Growing up in the same blue-collar community and advancing through the same, storied sports program does not necessarily make two men best friends.
Former Mountain Valley High School teammates, and future New England Fights mixed martial arts opponents, Ryan Burgess and Nate Boucher are evidence of the old maxim, “familiarity breeds contempt.”
Burgess, 24, and Boucher, 21, will battle in an amateur flyweight bout at “NEF 32: Super Saturday” on Saturday, February 3. The fight at Androscoggin Bank Colisee will determine the number one contender in the 125-pound division, and earn the winner a title shot against champion Justin Witham.
It will have been almost a year since Burgess, a three-time Maine high school wrestling champion and past NEF titleholder, walked into the cage. He called NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson and specifically requested the Boucher fight.
Why? On one hand, it was a business decision after Boucher’s close, split-decision loss to Witham in a November title bout.
“I’ve been out for a year. I was hoping to jump right back into a title fight,” Burgess explained. “After Nate’s fight with Witham, I knew he would want the immediate rematch. Once it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen until April, I asked if we could do this fight in February, and Nate took it.”
Burgess (2-2) subsequently launched one or two social media grenades that appeared to indicate some level of animosity toward his fellow Falcon. It is likely less personal than tactical; Burgess sensed an opportunity to exploit what he sees as one of the chinks in Boucher’s armor.
“Nate, ever since he was a kid, has a piss-poor attitude when he loses. I hope to humble him a little bit and make sure he doesn’t have to worry about this fight getting in the hands of the judges,” Burgess said. “Nate probably could have been a two- or-three-time state champion if he had given himself the opportunity to do that. If he still has the same attitude he had back then, it’s going to end the same way.”
Burgess is one of only four three-time state champions in MVHS history. Coincidentally, Boucher’s brother, Ethan, also accomplished the feat.
Boucher, who has already taken out four-time Maine high school mat champion, and two-time New England finalist, Jeremiah Barkac of Dexter during his time in the NEF hexagon, looks and sounds like a different character than the one who struggled away from the mat as a teenager.
After winning his first two fights with ease, Boucher (2-1) was not the only one in the building who felt he had done enough to earn the belt in Portland.
“I thought I controlled the first two rounds of the fight. All three, really. The first two I pretty much had (Witham) choked out,” Boucher said. “It ended up being a learning experience for me that you can’t leave the fight to the judges. The great thing about the amateur ranks is, while of course I care about my record, at the end of the day it’s part of the learning process to make you a better professional.”
In response to Burgess’ volleys on Facebook, Boucher questioned the former champion’s behavior after winning the NEF strap two fights into his career.
“I’m not much for the trash talk. I just enjoy the sport. I like to fight and then just go home. He does it a little to build his ego I think,” Boucher said. “He dropped the belt because he was having trouble making weight, which is pretty disrespectful, in my opinion. He was out for a while, so now I’m ahead of him, and he knows he has to go through me.”
Burgess said he used that layoff to complete his college education and develop his credentials as a physical therapist assistant, indicating that the medical profession is more likely to be his long-term career than MMA.
While he continued his training schedule at Rumford Community Center with Berserkers MMA, Burgess said it was less intense and structured prior to his losses against Witham and Dustin Veinott. Burgess previously defeated both rivals.
“Physically I still should have beaten them, but mentally I wasn’t as prepared as I should have been. Now I’m much more focused,” Burgess said. “At the time I was finishing school, working part-time 20 to 30 hours a week and going to school for probably another 40. I lost two fights where I was under weight. I was gaining weight while the other guys were cutting weight. I’d go in there at the limit and they would put on 10 to 15 pounds between the weigh-in and the fight.”
Boucher admittedly never reached his potential as a high school wrestler. He has followed a different path than Burgess, enrolling at Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – where he still trains today – at age 13.
“I have some of the toughest and best training partners in the state,” Boucher said. “My jiu-jitsu has come a long way, almost the point where it has passed my wrestling a little bit. Of course, wrestling is what I always go back to when I need it. My striking is night-and-day. It was awful for my first fight.”
He added that his greatest success in MMA has come at the expense of former wrestlers.
Burgess is counting on Boucher to underestimate the rest of his repertoire. As someone who took up wrestling on the middle school junior varsity team in seventh grade, he said that his history as a quick study has carried over into realm of jiu-jitsu and boxing.
“I think he’s going to be surprised. He thinks he knows what I bring to the table,” Burgess said. “All he knows about me is my wrestling, but I have a lot more than that to fall back on. I already know what he brings to the table. And he’s not going to learn in two months what I’ve learned in two years.”
LUNGHI IS OUT TO AVENGE TEAMMATE AGAINST CORSON AT NEF 32
New England Fights (NEF) returns to Lewiston on Saturday, February 3, 2018 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 32: Super Saturday.” Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur featherweight bout to the card. Shawn Lunghi (2-0) will return to Maine to take on Devin Corson (1-0) at a fight weight of 145-pounds.
Shawn Lunghi made his debut in the NEF cage in the fall of 2016. He faced off with a much more experienced Alex Clark (4-2) that evening and impressed many with his performance. Lunghi would pick up the win with a second round submission. The Tampa, Florida native would follow up that win with yet another victory this past spring in his home state. Later in the year, he earned his brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Robson Moura Nations United (RMNU). At “NEF 32,” Lunghi will look to avenge a loss suffered by his teammate Winston Cortez (0-1) against Devin Corson (1-0) at “NEF 27″ last year. In addition, a win over Corson would put Lunghi in a position to challenge for the NEF MMA Amateur Featherweight Title at a later date.
“I’m incredibly humbled and excited to be invited back to Lewiston to fight for NEF,” said Lunghi. “February 3rd stands as a great test for me and my preparation as a martial artist as well as an opportunity to fight a great up-and-coming fighter like Devin. I’m eager for the opportunity to showcase the improvements I have made in my game, as well as to avenge Winston’s loss to Devin.”
Devin Corson made his NEF debut in early 2017 at the young age of 19. He sent the crowd into a frenzy that night, repeatedly lifting Winston Cortez up over head and slamming him time and time again on his way to a unanimous decision victory. It was one of the most memorable debuts for any fighter in the NEF cage. Corson is a product of The Outlet Mixed Martial Arts Training Center based in Dexter, Maine.
“It’s an honor to be returning to the NEF cage,” stated Corson. “I’m looking forward to fighting a man who has his brown belt in jiu-jitsu. I’m always up for a challenge. I’m just happy to be back.”
New England Fights (NEF) returns to Lewiston on Saturday, February 3, 2018 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 32: Super Saturday.” Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of a professional featherweight bout to the card. Aaron “Relentless” Lacey (4-1) has signed to face Josh Parker (6-9) at a fight weight of 145-pounds.
After making his professional debut in the spring of 2016, Aaron Lacey rose quickly through the ranks of the NEF featherweight division. With wins over veterans like Derek Shorey (4-9) and Taylor Trahan (8-9), the year belonged to Lacey. 2017, however, was filled with frustration. Lacey lost two scheduled opponents to injuries and had to pull out of one fight with an injury of his own. Late in the year, he took a fight in New Hampshire against Vovka Clay (8-2). Many felt Lacey was winning a close fight, but a deep cut on his head forced the doctor to stop the fight in the second round and the bout was awarded to Clay. It was the first loss of Lacey’s professional career. The product of Young’s MMA is looking to rebound from that loss and get back on track towards the major leagues of the sport beginning with “NEF 32.”
“I’m excited to be returning to the NEF cage,” exclaimed Lacey. “Last year was not my year, but it’s over and I’m looking to start 2018 off with a bang! This fight is going to be fun and I love that I get to come home and perform in front of the NEF fans! The best ones around! I’m coming in prepared and looking for the finish!”
Josh Parker has been a mainstay of both the NEF MMA cage and boxing ring since his debut with the promotion back at “NEF I” in February 2012. Since turning his focus back to MMA from boxing in late 2016, Parker has had two solid victories in Lewiston. At “NEF 26” in November 2016, Parker submitted Derek Shorey. Last summer, at “NEF 29,” Parker was again successful, this time taking a unanimous decision victory over Andre Belcarris (0-2). He will look to make it back-to-back wins for the first time in his career since 2011 when he steps into the cage against Lacey. Parker is the head of Ruthless MMA & Boxing based in Benton, Maine.
“I want to thank NEF for the opportunity, and thank Aaron for taking the fight,” said Parker. “I’m excited for the fight. I missed out on the last show, so I’m itching to get back in there . Aaron has had an awesome career so far, and I’m looking forward to the challenges he presents, but I think I match-up well against him. Don’t miss this one – it’s gonna be one to remember.”
New England Fights (NEF) returns to Lewiston on Saturday, February 3, 2018 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 32: Super Saturday.” Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur lightweight bout to the card. Stacy Lupo (0-1) will take on David Hart (0-2) at a fight weight of 155-pounds.
Stacy Lupo made his NEF cage debut in the summer of 2016, facing fellow forty-something athlete Dr. Steve Bang (1-1). Lupo and Bang went deep into the third round in a grueling, back-and-forth battle before Bang was able to finish the fight by TKO. Prior to stepping in the cage that night, Lupo, a former wrestler at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport, Maine, already had more than three decades worth of martial arts experience. He holds black belts in both Taekwondo and Shotokan karate. Lupo competed in amateur boxing and kickboxing in the 1980s and 1990s. Currently, he is a member of The Outlet based in Dexter, Maine and also operates Lupo’s Mid Maine Karate.
“I’m very unhappy with my first showing in the MMA ring,” said Lupo. “I feel I let down my fans and my students. I’m hoping to redeem myself in this next match. I heard Mr. Hart wants a stand-up fight, and that’s what I’m hoping for too. I’d like to showcase my skills, so I look forward to February 3rd.”
Like his opponent, David Hart is also looking for his first victory in the MMA cage. He made his debut last summer at “NEF 30” in Bangor in a losing effort against Zach Faulkner (1-0). Hart took Faulkner into the second round before getting submitted. He returned a few weeks later at “NEF 31” in Portland and lost again via submission against 56-year-old Gary Carr (1-0). Now, Hart is looking forward to testing his striking skills against another striker in the form of Lupo. Hart represents Kenney’s MMA of Lisbon, Maine.
“I look forward to fighting in Lewiston,” said Hart. “Lupo looks like a tough opponent and has good striking. I am up to the challenge and want to get my first win and the first win for Kenney’s MMA. It will be a great fight.”
Boyington Returning To Nef Cage After Two-year Absence
New England Fights (NEF) returns to Lewiston on Saturday, February 3, 2018 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 32: Super Saturday.” Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of a professional catchweight bout to the card. Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (14-11) has signed to face Taylor Trahan (7-8) at a fight weight of 150-pounds.
The fight will be the first for Boyington in the NEF cage since February 2016 when he successfully defended the NEF Lightweight Title against Jon Lemke (7-8). It was Boyington’s third defense of the belt since winning it in the late summer of 2014. After the Lemke defense, Boyington relinquished the championship in order to sign with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF).
While he has fought on many of the largest stages in the world over the past two years, including Madison Square Garden in New York City and halfway across the globe in Russia, Boyington is looking forward to his homecoming and the opportunity to once again fight before his many Maine fans.
“Man, I couldn’t possibly be more excited to get inside the NEF cage, where I have molded my career, built my fan base and learned so much about myself over the years,” said Boyington. “I am so hungry to entertain people that I can guarantee everyone will want to see what’s going down! I live for this, and on February 3rd, there will be some of the best MMA that has ever been on display from the State of Maine, and I’m grateful and humbled by the opportunity. My opponent is a respectable guy that I believe loves to fight and I want that in there. I wish him the very best in preparation, and I thank (NEF owners) Matt (Peterson) and Nick (DiSalvo) once again for providing me a platform.”
Boyington currently owns and operates Boyington’s Taekwondo of Bangor, Maine. He also trains with Young’s MMA in the same city.
Taylor Trahan is a familiar face to NEF fans. He has competed twice for the promotion in the past. Trahan submitted Matt Denning (5-7) in the first round of their meeting at “NEF 25.” He returned to Maine just weeks later at “NEF 26″ in a losing effort to Aaron Lacey (4-1). Trahan is coming off a win over Conor Barry (3-2) last month in New Hampshire. He represents Team Link of Hooksett.
“I’m looking forward to returning to NEF,” said Trahan. “They always put on a good show and treat the fighters right. I’m really looking forward to fighting Bruce. He definitely is the most experienced fighter I’ll be going up against so far.”
2017 Rookie Of The Year Returning To The Cage At Nef 32
New England Fights (NEF) returns to Lewiston on Saturday, February 3, 2018 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 32: Super Saturday.” Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur women’s bantamweight bout to the card. Jayda “Lil Killah” Bailey (1-0) is scheduled to face Amanda Gallo (0-1) at a fight weight of 135-pounds.
Jayda Bailey made headlines this year when she became the youngest athlete to ever compete in a sanctioned MMA fight in Maine. A mere eight days after her 18th birthday, the legal minimum age for an MMA participant in the state, Bailey put together a dominant performance in her debut against Danae Dostie (0-1) at “NEF 31.” It took her just over 90-seconds to pound out a TKO victory. So impressive was the win that it earned Bailey a nomination for “Rookie of the Year.” The fans agreed and voted the Hermon, Maine teenager as the recipient of the award. Bailey is currently a member of Young’s MMA of Bangor. This summer, upon graduation from high school, she plans to relocate to Albuquerque, New Mexico where she will join Jackson Wink MMA Academy – home to many top UFC stars.
“I can’t wait to step into the cage again and display my abilities,” said Bailey. “I look to get better every time I fight, and I’m excited to be facing a new challenge.”
That new challenge will come in the form of Amanda Gallo. Gallo trains with Robson Moura Nations United (RMNU) based in Tampa, Florida. She made her cage debut in the fall of 2016 against Laine Orabona (2-2) on a fight card in Georgia. The thrilling contest went the distance and saw Gallo lose a very close split decision on the judges’ scorecards. She will come to Maine looking for the first win of her young career.
EWER WILL TRY TO MAKE CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY AT NEF 32
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (December 28, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to Lewiston on Saturday, February 3, 2018 with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 32: Super Saturday.” Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of a professional championship bout to the card. CJ Ewer (3-0) will meet Kemran Lachinov (5-2) for the vacant NEF MMA Professional Welterweight Title.
The bout will put Ewer in a unique position – to hold titles simultaneously in two weight divisions. It is a feat that has been attempted but never accomplished in NEF. Ewer is the reigning professional middleweight titleholder of the organization. He captured that title with a victory over Mike Hansen (5-8) last summer at “NEF 30” in Bangor, Maine. It took Ewer less than two minutes to finish Hansen with an arm triangle choke. The win not only earned Ewer the middleweight title but also a nomination for “2017 Submission of the Year.” Should Ewer emerge victorious over Lachinov on February 3, he will stand atop both the welterweight and middleweight divisions. He represents Young’s MMA of Bangor.
“My opponent is fierce with a granite jaw and an iron will,” said Ewer. “He’s by far the toughest fighter I’ve faced, and there will be a lot of pressure going into this fight given that it’s a title fight. I always rise to the level of competition and promise you’ll see the best, most prepared CJ you’ve ever seen.”
Kemran Lachinov is a seven-year veteran of the New England MMA scene. He is also a two-fight veteran of the Bellator cage where he remains undefeated. Lachinov is currently riding a three-fight win streak which began in early 2017. He will look to continue that success into 2018 starting with his bout against Ewer. Lachinov represents Team Link of Ludlow, Massachusetts.
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 at www.TheColisee.com.