Category Archives: women’s MMA

FIGHT CARD ANNOUNCED FOR APRIL 11 NEF MMA EVENT IN LEWISTON

Lewiston, Maine (March 18, 2015) – New England Fights (NEF), America’s number-one regional fight promotion, returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine on April 11, 2015 with its seventeenth mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event.  Earlier today, the company announced the full fight card for the event.  The card is scheduled to feature a full slate of both professional and amateur bouts.  NEF executives report that fan reaction to the matchups already announced has been overwhelmingly positive.

 

“I can’t remember having this kind of response to a fight card before,” said NEF co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo.  “There has been so much excitement over every fight we’ve announced.  We sold out of all cage-side tickets four weeks prior to the event, and the general admission are very close to being gone.  We’ve never seen that happen so early before.  It really says something about the quality of the product we’re putting on here in Lewiston. There’s no doubt NEF is the hottest ticket in town.”

 

In the main event of the evening, Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington(10-7) defends the NEF MMA Lightweight Title against number-one contender Jamie Harrison (5-1).  The bout was made in the hours following “NEF XV” last November when Boyington successfully defended the title against Jesse Erickson (3-4) and Harrison manhandled Tollison Lewis (0-4) on his way to a quick submission victory.  The fight will be Boyington’s second defense of the title since winning it last September.

 

The co-main event of the evening will feature a highly-anticipated welterweight bout between Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt Jarod “Last Minute” Lawton (4-1) and Bellator veteran Dennis “The Menace” Olson (12-7).  In recent weeks, Lawton and Olson have engaged in a war of words on social media which saw both athletes’ respective supporters jump in the fray.

 

“Shatterproof 2.0” Derek Shorey (1-1), fresh off signing a new multi-fight contract with NEF, will meet John “First Class” Raio (2-6) in a “rubber match.”  The rivalry has seen each fighter win one bout against the other.  The April 11 fight, scheduled to take place at a catchweight of 150-pounds, will determine a definitive victor in the rivalry.

 

Kaline “The Dark Angel” Medeiros (3-4) and undefeated Calie “The Honey Badger” Cutler (3-0) will make history when they contest the first professional women’s MMA fight on a regional card in Maine.  It will not be the first time Medeiros has been a part of history.  She competed in the first women’s fight in Rhode Island two years ago.

 

Also in action on the professional side of the card will be popular NEF MMA regulars Jesse “The Viking” Erickson (3-4), “The Junkyard Dog” Ryan Cowette (2-2), Elias “Danger Mouse” Leland (2-0) and Mike “the Mustache” Hansen (2-1), among others.

 

The amateur portion of the card will be headlined by “Sleepy” Norman Fox (3-1) and “Downtown” Dave Brown (1-2) in a flyweight contest.  Fox is undefeated on Maine soil and is currently the number-three ranked amateur flyweight in the Northeast. Brown wrestled for Plymouth State University where he was a four-time All-New England winner.

 

The amateur card will also feature a lightweight bout betweenRicky Dexter (2-0) from Marcus Davis’ Team Irish and Steven Bang (3-3) from Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ) – Team New England United (NEU).  Dexter’s teammate Jeremy Tyler (4-3) squares off with Alex Johnson (1-1) of Ruthless MMA & Boxing in a featherweight bout.  And Bruce Boyington’s wife, Randi Beth Knowles (0-0), will meet Alex Walker (0-0) in a double-debut strawweight fight.

 

The full fight card for “NEF XVII” (subject to change and approval of the Combat Sports Authority of Maine):

 

PROFESSIONAL

 

155*TITLE Bruce Boyington 10-7 (Young’s MMA) vs Jamie Harrison 5-1 (First Coast Full Contact)

170 Jarod Lawton 4-1 (Team NEU) vs Dennis Olson 12-7 (Boston BJJ/Team Triumph)

265 Brent Dillingham 1-1 (MMA Athletix) vs Mike Hansen 2-1 (BerzerkersMMA)

185 Ryan Cowette 2-2 (MMA Athletix) vs John Daniels 2-3 (Rock City MMA)

155 Jesse Erickson 3-4 (Team NEU – CMBJJ) vs Mark Deford 0-3 (F2 Arena)

150 John Raio 2-6 (First Class MMA) vs Derek Shorey 1-1 (Shatterproof Combat Club)

135 Elias Leland 2-0 (The Academy) vs Jay Perrin 1-0 (Boston BJJ/Team Triumph)

115 Kaline Medeiros 3-4 (Gracie Fitness) vs Calie Cutler 3-0 (Jacked N Tan Fight Team)

 

AMATEUR

 

125 Norman Fox 3-1 (MMA Athletix) vs Dave Brown 1-2 (Plymouth Fight Club)

265 Ryan Glover 1-0 (BerzerkersMMA) vs Jason Field 0-0 (Independent)

265 Dave Smith 0-0 (BerzerkersMMA) vs Dan Marley 0-0 (Independent)

185 Ruben Redman 0-1 (Independent) vs Chris Rideout 0-0 (Independent)

185 Chris Smith 0-0 (BerzerkersMMA) vs Nash Roy 2-1 (Young’s MMA)

185 Heath Hanson 0-2 (3Ronin Athletics) vs Brandon Russell 0-1 (Team Nitemare)

155 Ricky Dexter 2-0 (Team Irish) vs Steve Bang Jr. 3-3 (Team NEU – CMBJJ)

155 Rick Matthews 1-1 (Team Irish) vs Matthew Hanning 0-1 (Independent)

155 Jason Lachance 1-1 (MMA Athletix) vs Jesse Herrick 1-0 (The Academy)

145 Clifford Redman 0-1 (Independent) vs Caleb Serra 0-1 (Team Kaze)

145 Jeremy Tyler 4-3 (Team Irish) vs Alex Johnson 1-1 (Ruthless MMA & Boxing)

135 Mike Crespo 2-1 (MMA Athletix) vs Sheldon Bang 1-2 (Team NEU – CMBJJ)

115 Randibeth Knowles 0-0 (Boyington’s TKD/Young’s MMA) vs Alex Walker 0-0 (Team Kaze)

 

 

Tickets for “NEF XVII” start at just $25 and are on sale now atwww.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisée box office at207.783.2009 x 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.

UFC 185: It’s Showtime!


Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

Despite the turmoil experienced by the Ultimate Fighting Championship so far this year, from the failed drug tests of stars like Jon Jones, Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz, to the reshuffling of UFC 184 because of an injury to middleweight champion Chris Weidman, the company has delivered in the Octagon so far this year. Despite Weidman’s injury, UFC 184 was still a smashing success thanks to another dominant performance by women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.

Now UFC 185 is here, with another stacked card that should entertain once again. This card is anchored by TWO title fights, taking fans back to a time when the UFC would routinely offer stacked fight cards before rapid expansion under their deal with FOX apparently created an oversaturated product.

Here’s who I think emerges victorious on this talent-filled card.

Chris “Kamikaze” Cariaso (17-6) vs. Henry “The Messenger” Cejudo (7-0) (Flyweight – 125 lbs.)

Cariaso is coming off a submission loss to flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson last summer. But to be fair, everyone is losing to Johnson these days, and he’s close to cleaning out the flyweight division. Cejudo has yet to experience defeat and enjoyed a unanimous decision victory in his UFC debut late last year.

Cariaso has been a UFC and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) veteran for the last five years and rode a 3-fight win streak prior to his loss to Johnson. Cejudo is a young pup trying to make a name for himself in the UFC, but Cariaso will use his veteran savvy to catch the overeager fighter for a finish.

Winner: Cariaso by second-round TKO

Roy “Big Country” Nelson (21-10) vs. Alistair “The Reem” Overeem (38-14-1) (Heavyweight – 225 lbs.)

I’ll admit up front that I’m not a big Roy Nelson fan. He’s a talented fighter who delivers exciting fights and is an entertaining personality. But ever since he debuted in the UFC and won season 10 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” he feasted on lower-ranked heavyweights like Stefan Struve, Brendan Schaub and Matt Mitrione. But when matched up with elite heavyweights like Fabricio Werdum, Junior Dos Santos and Daniel Cormier (before he dropped to light heavyweight), Nelson was routinely outclassed and battered.

Overeem has also failed to live up to the hype that came with his jump to the UFC. After he demolished Brock Lesnar in 2011, a title shot was in the works against then-champion Junior Dos Santos. But the fight never materialized due to injuries and Overeem suffered back-to-back knockout losses to Antonio Silva and Travis Browne.

Overeem has alternated wins and losses since then but is coming off a first-round knockout of Struve. Nelson was knocked out in his last fight against Mark Hunt, which despite Nelson’s usually iron chin, does not come as a shock, given Hunt’s incredible punching power.
Overeem may not have Hunt’s power, but I think he will batter Nelson for a rather lopsided decision victory. At this stage in his career, Nelson is a gatekeeper. But “The Reem” doesn’t need to prove himself against a brawler like Nelson.

Winner: Overeem by unanimous decision

Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks (16-3) vs. Matt “The Immortal” Brown (21-12) (Welterweight – 170 lbs.)

Speaking of brawling and battering, this fight has all the makings of a Fight of the Year candidate. Hendricks dropped the welterweight title to Robbie Lawler last year and should he win this fight, a rematch with Lawler is all but assured – assuming Lawler gets past Rory McDonald later this year.

Brown also lost to Lawler in his last fight and was also on the receiving end of a brutal beating. Hendricks and Brown tend to just slug it out and ask questions later, which should result in an entertaining fight for the fans. Hendricks seems to have renewed his commitment to MMA following his loss to Lawler and he seems driven to get his belt back. Brown is as game as they come, but Hendricks will prove to be too much.

Winner: Hendricks by second-round TKO

Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza (11-2) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (8-0) (Women’s Strawweight Title – 115 lbs.)

Esparza made her UFC debut with a bang by winning the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” to feature all female fighters, and in the process become the UFC’s first women’s strawweight champion. She effectively derailed the Rose Namajunas hype train to win the belt, when some were dubbing Namajunas the next Ronda Rousey in the strawweight division.

Jedrzejczyk derailed a favorite in her own right, defeating highly regarded Claudia Gadelha last year by a close decision when many thought Gadelha would be Esparza’s first title defense. Jedrzejczyk is a grinder who thrives in an ugly fight in close quarters. Esparza used her wrestling to neutralize Namajunas’ quick-striking offense, so getting into an ugly fight with Jedrzejczyk shouldn’t faze Esparza one bit. Esparza will take Jedrzejczyk down early and often and ride her wrestling to a decision victory.

Winner: Esparza by unanimous decision

Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (18-2) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (23-7) (Lightweight Title – 155 lbs.)

Pettis has been absolutely dominant as of late, not only winning the lightweight title from Benson Henderson in quick and exciting fashion with a first-round armbar but routinely displaying his amazing athleticism and using it to quickly shoot himself up the best pound-for-pound fighter list.

But Dos Anjos is not to be taken lightly. He too finished Henderson in the first round and earned his title shot by absolutely dismantling Nate Diaz late last year. Dos Anjos is tough and will know that Pettis is looking for a quick finish. He won’t get it, but Pettis’ freakish athleticism will make its presence felt eventually and overcome Dos Anjos and solidify Pettis’ case as one of the best lightweight fighters of all time.

Winner: Pettis by second-round submission

Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also shares his thoughts on the UFC, Bellator, and World Series of Fighting. Check out his blog, or follow him on Twitter: @mmamaryland.

Bellator MMA continues to grow women’s featherweight roster with Roberta “Crusher” Paim, Alexis “Sneaky Zebra” Dufresne and Iony Razafiarison

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (March 12, 2015) – Bellator MMA remains committed to developing the top women’s featherweight division in mixed martial arts, and the latest additions to the company’s roster include Roberta “Crusher” Paim (4-0), Alexis “Sneaky Zebra” Dufresne (5-2) and Iony Razafiarison (2-0).

 

Debut dates and opponents will be announced for all three fighters in the near future.

Paim, Dufresne and Razafiarison join Arlene “Angerfist” Blencowe (5-4), Julia “The Jewell” Budd (7-2),Marloes “Rumina” Coenen (22-6), Holly “Lil Bear” Lawson (0-1) and Talita “Treta” Nogueira (6-0) on the Bellator MMA women’s featherweight roster.

“We’re proud to be bringing these three talented athletes to our women’s featherweight division,” said Bellator President Scott Coker.  “I see several potential matchups that would make for some great fights.  We will continue to build and support the premiere women’s featherweight division in MMA.”

A native of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, the 5-foot-6 Paim is undefeated through the first four contests of her professional career. While comfortable in the submission game, the powerful Paim has used a strong striking game to end fights, as well. Fighting exclusively in her native country thus far, Paim has yet to find a single opponent capable of lasting past the opening round, as she has taken home first-round finishes in each of her appearances to date.

The 24-year-old Dufresne is a Team Quest fighter and five-time International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation world champion. Dufresne turned her attention to mixed martial arts in 2012 and rattled off five consecutive wins to start her career – all five results coming in the opening round and averaging just under 77 seconds in length. More recently, Dufresne dropped a pair of hard-fought decisions while making a run at 135 pounds but now returns to her more natural weight class of 145 pounds for her Bellator MMA debut.

Razafiarison is a French export who has notched victories in her first two professional contests. The 30-year-old Razafiarison, a grappling specialist who has trained in camps all over the world, fought most recently in January, when she earned a decision win over Sandra Ameziane. In her professional debut, Razafiarison scored a first-round submission.

 

About Bellator MMA

Bellator MMA is a leading Mixed Martial Arts organization featuring many of the best fighters in the world. Under the direction of veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, Bellator is available to nearly 400 million homes worldwide in over 120 countries. In the United States, Bellator can be seen on Spike TV, the MMA television leader.  Bellator MMA is comprised of an executive team that includes top industry professionals in television production, live event orchestration, fighter development/relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations.  Bellator is based in Santa Monica, California and owned by entertainment giant Viacom, home to the world’s premier entertainment brands that connect with audiences through compelling content across television, motion picture, online and mobile platforms.

 

About Spike TV:

Spike TV is available in 98.7 million homes and is a division of Viacom Media Networks.  A unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB), Viacom Media Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms.  Spike TV’s Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV’s press site at http://www.spike.com/press.  Follow us on Twitter @spiketvpr for the latest in breaking news updates, behind-the-scenes information and photos.

Ronda Rousey- The Cleaner


Photo Credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Given that it’s tax season, it’s a good time to remember that are there three guarantees in life: death, taxes and Ronda Rousey once again showing why she is the best female fighter on the planet with a first-round demolition of her opponent.

Rousey’s performance at UFC 184 last month was her finest to date. She submitted Cat Zingano, widely regarded as Rousey’s biggest challenge, in 14 seconds. While Rousey was aided by an absolutely horrible strategy by Zingano, her virtuoso performance led to another discussion of who has what it takes to dethrone Rousey. It also led to a ridiculous conversation of whether or not Rousey could compete against and defeat male fighters in the UFC’s bantamweight division. The less time spent on that absurd notion that accomplishes nothing but trying to discredit the great fighter Rousey is, the better.

Of course, the first name that always comes up is Cris “Cyborg” Justino, the Invicta FC featherweight champion. She is expected to drop to 135 pounds for a fight with Invicta this summer before moving on to a fight with Rousey. However, Cyborg attempted a drop to bantamweight last year and abandoned those plans. So I wouldn’t hold my breath on the long-awaited grudge match between Rousey and Cyborg happening anytime soon.

Rousey recently expressed a desire to fight Bethe Correia, who battered two of Rousey’s “Four Horsewomen” teammates and has been calling Rousey out ever since. Jessica Eye has also staked her claim to a title shot, but neither of these women pose a real threat to Rousey. During UFC 184’s postfight coverage, Daniel Cormier floated the idea of his colleague Miesha Tate getting a third crack at Rousey.

Besides the fact I think trilogies should be reserved only when each fighter has a victory over the other, I see no reason why third time would be a charm for Tate. While she is the only woman to go further than the first round with Rousey, Tate has plateaued as a fighter while Rousey has gotten better. If the two were to fight a third time, I see no reason to believe the result would be any different.

So where does this leave Rousey? In my opinion, she has cleaned out the UFC women’s bantamweight division. There is no one who poses a credible threat to her. If Zingano adjusted her strategy and received another shot at Rousey, she might have a chance of winning. Beyond that, if Rousey decided to go out on top and build on her burgeoning film career, I don’t think anyone would hold it against her.

Rousey is currently on a run akin to Anderson Silva’s run atop the UFC’s middleweight division. He dominated everyone in his path and except for his first fight with Chael Sonnen, made it look easy. Rousey’s hardest fight to date was against Liz Carmouche, when she had Rousey in a rear naked choke in the first round of their fight in 2013 before Rousey was able to escape and secure another armbar victory.

Silva’s reign atop the middleweight division came to an end when the previously unknown Chris Weidman came along and showed no fear and took the fight to Silva. Maybe that’s what needs to happen with Rousey. She needs to find an opponent who will get right in her face, give her no quarter and take the fight to her. Zingano attempted that at UFC 184, but her overzealousness ended up costing her dearly.

Until Rousey finds her own Chris Weidman, we can add another superlative to the many that are already attached to the women’s bantamweight champion: cleaner. Rousey is fresh out of worthy challengers to her crown, a task she accomplished by cleaning out her division.

Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also shares his thoughts on the UFC, Bellator, and World Series of Fighting. Check out his blog, or follow him on Twitter: @mmamaryland.

MAINE’S FIRST COUPLE OF THE NEF MMA CAGE

Randi Beth Knowles and Bruce Boyington

Lewiston, Maine (March 5, 2015) – New England Fights (NEF), America’s number-one regional fight promotion, returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine on April 11, 2015 with its seventeenth mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event.  The fight card will feature Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (10-7) defending the NEF MMA Lightweight Title against number-one contender Jamie Harrison (5-1) in the main event.  In addition, Boyington’s wife, Randi Beth Knowles (0-0), will make her amateur MMA debut against Alex Walker (0-0) in the female 115-pound strawweight division.  It will be the first time a couple has competed together on an NEF fight card.

 

Knowles is currently training under her husband at Boyington’s Taekwondo Academy and Young’s MMA in Bangor, Maine.  A regular at bodybuilding and fitness competitions across the region, Knowles is no stranger to performing before large audiences.  She has been cage-side for many of Boyington’s past bouts, and she welcomes the challenge that will come when she finds herself on the other side of the cage wall on April 11.

 

“After watching so many of Bruce’s fights, I couldn’t be more excited to get a taste of what it’s like on the inside of the cage,” exclaimed Knowles.  “I’ve always liked being tested with the toughest challenges possible.  I thank NEF for bringing women’s MMA to Maine as well as big thank you to Portland Nutrition Corner, Abbott Insulation Plus, Lewis Used Car Sales, Jes & Toby for all their support.”

 

Knowles’ opponent, Alex Walker, is not to be taken lightly.  Walker trains out of the Kaze Dojo in Lancaster, New Hampshire.  Coming in from out-of-town for the fight, Walker relishes in playing the role of underdog and hopes to also play the role of spoiler on April 11.

 

“I come from a town of 2,500 people,” said Walker.  “Nobody expects me to do well. Nobody ever expects our team to be able to hang with bigger gyms. I like it when people underestimate us, it motivates me.”

 

NEF’s next MMA event, “NEF XVII,” is scheduled to take place onApril 11, 2015 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.  Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (10-7) will defend the NEF MMA Lightweight Title against number-one contender Jamie Harrison (5-1).  In addition, Jarod “Last Minute” Lawton (4-1) meets Dennis Olson (12-7) in a welterweight contest.  Tickets for “NEF XVII” start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling The Colisee box office at 207.783.2009 x 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.

HISTORY TO BE MADE APRIL 11 WITH FIRST PRO WOMEN’S FIGHT IN MAINE

Lewiston, Maine (February 25, 2015) – New England Fights (NEF), America’s number-one regional fight promotion, returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine on April 11, 2015 with its seventeenth mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event.  Earlier today, the company announced the addition of a professional female strawweight bout to the fight card.  Kaline “The Dark Angel” Medeiros (3-4) has signed to face Calie “The Honey Badger” Cutler (3-0) at a fight weight of 115-pounds.  It will be the first professional women’s fight in Maine since the state legislature legalized the sport of MMA in 2009.

 

“It’s really sad that it’s taken this long,” said NEF co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo.  “We’re huge fans of women’s MMA in NEF.  We’ve tried numerous times to put pro women’s fights together, but they’ve always fallen through.  History will finally be made on April 11 and, once again, NEF is at the forefront.  We hope the fans will come out and support this fight, support women’s MMA.  This is a very proud moment for everyone involved.  It is a step in the right direction for MMA in Maine.”

 

This will not be the first time Kaline Medeiros has made history in the cage.  In 2013, Medeiros fought in, and won, the first-ever women’s MMA bout to be contested in Rhode Island.  Fighting out of Fall River, Massachusetts, Medeiros is a native of Brazil and has been training in MMA since 2008.  Having faced top female competitors since arriving in the professional ranks, such as Invicta FC veterans Peggy Morgan (3-2) and Stephanie Eggink (4-2), who she knocked out in just seven-seconds, Medeiros certainly has the experience and pedigree to get to the next level in the sport.

 

“It’s a pleasure to invite all my fans for my upcoming fighting onApril 11,” said Medeiros.  “NEF is bringing me to be the first ever  professional female fighter stepping in the cage, it’s an honor for me. Thanks NEF for the recognition, and I can’t wait to bring an exciting fight for the fans.”

 

Michigan’s Calie Cutler has raised a lot of eyebrows since making her MMA debut in 2012.  Cutler amassed an impressive 7-1 record as an amateur prior to turning pro.  She has finished all three of her opponents as a professional, including a second-round submission victory over Nikki Duncan (0-1) last weekend on a fight card in Michigan.  Cutler will look to continue her undefeated streak as a professional on her path towards the big leagues of the sport when she meets Kaline Medeiros on April 11 in Lewiston.

 

NEF’s next MMA event, “NEF XVII,” is scheduled to take place on April 11, 2015 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.  Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (10-7) will defend the NEF MMA Lightweight Title against number-one contender Jamie Harrison (5-1).  In addition, Jarod “Last Minute” Lawton (4-1) meets Dennis Olson (12-7) in a welterweight contest.  Tickets for “NEF XVII” start at just $25 and are on sale now atwww.TheColisee.com or by calling The Colisee box office at207.783.2009 x 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.

Dana White and the Women


Photo Credit: Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

Saturday, Feb. 28, is going to be a landmark day for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. All the fighters on the pay-per-view card that day will pass their pre-fight drug…….never mind. That’s too easy.

That day will be the first time a UFC card features women’s bouts in both its co-main event and main event. After middleweight champion Chris Weidman was forced to withdraw from his fight against Vitor Belfort due to injury, the new main event at UFC 184 is Ronda Rousey defending her women’s bantamweight belt against Cat Zingano. In the co-main event, much-heralded prospect Holly Holm will make her UFC debut against Raquel Pennington in another women’s bantamweight fight.

As I’ve mentioned before, UFC has come a long way from when Dana White told TMZ that women would “never” fight in his organization. Rousey will main event her third consecutive February PPV and Holm is widely believed to be the next in line for a shot at the title, should she defeat Pennington. Holm is still very raw in mixed martial arts, but trains with the world renowned coaches Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn.

Rousey is carrying the flag for women’s MMA and for women in the UFC. Other female fighters have followed her into the Octagon, including Miesha Tate, Liz Carmouche and Alexis Davis. What do those three have in common? They all also fell to Rousey – Tate twice in Strikeforce and the UFC, and Carmouche and Davis both in the first round at UFC PPVs in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Rousey and Tate’s feud is well-chronicled. It led to the two being coaches on The Ultimate Fighter, which included female fighters for the very first time who greatly outshined their male counterparts on the show that season.

Given that season’s success, the most recent season of The Ultimate Fighter featured ALL female fighters and the debut of the UFC’s newest division, women’s strawweight. Carla Esparza, the former Invicta FC strawweight champion, won the inaugural UFC version of that belt after defeating Rose Namajunas.

So in the span of four years, UFC goes from having no female fighters and White emphatically stating that it never will, to being home to TWO female weight classes and undoubtedly the promotion’s biggest star right now in Rousey. Don’t believe me? Did you see the third Expendables movie? Or do you plan on seeing the film version of Entourage this summer? You might notice a familiar face.

So where does women’s MMA go from here? I am personally a big fan of female fights, as they tend to be among the more entertaining and action-packed fights on a UFC card. As I previously stated, female fighters are more than capable of outshining their male contemporaries. Why is that? Maybe female fighters feel they have more to prove inside the Octagon and always go for broke. Maybe they go into the Octagon with more of a “go for broke” mentality and actively seek a finish as opposed to “playing it safe.”

The fight between Rousey and Zingano on Feb. 28 will also go a long way toward determining the future of women’s MMA. Should Rousey defeat Zingano – which all signs indicate she will – she will have essentially cleaned out her division, with only unknown challengers like Holm and Bethe Correia left. If Zingano pulls the upset, then the division has a fresh batch of exciting matchups waiting.

But who knows what would have happened if Dana White kept his promise to TMZ?

Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also contributes his thoughts to our site on the UFC, Bellator, and World Series of Fighting. Check out his blog, or follow him on Twitter: @mmamaryland.

UFC 183: Who will show up?


Photo Credit: UFC

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has hit it out of the park so far in 2015, with its first two major cards of the year living up to the hype of their main events. Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones dominated Daniel Cormier to prove he is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world at UFC 182, and at the UFC’s live card in Boston, Mass., in January, Conor McGregor secured a featherweight title shot against José Aldo and wasted no time getting in his next opponent’s face.

Which brings us to UFC 183 tonight, and a main event that is considered a dream matchup by many. Anderson Silva returns to the Octagon after suffering a gruesome leg injury in his last fight against UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman in 2013. Nick Diaz also makes his return to the UFC after losing his last fight against former welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre in 2013.

Tonight’s card isn’t without its other storylines though. A pair of significant undercard fights are taking place under some controversy, as flyweight John Lineker came in overweight for his fight against Ian McCall, which is expected to determine the next no. 1 contender to the flyweight title. In the co-main event, Kelvin Gastelum came in 9 pounds overweight for his fight against Tyron Woodley, which means 30 percent of Gastelum’s fight purse actually goes to Woodley. Talk about insult to injury.

Of course, there is always the wild card with Diaz too. He plays by his own rules, having no-showed the open workouts earlier this week. Will he actually show up to the cage for tonight’s main event? It remains to be seen, though most everyone thinks he will.

So, having said all that, who do I think wins tonight?

Miesha “Cupcake” Tate (15-5) vs. Sara McMann (8-1) (Women’s bantamweight – 135 lbs.)

This is actually the main event of the preliminary card on Fox Sports 1. Tate requested to compete on this portion of the card instead of the pay-per-view card, taking a page from Urijah Faber’s playbook. Tate is also eager for a third fight with Ronda Rousey for the women’s bantamweight title. Both of these women suffered Rousey’s wrath, particularly McMann, who was demolished by Rousey in about a minute last year.

McMann is a pure wrestler with very little else to her repertoire, whereas Tate built on her established wrestling skills to become an effective striker. I think she will stuff McMann’s attempts to take this fight to the mat and use her vastly superior striking skills to keep McMann befuddled en route to a dominant victory.

Winner: Tate by unanimous decision

Jordan “Young Gun” Mein (29-9) vs. Thiago “Pitbull” Alves (25-9) (Welterweight – 170 lbs.)

Alves has alternated wins and losses in his last six fights, while Mein rides a two-fight win streak. Alves is always dangerous with his Muay Thai and striking, while Mein landed a first-round TKO victory in his last fight. This should be an exciting stand-up battle with neither guy willing to give an inch. I think Alves is the more dangerous fighter here, and will land one good shot to knock Mein silly.

Winner: Alves by second round TKO

Thales Leites (24-4) vs. Tim “The Barbarian” Boetsch (18-7) (Middleweight – 185 lbs.)

Leites comes into this fight on a roll, having won his last seven fights, with the last two coming by way of TKO. Boetsch has alternated wins and losses in his last four fights, including a TKO victory in his last fight against Brad Tavares.

Boetsch is a slow, plodding bruiser best known for derailing the Hector Lombard hype train when he first made his UFC debut. Leites is a crafty, dangerous fighter who can finish you with his hands or by submission. I think Leites will avoid Boetsch’s power and wait for Boetsch to make a mistake, where Leits will capitalize.

Winner: Leites by third round submission

Joe Lauzon (24-10) vs. Al “Raging” Iaquinta (10-3-1) (Lightweight – 155 lbs.)

You know what you’re getting with a Joe Lauzon fight. You’re going to see an exciting, action packed bout that will most likely end with him locking in a slick submission or, in the case of his fight against Jim Miller, suffering a gnarly cut that will guarantee a blood battle.

Iaquinta has been on a roll since his time on The Ultimate Fighter Live, having only lost once in his last six fights. A win against Lauzon would be a real feather in his cap and might propel him into title contendership discussion. But Lauzon is one of the best submission specialists in the UFC, and I think the crafty veteran has another submission up his sleeve.

Winner: Lauzon by second round submission

Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley (14-3) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (11-0) (Welterweight – 170 lbs.)

As mentioned above, Gastelum weighed in 9 pounds over for this fight and will forfeit 30 percent of his purse directly to Woodley. It was reported that Gastelum spent time in the hospital leading up to this fight, which contributed to him coming in overweight.

Woodley will be angry in this fight, and rightly so. It’s not fair that his opponent will have a weight advantage due to his own failure to do what he was supposed to do. Give Woodley credit for wanting to keep fighting when it would have been perfectly understandable to postpone it.

Woodley will channel his rage into a blitzkrieg of offense at Gastelum, and the lethargic and probably still-injured Gastelum will have no response.

Winner: Woodley by second round TKO

Anderson “The Spider” Silva (33-6) vs. Nick Diaz (27-9-1) (Middleweight – 185 lbs.)

This is one of the several main events that have fight fans buzzing in 2015. Many didn’t think Silva would ever walk again after his leg injury against Weidman, let alone come back to the UFC to fight. The matchup style of Diaz wanting to push the pace, get in his opponent’s face and sucker him into trading blows against Silva’s unrivaled elusiveness will be interesting to watch.

Diaz said he wouldn’t trash talk Silva during this fight out of respect. But if Silva keeps bobbing and weaving and dodging Diaz’s punches, we’ll see how long Diaz commits to that. I think we’ll see vintage Silva in this fight, making Diaz look silly in some spots while landing well-timed strikes that will confuse and frustrate Diaz, which will allow Silva to land even more.

Diaz is too tough to finish, but this fight will show that Silva still has it and is the vastly superior fighter.

Winner: Silva by unanimous decision

Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also contributes his thoughts to our site on the UFC, Bellator, and World Series of Fighting. Check out his blog, or follow him on Twitter: @mmamaryland.