NEF ANNOUNCES MONUMENTAL FIGHT CARD FOR PORTLAND DEBUT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 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 veteran Josh 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 signee Terrance 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):
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)
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)
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.”
CHARLES LOOKS TO MAKE IT TWO IN A ROW TO START MMA CAREER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (August 31, 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. 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.
WOMAN WILL MAKE HISTORY AS YOUNGEST MMA COMPETITOR EVER IN MAINE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (August 30, 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. Jayda “Lil Killah” Bailey (0-0) is scheduled to face Danae Dostie (0-0) in a female bantamweight contest.
Bailey, a senior at Hermon High School in Hermon, Maine, will turn 18 (the legal minimum age for one to compete in MMA in Maine) a mere eight days before the fight, thereby making her the youngest person in history to ever compete in a regulated MMA fight in the state. She has trained in the martial arts since the age of four and has been a member of Young’s MMA in Bangor since age twelve. Bailey also wrestles for Bucksport High School as Hermon does not have a team. At the age of 15, she traveled to New Mexico to train at the world famous Jackson Wink MMA Academy where she worked with the likes of former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm (11-3). Bailey regularly competes in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments throughout the New England region.
“I’ve been wanting to fight for as long as I can remember,” said Bailey. “November 3rd will be the day I can showcase what I have, and begin my career with a bang.”
Standing opposite Bailey in the cage will be a fellow amateur debut in the form of Danae Dostie. Dostie is a graduate of Fryeburg Academy High School in Fryeburg, Maine where she was a standout athlete on the track and field team. She currently serves as a member of the military police with the Maine Army National Guard. Dostie represents Kenney’s MMA of Lisbon, Maine.
“I’m very excited for my first fight in NEF,” said Dostie. “It will be fun to see how this fight goes. I know either way I will learn a lot.”
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!”
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 on Friday, 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.”
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 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 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.”
FIRST NEF WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE AWARDED ON NOVEMBER 3RD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (August 23, 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 title bout to the card. Alex Walker (4-1) will take on Hilarie Rose (4-3) to crown the first-ever NEF MMA Amateur Strawweight Women’s Champion. The fight is scheduled to be contested at the strawweight limit of 115 pounds.
Alex Walker is a three-fight veteran of the NEF cage. Since losing her debut in the spring of 2015, Walker has been on a tear throughout the New England MMA circuit. She has won her last four in a row with three of those victories coming by way of submission. At “NEF 29,” this past June in Lewiston, Maine, Walker forced Sarah Ziehm (1-1) to tap to an arm bar. She trains with Team Kaze of Lancaster, New Hampshire. According to Walker, she is excited to have an opponent to strike with in the form of Rose.
“This girl is a more than a game opponent–she’s also a good striker,” exclaimed Walker. “She won’t back down. This will be a hell of a stand up fight! We’re going to put on a good bout. I’m looking forward to having an opponent that will trade punches and not back down!”
If it is a striking match Walker is looking for, she will indeed find it in Hilarie Rose. Rose, who trains at USMMA in Bellingham, Massachusetts, burst onto the local fight scene in late 2014 with an ultra-brutal switch kick knockout of Tiffany McCoy (2-1). She has won her last two fights, and Rose is determined to end Walker’s streak to become the first-ever NEF women’s champion.
“I’m looking forward to fighting Alex for NEF’s first woman’s strawweight championship,” said Rose. “Alex has won her last few fights and looks like she’s got quick arm locks. With that said, her winning streak ends on November 3rd, and I’m bringing the NEF belt home with me. I’m excited to show Maine and the NEF fans my skills.”
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.”
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. Nate Boucher (2-0) will face Justin Witham (3-4) with the winner to be crowned the new NEF MMA Amateur Flyweight Champion. The 125-pound title currently sits vacant.
Nate Boucher brings a background in wrestling with him to the cage. He competed for Mountain Valley High School (MVHS) in Rumford, Maine prior to training in MMA. Boucher made his NEF debut in 2014, just months after his eighteenth birthday – the legal age limit for competing in MMA in Maine. Earlier this month in Bangor, Boucher made his return to the NEF cage. He was victorious by first-round submission over Jeremiah Barkac (0-1). Boucher is currently a member of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ).
“It’s an amazing feeling knowing that my childhood dream is coming true,” said Boucher when reached for comment. “This fight was only a matter of time. All my years of training is for this moment.”
Justin Witham got off to a slow start in his amateur career. He lost his first three in a row prior to his first victory over Brent Ouellette (0-1) by technical knockout in the first round. Witham is currently riding a two-fight win streak. Earlier this year, he submitted previous flyweight champion Ryan Burgess (2-2) in a non-title bout, avenging an earlier loss to Burgess. Witham represents the Shatterproof Combat Club.
“Much respect to my opponent and anyone who steps inside the cage,” said Witham. “Every fighter has a fight that makes or breaks him. I will not break. This is the culmination of three years of hard work. Blood, sweat and tears – time away from my loved ones. Capturing the 125-pound title means everything to me and I will not be leaving without it over my shoulder!”
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.