Tag Archives: Maine

WOMEN’S FIGHT AT RUMBLE IN BANGOR WILL PROVIDE THE FIREWORKS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bangor, Maine (July 3, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday night, August 5, 2017 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor.”  Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of a female amateur bantamweight bout to the fight card.  Angela Young (2-2) will meet Jessica “The Black Widow” Borga (5-3) at a fight weight of 135-pounds.

If there is anyone who knows about putting on exciting fights, it is Angela Young.  The wife of Young’s MMA founder Chris Young, a mother, and a full-time nurse, she has brought the heat in all four of her previous contests for NEF, earning several “Fight of the Night” honors.  Young had the crowd on the edge of its seat for her thrilling encounter with Christine Brothwell earlier this year – a fight she won via unanimous decision.  She has never backed down, even when on the losing end of a slugfest like the one she had with Kylie O’Hearn on Cape Cod last year, and it has made her one of the most popular fighters with the NEF audience.  Based on their styles, Young predicts yet another strike-fest full of fireworks when she meets Borga on August 5th.

“I’m beyond excited for the match up with Borga for NEF in Bangor,” said Young. “I respect her as a fighter and even more so for traveling to Maine once again take a fight. Neither one of us are afraid to stand and bang, making this a fight people aren’t going to want to miss.”

Jessica Borga of Florida will make the trip north to compete in Maine for the third time in less than a year.  She made her NEF debut last September and quickly became a favorite of Pine Tree State fight fans.  Last November, Borga put on a dominant performance in Lewiston, winning a unanimous decision over black belt Brianne Genschel.  She has captured multiple regional titles in the southeast portion of the country.  Borga looks forward to returning to fight in front of her Maine fans once again.

“I can’t wait to be back at NEF for 2017,” exclaimed Borga when reached for comment.  “I’ve been waiting to come back and show what I’ve learned. I appreciate Angela Young stepping up to put on a show for everyone.  I’ll be ready and can’t wait to show my improvements.”

“NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor” will be held at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Tickets are on sale now at www.CrossInsuranceCenter.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.

NEF TO ONCE AGAIN SPONSOR YOUNG ATHLETE AT USM WRESTLING CLINIC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Gorham, Maine (June 30, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) announced earlier today that the fight promotion would once again sponsor an athlete at this year’s Brawlin’ Lobsta Wrestling Clinic & Tournament.  The camp is set to take place at the Gorham campus of the University of Southern Maine (USM) fromJuly 18 to July 22.  As it has done in years past, NEF will select one winner for which the fight promotion will cover tuition to the program.

“This is one of the most important things we do in the community every year,” said NEF matchmaker and co-owner Matt Peterson of Rumford, Maine.  “So many of our promotion’s competitors came from a wrestling background.  Wrestling instills in young athletes a lifelong sense of discipline and hard work, and that is exactly what we want the winner of this contest to take away from the camp this summer.”

Camp instructors Mike Morin and Jon Deupree are both veterans of the MMA cage.  Morin is the head wrestling coach at USM and a two-time All-American during his days competing for the Huskies.  Deupree is an assistant coach with USM and was a two-time NCAA national qualifier.

“Myself and my staff would like to thank NEF for once again sponsoring a local wrestler to attend the Brawlin’ Lobsta Wrestling Camp,” exclaimed Morin. “This is not only directly helping raise the level of wrestling in the state of Maine, it has also helped us at USM jump levels. We look forward to working with all of the wrestlers this year at the camp and in the future.”

Interested contestants are asked to submit a photograph of themselves wrestling to either the NEF Facebook page or via email to newenglandfights@gmail.com along with a brief statement of 100 words or less detailing why they believe the clinic will help them achieve their goals.

New England Fights’ next mixed-martial arts event, “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor,” will be held at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Tickets are on sale now at www.CrossInsuranceCenter.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.”

MAINE’S NEW KO KING BACK IN THE CAGE AT RUMBLE IN BANGOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bangor, Maine (June 28, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday night, August 5, 2017 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor.”  Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur middleweight contest to the fight card.  Josh Jones (2-0) will take on the debuting Carlton Charles (0-0) at a fight weight of 185-pounds.

It has taken Jones a mere 24-seconds combined to polish off his first two opponents.  His four-second victory over Anthony Spires (0-3) earlier this month set an all-time NEF record for fastest knockout. Video of the punch went viral almost immediately, giving Jones worldwide notoriety with exposure on major sports websites like Bleacher Report.

Prior to joining First Class MMA of Brunswick, Maine, Jones was known for his exploits on the basketball court.  He led Erskine Academy to a class B Maine state championship in 2004.  Later, as a senior at Husson University in Bangor, Jones averaged 19 points and 11 rebounds per game and was named “player of the year” by the Maine Basketball Writers and Coaches Association.  He was drafted by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Developmental League (NBDL).

For all his accomplishments on the hardwood and the MMA cage, Jones is not resting on his laurels.  His focus now is on the future and his upcoming fight on August 5 with Carlton Charles.

“Carlton Charles is another opponent that I have to respect and I know my teammates and coaches at First Class will have me prepared for everything,” said Jones. “I am trying to be well-rounded so that I can win anywhere in the cage. I look forward to another opportunity to showcase my talents.”

Where Jones excelled on the basketball court, his opponent Carlton Charles was a star on the football field.  Charles played for Windham High School and was later an assistant coach of the team when they won a class A Maine state championship in 2009.  He would go on to play for the University of Maine Black Bears Division I NCAA team.  Charles had a career season in 2011, playing in all 13 games for the Black Bears that year with a series of receptions and special teams tackles to his credit.

The Charles family name will be familiar to longtime NEF fans as Carlton is the younger brother of MMA and boxing veteran Nate Charles.  Carlton has been training with  Nate for his MMA debut as a member of team Charles Family Fighting.

“I’m just really excited, thankful and extremely blessed for the opportunity to fight,” said Carlton Charles when reached for comment. “It’s always been something that I’ve wanted to do, but with football it was hard to be able to find the time to train. I’ve seen the videos of Josh’s first two fights and it is impressive what he has been able to do in the short amount of time that he has been training. I feel it should be a fun matchup with both of our athletic backgrounds and hopefully we can put on a great fight.”

“NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor” will be held at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Tickets are on sale now atwww.CrossInsuranceCenter.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

BELLATOR VET REPRESENTS BIG TEST FOR LACEY AT RUMBLE IN BANGOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bangor, Maine (June 23, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday night, August 5, 2017 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor.”  Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of a professional featherweight bout to the fight card.  Aaron “Relentless” Lacey (4-0) will take on Bryan Goldsby (18-15) at a fight weight of 145-pounds.

Goldsby will be the most experienced fighter Bangor-area prospect Aaron Lacey has ever faced in the cage.  He has four Bellator bouts under his belt and has faced national stars such as Will Campuzano (14-6) and Jeff Curran (36-17-1).  Goldsby made his NEF debut earlier this month, not in the MMA cage but in the boxing ring.  The August 5th bout will represent his return to the cage after more than a three year absence.

Lacey put on a “fight of the night” performance last year in Bangor in a brutal back-and-forth war against John Santos (3-5).  It was the only fight of Lacey’s pro career thus far to make it to the judges’ scorecards.  He has finished all three of his other opponents via first-round submission.  The fight with Goldsby will be Lacey’s first since last November.

“Fighting in Bangor last year was a dream come true, but it also showed me I have a lot to work on,” said Lacey. “I have been nonstop since then and have made giant improvements. Goldsby is a seasoned opponent who has fought at some of the highest levels the sport has to offer. This will be a big test for me and I’m looking forward to showing everyone just how dangerous I can be!”

“NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor” will be held at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Tickets are on sale now at www.CrossInsuranceCenter.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.

A NEW NEF BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION WILL BE CROWNED IN BANGOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bangor, Maine (June 21, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday night, August 5, 2017 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor.”  Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur championship bantamweight contest to the fight card.  Fred Lear (5-2) is scheduled to meet Walt Shea (2-0) for the vacant NEF MMA Amateur 135-pound championship.

A member of Young’s MMA based in Bangor, Lear is riding a two-fight win streak into the first hometown fight of his career.  In February of this year, Lear defeated Shea’s First Class MMA teammate Michael Crespo (3-3) with a second-round technical knockout.  He is a finisher, with all but one of Lear’s five victories coming by way of technical knockout or submission.  He is promising local fans a crowd-pleasing fight against Shea on August 5th.

“Walt Shea has shown tremendous poise and fortitude in his back-to-back wins,” proclaimed Lear.  “My job over the next eight weeks is to work hard, stay humble, and listen to my teammates and coaches who have carried me to this point in my career. This is an extraordinary opportunity and it is my responsibility to seize it. This isn’t about myself or an ammy title. This is about Bangor and delivering on the fight this town deserves.”

Walt Shea has been to the judges’ scorecards twice in his time with NEF, and twice Shea has emerged victorious.  He made his debut last September with a split decision win over Joel Downing (0-1).  Shea followed up that appearance with a unanimous decision over Alan Bustamante (0-1) earlier this year at “NEF 27.”  He is a member of First Class MMA based in Brunswick, Maine, as well as The Foundry in Farmington, Maine.

“It’s an honor to be fighting for the amateur 135-pound title at “NEF 30,'” said Shea. “Honestly, it’s hard to believe considering almost two years ago I was just an overweight fan watching my cousin Nick Shea compete in the cage. My opponent, Fred Lear, is a tough kid who comes from another tough gym in Young’s MMA and always brings a ton of energy into the cage, so be ready for a war of cardio and willpower from each of us. I’d like to thank my family for standing behind me in this adventure, along with my head coach at First Class MMA, John Raio, and all my other outstanding coaches and my talented teammates.”

“NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor” will be held at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Tickets are on sale now at www.CrossInsuranceCenter.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.

MILITARY VETERANS WILL VIE FOR PRO MMA TITLE IN BANGOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bangor, Maine (June 20, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday night, August 5, 2017 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor.”  Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of a professional championship middleweight contest to the fight card.  CJ Ewer (2-0) will take on Mike “The Mustache” Hansen (5-5) for the vacant NEF MMA Pro 185-pound championship.

CJ Ewer serves as a member of the United States Air Force security forces.  When not defending the nation overseas, Ewer trains at Young’s MMA in Bangor.  He is an accomplished wrestler, with two Maine state high school championships and a New England district championship to his credit.  Ewer wrestled under legendary coach Ted Reese while attending the University of Southern Maine (USM).  Upon joining the MMA circuit, he put together a 5-2 record as an amateur prior to turning pro.  Ewer’s last fight was one year ago to the day in Bangor at “NEF PresentsDana White: Lookin’ for a Fight.”  He dropped Ruben Redman (0-1) with a highlight reel knockout that brought White and his web series co-stars to their feet at ringside.

“Mike is a tough-as-nails opponent, and I look forward to testing myself against him,” said Ewer of the upcoming title fight with Hansen.  “At the end of the fight, the most prepared fighter will win. Mike will not out work me in preparation, nor does he have training  partners that I have. I look forward to bringing the 185-pound belt back to Young’s MMA on August 5th.”

Mike Hansen, like CJ Ewer, proudly served his country.  Hansen was a combat engineer in the United States Army before retiring from the service.  Also like Ewer, Hansen comes from a wrestling background with a Maine state title earned during his time with Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Maine.  A founding member of team Berserkers MMA, Hansen has a reputation for taking on all comers.  He has never backed down from a challenge, sometimes battling behemoths two weight classes larger than himself.

“I’ve been working towards this moment for years now,” stated Hansen. “I busted into the Maine MMA scene just over two years ago and have been fighting top ranked fighters and the guys that everyone else runs from to prove that I can fight. CJ Ewer is a great competitor coming from the best camp in the state at Young’s MMA. I have nothing but respect for them up there, and I know he will come ready to fight. With that being said, I will be ready for war, and I’m coming home with the gold that night. He’s just another man locked in the cage with me, and anyone who has had that caged locked behind them across from me knows I’m not an easy win.”

“NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor” will be held at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, Maine on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Tickets are on sale now at www.CrossInsuranceCenter.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.

DIRIGO ALUM DALEY BALANCES WORK, FAMILY AND MMA CAGEFIGHTING

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (June 14, 2017) – Derek Daley believes that his mixed martial arts training gives him an edge in his career. He also recognizes that training with First Class MMA makes him a better mixed martial artist.

 

It’s a busy life for Daley, a law enforcement officer and father of a 6-year-old daughter, Ella. He will break away for a few frenzied moments on the night ofSaturday, June 17, when he returns to the New England Fights hexagon for the first time in a year.

 

Daley, 27, is one of seven fighters who will represent his Brunswick gym at “NEF 29: Stars & Stripes.” The opening bell is set for 7 p.m. at Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

 

“I’ve improved in every area, and I’ve really improved my cardio,” Daley said. “My first fight I was worried about what might happen if I got to the third round.”

 

There was barely time to break a sweat. Daley, a two-time Maine high school wrestling champion at Dirigo High School in Dixfield who later played college football at Husson University, dispatched Johel Stephenson in only 55 seconds.

 

“We had a game plan to hit him with a straight jab to set him up for an overhead right, then get it down to the mat and finish it with ground-and-pound,” Daley said. “It actually went exactly as we planned it, which was great.”

 

This time, Daley (1-0) takes on the more seasoned Frank Johanson (2-2) of Lewiston’s Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in a featherweight amateur scrap.

 

Daley joins Ras Hylton, Dominic Jones, Rafael Velado, Josh Jones, Jake Deppmeyer and Jon Tefft in the First Class contingent on the docket. He was lured to the training center and the MMA phenomenon by another local police officer with fighting in his blood, Nick Gulliver of Jay.

 

“I had been training jiu-jitsu at the Foundry in Farmington,” Daley said. “Nick said (MMA) would translate well to law enforcement, and he was right. Plus, John and Jody (Raio) are just great people.”

 

Raio’s experience on the high school and college wrestling mat has made him a natural mentor for Daley, who hit the 100-win plateau early in his junior year at Dirigo.

Daley won the 119-pound state title as a sophomore and backed it up as a senior at 135 pounds, not far from where he fights today at 145.

 

“Derek is a tremendous athlete and one of our best wrestlers,” Raio said. “He has a solid attitude and gives 100 percent every class and sparring session.”

 

It’s admittedly difficult for Daley to balance his competitive passion with his blossoming police career.

 

He began as an officer in Wilton. After moving to Richmond, he applied for work in three surrounding cities. Augusta was first to make him an offer.

 

“I’ve been there since November and it’s a perfect fit for me,” Daley said. “I have a great sergeant and a great team.”

 

Police work is a family tradition. Daley’s father, Hart, is Chief Deputy of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department.

 

It was not a case of a father wanting his son to fill his shoes.

 

“I majored in physical education,” Daley noted. “Dad said, ‘Be a teacher. Don’t go into law enforcement.’ But it’s one of those things that must be pretty stubborn in the family, because my brother and I both are police officers. The schedule is tough and unpredictable.”

 

First Class MMA helps Daley bring his commitments as cop and fighter under one roof. “It’s a great workout. I’m not really into traditional weight lifting. I mean, I did it when I played college football (Husson). This way I get a workout, but it doesn’t feel like I’m working,” he said. “It definitely makes me feel more comfortable if I ever have to get into a physical confrontation as an officer.”

 

Raio, now retired from the cage after a run as one of NEF’s most popular fighters in its infancy, understands the home vs. work vs. family balance. He is the father of two and was employed full time with the U.S. Postal Service when he got the itch to try combat sports once again.

 

Still, he is high on his pupil’s potential if Daley ever decides to focus fully on the cage.

 

“The sky is the limit for him in this sport. I can see him getting to the UFC or Bellator if that is the path he chooses,” Raio said. “He is an outstanding police officer and a great father as well. He puts his daughter first in everything he does.”

 

Daley returns the compliments, insisting that even if his foray into MMA winds up being a cup of coffee, he will continue to train at First Class for fitness purposes. He describes the atmosphere as a tight circle of friends and a brotherhood.

 

“It’s a great group of guys. There are no egos,” Daley said. “I was kind of worried about that when I first showed up. Was I going to be (a target) because I’m a police officer, or were there a bunch of guys all looking to be the alpha dog? But it’s quite the opposite. It’s like a big family. You’re punching a guy in the face, but you’re family.”

 

That goes double for his friendship with Gulliver, who is undefeated as an amateur heavyweight.

 

“I feel like a baby gorilla with its mom when I’m working out with Nick,” he quipped. “I think for him it’s enjoyment just to pound on me.”

 

It certainly reduces the stress when he gets the opportunity to pick on someone his own size at an NEF card, although Daley knows better than to take the veteran Johanson lightly.

 

The CMBJJ fighter enters on a two-fight winning streak, and he defeated First Class’ Deppmeyer in February.

 

“Frank is a tough opponent. I saw his fight against Jake,” Daley said. “He has a tough chin. He takes shots and just keeps coming forward.”

 

Even though he fought in front of thousands at the state wrestling showcase four times as a high school student, Daley is humble enough to acknowledge that an NEF show is a different animal.

 

“I was a complete nervous wreck, like almost to the point where I was ready to puke behind the curtain,” he said of his debut. “Then once I stepped in the cage, it went away and I just did what I had to do. I was able to shake off the rust a little bit.

 

“But it’s still different from wrestling. Back then I wasn’t getting punched in the face.”

 

The June 17 card 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 www.thecolisee.com. For more information on the fight card, please visitwww.newenglandfights.com.

THE FIGHTING PRIDE OF BUCKSPORT RETURNS FOR ONE MORE BATTLE

Lewiston, Maine (June 13, 2017) – Ray “All Business” Wood has received his mail in Florida, Maine, South Carolina and Texas, to name just a few corners of the United States. He’s comfortable with a nomadic existence, especially when his highest goals are at stake.

 

The Pine Tree State is where Wood’s mixed martial arts dream evolved, however. And in any endeavor at any chapter of life, sometimes home is where you can go to recapture the magic.

 

That’s at least some of the inspiration for one of the most popular combatants in New England Fights history as he sets foot in that regional cage for the first time in 28 months.

Wood (8-3) will lock up with Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra (19-5) in a featherweight bout that promises nothing but fireworks at “NEF 29: Stars & Stripes” onSaturday, June 17. The opening bell at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee is scheduled for 7 p.m.

 

“I’m coming off two losses, so it’s good to get back where it all started,” Wood said. “It’s a good time to rekindle the fire.”

 

No shortage of major factors have contributed to the hiccup in Wood’s winning ways. For starters, Wood, who turns 28 on June 6, has been juggling his career with life’s ultimate responsibility since last summer, when his wife, Tiana, gave birth to their first child, Liem.

 

It’s also worth noting that his two losses have come against undefeated fighters in the elite Bellator Fighting Championships. Wood tapped to a first-round choke at the hands of Adam Piccolotti (9-0) on May 14, 2016. After a brief stint to embrace the newfound challenges of fatherhood, Wood returned to the fray in December and dropped a unanimous decision to second-generation MMA prospect A.J. McKee, Jr. (8-0).

 

Wood is quick to point out that a busier life is no excuse for a change in performance. Rather, it empowers him with new purpose as he plies his non-traditional trade.

 

“It’s definitely been a lot of big changes. Now I have a kid. That changes everything,” he said. “That gives me a lot more to fight for. If I go out and perform, that provides more opportunities and gives me more to offer my family.”

 

The only other loss on Wood’s docket coincided with his most recent experience in Maine. Crafty veteran Anthony “Cheesesteak” Morrison (20-11) took the NEF featherweight belt via fifth-round submission.

 

Wood left Maine shortly thereafter for Gaffney, South Carolina. He now resides with his family in Amarillo, Texas.

 

“I wasn’t originally from Maine,” said Wood, who grew up in Fort Myers, Florida, before moving to Bucksport in seventh grade. “I kind of knew I wanted to leave and see what was out there.”

 

He took many pieces of Maine with him, though. Wood, a high school wrestler, found himself sorely missing that competition after graduation, so he took up jiu-jitsu.

 

Shortly thereafter, he heard that a gentleman named Chris Young was training MMA fighters at a home-based sweatshop in Bangor.

 

“He was holding workouts in his basement. This was before his gym (Young’s MMA) even started. It was a weird thing,” Wood recalled. “Looking back on it, who just shows up at somebody’s house, knocks on the door and says, ‘Hey, I hear you guys train MMA?” You just hope you have the right house.

 

“I love to compete, and I loved wrestling,” he added. “I knew when my wrestling days were over that I needed to find something to fill that void.”

 

Mixed martial arts provided that platform. Wood picked up three wins before stopping Ahsan Abdullah (7-8) on strikes at the inaugural NEF card in February 2012.

 

Wood emerged as a mainstay with the growing organization, culminating with his July 2013 victory in Bangor over Lenny Wheeler (9-6, 1 NC) for the vacant title.

 

“When I first started, I had no illusions of fighting professionally or anything like that. My passion found me,” Wood said. “NEF does a great job preparing guys. They’ve sent a bunch of guys on to fight at the next level. They keep fighters busy. I was able to win a title, and it certainly didn’t hurt my career. I’m glad I was able to fight for them early on.”

 

While he’s back under the familiar black banner, the competition remains at a world-class level. Bezerra, 29, is a nine-time Bellator veteran.

 

The Brazilian, now based out of Philadelphia, lost a decision to unbeaten Andre Harrison (16-0) in his last fight. Prior to that, he split two wars with UFC vet Levan Makashvili (14-2-1), and then won two quick stoppages.

 

“He’s got a lot of experience. He’s been in with the best of the best. He has a combination of toughness and skill,” Wood said. “He’s like me in that he likes to take the fight to you. We’re not going to be in there playing patty-cake.”

 

Ups and downs are the nature of even the most successful MMA careers. Wood has learned not to let the recent losses leave him awestruck by the caliber of opponents at the next level.

 

“You have to stay true to your training, You have to remember why you fell in love with the sport in the first place,” he said. “A fight is a fight, no matter where it takes place or who is watching. You just have to pay attention to what you know.”

 

The time between his past two birthdays has been a period of learning in both Wood’s personal and professional lives.

 

As the new father discussed his upcoming return to New England via phone, his infant son was audible in the background.

 

“He’s 10 months old. It’s crazy how quickly that time goes,” Wood said. “He’s a little bit feisty. I can kind of tell he’s going to be an athlete.”

 

Wood’s return headlines a card that 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 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.

AGE IS NOTHING BUT A NUMBER IN LEWISTON TITLE FIGHT

 

 

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 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.

 

DREAM MATCHES, BELLATOR VETERANS & TITLE FIGHTS TOP NEF 29 FIGHT CARD

Lewiston, Maine (June 1, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on June 17 with a fight card featuring both mixed-martial-arts (MMA) and professional boxing bouts.  Earlier today, the promotion announced the full fight card for the event.  The fight card is subject to approval of the Combat Sports Authority of Maine (CSAM).  The boxing portion of the card will begin at 7 pm EDT with the MMA card to immediately follow.

 

In a highly-anticipated “Superfight,” Maine MMA star Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (14-9 MMA, 1-0 boxing) will take on Maine’s premier boxer Russell “The Haitian Sensation” Lamour, Jr. (15-2, 7 KOs) in a six-round boxing bout.  The fight will be a dream match for fans who never expected to see each sports’ top in-state athletes face one another.  Boyington and Lamour have both been featured in nationally-televised bouts on NBC and ESPN in recent years.  Lamour is the former New England Middleweight Champion, while Boyington held the NEF MMA Lightweight Title until relinquishing it last year to sign with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF) global promotion.

 

“Bruce and Russell are at the top of their respective games,” noted NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson.  “Russell is a great boxer, and he’s going to face a superb striker in the form of Taekwondo black belt Bruce Boyington.  This is a true dream match for Maine fight fans.”

 

The professional MMA portion of the fight card will feature the long-awaited return of former NEF MMA Featherweight Champion Ray “All Business” Wood (8-3) as he faces Brazilian prospect Alexandre “Popo” Bezerra (19-5).  Wood left Maine more than two years ago to re-settle in South Carolina and then Texas.  Both Wood and Bezerra are veterans of the Bellator cage with a dozen fights between them for the national promotion.

 

“When you consider both sides, this is probably the highest-level fight to ever take place in NEF,” said NEF co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo.  “This fight could easily be slid into any UFC card on FS1 or Fox and steal the show.  Either one of these athletes could get the call up after this fight.  Our fans are about to see something special.”

 

The amateur MMA card will be headlined by a title fight with Rafael “Deez Nuts” Velado (4-0) defending the amateur lightweight championship against Maine Amateur Wrestling Alliance Hall of Famer Pat Kelly(3-0).  At age 52, Kelly will be the oldest fighter to ever challenge for an NEF title.

 

In addition to the fights, legendary boxer James “Buster” Douglas (38-6-1, 25 KOs) will make an appearance at “NEF 29” as the guest of honor.  Douglas will hold an hour-long meet-and-greet with fans at the Colisee from 6 pm to 7 pm prior to the opening bell.  Longtime fans will remember Douglas as the architect of the greatest upset in professional sports history with his knockout of “Iron” Mike Tyson (50-6, 44 KOs) in 1990 to claim the world heavyweight title.  Douglas halted the 37-fight undefeated streak that opened Tyson’s pro career.

 

The full “NEF 29” fight card (subject to change and approval of CSAM):

 

PROFESSIONAL BOXING

200 Crowsneck Boutin (Independent) vs. Cristiano Pedro (Cugno)

168 Jason Quirk (PBC) vs. Borngod Washington (Meekins)

160 Russell Lamour (PBC) vs. Bruce Boyington (Boyington’s TKD)

154 Casey Kramlich (PBC) vs. Bryan Goldsby (Jorge Gurgle)

 

PROFESSIONAL MMA

265 Ras Hylton (First Class/Dragon Fire) vs. Eric Ramsey (Trinity)

145 Alexandre Bezerra (Daddis) vs. Ray Wood (Nick’s)

145 Dominic Jones (First Class) vs. Matt Denning (CMBJJ)

145 Andre Belcarris (NE Assassins) vs. Josh Parker (Ruthless)

 

AMATEUR MMA

155*TITLE Rafael Velado (First Class) (c) vs. Pat Kelly (Young’s)

185  Mike Williams (CMBJJ) vs. John Tefft (First Class)

185 Anthony Spires (Independent) vs. Josh Jones (First Class)

150 Jacob Deppmeyer (First Class) vs. Ben Harrington(CMBJJ)

145 Derek Daley (First Class) vs. Frank Johanson (CMBJJ)

140 Glenn Kasabian (Nostos) vs. Kam Arnold (CMBJJ)

115 Alex Walker (Kaze) vs. Sarah Ziehm (CMBJJ)

 

 

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.  The event will be broadcast live on the FloCombat app on Roku and Apple TV and streamed live at www.FloCombat.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.