Category Archives: women’s MMA

Fight Network Presents ENFUSION LIVE #51 from Halifax this Saturday, July 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET

For Immediate Release – July 6, 2017

TORONTO – Fight Network, the world’s premier 24/7 multi-platform channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, presents the Canadian debut of ENFUSION LIVE this Saturday, July 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET, as ENFUSION LIVE #41 emanates from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, headlined by a five-round showdown between England’s Iman Barlow and Canadian Ashley Nichols for the Enfusion -54 kg world championship.

The live broadcast of ENFUSION LIVE #41 will air at 8:00 p.m. ET on Fight Network across Canada. The full line-up includes:

-54kg World Title – Iman Barlow (England) vs. Ashley Nichols (Canada)

-80kg – Thomas Dalziel (Canada) vs. Ariel Abreu (USA)

-85kg – Mark MacKinnon (Canada) vs. Joey George (Canada)

-75kg – Justin Condie (Canada) vs. Matthew Kendell (Canada)

-70kg – Chris McMillan (Canada) vs. Kyle Nelson (Canada)

-60kg – Lenny Wheeler (Canada) vs. Desmond Johnson (Canada)

Ahead of ENFUSION LIVE #41, the UFC 213 PREFIGHT SHOW will air live at 7:00 p.m. ET, featuring final predictions and analysis from Las Vegas, including UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping and retired contender Kenny Florian serving as desk analysts with host Karyn Bryant and reporter Megan Olivi conducting on-site interviews.

The live UFC 213 POSTFIGHT SHOW airs at approximately 1:00 a.m. ET, recapping the championship doubleheader featuring the rematch between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, plus the clash between Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker for the interim middleweight crown.

For a full listing of Fight Network’s broadcast schedule, please visit www.fightnetwork.com, follow us on Twitter @fightnet, become a fan on Facebook and visit us on Instagram @fightnet.

WOMEN’S FIGHT AT NEF 29 IS A MATTER OF RESPECT

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 www.TheColisee.com.

 

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.”

 

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.

BELLATOR WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT CHAMP TO BE CROWNED IN 2017

 

LOS ANGELES – Bellator is pleased to announce the signings of Valérie Létourneau (8-6), Alejandra Lara (6-1), Sabriye Şengül(Debut), Kristi Lopez (2-0), Na Liang (6-0) and Juliana Velasquez (5-0) to multi-fight contracts that will see them compete in Bellator’s emerging 125-pound division. Additionally, Bellator will look to crown its next women’s flyweight world champion this year.

“2017 has been a big year for us in terms of bringing in marquee free agents that can have an immediate impact on their division,” said Bellator President Scott Coker. “This group of flyweight signings demonstrates that we’re committed to that throughout our roster, as we’re adding even more depth to an already-competitive weight class. We’re adding a proven title contender, along with a group of prospects from all around the globe, and we look forward to putting on great fights and displaying the talent this division has to offer.”

These news stars join a division that already includes talented fighters, such as Keri Taylor-Melendez (1-0), Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (6-0),Anastasia Yankova (5-0), Emily Ducote (5-2), Colleen Schneider (11-7) and Lena Ovchynnikova (12-4, 1 NC).

The Canadian-born Létourneau, a former UFC strawweight title challenger, carries an impressive track record of thrilling fights, highlighted by a world title contest against undefeated UFC champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk. Now, moving up to a more natural weight class, the 33-year-old American Top Team product will make her debut for Bellator in 2017. She will look to improve upon her eight victories as a professional, a tally that includes five finishes, with four coming by way of knockout.

Hailing from Medellin, Colombia, Alejandra Lara will look to make a statement in Bellator’s budding women’s flyweight division. The 22-year-old knockout artist has earned six victories in seven outings since making her professional debut in 2011. “Azul” has shown tenacity in her fights thus far, showcasing a pair of first round knockouts, as well as a first round armbar submission. Lara trains alongside UFC fighters Alexa Grasso and Irene Aldana at Team Lobo in Mexico.

Fighting out of Hollywood, Calif., Kristi Lopez will enter the Bellator fray as she prepares for her third professional bout. Prior to that, “Loba” also tallied three victories over a four-fight, two-year span on the amateur circuit.

Chinese submission specialist Na Liang will look to build on a 2017 campaign that already saw her finish an opponent in a mere 38 seconds. The first-round stoppage marked the fifth time in six appearances that Liang’s opposition failed to make it out of the opening round. After competing exclusively at bantamweight to begin her career, Liang decided to move down to the flyweight division, where she also saw success by collecting a trio of first round finishes.

With an impressive following in Turkey from her kickboxing career, Sabriye Şengül will now transition to MMA under the direction of Bellator. With a professional kickboxing record of 6-1, the 26-year-old prospect holds the potential to achieve the same success in multiple combat sport disciplines.

Undefeated at 30 years of age, Juliana Velasquez trains under the Nogueira brothers in Brazil, carrying one of the most famous names in MMA with her inside the Bellator cage.  Additionally, Juliana trains alongside fellow Bellator flyweight Bruna Vargas. With five wins in five appearances, the Rio de Janeiro resident will look to become another Brazilian Bellator champion.

FIRST WOMEN’S MMA TITLE FIGHT IN MAINE AT NEF 28

 

Lewiston, Maine (March 17, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) presents its next mixed-martial-arts event “NEF 28: INVINCIBLE” on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of an amateur women’s title fight to the card. Jessica “The Black Widow” Borga (5-2) returns to take on “Scary” Kerri Kenneson (4-1) to crown a new NEF MMA Amateur Women’s Bantamweight Champion.

 

The bout is historic in that it will not only determine the first NEF women’s champion, but the fight will represent the first female MMA title matchup ever held on Maine soil.

 

“Our women’s division has grown so much in the past couple of years,” said NEF co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo.  “It was time to add a title picture to the mix.  This is the first of what we hope to be many female title fights between superior athletes in the NEF cage.”

 

Jessica Borga, a Florida resident, will be making her third appearance in the NEF cage in less than a year.  She dropped a hard-fought decision to Rachael Joyce (3-0) last September at “NEF 25.”  Borga returned to Maine a few weeks later to win a decision over Brianne Genschel (0-1), delivering an impressive, dominant performance against the black belt.  Borga trains out of Champions MMA in Lakeland, Florida and is currently on a three-fight win streak.  She is the holder of two regional titles won in her home state, and she is looking to add a third belt to her collection on April 29.

 

“I’m so honored and excited to be back in the NEF cage not only to fight for such a great promotion, but to fight for their first-ever women’s title against a great opponent,” said Borga.  “I can’t wait to put on a show for everyone, and I promise I won’t disappoint!”

 

A native of Bow, New Hampshire, Kerri Kenneson trains with Team Link in Hooksett.   She has won her last four in a row, including a victory over NEF veteran Kylie O’Hearn (1-2) last summer.   Kenneson’s sole loss came in her MMA debut two years ago this April.  Coming off a win on a fight card last month in New York State, Kenneson is confident that she will defeat Borga and claim the NEF bantamweight title at “NEF 28.”

 

“If I haven’t already done so, this fight will solidify that I am the best in the Northeast, and I’ll be coming for the rest,” Kenneson declared.  “She’s all for show. She’s about to feel what I’m capable of and she’s not going to like it.”

New England Fights returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with its next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 28: INVINCIBLE,” on Saturday, April 29, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at the Colisee box office 207-783-2009 x 525 and online at www.TheColisee.com.

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 the promotion on Twitter and Instagram @nefights, and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”

FEMALE STRAWWEIGHT BOUT RESCHEDULED TO NEF 28

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (March 16, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) presents its next mixed-martial-arts event “NEF 28: INVINCIBLE” on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition an amateur women’s bout to the card.  Alex Walker (2-1) will meet Katie Baker (0-0) at the strawweight limit of 115-pounds.

 

Walker and Baker were originally scheduled to face each other last month at “NEF 27.”  Unfortunately, a medical issue forced Walker to withdraw from the contest just days before the fight.  Now fully healed, Walker is back training regularly at the Kaze Dojo in Lancaster, New Hampshire in preparation for “NEF 28.”

 

“Injuries have plagued me and my team for the last two years, but I am healthy now, so watch out,” exclaimed Walker.  “I am going on a run and nothing will stop me!”

 

Losing her opponent so close to the event was definitely a disappointment for Baker and her many fans.  Training in the martial arts from an early age, the eighteen-year-old had waited years to compete in the MMA cage.  Baker is a member of Young’s MMA in Bangor, Maine.  She made her amateur boxing debut last year.

 

“I was really bummed when Alex withdrew from our fight,” said Baker.  “You make the sacrifices it takes to train and diet, not to mention the disappointment of those who purchased tickets. But I knew, and our fans knew, Alex is a warrior and would not back out unless something was wrong.  I’m looking forward to finally meeting her in the cage on April 29th.”

 

New England Fights returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with its next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 28: INVINCIBLE,” on Saturday, April 29, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at the Colisee box office 207-783-2009 x 525 and online at www.TheColisee.com.

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 the promotion on Twitter and Instagram @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, regulatory affairs and advertising.

YOUNG FEMALE ATHLETES LOOK TO MAKE THEIR MARK AT NEF 27

Lewiston, Maine (December 14, 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 an amateur women’s bout to the card.  Alex Walker (2-1) makes her return to Lewiston to take on the debuting Katie Baker (0-0) in a strawweight matchup.

 

24-year-old Alex Walker has appeared twice previously in the NEF cage.  Walker debuted in the spring of 2015 at “NEF 17” against Randi Beth Boyington (1-3).  She returned earlier this year to defeat Nicole Burgess (0-1) with a third-round armbar.  This past summer, she captured her first regional title on a fight card in Vermont.  Walker is a member of Team Kaze based in Lancaster, New Hampshire.

 

“I can’t wait to get back to work in the NEF cage,” exclaimed Walker.  “2017 is going to be a good year and I am looking forward to entertaining the great fans in Maine! I can’t think of a better way to start the year.  The two times I have fought in Maine, they were both FOTN, looking to Threepeat!”

 

Katie Baker, an 18-year-old from Gardiner, Maine, might be new to the NEF cage, but she is well-known within martial arts circles in the Pine Tree State.  Baker began training in combat sports at the age of five.  She won the Isshinryu World Karate Championship in 2009 and 2013, and has been a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for seven years, regularly taking part in local tournaments.  Earlier this year, Baker began competing in amateur boxing.  She currently trains with Young’s MMA in Bangor, Maine.

 

“I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to square off against Alex Walker at ‘NEF 27,'” said Baker.  “I have a high level of respect for Alex and her accomplishments.  We’re not taking her lightly, and this is going to be a hell of a fight for my debut.”

 

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.”

 

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.

FIGHT WEEK FOR ‘BELLATOR 169’ IN DUBLIN HAS ARRIVED

 

 

NEW WOMEN’S FEATHERWEIGHT FIGHT ADDED TO THE LAST EVENT OF THE YEAR

 

SANTA MONICA, CALIF (December 12, 2016) – After an incredible year that saw Bellator MMA host events in international territories all around the globe, it is only fitting that the promotion’s year-ending event, “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii,” takes place this Friday, December 16 at the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland.

 

Shortly after her fight against Helen Harper (4-1) was announced, Bruna Vargas (2-1) has withdrawn from the bout due to injury. Harper will be paid her show money and a new women’s featherweight bout has been added to the SPIKE-televised card between undefeated fighters Sinead Kavanagh (3-0) and Elina Kallionidou (5-0).

 

The Spike-televised main card will be highlighted by a heavyweight main event pitting “King Mo” (19-5, 1 NC) against Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Satoshi Ishii (14-6-1). In addition, a pair of anticipated featherweight scraps will see Anthony Taylor (1-1) look to quiet the crowd as he enters enemy territory to challenge Northern Ireland’s James Gallagher (4-0) and, Ireland’s Brian Moore(9-4) take on the always-game Daniel Weichel (37-9).

 

Tickets for “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii” are on sale now and start at 35€ at Bellator.com, Ticketmaster.ie and the 3Arena Box Office. The event can be seen free on SPIKE at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, and will be immediately followed by “Bellator Kickboxing: Florence.”

 

Fighting out of Straight Blast Gym (SBG) in Dublin, “KO” Kavanagh has fought all three of her professional bouts with BAMMA, and has earned her nickname bye scoring two knockouts in her first three fights. Kavanagh fought in BAMMA’s first-ever women’s fight, and ended her opponent’s night in just 17 seconds. Originally slated to compete in a bantamweight fight against Eeva Siiskonen (5-4-2) on the BAMMA portion of this co-promoted night of fights, Kavanagh now moves up in weight to face Kallionidou under the Bellator banner.

 

At only 18 years of age, Kallionidou has already made a name for herself in her home country Greece, where she holds the Cage Survivor women’s featherweight title. Incredibly, “Gunner” started her professional career off with a bang, scoring a first-round TKO just a month after her 16th birthday.  Since then, the Greek fighter has gone 5-0, with three knockouts. The fight this Friday night, will be her first fight outside of Greece.

 

In addition to a full card of Bellator action, ticketholders will also have the unique opportunity to experience an additional fight card from Europe’s leading mixed martial arts promotion, BAMMA. The bantamweight belt will be on the line at “BAMMA 27,” as Tom Duquesnoy (13-1, 1 NC) and Alan Philpott (16-8) prepare to duke it out for the division gold. Lastly, the stacked event features a featherweight world title fight pitting former Bellator competitors Ronnie Mann (25-8-1) against Martin Stapleton (18-4).

 

 

Complete “Bellator 169: King Mo vs. Ishii” Main Card:

Heavyweight Main Event: Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (19-5, 1 NC) vs. Satoshi Ishii (14-6-1)

Featherweight Co-Main Event: James Gallagher (4-0) vs. Anthony Taylor (1-1)

Featherweight Feature Bout: Daniel Weichel (37-9) vs. Brian Moore (9-4)

Featherweight Feature Bout: Sinead Kavanagh (3-0) vs. Elina Kallionidou (5-0)

Bantamweight Feature Bout: Shay Walsh (14-4) vs. Luiz Tosta (9-2)

 

Updated “BAMMA 27” Main Card:

Bantamweight World Title Bout: Tom Duquesnoy (13-1, 1 NC) vs. Alan Philpott (16-8)

Featherweight World Title Bout: Ronnie Mann (25-8-1) vs. Martin Stapleton (18-4)

Featherweight Main Card Bout: Dylan Tuke (3-0) vs. Sean Tobin (4-2)

Featherweight Main Card Bout: Brian Moore (9-4) vs. Niklas Backstrom (10-2)

Welterweight Main Card Bout: Kiefer Crosbie (1-0) vs. Conor Riordan (Debut)

Welterweight Main Card Bout: Nathan Jones (9-5) vs. Walter Gahadza (16-0)

THE BLACK WIDOW AND THE BLACK BELT; FIRST WOMEN’S FIGHT ANNOUNCED FOR NEF 26

Lewiston, Maine (October 6, 2016) – New England Fights (NEF) presents its next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 26: SUPREMACY,” on Saturday, November 19 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.  Earlier today, NEF executives announced the addition of an amateur bantamweight women’s bout to the fight card.  Jessica “The Black Widow” Borga (2-2) returns to Maine to take on Brianne Genschel (0-0) at a fight weight of 135-pounds.

 

Borga made her NEF cage debut last month against Rachael Joyce (2-0).  She traveled more than 1500 miles from Lakeland, Florida for the fight.  While Borga was on the losing end of a unanimous decision to Joyce, she realizes that the most important part of her amateur career is gaining experience through taking tough fights.

 

“I’m not slowing down anytime soon,” said Borga, “and love to take on any challenges and get better each fight. The more experience the better! So thankful for the girls that are stepping up to fight! I’m ready to put on an amazing show.”

 

Brianne Genschel, while making her in-cage debut at “NEF 26,” is a longtime practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in which she holds a black belt.  She is a BJJ instructor at The Foundry in Farmington, Maine.  Genschel also trains with, and will represent, First Class MMA based in Brunswick, Maine.  Like her opponent, she promises an exciting fight for the fans on November 19.

 

“I’m really looking forward to stepping into the cage for my first fight with NEF, and especially against such an established opponent,” said Genschel.  “I can’t wait to represent my teams- Foundry BJJ and First Class MMA.  I have been training hard for this opportunity, and promise to put on a good show and leave it all in the cage!”

 

The opening bell on Saturday, November 19 is set for 7 p.m.  Tickets start at $25 and are available 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.”

 

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.

FROM MAINE TO FLORIDA, FINDING FIGHTS IS THE CHALLENGE FOR FEMALE MMA ATHLETES

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (September 4, 2016) – Rachael Joyce has her civil engineering degree from the University of Maine. Jessica Borga is a veterinary technician from Lakeland, Florida.

Read those one-line biographies of the two women and they probably do not fit whatever is your personal profile of a mixed-martial-artist. And perhaps that presumption, and maybe a lingering societal bias against female fighters, is the reason Joyce and Borga have struggled mightily to find opponents in their corners of the country.

Each woman will end what is almost a one-year hiatus from the cage when Joyce (1-0) welcomes Borga (2-1) to Maine in a bantamweight bout at “NEF 25: Heroes and Villains.” New England Fights returns to its hub venue, Androscoggin Bank Colisee, on Saturday, September 10.

“I’ve had one fight, last October. I’ve found it really hard to find fights. It’s just tough. Maine doesn’t have the population density for it. It’s just hard to find that pool of fighters,” Joyce said. “Early in your career you want to build that experience close to home. It’s the best thing for your whole team, given the commitment that is involved.”

Joyce, who lives in the Penobscot County village of Veazie, splits her training time between Bangor, Portland and Boston.

The competitive grass is no greener for Borga, who is known to her fans as “The Black Widow” and is coached by Ross Kellin.

“My coach has scheduled fights for me that have fallen through. I was supposed to fight eight times this year, and this will be my first one.

Borga was beaten badly in her previous bout, a November 2015 clash against Caitlin Sammons for which she weighed in at 126.5 pounds, just above the flyweight limit.

She said that women feel added pressure to make drastic weight cuts due to the lack of available fight opportunities, and in her case it was especially dangerous.

“I learned that I will never fight at 125 again,” Borga said “It was my own fault. I lost 25 pounds in two weeks. I was sick in camp, and I fought sick.”

Before the episode was over, Borga was hospitalized twice with strep throat, a kidney infection and a bladder infection.

“I do believe (the weight cut) was part of it,” she said. “You’re putting that strain on your body and your mind. My mental game struggled with what I had to put myself through. I think it’s harder for women, also. I won’t ever do that again. I learned that it’s better to withdraw than to take a loss.”

Borga has experienced no such issues in this camp. She said her energy level is way up and that she can train harder for longer periods of time.

She also is eager to visit from the Sunshine State, an eagerness that isn’t lost on her opponent.

“When an opponent is flying up from Florida, that’s exciting,” Joyce said. “It shows that she’s really committed to it. It is hard to find opponents who are as committed as you are.”

Both women are BJJ blue belts. Joyce has trained in the discipline for more than two years.

It is an extension of her childhood, when she played three varsity sports in each year of high school. She joked that she strongly considered a fourth.

“I was always the girl who tried to convince my parents to let me play football,” Joyce said. “They would not hear any of it. I’m sure they’re thrilled that their 20-something-year-old daughter is now a fighter. No, they’re supportive, but now it’s my decision.”

Joyce never tried individual sports before the combat realm, but she quickly developed into a fan of women’s MMA as it exploded in popularity at the UFC level.

“Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey were coming up, and then (UFC president) Dana White had his famous line that ‘there will never be women in UFC,” Joyce said. “I saw what they were doing and I said, ‘I can do that. I’m going to do that.’”

Now the women wait for a spike in female participation that has not appeared to follow the success of those international role models.

Joyce said she received invitations to fight in New Jersey earlier this year but that those, also, would have required an uncomfortable cut to a same-day weigh-in of 125 or even 115 pounds.

So she retreated into a game of train-and-wait. Thanks to the like-minded, equally fight-challenged Borga, the wait is almost over.

“I’ve always loved MMA, always loved fighting. I guess I was known for that as a kid. Everybody who knows me always pushed me to get into this,” Borga said. “I tried eight years ago and found out right away that I was pregnant, so that put a stop to it. When my son turned five, I said, ‘It’s now or never.’ I started training and developed really fast. My coaches said I had a knack for it.”

The opening bell on September 10 is set for 7 p.m. The current docket for “NEF 25: Heroes and Villains” includes four professional boxing matches, six pro mixed martial arts bouts and five amateur MMA scraps. Tickets start at $25 and are available 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.”

MARLOES COENEN RECEIVES NEW OPPONENT AHEAD OF ‘BELLATOR 155’ — ALEXIS DUFRESNE REPLACES JULIA BUDD

 

SANTA MONICA, CALIF. (May 10, 2016) – Due to injury, Julia Budd (8-2) has been forced to withdraw from her inaugural Bellator MMA Women’s Featherweight Championship Bout against Marloes Coenen (23-6). As a result, Alexis Dufresne (5-2) will take her place and challenge Coenen during the featured preliminary contest of “Bellator 155: Carvalho vs. Manhoef” at CenturyLink Arena in Boise, Idaho, on May 20.

The fight joins a card that already features a colossal Middleweight World Championship main event, in which Rafael Carvalho (12-1) defends his belt against the fiery Melvin “No Mercy” Manhoef (30-12-1). In addition, former Bellator MMA featherweight titlist Pat Curran (21-7) will return to action for the first time since June, when he faces the resilient Georgi Karakhanyan (24-5-1) in the card’s co-main event. The last two men to challenge for Will Brooks’ lightweight title, Marcin Held (21-4) and Dave Jansen (20-3) will also be in action. Rounding out the televised portion of the event will be two heavyweight fights, when Dan Charles (10-3) meets Augusto Sakai (9-0) and Joey Beltran (17-12) takes on Chase Gormley (12-5).

Tickets for “Bellator 155: Carvalho vs. Manhoef” start at just $25 and are on sale now at Bellator.com, the CenturyLink Arena Box Office or CenturyLinkArenaBoise.com. The event airs live and free on Spike at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, while the can’t-miss preliminary card airs live on Bellator.comand The Bellator Mobile App.

A former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Marloes Coenen, is riding a two-fight winning streak and undefeated record under the Bellator MMA fray into her bout with Dufresne. “Rumina” began her career winning eight consecutive fights and 13 of her first 14. The 35-year-old has been competing professionally since 2000 and has been an integral part of the progression of women’s mixed martial arts, challenging some of the best that the sport has to offer. Now, it’s back to the drawing board for the Dutch submission specialist when she looks to spoil the Bellator MMA debut of Alexis Dufresne.

The 25-year-old Alexis Dufresne began her career with a blazing start, earning victories in her first five scraps, all of which she ended in the first round. Born in Temecula, Calif., “Sneaky Zebra” has strung together an impressive resume, including three straight first round knockout wins dating back to her 2013-14 seasons and most recently two appearances for the UFC. Dufresne will be making her Bellator MMA debut next Friday and hopes to get back to her winning ways when she fills in for the absent Julia Budd on short notice.

 Complete “Bellator 155: Carvalho vs. Manhoef” Fight Card

Bellator MMA Middleweight World Title Fight: Rafael Carvalho (12-1) vs. Melvin Manhoef (30-12-1)

Bellator MMA Featherweight Co-Main Event: Pat Curran (21-7) vs. Georgi Karakhanyan (24-5-1)

Bellator MMA Heavyweight Feature Bout: Dan Charles (10-3) vs. Augusto Sakai (9-0)

Bellator MMA Lightweight Feature Bout: Dave Jansen (20-3) vs. Marcin Held (21-4)

Bellator MMA Heavyweight Feature Bout: Joey Beltran (17-12) vs. Chase Gormley (12-5)

 

Preliminary Card

 

Bellator MMA Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Marloes Coenen (23-6) vs. Alexis Dufresne (5-2)

Bellator MMA Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Joe Hamilton (3-0) vs. Tyler Freeland (3-0)

Bellator MMA Flyweight Preliminary Bout: Veta Arteaga (1-0) vs. Jackie Vandenburgh (0-1)

Bellator MMA Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Vince Morales (3-1) vs. Hamilton Ash (3-1)

Bellator MMA Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Brendon Raftery (4-2) vs. Casey Johnson (4-0)

Bellator MMA Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Scott Thometz (9-5) vs. Josh Tyler (7-3)

Bellator MMA Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Sean Powers (9-5) vs. Will Noland (15-6)

Bellator MMA Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Ricky Steele (5-0) vs. Erick Cronkhite (2-1)

Bellator MMA Bantamweight Preliminary Bout: Jesse Brock (21-8) vs. Olly Bradstreet (39-12)