Category Archives: Amateur MMA


August 11th, 2017

559 Fights is proud to announce our events will now be streamed globally via paid subscription on FloCombat, starting with 559 Fights 58 on August 11 at Tower Theatre in Fresno.

Part of the FloSports Network, FloCombat is the authority for MMA and combat sports news, events, interviews, and more.August 11th FloCombat brings you live coverage of the 559 Fights fight 58. Catch all the action and become a PRO MEMBER TODAY!

559 Fights is one of California’s top amateur mixed martial arts promotions, promoting successful events across the state since 2012 and helping to launch the careers of several of California’s top fighters.

Along with a throwback heavyweight title between Leo Cantu (10-4-1, Kerman) and Josue Aispuro (3-1, Avenal), 559 Fights 58 includes two championship bouts.

Heavyweight and Cruiserweight champ Andrew Chatman (6-0, Fresno) moves down in weight to fight Joseph Gaceta (2-1, Ridgecrest) for the CAMO State Light-Heavyweight Championship. Yuni Valencia (4-2, Farmersville) and Emilio Horta (2-2, Ridgecrest) will clash for the 559 Fights Lightweight Championship.

Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at the Tower Theatre Box Office or www.559fights.

VIP Tables and VIP Package info text or call 559-813-0307


Combate Americas superstar Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios (right) returns to action at “Combate Clascio” at Mana Wynwood in Miami on July 27.  Palacios will face his biggest test to date in Nate Diaz protege Chris Avila. Photo credit: Scott Hirano/Combate Americas LLC


Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios returns for a featherweight showdown
opposite Chris Avila

Bantamweight: Marcelo “Pitbull” Rojo vs. Billy Molina
Featherweight: Alberto Montes vs. Jonathan Quiroz
Bantamweight: Irvin “The Beast” Rivera vs. Chino Duran
Bantamweight: Joey “El Cazador” Ruquet vs. Vinney “The Instigator” Pantaleon

NEW YORKJuly 11, 2017 – Combate Americas and Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures, today announced five new marquee bouts to its upcoming “Combate Clásico” professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event in Miami, Fla., on Thursday, July 27.

Making his return to the Combate Americas cage La Jaula is top-ranked bantamweight (135 pounds) star Ricky “El Gallero” Palacios (8-1), who will move up to the featherweight (145 pounds) division for the second time in his Combate Americas career to face his toughest test to date – two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran and Nate Diaz protégé, Chris Avila (5-4) of Stockton, Calif.

“This is shaping up to be our most stellar fight card, from top to bottom, to date. With the matchup between Ricky Palacios and Chris Avila, we are destined for another memorable night of electrifying action in La Jaula,” Combate Americas CEO Campbell McLaren said.

Fresh off his triumphant victory over another former UFC star Roman “El Gallito” Salazar at Combate 13 on April 20, the hard-hitting 30-year-old Palacios of Mission, Texas, also an unbeaten professional boxer, looks to extend his five-fight winning streak.

The 24-year-old Avila of the famed Cesar Gracie Fight Team makes his debut in La Jaula following a pair of hard-fought decisions under the UFC.

In bantamweight action, the red-hot Marcelo “Pitbull” Rojo (11-4) aims for his fourth consecutive win and second straight inside La Jaula following his blistering, technical knockout win over Ivan Hernandez “Brasil” Flores at Combate 12 last March in Tijuana, Mexico.

The 29-year-old Argentinian will be paired off against Puerto Rican sensation Billy Molina (5-3), 30, making his Combate Americas debut after last month’s return to action in Bayamon.

Joining the featherweight (145 pounds) division for “Combate Clásico” is undefeated Venezuelan finisher Alberto Montes (3-0). Fighting out of the MMA Masters gym in Miami, the 23-year-old prospect locks horns with 30-year-old Combate Americas veteran Jonathan Quiroz (2-2) of Long Beach, Calif.

Grizzled veteran Irvin “The Beast” Rivera (5-3), best known for his thrilling, back-and-forth wars with Jose “Ghost” Ceja, looks to get back to his winning ways at the expense of prolific bantamweight wrestler Chino Duran (8-9), who makes his return to Combate Americas after a torrid run on the Florida MMA circuit.

Rounding out the newest additions to “Combate Clásico” is 24-year-old Joey “El Cazador” Ruquet (4-1), coming off consecutive wins in La Jaula and ready to make a run at the top of the bantamweight division by tangling with Florida’s own Vinney “The Instigator” Pantaleon (1-1).

Tickets for “Combate Clásico” are on sale online at Additional bouts will be announced in the coming days.

The “Combate Clásico” live MMA event will join a nearly week-long extravaganza that begins with a match between marquee soccer clubs Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain at Hard Rock Stadium on July 26 as well as concerts, parties and other interactive events prior to El Clásico Miami on July 29.

For more information on El Clásico Miami fans can visit and

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (June 12, 2017) – There are wink-and-nudge undertones when 38-year-old Rafael Velado declares “I’m the young guy, for once” as he contemplates his New England Fights amateur lightweight title defense on Saturday, June 17. Then again, he is, by nearly a decade-and-a-half.


It’s a disservice to label hall of fame competitor and coach Pat Kelly a sentimental favorite in his quest to win the 155-pound strap. Yet the 52-year-old assuredly is, as evidenced by at least one internet poll that shows him as the clear people’s choice to win the fight.


Velado vs. Kelly is a bundle of contradictions, an intriguing mix of styles, perhaps even a pairing that defies logic. It’s certainly a spotlight neither man would have predicted for himself five years ago. It’s also a clash of undefeated warriors that promises to rock the house at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.


“You can buy a ticket for this fight, but I truly believe you’re only going to need the edge of your seat,” Kelly, an amateur wrestling legend from the Camden-Rockport region. “I think we’re going to light the place up.”


“Everybody seems excited, and wouldn’t that be a cool story? If I end up saying later on, ‘I fought a guy when he was 52, and he beat my butt,’ the moral of the story is don’t ever count anybody out,” Velado said.


Just to clarify, Velado (4-0) doesn’t expect that to happen. A black belt in jiu-jitsu fighting out of First Class MMA of Brunswick, he looks to extend his winning streak over fighters from Young’s MMA of Bangor.


Velado claimed the vacant crown with a first-round demolition of Jimmy Jackson last September. Prior to that, Mike Peitersen took Velado the distance in his toughest test to date.


“It makes sense from a record standpoint, but I’ve fought four times since the last time Pat did, and two of those were against his training partners,” Velado said. “If you look at strength of opposition, I don’t know that it’s that close. I’m not saying that means it won’t be a good match. I just don’t think it’s very comparable. But we all know the MMA magic can happen.”


Due to lengthy rehabilitation from a knee injury, Kelly (3-0) hasn’t fought since June 15, 2015 at “NEF 18: Made in America,” when he won by technical knockout over Steve Bang Sr. He beat Bang’s son and namesake in the same manner and also defeated Frank Dellasala in his debut, which came at welterweight.


The champion wrestler (University of Maine) and coach (Camden Hills High School, where he mentored now-UFC star Tim Boetsch) weighed in at over 200 pounds before he began the three-hour round trip to and from Bangor, four times each week.


“I’m an amateur’s amateur,” Kelly said. “I got into this four years ago to stay in shape, make contacts, make new friends and enjoy the experience. When they asked me if I’d like to try getting in the cage, it was, ‘Yeah, I’ll give that a shot.’


Kelly said he was welcomed with open arms, then “beaten to a pulp,” by the likes of Bruce Boyington, Ryan Sanders and Aaron Lacey – all accomplished pro fighters from the Bangor gym.


It wasn’t long, predictably, before he fell in love with the concepts of competition and self-discipline all over again.


“There’s a bold truth to this sport,” Kelly said. “It’s one-on-one, locked in a cage with the other guy, and what are you going to do to survive? I love that feeling.”


Conventional wisdom dictates that the fight will go to the ground quickly. Then it’s a case of which fighter can assert his will and expertise.


Velado doesn’t lack for training partners who test his mettle every day. Six of them are scheduled to appear in the same cage at NEF 29. First Class owner John Raio also mirrors Kelly in terms of size and decorated wrestling background.


“Pat and I have been in (combat sports) a long time. We’ve both won against some excellent people and some not-so-excellent people,” Velado said. “The road to winning against me, a guy has to be better in two disciplines and also have a better game plan.”


Interesting choice of words, when you consider Kelly’s admission that he is more inclined to fly by the seat of his pants.


“My coaches talk about a game plan, but I don’t know if I’m a game plan kind of guy. I go right back to how I know to survive. That’s the warrior in me,” Kelly said. “What you have are two guys who are not going to give up. I think that’s part of the interest. That’s what makes it a good fight.


“Raf is experienced,” he continued. “He’s undefeated. He’s the champion. I’m the old guy coming in and trying to knock him off. There are a number of parallels that make this a fascinating fight.”


The combatants’ thoughtful words in separate interviews even followed the same wavelength.


Velado graciously said he understands the fans’ desire to see Kelly keep turning back time, extend his own record as the oldest winner in NEF history and add the distinction of oldest champion to that list.


“I actually am a fan of Pat,” Velado said. “The MMA fan in me is rooting for him. I’d like to see him have whatever level of success is just short of winning. Mentally it wouldn’t wreck me if I lost the fight.”


Likewise, Kelly is prepared for the possibility that the outcome won’t go his way.

“I don’t ever train to lose, but often times winning comes in unique ways,” he said.

If his four children perceive the merits of his commitment to MMA as more than a midlife crisis, Kelly believes he has already won the greatest battle of all.


“Yes, of course you want to win, but I also want them to see that when you have a personal goal, you can’t just say you want it. You have to go get it,” he said. “When I spend all that time driving back and forth, whether I’m talking to myself to thinking or listening to music, most of the time when I’m chasing this thing, I’m on my own. And I know my kids and students can see that.”


The June 17 card tentatively features four professional MMA fights, four pro boxing matches, and seven amateur skirmishes in the cage. Tickets to “NEF 29: Stars & Stripes” start at $25 and are available by calling (207) 783-2009 ext. 525 or at


For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at, 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.




Tickets for “Combate Clasico” on sale now

NEW YORK – June 2, 2017 – Relevent Sports, a division of RSE Ventures, and Combate Americas today announced a groundbreaking partnership to produce “Combate Clasico,” a spectacular, world-class Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) live television event in Miami, Fla. on Thursday, July 27.

Tickets for “Combate Clasico” are on sale online at

In the main event of a 10-bout affair that takes place at Mana Wynwood, the two premier, pound-for-pound fighters from rival cities in Spain – Abner “Skullman” Lloveras (20-9-1) of Barcelona and Javier Fuentes (9-4) of Madrid – will face off two days before the El Clasico Miami, a meeting between global soccer powers Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.  The match, which marks the clubs’ first meeting in North America and the first outside of Spain since 1982, is part of the International Champions Cup presented by Heineken.

The “Combate Clasico” live MMA event will be part of a nearly week-long extravaganza that will begin with a match between marquee soccer clubs Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain at Hard Rock Stadium on July 26 as well as concerts, parties and other interactive events prior to El Clasico Miami on July 29.

For more information on El Clasico Miami fans can visit and

“Relevent Sports is thrilled to partner with Combate Americas,” said Relevent Sports Chairman Charlie Stillitano.  “Combate Clasico promises to be another must-see event in the lead up to El Clasico Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.”

“We are excited to be working with Relevent Sports and the International Champions Cup to bring the Combate Americas brand of electrifying, professional Hispanic MMA action to Miami,” said Combate Americas CEO and UFC co-founder Campbell McLaren.  “This promises to be a phenomenal week of live sports and music, culminating in a historic showdown between the world’s two biggest soccer powerhouses.”

The event will air live in the U.S. on Azteca America at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.  It will also air the following night, Friday, July 28 on TV Azteca in Mexico.

The pride of Barcelona, the 34-year-old Lloveras is a 2010 Spanish Olympic boxing tournament Gold Medalist and three-time national boxing champion.  In 2015, Lloveras, who holds a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter:  Team McGregor vs. Team Faber reality television series on Fox Sports 1.

The 27-year-old Fuentes is an aggressive-minded and fast-paced competitor who has earned all of his professional career victories to date by way of (T)KO or submission.

Additional matchups for “Combate Clasico” will be announced soon.

Mayhem in Mesquite XI this Saturday! Tickets start at just $11

Mayhem in Mesquite XI

Tuff-N-Uff and The Casablanca Resort and Casino are proud to present it’s 11th “Mayhem in Mesquite” event this weekend!

The festivities kick off with official fighter weigh-ins at 6pm on Friday May 19th in the Casablanca Showroom followed by a FREE concert.  Fan Halen will be rocking the house and getting fans ready for “Mayhem in Mesquite XI” on Saturday night!

Tickets for “Mayhem in Mesquite XI” start at just $11 and can be purchased here or by calling 800-585-3737.

Find Out More


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (May 9, 2017) – “I wanna knock her out!”  Those were the emphatic words of Alex Walker (3-1) when asked last weekend at “NEF 28” for her prediction on her upcoming fight with Sarah Ziehm (1-0).  The crowd at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee erupted in response.


Walker and Ziehm are scheduled to face off when New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Colisee onSaturday, June 17, 2017 with the fight promotion’s next event, “NEF 29: STARS & STRIPES.”  Walker, a two-fight veteran of the NEF cage and a member of Lancaster, New Hampshire’s Team Kaze, has made it her mission to teach Ziehm a lesson in respect for what Walker viewed as a “cocky” performance in Ziehm’s debut earlier this year.


“I have respect for 99% of the females I do battle with, but I do not respect her,” said Walker when reached for comment.  “I don’t like the way she handled herself in her first fight, I think she needs to be humbled and I will do that in June – if she even shows up! My manager told (NEF matchmaker) Matt Peterson to have a backup because she will come up with an excuse not to get a beating.”


Ziehm made her MMA debut last February with a win over Nicole Burgess (0-2).  She submitted Burgess in the third round after a dominant performance.  (Of note, Walker also submitted Burgess in the third round just a few months earlier.)  Ziehm trains with Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ) in Lewiston.


“This will be a good battle,” predicted Ziehm.  “Alex is a seasoned and skilled warrior. I’m not underestimating her at all. I’m excited to get back into cage and do some work.”


New England Fights returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with its next event, “NEF 29: STARS & STRIPES,” on Saturday, June 17, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at the Colisee box office 207-783-2009 x 525 and online at


For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at, 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.




FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (May 2, 2017) –New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday, June 17, 2017 with the fight promotion’s next event, “NEF 29: STARS & STRIPES.”  The event will feature a full slate of mixed-martial-arts (MMA) and professional boxing bouts.  On the professional portion of the MMA card, the ever-popular Ras “Rasquatch” Hylton (1-0) has signed to face Eric “Big Black” Ramsey (0-1) in a heavyweight contest.


Including his amateur career, the 6’6″ Ras Hylton is a perfect 4-0 in the NEF cage.  His meteoric rise to the top of the NEF heavyweight division has left a trail of broken and battered opponents in its wake.  Hylton’s first four opponents have not lasted a total of six minutes with the Taekwondo black belt.  A member of both First Class MMA and Dragon Fire Martial Arts, Hylton won his pro debut over veteran Mike Hansen (5-5) at “NEF 27” last February.


“I’m really excited about being able to get in the cage again,” said Hylton. “I have the opportunity to get tested by someone outside the circuit, which evokes a real ‘next level’ feeling. NEF is really pulling out all the stops to make June 17th a great start to the summer! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Father’s Day, so I intend to relax, undefeated, with my kids on Sunday. I hope everyone comes out for this one!”


Eric Ramsey will make his first NEF appearance on June 17.  Based out of Clinton, Oklahoma, Ramsey has been a fixture on MMA cards in the Sooner State since 2012.  Like Hylton, he gained a reputation as a quick finisher, with his first three amateur bouts lasting a total of less than three minutes.  Ramsey comes to Maine looking for his first win as a professional.  He represents Trinity Combat Club.


“I look forward to displaying my skills in front of a new crowd,” said Ramsey.  “I am very grateful to NEF and Ras Hylton for allowing me the opportunity to challenge myself.  I’m excited to show what Oklahoma has to offer.  Thank you, and God bless.”


New England Fights returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with its next event, “NEF 29: STARS & STRIPES,” on Saturday, June 17, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at the Colisee box office 207-783-2009 x 525 and online


For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at, 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.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (April 27, 2017) – Never one to back down from a challenge, or an opportunity to call out the competition, “The” Ryan Sanders is irked by the tone of the scuttlebutt since his first fight with Jon Lemke last November.

Yes, the skirmish stopped during the third round, due to a deep cut on Lemke’s head. But with Sanders leading comfortably, 20-18, on all three cards, he was declared the winner.

It all fell in line with the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, and it surely reflected Sanders’ conviction that he was well in command of the bout and on his way to victory, regardless. Since that night, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, however, Sanders, 29, says that Lemke and others in his camp have been a tad too outspoken about their belief that it was somehow a tainted victory.

In a recent interview with Jason Floyd on “The MMA Report Podcast,” Sanders held nothing back when queried about his motivation to dole out another beating when the former training partners meet this Saturday, April 29 in a rematch at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

This time, it’s the tournament final for the vacant lightweight title at “NEF 28: Invincible.”

“I was a little upset afterwards that (Lemke) said he thought it should have been a no-contest,” Sanders said. “What Jon won’t talk about or say is that right before I got that takedown, he quit. He quit in my arms.”

Sanders (13-8) clarified that comment, adding that while Lemke (6-7) didn’t say the word explicitly, his vast experience in the cage underscored his belief that the end was nigh.

“A fighter knows when someone is about to give up, and Jon was about to give up,” he said. “He wasn’t fighting that takedown in my arms. He was just dead weight in my arms, so it’s a bit frustrating that he would say that.”

It didn’t take long for the stars to align and serve up the second helping that both fighters’ fan bases crave. With a shot at the strap in the offing, both men made short work of their 155-pound tournament semifinal opponents in February.

Sanders landed a vicious kick to the jaw of John Ortolani that ended their confrontation in a mere 15 seconds. Lemke was just as impressive, needing only a minute longer to dispatch Jesse “the Viking” Erickson.

Typically it’s the defeated fighter in this scenario who covets the chance at vindication, but Sanders sounds like the one with an axe to grind after hearing some of the public perception about his previous win.

“I’m happy that we get a rematch and to be able to show everyone that the first time it wasn’t a fluke and to have my hand raised again,” Sanders, who is 6-1 in his past seven fights, said. “I’m unstoppable right now. I’m surrounded with the best people. I’ve got great teammates, great coaches and an amazing wife … Any guy who fights me, they are (screwed).”

Asked if he is bent on earning a submission to achieve a measure of unfinished business, Sanders quickly declared that any form of victory will suffice.

“Not necessarily to get a stoppage victory, but I’m going to show him. It will be five months since we fought, and I’ve been in the gym every day, and I’m going to show him that he’s not on my level,” Sanders said. “Eventually the victory will come whether it’s a submission, a TKO, a knockout. Jon does have a lot of heart, but I’m going to be stealing it from him. I’m going to steal his soul and I’m going to break his will.

“I’m a grappler, so I do prefer a nice submission victory,” he continued. “But whatever he gives me I’ll take, and I’m going to go in there and take it. I’m going to take that belt home. That is my belt, and I’ve worked too hard to let anyone else take it from me.”

The rivalry between Sanders and Lemke is a natural one. They were former stablemates at Team Irish before Sanders switched to rival Young’s MMA.

Sanders said he didn’t earn enough takedowns for his liking in the previous encounter, but he believes the scorecards were an accurate reflection of how he dominated the fight.

“I knew he was a tough dude. He could take a punch. He could take a kick,” Sanders said. “I feel like I was getting the best of it.”

A second bout with Lemke fits Sanders’ profile as a fighter willing to take on anyone, anywhere, at any time.

Sanders, who has been matched in his career with the likes of Marcus Davis, Gil de Freitas, Levan Makashvili, Luis Felix and Derrick Kennington, has won his last five in a row on Maine soil.

He dropped back-to-back decisions to de Freitas in his two previous bids for an NEF title and naturally predicts that he won’t let the third chance at gold slip away.

“I know with the training I’m putting in that I’m destined for greatness,” Sanders said. “My work has shown that, and my future fights will show that. I know I’m there to fight the best. Look at the guys I’ve fought. They’re UFC or Bellator vets, or they’re top-five fighters in the region.

“(The fans are) going to witness a great fight, a great performance by Ryan Sanders,” he concluded. “They may say, ‘This guy’s being (a jerk). He’s real cocky.’ It’s not that I’m cocky. I’m fully confident in my training and in my training partners and in my coaches and in myself that I am ready to fight anybody in the region and beat anybody in the region.”

The opening bell for “NEF 28: Invincible” on April 29 is set for 7 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are available at or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009, extension 525.



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (April 27, 2017) – Not everybody in life gets blessed with a shot at redemption. Jonathan Lemke will bask in that opportunity on multiple fronts when he battles “The” Ryan Sanders for the vacant NEF lightweight title this Saturday, April 29 at Androscoggin Bank Colisee as part of “NEF 28: Invincible.”

It’s the second shot at the NEF strap for Lemke, who lost a split decision to Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington in February 2016 at “NEF 21: THE IMMORTALS.” Lemke also looks forward to the rematch with Sanders after their fight in November was abbreviated due to a gash on Lemke’s head.

“Definitely after the way the last one ended, I still feel like I have a little unfinished business, a little chip on my shoulder,” Lemke said recently in an interview on “The Maine Event” podcast with Ryan Jarrell and Bryan Stackpole. “I definitely want to go out there and take care of business this time.”

Sanders (13-8) won a unanimous decision when the verdict went to the scorecards by virtue of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts.

Like his opponent and former stablemate, Lemke (6-7) has carved out a reputation as a fighter who will take on all comers. The first bout with Sanders extended his winless streak to four fights, but the quality of opposition – Devin Powell, Josh LaBerge and Boyington preceded Sanders – are good for more than an asterisk.

He snapped that run in short order with a first-round TKO of Jesse “The Viking” Erickson in February’s tournament semifinals.

“I’m very excited, very grateful,” Lemke said. “This is the culmination of a lot of years, a lot of hard work, to be at this point again and see some of that pay off.”

Lemke doesn’t believe that he needs the title to validate his years under the NEF umbrella. On the flip side, however, it is a line on the personal checklist on which he is hungry to leave his mark.

“It would mean a lot,” he acknowledged.  “It wouldn’t define me either way, but at the same time certainly one of the goals I set out to achieve when I first started this sport was to take care of business on the regional end and to be a regional champion.”

Previous champions Powell, Boyington and Dez Green made the lightweight belt NEF’s most coveted honor by using it as a springboard to opportunities on a national scale.

Lemke, who has enjoyed the spotlight as part of both a Bellator card and Dana White’s “Lookin’ for a Fight” UFC audition, denied that he is looking ahead to greener pastures.

“I haven’t given it a lot of thought about where it would take me,” he said. “I just think about getting that belt and defending that belt. It’s always one fight at a time.”

Between their days training together with Team Irish (Sanders now fights out of Young’s MMA) and their previous fight, Lemke and Sanders know one another as well as any NEF title fight opponents in history.

While Lemke allows for the possibility that both men will dip into their bag of tricks, he said fans shouldn’t expect too many surprises.

“I think stylistically it will be a little bit different. Game plan wise it will be a little bit different. At the start you might see some different wrinkles from both,” Lemke said “But at the end of the day we are both familiar with each other, so it will be a similar type fight.”

He also sees the confrontation living up to every ounce of its billing.

“One of the statements from the first card was that I believe this fight could headline any card, any regional or national promotion, and I still believe that,” Lemke said. “It’s a fight the fans want to see.”

And it’s a fight he naturally believes he will win the second time around.

“I’m healthy as can be. Had a good, tough camp, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and performing my business,” Lemke said. “I believe in my overall skill set and believe that overall skill set will lead to the victory.”

The opening bell for “NEF 28: Invincible” on April 29 is set for 7 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are available at or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009, extension 525.




Lightweight Co-Main Event:
Danny “The Realist” Ramirez vs. Chris “Taco” Padilla

John “Sexy Mexy” Castaneda vs. Chris Beal
Alyssa Garcia vs. Sheila Padilla
Heinrich Wassmer vs. Freddie Arteaga

Tickets for “Combate 14” on sale now
NEW YORK – April 25, 2017 – Combate Americas today announced a sensational, nine-bout Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight card that will take place at Ventura County Fairgrounds in Ventura, Calif., in celebration of the “Cinco De Mayo” holiday, on Friday, May 5.

In the lightweight (155 pounds) main event of “Combate 14,” undefeated, heavy-handed rising star Jose “Froggy” Estrada (3-0) will square off with Emilio “The Ferocious Aztec” Chavez (11-9).

Priced from $35, tickets for “Combate 14” are available online at

The 5-foot-6, 26-year-old Estrada from Fillmore, Calif. has been on a tear since he made his professional debut with Combate Americas last April, stopping all three of his opponents to date inside of one round.

Chavez of Fullerton, Calif. is a flashy, 5-foot-9, 30-year-old competitor who will make the second start of his career in La Jaula, the Combate Americas cage.  In his promotional debut on April 18, 2016, Chavez submitted Angel Cruz in the second round (4:21) of action with a rear-naked choke.

In the co-main event, which will also be contested at lightweight, Danny “The Realist” Ramirez (6-2) will return to action on the heels of a “Fight of the Night” performance in La Jaula, to battle Combate Americas newcomer and fellow knockout artist Chris “Taco” Padilla (7-2).

The 5-foot-9, 28-year-old Ramirez of North Hills, Calif. staged an incredible, relentless performance against Erick “Ghost Pepper” Gonzalez at “Combate 12” on February 16, earning a unanimous decision over Gonzalez in what was Ramirez’s second straight win.

Padilla of Gardena, Calif. has notched six of his seven professional career victories to date by way of (T)KO or submission.  Prior to making his professional debut in 2014, “Taco” amassed a perfect, 6-0 record under amateur status, with all of his wins coming by way of (T)KO or submission.

In other action at “Combate 14,” bantamweight (135 pounds) star John “Sexy Mexy” Castaneda (11-2) will face off with Chris “The Real Deal” Beal (10-4).

Castaneda of Mankato, Minn. is riding a seven-fight win streak that dates back to May 16, 2015 when he secured a first-round submission (rear-naked choke) win over Pedro Velasco.  The 5-foot-7, 25-year-old has been perfect in La Jaula, winning all five of his Combate Americas bouts.

The 5-foot-7, 31-year-old Beal of Ventura is an eight-year, battle-tested veteran of the sport who has competed on three different continents.  In his first start with Combate Americas, he will look to end a recent, four-fight skid.

Elsewhere on the card, Alyssa “Tiny Tim” Garcia (3-2) of Whittier, Calif. will face Sheila Padilla (2-1) of Visalia, Calif. in an atomweight (105 pounds) matchup.

Submission ace Heinrich Wassmer (5-1) of Los Angeles, Calif. will take on hard-nosed scrapper Freddie “Lil’ Man” Arteaga (8-5) of Boise, Idaho in a flyweight (125 pounds) contest.

Complete “Combate Americas: Combate 14” Fight Card

Lightweight Main Event:
Jose Estrada vs. Emilio Chavez

Lightweight Co-Main Event:
Danny Ramirez vs. Chris Padilla

Bantamweight:  John Castaneda vs. Chris Beal
Middleweight:  Joseph Vidales vs. Joseph Henle
Flyweight: Heinrich Wassmer vs. Freddie Arteaga
Flyweight: Michael Reyes vs. Benji Gomez
Atomweight:  Alyssa Garcia vs. Sheila Padilla
Catchweight (140 pounds):  Ryan Lilley vs. Ralph Acosta
Lightweight: Bruno Machado vs. Austin Wilson

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