NEF RETURNS TO LEWISTON ON SUPER BOWL WEEKEND WITH AN MMA SUPER CARD
The night before the National Football League (NFL) delivers its 2017-2018 season finale, New England Fights (NEF) will return to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston for the first time in eight months as the fight promotion presents “NEF 32: Super Saturday.” And while New England football fans will have to wait until this Sunday’s AFC championship game to find out whether their beloved Patriots will play in the Super Bowl, area mixed-martial-arts fans learned today which of their favorites will compete at “NEF 32” as promotion executives released the full fight card for the February 3rd event.
In the main event of the evening, Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (14-11) takes on Taylor Trahan (7-8) at a catchweight of 150-pounds. One of the biggest MMA stars ever to come out of Maine, Boyington will make his return to the NEF cage after a two-year absence that saw him compete on the global stage in places like Russia and New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden. Trahan makes his third trip to Maine to compete. He is coming off a win over Connor Barry (3-2) last fall.
Aaron “Relentless” Lacey (4-1) faces off with Josh Parker (6-9) in a featherweight bout. Lacey suffered the first loss of his pro career in November when a fight he was arguably on the way to winning was stopped by a doctor due to a cut on Lacey’s head. Parker will look to continue his recent success in the MMA cage after recent victories over Andre Belcarris (0-2) and Derek Shorey (4-9).
CJ Ewer (3-0) is out to make history by becoming the first competitor to hold NEF championships simultaneously in multiple weight divisions. Ewer is the reigning NEF Pro Middleweight Champion. At “NEF 32,” he has the opportunity to capture the NEF Pro Welterweight Title when he meets Kemran Lachinov (5-2) for the vacant strap.
Also in professional welterweight action will be Mike “The Mustache” Hansen (5-8) and Jesse “The Viking” Erickson (9-7) in a fight billed as “The Berserker vs. The Viking.” Hansen and Erickson have developed a rivalry as coaches of local gyms Berserkers MMA and Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ), respectively.
Speaking of which, Nate Boucher (2-1), a product of CMBJJ, and Ryan Burgess (2-2) of Berserkers MMA will headline the amateur portion of the fight card. The flyweights, former teammates on the Mountain Valley High School wrestling squad, have engaged in a recent war of words heading into the bout. The winner will be in line for a shot at the amateur flyweight title later this spring.
2017 NEF “Rookie of the Year” Jayda “Lil Killah” Bailey (1-0) returns to the cage on February 3rd to meet Florida’s Amanda Gallo (0-1). Bailey made history in November at “NEF 31” by becoming the youngest competitor ever to compete, (and win), in the NEF cage. She turned 18, the legal age for competing in MMA in Maine, just a week prior to the event.
The full “NEF 32” fight card (subject to change):
150 Bruce Boyington 14-11 (Young’s MMA) vs Taylor Trahan 7-8 (Team Link)
170*TITLE Kemran Lachinov 5-2 (Team Link) vs CJ Ewer 3-0 (Young’s MMA)
170 Jesse Erickson 9-7 (CMBJJ) vs Mike Hansen 5-8 (Beserkers MMA)
155 Zenon Herrera 0-6 (Independent) vs Nate Charles 0-0 (Charles Fighting Family)
145 Josh Parker 6-9 (Ruthless MMA & Boxing) vs Aaron Lacey 4-1 (Young’s MMA)
205 Ryan Glover 3-2 (Fire & Iron Athletics) vs Joe Berube 0-0 (3Ronin Athletics)
175 Carlton Charles 1-1 (Charles Fighting Family) vs Delmarkis Edwards 0-0 (Independent)
155 Stacy Lupo 0-1 (The Outlet) vs David Hart 0-2 (Kenney’s MMA)
145 Devin Corson 1-0 (The Outlet) vs Shawn Lunghi 2-0 (RMNU)
135 Chelsea Elizabeth 0-1 (First Class MMA) vs Catie Denning 0-0 (Young’s MMA)
135 Kam Arnold 1-0 (CMBJJ) vs Kyle Kenney 0-0 (Kenney’s MMA)
135 Jayda Bailey 1-0 (Young’s MMA) vs Amanda Gallo 0-1 (RMNU)
125 Nate Boucher 2-1 (CMBJJ) vs Ryan Burgess 2-2 (Beserkers MMA)
115 BJ Garceau 0-0 (Young’s MMA) vs Jepha Mooi 0-0 (Gracie Brandon)
FROM THE SHORES OF SEBAGO LAKE TO THE MMA CAGE, HARD-WORK IS A WAY OF LIFE FOR KAM ARNOLD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (January 16, 2018) – Kam Arnold might be the ultimate Maine mixed martial artist from central casting.
Blue-collar sensibilities shaped his young life. He grew up in a small community where young boys often had to conjure up their own forms of entertainment. And yes, sometimes that meant fighting solely for the sake of fighting.
“I have two older brothers, and friends who were around all the time that are like brothers. We pretty much adopted them, you know?” Arnold said. “And any time you have that situation, there are fights going on in the yard all the time. I remember one time seeing my brothers rolling around on the stairs in the house, and of course I just had to jump in and get involved in that.”
Arnold, who turns 25 this month, is more structured but no less passionate today about exercising his grit, guile and strength in such physical encounters.
Veteran of one, quick knockout win in the New England Fights cage, Arnold returns for another dose on Saturday, February 3 at Androscoggin Bank Colisee. He will confront Kyle Kenney in an amateur bantamweight bout at “NEF 32: Super Saturday.”
Fighting under the Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ) umbrella, Arnold made a dramatic first impression, dispatching Glenn Kasabian in 1 minute, 54 seconds.
“Glenn’s a tough dude. He’s a warrior. He’s a great guy outside the cage. I have a lot of respect for him. He wanted to stand up with me. It’s one of things where I just flipped the switch,” Arnold recalled. “He’s pretty rangy, pretty tall. I went in there wanting to let him know he was in for a battle, and fortunately it turned out in my favor. I was the better fighter that night.”
Arnold admittedly was disappointed that the result wasn’t enough to earn the 2017 “NEF Rookie of the Year” award. He vows not to leave any doubt about his potential in the local hexagon when he takes on Kenney, an opponent about whom he knows precious little.
“Yeah, I was pretty bummed, but I know everybody else busts their ass just like I do,” Arnold said. “I have high expectations for myself, and I want to make a statement with this fight.”
A native of Casco, on the shores of Maine’s Sebago Lake, Arnold describes a hard-knocks upbringing that clashed with the bucolic, tourist-trap surroundings.
Arnold’s family had close ties to a motorcycle club, although he is reluctant to discuss its impact on his life other than to agree that it enhanced his fighting spirit.
“They’re all genuine people. I will say that. I have an awful lot of people supporting me in this. I would be nothing without them. My father and mother are the two toughest people I know,” Arnold said. “As a kid growing up, I had to be tough. That’s just the way it was. I just come from a blue-collar family. I don’t really want to get into all the details of it, but I just had to be tough. It made me what I am today.”
In addition to grappling with his older siblings and their friends, Arnold unfortunately was a victim of circumstances that are all too prominent in today’s schoolyards and playgrounds.
“I was a very small kid for my age,” he explained. “I got bullied a lot in school and had to find a way to manage that. Unfortunately, I got into a lot of fights because I had to defend myself.”
Arnold learned many of those self-defense techniques through his passion for combat sports.
He fell in love with professional wrestling, MMA, and especially boxing, although “there weren’t many options to pursue boxing in small-town Maine,” he said.
While attending Oxford Hills and Lake Region high schools, Arnold briefly took up high school wrestling. It was not until adulthood that he found his way to Lewiston’s CMBJJ, one of the hub facilities that has helped build NEF’s talent base over the past six years.
“Of course there’s a part of me that wishes I had started this earlier, when I was 18 or 19, like a lot of guys,” said Arnold, who turns 25 this month. “But I’m thankful for where I’m at now, and for Matt Peterson and NEF for giving this opportunity to show what I can do.”
Boxing and stand-up skills proved Arnold’s bread-and-butter in his debut. He hopes the Kenney fight will give him a chance to exhibit the wider array of lessons he has learned from his training partners.
Arnold credits former NEF amateur flyweight champion Dustin Veinott with the bulk of his development.
“I feel like I have the best coaching staff in the state,” Arnold said. “I haven’t really had the opportunity to travel around and cross-train, but I have so much faith in the guys at my own gym.
“Dustin Veinott has been crucial. I feel like with his knowledge I can go anywhere I want to in this sport. And when you combine that with Jesse Erickson, Travis Wells, Matt Denning, the sky is the limit. They’ve put their belief in me, and I want to show them I’ve earned it.”
When asked for a prediction about the February fight, Arnold somewhat channeled Clubber Lang’s reply of “pain” from Rocky III.
“Look for some blood,” Arnold said. “It’s coming. I can’t wait to put on a show.”
The opening bell February 3 is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are available at www.TheColisee.com or by calling the box office at 207.783.2009 ext. 525.
IT WILL BE VICTORY OR VALHALLA (AND MAYBE A NEW TATTOO) AT NEF 32
No, you have not been transported back to the 9th century. There will be no longboats, no battleaxes, and no shield maidens present on February 3rd in Lewiston. Yet, the Androscoggin River is very likely to run red with blood that evening. A Viking and a Berserker will wage war in Central Maine when New England Fights (NEF) returns to Lewiston with the fight promotion’s next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 32: Super Saturday.” Wrestling and jiu-jitsu, rather than swords and Thor’s hammer, will be the weapons of choice as Jesse “The Viking” Erickson (8-7) faces Mike “The Mustache” Hansen (5-8) of Berserkers MMA in a featured professional welterweight bout.
The fight will be Erickson’s twentieth in the NEF cage, a record number for any one fighter in the promotion, but it will be a year since his last NEF appearance. He lost to Jon Lemke (7-8) in the semi-finals of the NEF Lightweight Title tournament last February at the Colisee. Erickson, an instructor with Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ), and a homegrown talent of Lewiston-Auburn, will be looking for a triumphant return after a recent loss in Canada.
“It will be a year since I’ve fought in Lewiston,” said Erickson. “The NEF cage is like home to me. I’m really looking forward to hearing my friends, family, and CMBJJ team as I enter the cage. But once the door shuts, all I hear is my corner and all I’m focused on is dismantling the man across from me. Odin’s Son is here to slay the great wolf. This is Ragnarok. Victory or Valhalla.”
Like his opponent, Mike Hansen is also in search of a much-needed win. Hansen lost all four of his fights in 2017, including back-to-back defeats this fall in Western Massachusetts. His last win came at “NEF 25″ in 2016 when Hansen, a former state champion wrestler for Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Maine, scored an impressive first-round submission of Matt Andrikut (2-1), defending the honor of Maine wrestling against the New York mat native.
“I’m super excited for this fight,” exclaimed Hansen of the upcoming meeting with Erickson. “It’s a great matchup for Maine MMA. Our schools are close to each other and we have competed against each other many times. It’s finally time for the coaches to get down and boogie. My pick for this fight is the fans for sure. Fans will not be upset.”
Hansen challenged Erickson to add a stipulation to the bout when they announced the fight publicly at “NEF 31” in Portland last month. Hansen would like the loser to receive a tattoo with the design chosen by the winner.
“I have nothing but respect for Jesse Erickson, but so still want our sponsor C+C O’Leary Tattoo in Lewiston to do his tattoo I pick for him when he loses. I will, ‘finish him,’ and ‘if he dies, he dies.’ Time to start making your sacrifices Jesse, you will need the gods in your favor on February 3rd, because when war time comes the blood will flow.”
2017 ROOKIE STANDOUTS WILL BATTLE IN FIRST NEF EVENT OF NEW YEAR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (November 30, 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 an amateur middleweight bout to the card. Josh Jones (2-2) is scheduled to meet Mark Gardner (1-0) at a fight weight of 185-pounds.
Josh Jones’ rise to the top of the NEF middleweight division in 2017 was nothing short of meteoric. A former basketball star at Erskine Academy in South China, Maine and draftee of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the NBA Developmental League, Jones has honed his craft in the martial arts at First Class MMA of Brunswick. It took him a mere 24-seconds combined to knock out his first two opponents this past year. Jones’ four-second knockout of Anthony Spires (0-3) went viral worldwide and was featured on major websites like Bleacher Report. After back-to-back losses to finish the year, Jones is looking to rebound with a win to open 2018.
“I am very honored and blessed to have the opportunity to compete against Mark,” said Jones. “Mark has shown to be an awesome competitor. I look forward to the challenge on February 3rd. As an MMA fighter and competitor, it is always a privilege to step into the cage and perform under the lights for New England Fights.”
Mark Gardner made his debut in the NEF cage earlier this month in Portland. Gardner faced another up-and-coming middleweight in the form of Carlton Charles (1-1). Last summer, it was Charles who handed Josh Jones his first loss. Gardner impressed many in attendance with his gutsy performance against Charles. He had an answer for everything Charles threw at him early in the fight, dispatching Charles in the second round by technical knockout. For those who have followed Maine combat sports for some time, Gardner’s toughness comes as no surprise. His gritty, workmanlike style has been the hallmark of his team, the Academy of MMA in Portland, for many years.
“I’m excited to get back in the cage for my next fight,” declared Gardner. “I learned a lot from my first fight and have been working on my technique. I can’t say much about my opponent, I don’t really know anything about him – I just fight who my coach tells me to fight.”
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 flyweight bout to the card. Ryan Burgess (2-2) will face Nate Boucher (2-1) at a fight weight of 125-pounds.
Ryan Burgess is wrestling royalty at his alma mater, Mountain Valley High School, in Rumford, Maine. Burgess is one of only four Mountain Valley wrestlers to ever win triple state crowns in wrestling. He amassed an amazing 151-23 overall high school record before graduating and turning his focus to mixed martial arts. He is currently a member of Berserkers MMA based in Rumford. Burgess is the former NEF amateur flyweight champion. NEF 32 will see him return to the cage after a year’s absence.
“I’m very excited for this opportunity to get back in the cage,” said Burgess. “I’ve taken some time off to make proper adjustments and focus on my career that started not long before my last fight. I’m ready to take my belt back and right now only one guy stands in my way. It’s not every day you can go to an MMA fight and watch two men who saw each other grow up scrap. Come February 3rd, Nate, we will see what you’re made of.”
Nate Boucher began wrestling at five-years old and due to some off-the-mat issues, never achieved the high school statistics of his upcoming adversary, Burgess. However, Boucher’s wrestling skills were on full display back in August 2017at NEF 30 when he defeated Maine wrestling legend and four-time state champion Jeremiah Barkac (0-1) by first-round submission. Boucher, who grew-up admiring Burgess’ prowess on the mat, is anxious to test himself against such a decorated grappler and prove that his wrestling stands up against the best. He will be looking to rebound from a split decision loss to Justin Witham (4-4) earlier this month in an unsuccessful bid for the vacant flyweight title. It was a fight many in attendance felt Boucher had won.
“The disappointment of the decision going against me on November 3rd still stings,” said Boucher. “I’m confident that I beat Justin Witham that night, even though two of the three judges didn’t see it that way. So, I’m going to get right back on the horse—it’s what we do—and take on the guy that holds a win over Witham in Ryan Burgess. I grew-up watching Ryan wrestle. We’re from the same town and I know what he brings to the fight. I will be ready. I’m coming for my title and no one is going to get in my way.”
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