FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (June 18, 2017) – Ray “All Business” Wood returned to Maine with multiple Bellator Fighting Championships bouts under his belt, seeking a triumphant homecoming at “New England Fights 29: Stars & Stripes.”
The fighting pride of Bucksport simply ran into someone with more upper-level experience in the mixed martial arts cage. Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra put on a ground-and-pound clinic and scored a unanimous decision in the main event Saturday night at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Bezerra (20-5) looked every bit the part of a nine-time Bellator veteran, defying every attempt by Wood to gain a semblance of control during the 15-minute skirmish. Wood’s last-ditch attempts to lock in a choke and gain shoulder leverage went by the boards early in the third round, and Bezerra maintained top and side control until the final bell.
Two scorecards had Bezerra pitching a shutout at 30-27, while the third went his way at 29-28. Wood, a former NEF featherweight champion now living in Amarillo, Texas, and training out of Nick’s Fight Club, dipped to 8-4 as a professional with his third consecutive defeat.
History was made on two fronts in the amateur MMA portion of Saturday’s 12-fight card.
Pat Kelly (4-0), 52, of Rockport, became the oldest titleholder in NEF history, defeating Rafael Velado (4-1) by unanimous decision in a battle of unbeaten warriors to take Velado’s amateur lightweight belt.
Earlier in the evening, Josh Jones (2-0) delivered a vicious right hand to knock out Anthony Spires (0-3) in four seconds, shattering the organization’s previous mark for quickest stoppage.
Three encounters in the ring brought professional boxing back to the NEF stage for the first time since November 2016. Wins by undefeated Jason Quirk (6-0) and Casey Kramlich (8-0-1) and a no-contest in the bout between Russell “The Haitian Sensation” Lamour (15-2) and Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (1-0) gave Portland Boxing Club the upper hand.
Ras Hylton (2-0), Matt Denning (5-6) and Josh Parker (6-9) also prevailed in pro MMA. Kam Arnold (1-0), Jon Tefft (2-0) and Alex Walker (3-1) celebrated victory in the amateur hexagon.
Most observers expected the Kelly-Velado showdown to end up on the mat, given Kelly’s long career as a champion wrestler and coach and Velado’s black belt prowess in jiu-jitsu.
Kelly’s wisdom in staying on his feet allowed him to stay in control throughout. He landed resounding punches to punctuate each of the first two rounds. After his lone takedown in the third round, recognizing that he probably controlled the fight in the judges’ eyes, Kelly allowed Velado to get off the canvas.
It was the last in a series of the all the right moves for the man with the physique of a competitor in his 20s. Kelly prevailed by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. In a tremendous act of sportsmanship, a smiling Velado wrapped the title belt around Kelly’s waist.
Jones rocked Spires’ world with a vicious hook, raising the former pro basketball player’s record to 2-0 with two early stoppages in his career with First Class MMA.
Hylton and Tefft gave First Class two more first-round victories.
“Rasquatch,” outweighed by almost 30 pounds, finished Oklahoma’s Eric Ramsey with a series of 10 unanswered bombs to stay unbeaten as a pro.
Tefft lost a pair of trunks in the process but gained his second amateur win against no defeats, earning what was officially a first-round TKO over Mike Williams of Lewiston’s Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Each man had a chance to end the fight early, but it was Tefft finishing the round with a reversal and a series of strikes. Williams (injured left shoulder) then failed to answer the bell for the second stanza.
Denning shut down Dominic Jones (1-1) with a standing rear naked choke at 2:05 of the first round for his second consecutive victory.
Parker absorbed a vicious kick to the back of his left leg from Andre Belcarris (0-2) in round two, but he dominated the first and third sessions to eke out a unanimous verdict.
Arnold was triumphant in his MMA debut, dropping Glenn Kasabian (1-3) to his knees and finishing with a resounding right-left combination for a TKO at 1:54 of the first round.
Walker (4-1) won her fourth consecutive bout in an eagerly anticipated women’s strawweight scrap with Sarah Ziehm (1-1). The New Hampshire native locked in an armbar late in the first round, resulting in a technical submission at the referee’s discretion with three seconds remaining.
The Lamour-Boyington bout was ballyhooed as Maine’s version of Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor, and Boyington’s unorthodox style gave the veteran Lamour some difficulty. The second round was stopped twice briefly, and finally halted for good after an accidental head butt sent a bloodied Boyington face-first to the deck. Since it was too early to take the bout to the scorecards at that stage, the fight was ruled a no-contest.
Kramlich defeated Bellator MMA veteran Bryan Goldsby by third-round knockout. A right cross sent Goldsby to one knee, where he remained for the count of 10.
Quirk dispatched veteran Borngod Washington by second-round TKO.
“NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor” will be held at Cross Insurance Center in Maine’s Queen City on Saturday. August 5. Tickets are available beginning Monday at ticketmaster.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.