Tag Archives: New England Fights

NEW CHAMPIONS CROWNED, MAIN EVENT THRILLS AS NEF 31 SELLS OUT AURA FOR PORTLAND DEBUT

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (November 3, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) made its long-awaited debut in Portland, Maine on Saturday night before a sold-out crowd at Aura.

In the main event of the evening, hometown favorite Paul Gorman (11-9) took on James Blair (5-2) in a 130-pound catchweight contest.  The crowd was on the edge of its collective seat for a thrilling three-round war that will be a definite “fight of the year” candidate for 2017.  Gorman pulled off the unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards.

The ever-popular John “First Class” Raio (3-8) returned to the NEF cage after a three-year retirement.  Raio faced a game Zenon Herrera (0-6) and came out with the win in the third round when Herrera tapped out to a guillotine choke.

On the amateur side of the card, three new champions were crowned.  Terrance Jean-Jacques (3-0) became the new NEF Amateur Heavyweight Champion with a unanimous decision victory over defending champion Nick Gulliver (4-1).  Justin Witham (4-4) is the new flyweight titleholder after defeating Nate Boucher (2-1) by split decision.  Hilarie Rose (5-3) made history as the first women’s champion in promotion history by capturing the strawweight title against Alex Walker (4-2).

Two milestones were set early in the night as Jayda Bailey (1-0) became the youngest fighter to ever emerge victorious in the NEF cage, while Garry Carr (1-0) took the honor of the oldest fighter to ever win in the NEF cage.  Bailey turned 18 just eight days prior to the event.  Carr is 56 years young.

In addition to an evening of fights, fans were able to meet special guest Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (24-5).  Souza is currently the number-four ranked middleweight in the UFC.

The results from Portland, Maine:

PROFESSIONAL

Paul Gorman def. James Blair via unanimous decision

John Raio def. Zenon Herrera via guillotine, round 3

AMATEUR

Hilarie Rose def. Alex Walker via TKO, round 1

Justin Witham def. Nate Boucher via split decision

Terrance Jean-Jacques def. Nick Gulliver via unanimous decision

Carl Langston def. Henry Clark via unanimous decision

Mohammed al Kinani def. Phil Pearson via KO, round 1

Isaac Therrien def. Chad Weymouth via TKO, round 1

Francesca Morabito def. Carol Linn Powell via unanimous decision

Emmett Huber def. Will McCall via guillotine, round 1

Bill Cole def. Nathan Pete via rear-naked choke, round 2

Garry Carr def. David Hart via rear-naked choke, round 1

Mark Gardner def. Carlton Charles via TKO, round 2

Sarah Matulis def. Chelsea Elizabeth via TKO, round 1

Jayda Bailey def. Danae Dostie via TKO, round 1

NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 32: Super Saturday,” will see the company make its return to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine.  The event is scheduled to take place on Saturday, February 3, 2018.  Tickets are on-sale now online atwww.TheColisee.com.

NEF ANNOUNCES MONUMENTAL FIGHT CARD FOR PORTLAND DEBUT

Portland, Maine (October 6, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) will make its long-awaited debut in Portland on Friday, November 3, 2017 at Aura with “NEF 31: The Old Port.”  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the full fight card for the event featuring a full slate of professional and amateur mixed-martial-arts bouts.

Maine fan-favorite Paul Gorman (10-9) is scheduled to take on James “The Flyin’ Hawaiian” Blair (5-1) in the main event of the evening.  Gorman, the former NEF bantamweight titleholder and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt out of the Academy in Portland, makes his return to the NEF cage after a three-year absence.  Blair is a hot prospect from the world-renowned American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida where he trains alongside a veritable murderers’ row of current and former world champions like Mike Brown (26-9), Tyron Woodley (18-3-1), and Joanna Jędrzejczyk (14-0) just to name a few.

Reigning NEF Professional Middleweight Champion CJ Ewer (3-0) will be in action when he takes on Crowsneck Boutin (2-3) in a non-title affair.  Ewer captured the 185-pound title over the summer when he submitted Mike Hansen (5-6) at “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor.”  Boutin will be coming off a year-long layoff from competition.

“The Blackpool Ripper” Matt Probin (0-0) makes his pro MMA debut against rugged veteranJosh Parker (6-9).  Both Probin and Parker have extensive backgrounds as professional boxers.  Probin has trained and competed in Muay Thai in Thailand.  Parker is the founder of Ruthless MMA & Boxing of Waterville, Maine.

John “First Class” Raio (2-8) will come out of retirement to face Zenon “K-Bar” Herrera (0-5).  Raio last fought in the summer of 2015.  He is the head coach of First Class MMA based in Brunswick, Maine.  Herrera, a veteran of both the United States Army and Marine Corps, is looking for his first win since joining the professional ranks two years ago.

The amateur side of the card will feature a total of three title fights.  NEF Amateur Heavyweight Champion Nick “The Guardian” Gulliver (4-0) will defend his strap against WWE signeeTerrance Jean-Jacques (2-0), while Nate Boucher (2-0) and Justin Witham (3-4) square off for the vacant flyweight title.  Alex Walker (4-1) and Hilarie Rose (4-3) will make history when they battle for the first-ever NEF women’s championship in the strawweight division.

The Walker-Rose fight will be one of four female bouts featured on the “NEF 31” amateur card.  Carol Linn Powell (0-0), wife of former NEF Professional Lightweight Champion and current UFC competitor Devin Powell (8-3), is scheduled to make her cage debut against Francesca Morabito (0-0). Jayda “Lil Killah” Bailey (0-0) makes her debut just eight days after her 18th birthday, the legal minimum age for competing in MMA in Maine, in a bantamweight bout with Danae Dostie (0-0) while Sarah Matulis (0-0) and Chelsea Elizabeth(0-0) face off in yet another double amateur debut.

The full “NEF 31” fight card (subject to change and approval of the Combat Sports Authority of Maine):

 

PROFESSIONAL MMA

180 CJ Ewer 3-0 (Young’s MMA) vs Crowsneck Boutin 2-3 (Independent)

 

150 John Raio 2-8 (First Class MMA) vs Zenon Herrera 0-5 (Independent)

 

145 Josh Parker 6-9 (Ruthless MMA & Boxing) vs Matt Probin 0-0 (CMBJJ/Young’s MMA)

 

135 Paul Gorman 10-9 (The Academy) vs James Blair 5-1 (American Top Team)

 

AMATEUR MMA

 

265*TITLE  Nick Guilliver 4-0 (c) (First Class /Foundry) vs Terrance Jean-Jacques 2-0 (Team Link)

 

125*TITLE  Nate Boucher 2-0 (CMBJJ) vs Justin Witham 3-4 (Shatterproof Combat Club)

 

115 *TITLE Alex Walker 4-1 (Kaze) vs Hilarie Rose 4-3 (USMMA)

265 Matt Glover 1-1 (Berserkers MMA) vs Jason Field 0-2 (Kenney’s MMA)

 

175 Carlton Charles 1-0 (Charles Family Fighting/Fire&Iron Athletics) vs Nate Evans 0-0

 

170 Mohammed al Kinani 0-0 (Evolution Athletix) vs Phil Pearson 0-1 (First Class MMA)

 

170 David Grant 0-0 (Evolution Athletix) vs Tom Rials 0-0 (Nostos)

 

155 Will McCall 1-2 (Evolution Athletix) vs Chad Pierce 1-0 (The Academy)

 

155 Nick Banks 0-0 (Choi Institute) vs Emmett Huber 0-1 (The Academy)

 

155 Garry Carr 0-0 (CMBJJ) vs David Hart 0-1 (Kenney’s MMA)

135 Sarah Matulis 0-0 (Shatterproof Combat Club) vs Chelsea Elizabeth 0-0 (First Class MMA)

 

135 Danae Dostie 0-0 (Kenney’s MMA) vs Jayda Bailey 0-0 (Young’s MMA)

 

135 Carl Langston 6-9 (Young’s MMA) vs Henry Clark 3-3 (Choi Institute)

 

135 Kam Arnold 1-0 (CMBJJ) vs Caleb Costello 3-4 (Young’s MMA)

 

135 Carol Linn Hawkins 0-0 (Nostos) vs Francesca Morabito 0-0 (Choi Institute)

 

NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 31: The Old Port,” will see the company debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at www.auramaine.com.

UFC STAR’S WIFE IN DOUBLE MMA DEBUT ON NOVEMBER 3RD IN PORTLAND 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (September 12, 2017) –New England Fights (NEF) will make its long-awaited debut in Portland on Friday, November 3, 2017 at Aura with “NEF 31: The Old Port.”  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of an amateur mixed-martial-arts bout to the card.  Carol Linn Powell (0-0) is scheduled to take on Francesca Morabito (0-0) in a women’s bantamweight contest.

Carol Linn is the wife of former NEF Lightweight Champion, and current UFC fighter, Devin Powell (8-3).  Devin earned a contract with the UFC after impressing the company’s president, Dana White, on his web series Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight at an event promoted by NEF in Bangor, Maine last year.  Together, the Powells own and operate Nostos MMA & Conditioning Facility in Somersworth, New Hampshire.  Last month, they were awarded the “Best Martial Arts Gym” at the “2017 Best of the Seacoast” awards.

“Fighting has been something I’ve fantasized about for a few years and now that it is finally happening, I couldn’t be more excited,” said Carol Linn when reached for comment. “I was supposed to have my first fight in June and it ended up falling through, and I think this fight is a much better match up and is in one of my very favorite towns. Francesca and I have trained together a few times and we were really excited to be a part of each other’s camps, but after realizing what a good matchup we are, we decided to put our friendship aside and both get in there for our first fights. We are very similar, and I’m excited to put a great show on for everyone.”

“I am very excited for my wife to make her debut,” noted Devin. “She’s been around the sport for almost half a decade, but is just recently getting into hard training and the competitive aspect of it. I never told her to fight or said I thought she should. She was very independent in this choice and when somebody chooses to do something on their own and they commit all of themselves to it, I think that is a great equation for a successful person in anything they do. She is going to find out a lot about herself on the 3rd. Happy to have a cage-side seat for it.”

Francesca Morabito trains at the Choi Institute in Portland, Maine.  Her true passion lies in her work with non-profit organization Speak About It.  Morabito has toured the world as a theatre artist with the Portland-based group, educating high school and college students on affirmative consent, healthy relationships, and sexual assault prevention.

“It is such an honor to make my debut just a couple blocks from where I’ve been training for the past two years,” said Morabito.  “I’m elated to fight in my hometown – on the same street where I’ve trudged home on countless Maine winter nights, with my gym bag slung over my shoulder and my wet hair freezing solid underneath my Choi hoodie.  My time has come. And I came to win.”

NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 31: The Old Port,” will see the company debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at www.auramaine.com.

CHARLES LOOKS TO MAKE IT TWO IN A ROW TO START MMA CAREER

Portland, Maine (August 31, 2017) –New England Fights (NEF) will make its long-awaited debut in Portland onFriday, November 3, 2017 at Aura with “NEF 31: The Old Port.”  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of an amateur mixed-martial-arts bout to the card.  Carlton Charles (1-0) will take on Nate Evans (0-0) at a catchweight of 175-pounds.

Carlton Charles shocked the Maine MMA community earlier this month with his stunning first-round technical knockout of Josh Jones (2-1) at “NEF 30” in Bangor.  Jones had looked indestructible to that point, only needing 24-seconds to finish his first two opponents combined.  In turn, it took Charles only 23-seconds to polish off Jones in his amateur debut.  It was, indeed, one of the most impressive debuts in NEF history.

Charles’ athleticism comes as no surprise, however, to those who know him.  He excelled in football for Windham High School.  As an assistant coach, Charles later lead Windham to a Class A state championship.  He went on to play for the NCAA Division I University of Maine Black Bears.  Currently, Charles trains MMA with Charles Family Fighting alongside his older brother, and seven-fight NEF veteran, Nate Charles.

“I’m real excited about the opportunity to fight in Portland,” said Charles. “Not often have we seen MMA in Portland, so it’s definitely going to get a lot of attention. It’s a bit closer to home than Bangor was, so I feel like I’ll have a lot of support there. I hope to put on a good show and look to build on the success of my first fight. I know my opponent will be tough so I am training hard to be prepared.”

Nate Evans will be making his debut on November 3rd.  Like Charles, Evans’ background is in football.  He was a star quarterback for Sumter Central High School in Livingston, Alabama.  Also like Charles, Evans has begun training and combat sports and is hoping to make a successful transition from the gridiron to the MMA cage.

NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 31: The Old Port,” will see the company debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at www.auramaine.com.

PARKER AND PROBIN TO GO HEAD-TO-HEAD AT NEF 31 IN PORTLAND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (August 29, 2017) –New England Fights (NEF) will make its long-awaited debut in Portland onFriday, November 3, 2017 at Aura with “NEF 31: The Old Port.”  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of a professional mixed-martial-arts bout to the card.  Josh Parker (6-9) will meet “The Blackpool Ripper” Matt Probin (0-0) in a featherweight matchup.

Josh Parker is the founder and head coach of Ruthless MMA & Boxing.  A two-sport athlete, Parker has split his professional career between the MMA cage and the boxing ring.  He has won two of his last three fights for NEF, most recently dominating Andre Belcarris (0-2) for three rounds on his way to a unanimous decision victory in June.  Parker will look to continue his winning ways when he meets Probin on November 3rd.

“I want to thank NEF for making this fight,” said Parker when reached for comment. “I’m excited to get back in there. We recently expanded Ruthless and moved to a new location. Our team keeps growing and they are pushing me every day. I look forward to putting on a show on November 3rd.”

Originally from Blackpool, England and now a Maine resident, Matt Probin divides his training between Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Young’s MMA.  Probin went 6-2 over the course of his amateur MMA career.  While Probin has not competed in MMA in more than three years, he has been active as a professional boxer and kickboxer in recent years.  In 2016, Probin had a stint training Muay Thai in Thailand where he competed at the world famous Bangla Boxing Stadium – one of Thailand’s most venerated fight venues.

“I’m pumped for this fight,” declared Probin.  “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about fighting someone before. Thanks to NEF for making it happen. I guarantee this fight will not go the distance. I respect his game and experience, but that’s it. I’m coming out with bad intentions. Don’t blink!”

NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 31: The Old Port,” will see the company debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at www.auramaine.com.

VETERAN FIGHTERS RETURN TO THE NEF CAGE ON NOVEMBER 3RD IN PORTLAND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (August 25, 2017) –New England Fights (NEF) will make its long-awaited debut in Portland onFriday, November 3, 2017 at Aura with “NEF 31: The Old Port.”  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of a professional mixed-martial-arts bout to the card.  John “First Class” Raio (2-8) will meet Zenon “K-Bar” Herrera (0-5) at a catchweight of 150-pounds.

For John Raio, the bout will mark his return to the cage after more than two years.  Raio retired following his rematch with Bruce Boyington (13-11) in June 2015.  He has decided to make one more run at competing.  Competition has been in Raio’s blood since his youth.  He won a Maine state championship wrestling for Gardiner Area High School in 1995, and he went on to wrestle for Plymouth State University and the University of Southern Maine.  While working for the United States Postal Service, Raio began competing in MMA in 2012.  Since his retirement, Raio has concentrated on training fighters at his gym First Class MMA in Brunswick, Maine.  He has led several to championship gold in the NEF cage while working full-time at his current position with Bath Iron Works (BIW).

“I’m excited to get back into the cage,” said Raio.  “Two years is a long time after fighting 14 times in three years. I’ve learned a lot about the sport in that time. Our team’s success has motivated me a lot. We have amazing fighters and instructors at our gym. The opportunity to fight in Portland, where I delivered mail for eight years, was too hard to pass up.”

Zenon Herrera last competed in the NEF cage in August 2016.  He has split his professional career between boxing and MMA.  Herrera is a military veteran, having served four years in the United States Army and five years in the United States Marine Corps.  On November 3rd, Herrera will look to score his first win since his amateur days on the Florida MMA circuit.

“It’s been a long time since last in the NEF cage for both myself and John Raio,” said Herrera.  “This will be a great way for both of us to make a return, and I’m very much looking forward to going in with such a well classed person. John and I are both the type who will come forward and never back down.  I really think this is going to be a great match that will be enjoyed by all involved.”

NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 31: The Old Port,” will see the company debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at www.auramaine.com.

About New England Fights

HOMETOWN PRIDE IS ON THE LINE IN BANTAMWEIGHT BATTLE AT NEF 31

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (August 24, 2017) –New England Fights (NEF) will make its long-awaited debut in Portland onFriday, November 3, 2017 at Aura with “NEF 31: The Old Port.”  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of an amateur mixed-martial-arts bantamweight bout to the card.  Henry Clark (3-3) is scheduled to face Carl Langston (6-9) at a fight weight of 135-pounds.

Henry Clark is a member of the Choi Institute based in Portland.  Since his debut in the fall of 2014, Clark has been known for producing exciting moments in the NEF cage.  In a memorable bout with Langston’s Young’s MMA teammate, and current NEF MMA Amateur Bantamweight Champion, Fred Lear (6-2), Clark held onto a triangle choke while Lear viciously slammed him not once but twice.  He will look to break a two-fight losing streak with what Clark predicts to be a dominant performance against Langston in front of his hometown fans.

“Portland is my town,” declared Clark. “On November 3rd, I’m showing up to prove that. I’ve got a great opponent in Carl who always shows up to fight, but I’m planning on keeping it a dominant, one-sided affair. Truly my only desire is that of violence, my only intention is victory. Both will be achieved.”

Like Clark, Carl Langston calls Portland home.  With a background in Taekwondo, Langston has thrilled NEF fans on numerous occasions with his prolific striking abilities.  He knocked out Alex Johnson (2-3) with a series of violent kicks to the body in Langston’s last NEF appearance.  Langston says this will be his last amateur fight before turning professional.

“This will be my last amateur fight and there isn’t any better way to go out fighting for NEF’s first card  in my hometown in Portland,” stated Langston.  “I’m super pumped to be part of this card! As far as my opponent, he’s a good guy and I have nothing bad to say about him, but come fight time, I’m going to walk through him. He won’t make it out of the second round. He has nothing to offer me.”

NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 31: The Old Port,” will see the company debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at www.auramaine.com.

WWE SIGNEE TO CHALLENGE GULLIVER FOR HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE IN PORTLAND

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (August 22, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) will make its debut in Portland on Friday, November 3, 2017 at Aura with “NEF 31: The Old Port.”  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of an amateur mixed-martial-arts title bout to the card.  Nick Gulliver (4-0) will defend the NEF MMA Amateur Heavyweight Title against Terrance Jean-Jacques (1-0).

“NEF is an amazing organization and I love fighting for them,” said Gulliver. “This will be my fifth fight for NEF and to me, this fight is different. During my fighting career I’ve always been fighting for someone, or something, and I’ve never really had time or the energy to really enjoy it. This fight I’m fighting to prove to myself that I’m good enough to be the heavyweight champion. People tell me every day after sparring or training that I’m good, but I don’t see it yet. I don’t see what others see and this is a time for me to see and believe. This camp I’m going to work and find myself in the process.”

Gulliver, a product of First Class MMA and the Foundry BJJ, has been nothing short of perfect over the course of his amateur career with NEF.  “The Guardian,” as he is known amongst his fans and teammates, has finished all four of his previous opponents, including a third-round technical knockout of Yorgan DeCastro (2-4) last fall to claim the title belt.  DeCastro is the first, and only, opponent to date to make it out of the first round with Gulliver.

“I have a lot to prove to myself and I’m going to look into the mirror on November 3rd and see the man I’ve wanted to be in the cage and out,” continued Gulliver.  “I’m going to work as much as I can and never give up. Something I always repeat to myself is ‘cowards never start, the weak never finish, winners never quit,’ and I’m not quitting on November 3rd.”

Terrance Jean-Jacques brings a solid amateur wrestling background with him to the NEF cage.  The Haverhill, Massachusetts native put together an impressive 22-6 record as the starting heavyweight for the NCAA Division I Iowa Hawkeyes as a freshman.  He later transferred to Rhode Island College and was a runner-up at the 2015 Division III wrestling championships.  Jean-Jacques signed a developmental deal with the WWE in the spring of 2016 to train at their performance center in Florida.

“Everybody fights for different things,” remarked Jean-Jacques. “My thing is, I’m not doing this for anyone else but my daughter and myself. It’s much bigger than this fight. I’m reinventing myself and it’s kill or be killed. This will be the best version of myself to date. I have goals that I’m charging at in an unstoppable manner and I’m coming to get it. This is my destiny.”

“I want to thank my training partners and my family,” said Gulliver in closing.  “I want to thank FirstClass MMA and The Foundry BJJ for everything they have given me. I’ve been training with FirstClass MMA and John Raio for almost three years now and I’ve been training with The Foundry BJJ going on eight years now. I appreciate all they do for me. I can name over 100 people that I train with every week that help push me, day in and day out, and I can’t thank them enough for it.

“This fight will be a war. If you put me and my opponent, Terrance, side by side and took bets, I’d be the loser all day. Shit, even I would bet against me if it was about size and looks. But this fight will be won by one thing and one thing only and anyone that knows me knows what I’m about to say. This fight will be won with heart. I’m not great at anything I do. I fail at most things, but I have a lot of heart and I push. Sometimes in life heart is what people need most. I’m looking to see what I’ve got on November 3rd and I’m looking forward to November 4th when I can wake up and see that I had enough heart and that I am the still the champ. Thank you to everyone involved in my life and thanks again for this fight I greatly appreciate it. Thank you to Terrance Jean-Jacques for coming to Portland to fight. Also, just a quick thank you to my friend Josh Jones, who made me remember the fun in this game again. He got me motivated to fight in this one. I’m hoping this fight is just like watching fireworks at a baseball game. If you’ve never seen fireworks at a baseball game come to this fight and I’ll show you the feeling.”

NEF’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 31: The Old Port,” will see the company make its long-awaited debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at www.auramaine.com.

NEF SELLS-OUT AGAIN IN BANGOR AS LOCAL FIGHTERS SHINE IN THE CAGE

Bangor, Maine (August 6, 2017) –There was no place like home Saturday night for C.J. Ewer, Ryan Sanders and Fred Lear of Young’s MMA in Bangor.

Fighting in front of a sold-out ballroom a stone’s throw from their training headquarters, the three fighters atop the card at “NEF 30” Rumble in Bangor” all posted impressive victories at Cross Insurance Center.

Ewer defeated Mike “The Mustache” Hansen by submission at 1:46 of the first round to capture the vacant NEF pro middleweight title. Lear landed the NEF amateur bantamweight belt, while Sanders tightened his grip on New England’s pro lightweight scene in a non-title triumph.

It was the second consecutive August sellout in the Queen City, a tradition that began with “NEF Presents Dana White: Lookin’ For a Fight” last summer.

After his hard-fought win over the much-traveled Jay Ellis, NEF pro lightweight champion Sanders, ranked No. 1 in the region, kept his comments short and sweet while calling out the aforementioned Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president.

“You took the wrong guy last year,” Sanders said. “Come get me now.”

Sanders (15-8) didn’t have an easy road against Ellis, a veteran of more than 80 pro bouts. Ellis had Sanders under control for most of the fight but left himself vulnerable to a triangle choke at 2:34 of the first round.

Ewer dispatched Hansen with a similarly swift maneuver.

“It’s a great feeling to win it in front of the home crowd,” Ewer said. “As hard as we worked (in training camp), I didn’t think anything could stop me.”

The sudden ending spoiled Hansen’s hopes of winning a title for the first time in his 13-year mixed martial arts career.

“This was by far the best training camp I ever had. We were just getting warmed up,” Hansen said. “I had a lot more to give, and I’m sure C.J. had a lot of more to give. But hey, we could do it again.”

Lear highlighted the amateur portion of the card with an authoritative second-round knockout of Walt Shea.

Only the bell saved Shea from Lear’s onslaught at the end of the opening chapter. Lear gained the advantage with a kick to the head midway through that round. After nearly locking in an arm bar that could have ended the fight, Lear bloodied the previously unbeaten Shea with a series of strikes.

The end appeared inevitable when Shea needed Lear’s help to find his corner between rounds, and another interrupted attack hastened the finish only 14 seconds later.

An emotional Lear lauded his coach, Chris Young of Young’s MMA, before fastening the belt around the teacher’s waist.

“A lot of people around here know his name, but they don’t know the man,” Lear said. “He’s the first guy in the gym in the morning and the last one to leave at night. He’s the reason we’re all here. He’s the reason we’re successful. He’s the reason some of us aren’t in jail.”

In the first two fights of Josh Jones’ amateur MMA career, Jones dispatched his opponents by one-punch knockout in a total of 24 seconds. It took Carlton Charles one fewer tick of the clock to take out Jones in the stunning conclusion to a touted tangle of former star collegiate athletes.

Charles, a product of the University of Maine football program taking his initial walk to the NEF cage, turned the tables on Jones (2-1) in a middleweight scrap. Jones again went for the early stoppage with a pair of looping shots, but Charles calmly ducked them before landing one of his own and taking the issue to the mat.

“I just love the competition,” Charles said. “You don’t get hit in the face like this on the football field.”

When the combatants regained their feet, Charles backed Jones against the cage and landed two right hands to the jaw. Jones dropped to one knee and absorbed a sharp left to the head. That persuaded the referee to step in and stop the fight, a verdict that left Jones and his First Class MMA camp visibly puzzled.

It was Charles’ second one-sided combat sports victory in a week’s time. He previously delivered a first-round TKO in the amateur boxing ring. Jones suffered his first defeat since making the transition from basketball, which he played professionally in Europe after starring at Bangor’s Husson University.

One look at Friday’s official weigh-in suggested that the bout between Roger Ewer (251 pounds) and Dustin Freeman (220) might be the typical stand-up, slug-it-out heavyweight affair. Instead, it turned into a ground-and-pound showcase that was right in Ewer’s wheelhouse. C.J.’s older brother, making his debut in the NEF hexagon at 44 years of age, hammered out the advantage throughout and earned a TKO via unanswered strikes at 2:31 of the second stanza.

Nate Boucher improved to 2-0 with a first-round stoppage of Jeremiah Barkac, who was making his cage debut. Barkac gained an early advantage in the bantamweight bout with a barrage of strikes, but Boucher cleverly gained leverage with his legs and locked in a triangle choke.

Win or lose, Bangor’s Angela Young announced that her battle with Jessica “The Black Widow” Borga would be the final fight of her career. Borga (6-3) erased any hopes of a Hollywood ending with a decisive TKO at 2:16 of the opening round. Young (2-3), wife of Chris, had never gone less than the distance in any of her prior wins or losses.

In a mutual NEF and MMA debut, Zach Faulkner delighted his home crowd with a second-round victory over David Hart via rear naked choke. The end came at 1:42.

Jesse Hutchinson also enjoyed a triumphant debut in the amateur ranks. He stopped Anthony LaPointe at 2:43 of the first round in a welterweight skirmish.

NEF also announced that the promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 31: The Old Port,” will see the company make its long-awaited debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets will go on sale this Wednesday, August 9 at www.auramaine.com.

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.

RUMFORD’S HANSEN GETS LONG-AWAITED SHOT AT MMA GOLD

 

Matt Andrikut v Mike Hansen square off in MMA action from NEF 25.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Rumford, Maine (August 3, 2017) – New Mike Hansen’s dreams of becoming a mixed martial arts (MMA) champion were admittedly premature. Then they were derailed for nearly a decade by a combination of injuries, service to his country and fatherhood.

 

The teenage ambition that made Hansen believe he could conquer the world, or at least his little corner of it, never went away, though.

 

Twenty-nine months after resurrecting his career with New England Fights, Rumford’s Hansen (5-5) finally gets that coveted title shot. He will battle hometown favorite C.J. Ewer (2-0) at “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor” this Saturday, August 5 at Cross Insurance Center for the organization’s vacant middleweight title. The card starts at 7 p.m.

Hansen, who turned 32 on July 21, says the opportunity fulfills an early goal while living and fighting in Massachusetts back in 2005.

 

“I was 19 years old and thought I had a great head on my shoulders, so I called out the (World Fighting League) champion at the time, who was John “Doomsday” Howard,” Hansen said. “I said that I wanted that belt and that I was coming after him. Knowing what I know now, he probably would have whipped the (crap) out of me.”

 

Howard went on to compete at the highest level with Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) and is now a veteran of 37 journeys into the cage. Hansen’s career path had many more stops, starts and detours.

 

He started with six amateur wins out of the gate and won his initial professional foray with ease. The title fight will take place on the eve of the 12th anniversary of that pro debut.

 

“Being 19 years old, I was kind of cocky. I remember telling my dad nobody could compete with my wrestling,” Hansen said. “Back then, MMA hadn’t really evolved. The wrestler had the advantage over the jiu-jitsu guy. You could just hold a guy down and snuggle and hug and sweat out a win.”

 

After his first knockout loss, Hansen promised his father he would quit the sport. But he had already caught the fever, and his confidence was sky high.

 

Hansen was training for a bout at Laconia, New Hampshire’s bike week when he suffered a broken ankle two weeks before the weigh-in. He recovered and was in training for another fight when he was stabbed and beaten with a baseball bat in what could have been a fatal case of mistaken identity.

 

He remarkably walked out of the hospital a day later and soon embarked on a more structured path as a combat engineer in the United States Army. While enlisted, Hansen suffered a serious shoulder injury. Even after retirement, a return to the MMA cage seemed unlikely.

 

Then came a fateful call from an old friend and neighbor, NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson, and the rest is history. Hansen has carved out a reputation as one who will take on any opponent in any weight class at any time, and perhaps there is no greater example than the Ewer matchup.

 

“The belts are vacant at 170, 185 and 205 (pounds). I can make weight for all those if I have enough time,” Hansen said. “I guess Peterson thought it made sense to kill two birds with one stone and put me in with Ewer at 185. Six weeks ago is when they called me, and at first they asked me about 170. I really liked the fight, but the weight didn’t make sense. I was sitting on the couch at 248.”

 

Hansen has spent most of his time in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions.  He was glaringly outweighed in his last bout, a February loss to Ras Hylton.

 

Only once previously has he downsized to the middleweight threshold, a February 2016 loss to Zach Elkins. In the case of Ewer, who has done most of his work at 170, meeting in the middle might play to Hansen’s advantage.

 

“We’re two different styles of fighters. He’s coming up in weight and I’m coming down,” Hansen said. “He’s never been in the cage against anybody with my kind of power. When I’m hitting somebody at 200 pounds, I’m hitting them with the force of somebody who’s 245. My opponents have told me they’ve never been hit harder by a guy my size. I feel like it’s my fight to lose, as long as I don’t make any mistakes and go in there with the stamina I need to have.”

 

Hansen is confident against Ewer, who had a 5-2 amateur record with notable wins over Ricky Dexter and Crowsneck Boutin before turning pro. He knows better, however, than to underestimate any fighter out of the Young’s MMA stable.

 

“I feel like I’m the more talented fighter and that I have more tools in my tool box. But I know Young’s MMA is a great camp and that he trains with a lot of great guys,” Hansen said. “Chris (Young) finds a way to set you up to fight the fight you need to win. Look at the Pat Kelly fight (against Rafael Velado). They prepared to turn that into a kickboxing fight, and then he went out and did just that.”

 

Hansen has seen his name rise into the New England top-five conversation. Most of the fighters ahead of him have experience with larger promotions.

 

He said a win over Ewer could inspire him to travel and continuing to pursue the dream. That’s consistent with the personality he has shown through this second act of his career.

 

“I’ve been fighting the top-level guys in NEF for about the past two-and-a-half years,” Hansen said, “I always told Peterson to set me up with a guy who’s in the top 10 or just above me. I wanted to work my way up.”

 

From his days as a high school state wrestling champion at Mountain Valley High School, Hansen flaunted a distaste for winning that served him well.

 

In those days, he wore a T-shirt that read, ‘Nobody remembers second place,’ with four gold medals beneath it. Hansen’s attitude remains, but the mainstay of Berserker’s MMA out of the Greater Rumford Community Center noted that it is never only about himself.

 

“I want to win the title for all the people who have supported me and trained with me in Rumford. I also want it for my gym. We’ve done this three times in the amateurs and now we’re going to do it with a pro,” he said. “(GRCC is) just a little on-profit that helps people pursue their dreams. I’d love to hang that belt on the wall. It shows people in the community what we’re capable of here, and hopefully it gets them interested and grows the gym. That’s my goal.”

 

Tickets for “NEF 30: Rumble in Bangor” are available at CrossInsuranceCenter.com.  For more information on the fight card and event updates, please visit NewEnglandFights.com.

 

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.