in the third round when Lemke suffered a deep cut on his head.  With the fight being in the third round, under the Unified Rules of MMA the judges’ scorecards were called upon for a verdict.  Sanders won 20-18 on all three judges’ scorecards, having scored only the first two rounds.

 

The co-main event saw Josh Parker (5-8) submit Derek Shorey (4-8) in the first-round of a highly-anticipated “coach vs. coach” battle.

 

Rounding out the professional portion of the card, Aaron Lacey (4-0) remained undefeated with a verbal submission win over veteran Taylor Trahan (6-7).

 

Nick Gulliver (4-0) of Farmington, Maine captured the NEF Amateur Heavyweight Title with a victory over Yorgan DeCastro (2-3) as the headliner of the amateur card.

 

The results from Lewiston, Maine:

 

PROFESSIONAL MMA

 

Ryan Sanders def. Jon Lemke via unanimous technical decision

Josh Parker def. Derek Shorey via guillotine, round 1

Aaron Lacey def. Taylor Trahan via verbal submission, round 1

 

AMATEUR MMA

 

Nick Gulliver def. Yorgan DeCastro via TKO, round 3

Chris Smith def. Nash Roy via guillotine, round 1

Angelo Rizzitello def. Ken Dunn via TKO, round 1

Fred Lear def. Robby Fraser via standing guillotine, round 2

Mike Williams def. Mike Swan via TKO, round 2

Ras Hylton def. Kevin Smith via TKO, round 2

Tom Burgess def. Darren Ducharme via TKO, round 1

Fernanda Araujo def. Hannah Sparrell via armbar, round 2

Shawn Lunghi def. Alex Clark via rear-naked choke, round 2

Jessica Borga def. Brianne Genschel via unanimous decision

Chad Pierce def. Lyman Curtis via unanimous decision

 

NEF’s next event, “NEF 27: RESURGENCE” takes place on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 7 p.m.  Tickets start at $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009, extension 525.

 

For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com.  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”

 

Kazakhstan dominates World MMA Association 2016 Asian Championships

 
 

MONTE CARLO, Monaco (August 12, 2016)- Kazakhstan dominated the recent second annual World Mixed Martial Arts Association (WMMAA) Asian Championships, capturing top honors in five of seven  weight classes, at the Hwasoon Culture and Sports Center in the Republic of South Korea.
Individual Kazak winners were bantamweight Azama Markabayev, featherweight Ismail Geroyev, welterweight Goyti Dazaev, light heavyweight Eerkinbek Injel and heavyweight Mohmad Sulimanov. The other 2016 individual champions areKyrgyzstan lightweight Ilias Chyngyzbek Uulu and Uzbekistan middleweightNursulton Ruziboev.
Individual team competition was held in accordance with the “Official Rules of Mixed Martial Arts Competition, subject to WMMAA approval. Including revisions, additions and clarifications of certain clauses.  Matches were held in accordance with the Olympic system including two third-places in each of the seven weight divisions.
Following Kazakhstan in the final team standings were, in order, South Korea and Kyrgyzstan.  See below:
Final Team Standings
               1st       2nd      3rd      4th        5th       6th       7th       8th        Total 
Kazakhstan     5          2          0          0          0          0          0          0            66
South Korea    0          1          7          0          2          0          0          0            58
Kyrgyzstan      1          3          2          0          0          1          0          0            49
Uzbekistan      1          0          3          0          1          0          0          0            32
Tajikistan          0          1          1          0          1          1          0          0            21
 China               0          0          1          0          2          1          1          0            19
Team scoring was awarded by the maximum amount of points scored by individual team members on the following basis:  1st – 10, 2nd – 8, 3rd – 6, 4th – 5, 5th – 4, 6th – 3, 7th – 2, 8th – 1
2016 WMMAA ASIAN CHAMPIONSHIP OFFICIAL RESULTS
Click here to view the action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FAYR04B4Dvc
BANTAMWEIGHTS (134 ½ LBS. / -61.2 KG):
1. Azama Markabayev (Kazakhstan)
2. Alimarden Abdykaarov (Kyrgyzstan)
3. Lee Jongkwan (South Korea)
3. Rustam Magdiev (Uzbekistan)
FEATHERWEIGHTS (145 LBS. / -65.8 KG):
1. Ismail Geroyev (Kazakhstan)
2. Alisher Garibshoev (Tajikistan)
3. Kim Jongkwan (South Korea)
3. Yang Jihwan (South Korea)
LIGHTWEIGHTS (154 ½ LBS. / -70.3 KG):
1. Ilisas Chyngyzbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan)
2. Neimat Asadov (Kazakhstan)
3. Alihon Khasanov (Uzbekistan)
3. Jang Ikhwan (South Korea)
WELTERWEIGHTS (169 ½ LBS. / -77.1 KG):
1. Goyti Dazaev (Kazakhstan)
2. Mavlonzhon Balataev (Kyrgyzstan)
3. Im Jin Yong (South Korea)
3. Jiang Tao (China)
MIDDLEWEIGHTS (185 LBS. / -84.0 KG):
1. Nursulton Ruziboev (Uzbekistan)
2. Baurzhan Kuanyshbayev (Kazakhstan)
3. Tologon Rakhmanberdi Uulu (Kyrgyzstan)
3. Kim Yi Sak (South Korea)
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHTS (205 LBS. / -93.0 KG):
1. Erkinbek Injel (Kazakhstan)
2. Kwak Yun Sub (South Korea)
3. Dilovar Nasyrov (Tajikistan)
3. Daniiar Zarylbek Uulu (Kyrgyzstan)
HEAVYWEIGHTS (+205 LBS. / +93.0 KG):
1. Mohmad Sulimanov (Kazakhstan)
2. Maksat Musabaev (Kyrgyzstan)
3. Amin Ergashev (Uzbekistan)
4. Kim Changhee (South Korea)
All individual first-place winners were awarded special championship belts and medals, second and third-place finishers received a medal and certificate. Teams that finished among the top three in the final standings were awarded cups and certificates.
Schedule of Major 2016 MMA Events
Sept. 14-16 – European MMA Championships in Tbilisi, Georgia
Oct. 7-9 – Inaugural Pan-American Championships in Santiago, Chile
Oct. 20-21 – MMM Championships in Saint Petersburg, Russia
INFORMATION:
Twitter:  @theWMMAA
Instagram: @worldmmaa

YOUNG’S MMA HAS HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE ON AUGUST 5 IN BANGOR

Bangor, Maine (July 28, 2016) – The dedicated delegation from Young’s MMA of Bangor usually relish their reputation as road warriors in New England Fights.

Lewiston is long established as the hub city for the organization, drawing competitors and spectators from both directions on the Maine Turnpike. Fighters and fans from the Penobscot River valley find that staying engaged for those fight cards four or five times a year requires greater commitment than most.

For only the second time in its history, the regional promotion will bring its cage to the Queen City. “NEF Presents: Dana White Lookin’ for a Fight” is slated for Friday, August 5 at Cross Insurance Center.

Young’s, the gym located just a few blocks away at 127 Hammond Street, will celebrate by showcasing one of its fighters in four of the eight scheduled professional bouts. Battle-tested Ryan Sanders and relative newcomers Aaron Lacey, Josh Harvey and CJ Ewer all are poised to take their best shot with the support of a raucous, partisan crowd.

“That’s the most exciting part for me, being from Brewer. I went to Brewer High School,” Lacey said. “It was definitely a huge, huge draw for me, seeing it in person. I went to the fights when NEF came to Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion (July 12, 2013) and all I could think is, ‘Man, I want to do this.’ This has been a goal of mine for a long time.”

Sanders (10-7) will battle Derrick Kennington (11-7) in a clash of wily lightweights that will be on the featured attractions on the docket.

His three stablemates each emerged victorious in their only previous pro bout. Lacey will lock up with John Santos (3-3) of Derry, N.H., in a featherweight fight. Harvey has an appointment at featherweight. Ewer, who won an amateur bout at the outdoor concert venue in Bangor, will be tested by Ruben Redman (0-1) in a welterweight scrap.

Even with numerous friends in attendance, the four men know it is the presence of UFC president White, who grew up in nearby Hermon, which could have career-changing ramifications.

“It’s a great opportunity. It’s awesome to know that someone like that is going to be in the building on fight night,” Sanders said. “But for me it’s just another fight. I don’t want to get caught up in all that. Just let it unfold.”

White and cohorts Din Thomas and Matt Serra travel the country in pursuit of undiscovered MMA talent in a reality show that is broadcast on White’s YouTube page as well as the UFC Fight Pass subscription-based streamed video service.

Yes, the entrepreneur’s Maine connections are well-documented. White also previously brought UFC Fight Night 47 to Bangor. Young’s talent pool suspects that the latest event is more than just a case of White throwing a bone to his home base, however.

“I’m grateful that he’s bringing it here. I’m sure he’s watched film from NEF in his spare time. He must see something in NEF that he likes in order to be doing this,” Harvey said. “It doesn’t make me more nervous. I’m excited for it. I’m going to try to put that all aside and focus on the task at hand.”

Under the tutelage of co-owners Chris Young and Ernie Fitch, roughly five or six professionals and a dozen amateurs cycle through the gym in any given training camp.

“Four of us fighting, it just shows we’re the best gym in the area. Three of us are undefeated. We’re producing studs. People see that and want to train with the best guys they can,” Sanders said. “We definitely push each other. You have guys who kick your ass every day. We want the best for each other. That’s why we’re here.”

Harvey expects the numbers and commitment to grow after White’s visit. He has been training at Young’s for three years. The cage side seat at the waterfront inspired him to step up his own training regimen. It’s a built-in advantage, Harvey noted, that has belonged almost exclusively to Lewiston until now.

“That’s what gets most people started. They go and see the fights and they want to try it,” Harvey said. “That’s why you see places like Central Maine BJJ (Lewiston) and First Class MMA (Topsham) growing so much. The fights are right there in their backyard.”

Lacey characterizes Young’s as “a gym full of killers.”

The statistics underscore Lacey’s point. The three pros with unblemished records all won their debut in two minutes or less.

“Ryan has only gone to a decision I think one time in his career. He’s a finisher. Josh won his fight by submission in the first round. CJ is super strong,” Lacey said. “They challenge me to be the best I can be every day. They keep me focused not just in the gym but in the game of life outside the cage.”

Although he is facing an opponent with significantly greater experience, Lacey expects a helpful adrenaline rush from having so many familiar faces at his back.

“It is different. I fought I think seven times in Lewiston between amateur fights and my pro debut,” he said. “This gives me a chance to be in my comfort zone. And a lot of my fans can’t make it down there. By the time you figure in the travel, the price of the tickets, maybe staying overnight, they just can’t do it.”

Harvey agreed, pointing out that it’s the initial fight for which he hasn’t needed to pack a suitcase.

“This will be the first time I’ve slept in my own bed the night before a fight. I think it’s a huge advantage,” Harvey said. “Some people might think with more of your fans there that there’s more pressure, but I think it just builds you up.”

“NEF Presents Dana White: Looking for a Fight” takes place on Friday, August 5, 2016 at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine. Tickets are on sale now at www.CrossInsuranceCenter.com or by calling the box office at 800.745.3000.

For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com.  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at  www.youtube.com/NEFMMA and www.flocombat.com, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”

BURGESS SIBLINGS READY TO BATTLE AT NEF 24

Lewiston, Maine (June 16, 2016) – As the only girl in a rough-and-tumble household with three older brothers in Mexico, Maine, Nicole Burgess learned how to fight for pride, for respect, sometimes even just for fun.

Sometimes such sibling rivalries are a challenge and burden. In Nicole’s case, however, the arrangement furnished three built-in fans and best friends. And the closest bond of all naturally formed with the family’s youngest boy, Ryan, exactly one year and three days older than his sister.

“We were born pretty much back-to-back,” said Ryan Burgess, the pride becoming perceptible in his voice. “She’s always been tough. She’s really strong, just very athletic.”

Ryan, 22, has backed up his three high school championships as a wrestler with a pair of impressive mixed martial arts wins and the New England Fights amateur flyweight title.

Not to be outdone, multi-sport athlete Nicole, 21, finished fourth against primarily male competition in the state wrestling meet her sophomore, junior and senior years of high school. She has carved out a successful college field hockey career at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire.

Similarly accomplished, so close in age, rarely seen apart from one another in childhood, Ryan and Nicole’s athletic and life stories remain intertwined as young adults. Nicole will follow her brother into the NEF cage on Saturday, June 18, making her debut against Alex Walker (0-1) in a 115-pound women’s bout at “NEF 24: Promised Land.”

Anybody who grew up with a brother or a sister probably can imagine the good-natured ribbing that has taken place in training camp.

“He thinks I’m probably going to want to throw up,” Nicole said with a laugh.

Ryan, who will defend his strap on the same card against Dustin Veinott in a rematch of their split-decision title tilt from November 2015, knows there is no substitute for experience in the cage.

Although he was one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the history of his proud community, Ryan discovered in his first two cage confrontations that the variety of skills and size of the crowd at an MMA event demanded a quantum leap.

“You don’t know what to expect,” he said. “Before my debut, I had never been in a fight in my life. I thought I had, but I really hadn’t. I told myself ‘It’s just another wrestling match,’ but it’s not.”

Burgess stuck with what he knew best and ground out a unanimous decision over Justin Witham in June 2015.

He was introduced as an independent. His studies at Kennebec Valley Community College interfered with his training schedule, and Burgess’ coaches at Berserkers MMA didn’t want him representing the stable until he spent a full cycle under their watchful eyes.

The same night, he scouted out Veinott’s win over Norman “Sleepy” Fox and felt that he compared favorably to both fighters. He proved it in a championship setting five months later, albeit by an on-paper verdict that most cage-side observers felt could have gone either way.

After struggling to find an opponent worthy for the title shot in his weight class, Burgess was eager to extend Veinott (4-4) a second chance.

“I’ve already been in the cage 18 minutes, which is more fight time than a lot of guys who’ve been in four of five fights can say they’ve had,” Ryan said. “I’m completely confident now with the venue, the fans. The only person I hear now is my coach.”

He doesn’t even hear Nicole, although little sister was so enamored with the environment as a spectator that she couldn’t wait to resume her own combat sports career.

“I always watched UFC and stuff like that,” she said. “I actually started boxing before Ryan even got into it.”

Nicole donned the gloves in high school after giving up softball. In sixth grade, she made a similar transition from basketball to wrestling after waiting for a ride home, watching one of Ryan’s grueling mat practices and deciding that it looked fun.

“It was weird at first. I didn’t want to touch the guys,” Nicole said. “Then you heard things like, ‘Oh, it’s just a girl.’ Often times the guys would be stronger, but I had good technique.”

Walker brings experience, in the form of a loss to Randi Beth Boyington, and a tough stand-up game.

Speaking with the typical subtlety of a big brother, Ryan said that Nicole “should be OK as long as she doesn’t get kicked in the head.”

He quickly noted that she has the poise and talent to enjoy a successful debut if she can shake off the requisite whirlwind of emotions.

“As long as she can put together everything she’s learned. You have to overcome the nerves and the adrenaline dump,” Ryan said. “I remember that from my debut. It stunk.”

Nicole said she would like to end the fight early but predicted that it probably will go the distance.

Her brother aims for his first stoppage and forecasts that his improved striking will catch Veinott and everyone else by surprise.

“Up until now, I was focused on school, just graduating in May, and trying to get my career started,” Ryan said. “I was working 40 hours a week for free as an internship and working 20 more hours on the weekend trying to make ends meet. Dustin is going to see a completely different fighter this time.”

The opening bell on June 18 is set for 7 p.m. The current docket includes five pro boxing fights, four pro MMA bouts and eight amateur MMA skirmishes. Tickets for “NEF 24: Promised Land” start at $25 and are available atwww.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009, extension 525.

For more information on the events and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com.  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”

About New England Fights

New England Fights (“NEF”) is a fight events promotions company. NEF’s mission is to create the highest quality events for Maine’s fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.

COMBAT SPORTS GIVE BEZANSON DIRECTION AFTER FAMILY TRAGEDY

Lewiston, Maine (June 13, 2016) – Combat sports gave Mike Bezanson (1-0) direction. They also helped him cultivate the relationship with his father that he always coveted but could never seem to grasp.

Now, on the eve of Father’s Day, less than a week past the four-year anniversary of his dad’s untimely death, Bezanson is poised to take another step in the career that was their shared dream.

Bezanson, 21, of Lancaster, N.H., returns to the New England Fights hexagon to take on Shawn Bang (1-1) of Auburn, Maine, in a welterweight bout at “NEF 24: Promised Land.” Their amateur bout is one of the many attractions on theSaturday, June 18 card at Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

“I think this fight is going to be good for me, because I’ll be able to show my skills against an opponent with more in-cage experience than I have,” Bezanson said. “Also, the fact that June 18 is the day before Father’s Day makes this a sentimental and emotional fight for me.”

The encore comes almost a year to the day after Bezanson stopped Jeff Dustin (0-1) by technical knockout via strikes in his mixed martial arts debut on June 13, 2015. Bang has split his first two verdicts in the NEF cage.

Bezanson’s showboating, stick-and-move style drew mixed reviews from the large crowd that witnessed his rookie effort. Some booed the relative lack of action, perhaps suspecting that Bezanson was toying with an overmatched opponent.

It was all part of his plan to relish the moment and take advantage of the opportunity.

“Truthfully we had a game plan to get experience,” Bezanson said. “If I have any thoughts of going pro, I need to get as much experience as I can. If you go in there and knock a guy out in 10 seconds, don’t get me wrong, you got a knockout and that’s great, but you’re not learning what it takes to get comfortable on the other side of that 10 seconds. You don’t know how much energy you’re going to need.”

Bezanson never lacked energy, or personality, from childhood. He describes himself as a young man who never got into any serious trouble, and never experimented with drugs or other disorderly conduct, but one who freely challenged authority.

He gravitated to the boxing ring as a freshman in high school. It gave him direction. It also provided a foundation for the on-again, off-again relationship with his father, Jamie.

“Before I took up boxing, my dad wasn’t really involved much in my life. He would come and go, you know, for personal reasons,” Bezanson said. “When I started boxing, we got really close. Boxing and racing were his things. He would tell anybody and everybody that I was boxing and how proud he was, and that meant a lot to me.”

Jamie Bezanson never had the chance to watch his son develop as a fighter. On June 15, 2012, during annual “Bike Week” in Laconia, his motorcycle crossed the center line and struck another vehicle.

The elder Bezanson succumbed to his injuries. He was 37.

“I lost it for a while. I stopped boxing. Mentally, I was just in a very emotional place,” Bezanson said. “Then right next to my house, Kaze Dojo opened up. I said, ‘That’s something I could do.’”

Bezanson began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Greg Williams. He proved himself a natural talent, winning the gold medal in his debut at the Vermont Open.

Then came the natural progression to MMA, where his stand-up skills proved too difficult for Dustin to defend. Bezanson commanded the cage with the poise and surgical precision of a veteran.

“I’m a pretty confident guy all around. I really wasn’t that nervous. I figure why be scared if you’re prepared and you’ve put in all that training?” he said. “Ninety percent of fights are lost before you even get into the cage. If you let the emotions get to you, you’re not going to perform to the best of your ability.”

Bezanson suffered a catastrophic knee injury in training shortly thereafter. He has spent most of the past year recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL and meniscus.

Once he returned to the gym, Bezanson spent much of his time focused on his evolving ground game. It should be tested royally by Bang, a former high school wrestler from a renowned regional fighting family.

“Striking is definitely one of my strengths. I’m a lanky dude, and I try to use that to my full advantage,” Bezanson said. “But I’ve worked really hard on my ground game in training. I didn’t really get a chance to show it in my first fight, but I know I will this time.”

Bezanson sees his second foray into the cage as the true beginning of what he hopes will be a prolific career.

In addition to the many fans who will make the four-hour round trip from the North Country to watch him, Bezanson knows he will have one special set of eyes in his corner.

“Boxing taught me a lot of discipline. MMA is the same thing. People can use it however they want, but that’s what it does for me,” he said. “It’s something I like to do and something that I know makes my father proud all at the same time.”

The opening bell on June 18 is set for 7 p.m. The current docket includes five pro boxing fights, three pro MMA bouts and eight amateur MMA skirmishes. Tickets for “NEF 24: Promised Land” start at $25 and are available atwww.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009, extension 525.

For more information on the events and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com.  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”

About New England Fights

New England Fights (“NEF”) is a fight events promotions company. NEF’s mission is to create the highest quality events for Maine’s fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.

INTERNATIONAL FLAIR ADDED TO LEWISTON BOXING CARD AS IRELAND AND MEXICO RENEW RIVALRY

Lewiston, Maine (June 7, 2016) – In an international  boxing match-up, Ireland’s undefeated Steve Collins, Jr. (7-0-1, 3 KOs) will face his stiffest test yet as a pro when he takes on Mexico’s Jose Humberto Corral (19-21, 12 KOs) in a six-round cruiserweight fight on June 18, 2016 at The Androscoggin Bank Colisée.  The bout will take place as part of New England Fights’ (NEF) next event “NEF 24: PROMISED LAND.”

 

Collins, Jr., the son of former world champion and Irish boxing legend “The Celtic Warrior” Steve Collins (36-3, 21 KOs), will be fighting in the United States for the third consecutive time after having each of his first six fights in Ireland and Great Britain.

 

“I’m happy to be back over in the States fighting,” said Collins, Jr.  “The crowd and the fans have really seemed to enjoy my fighting and style that I bring to the boxing world.   I’ve been training hard at the Celtic Warriors Gym here in Ireland, and I’m looking forward to putting my knowledge to use in the ring.  My next opponent  has got a lot of fights under his belt, but I’m looking forward to giving him another loss.”

 

Jose Humberto Corral is a former amateur standout on the Mexican national team who has made a career as a pro as a journeyman giving solid tests to future world champions like Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin and regional prospects like Chris Traietti, Vinnie Carita and Paul Gonsalves.

 

“I’m looking forward to the opportunity to fight Steve Collins in Maine,” said Corral recently through a translator.  “Sure he’s an undefeated prospect and son of a former world champion, but I’ve got way more ring experience, and you can’t teach that.  If I had a peso for every time I got beat up by the son of a former world champion, I would have zero pesos.  I look forward to showcasing my skills in the same building Muhammad Ali fought in and leaving with all the American boxing fans looking forward to me coming back.”

 

Collins Jr. is promoted by Murphy’s Boxing USA, a boxing organization headed by Ken Casey of the popular rock band The Dropkick Murphys who are well known for hit songs like “I’m Shipping up to Boston,” “The State of Massachusetts” and “Skinhead on the MBTA.”

 

“It’s wonderful to be able to have Steve Jr. here so often,” said Ken Casey when reached for comment from Cork, Ireland during the band’s latest European tour.  “This will be his third fight here in the States in less than a year, and we are all excited to see where it goes from there. He’s proven that he can step out of his father’s shadow and legacy, and make a career and name for himself.  It’s going to be interesting to see where he ends up in another year from now, but we’re all excited to be part of his journey, and seeing what Steve Jr. can do.”

 

NEF returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine on June 18, 2016 with “NEF 24: PROMISED LAND.”  Tickets for “NEF 24” start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisée box office at 207.783.2009 x 525.

 

For more information on the events and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com.  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”

 

About New England Fights

 

New England Fights (“NEF”) is a fight events promotions company. NEF’s mission is to create the highest quality events for Maine’s fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.

FAMILY AND THE PASSION TO ENTERTAIN DRIVE MMA WELTERWEIGHTS

 

Lewiston, Maine (May 18, 2016) – On June 18, 2016 New England Fights (NEF) will return to Lewiston with the fight promotion’s latest fight card, “NEF 24: PROMISED LAND.”  A full slate of professional and amateur mixed-martial-arts (MMA) and professional boxing is planned for the event.  Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur MMA welterweight bout to the fight card.  Shawn Bang (1-1) will return to take on Mike Bezanson (1-0) at a fight weight of 170-pounds.

 

Shawn Bang is a member of the famous Bang family of fighters from nearby Auburn, Maine.  Along with his father and brothers, Bang is a member of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ).  It has been nearly three years since he last competed in the NEF MMA cage.  Bang has spent the last two years serving as a missionary in accordance with his Mormon faith.  Finally back home and reunited with both his natural family and gym family, Bang is ready for his return to the cage.

 

“After two years of amazing missionary service, I cannot begin to express how excited I am to reunite with my CMBJJ brothers,” said Bang.  “I have only spoken with my own family on Christmas and Mother’s Day, and to have the opportunity to rejoin the ‘Bang Clan’ in battle on June 18th is a fitting reunion.  Since childhood our father has always told us, ‘The first rule of brothers is to stick together.’  Ultimately, it will be me alone in the cage to battle my opponent but it is family, both immediate and extended, that gets me there and beyond.”

 

Lancaster, New Hampshire’s Mike Bezanson debuted in the NEF MMA cage one year ago at “NEF 18.”  Early in the fight, it became evident that his opponent that evening, Jeff Dustin (0-1), was outmatched against the Team Kaze product.  Although Dustin hung in there for almost two full rounds before the referee stopped the fight, Bezanson put on a striking clinic  that left his opponent bloodied.  Bezanson took his time and looked like a cat toying with its prey.  Some in attendance saw his performance as showboating, while others were impressed by his pinpoint striking.   Like it or not, no one could deny that Bezanson provided the entertainment that night.

 

“I received a lot of mixed reviews from my debut fight at NEF,” recalled Bezanson. “Staying true to myself, I am who I am – in and out of the cage.  I love to entertain, keep people on their toes.  Some might say my style of fighting is cocky and unorthodox, but it’s who I am, what I do – and I’m comfortable fighting that way. It is in no way meant to belittle or disrespect my opponent, it’s merely a technique. I have a great deal of respect for all fighters, trainers and fans. One of the reasons I train to fight is the self discipline. I push myself to be the best I can be and I love to compete!  Win or lose, I take away whatever I can from the experience to better myself and grow. You know what they say, ‘There’s no losing, you either win or learn.’ I’m excited to get in the cage in June, and put all my hard work to the test! It’s going to be an entertaining show!”

 

NEF returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine on June 18, 2016 with “NEF 24: PROMISED LAND.”  Tickets for “NEF 24” start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisée box office at207.783.2009 x 525.

 

For more information on the events and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com.  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”

 

About New England Fights

 

New England Fights (“NEF”) is a fight events promotions company. NEF’s mission is to create the highest quality events for Maine’s fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.