New England Fights’ (NEF) latest mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event “NEF XVI,” took place Saturday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. With temperatures dropping to below zero, and the threat of a snowstorm looming over the area, more than 2,500 fight fans braved the elements to pack the state’s most venerable fight venue. The crowd was treated to a total of 24 action-packed fights, including four professional bouts, two of which were for NEF MMA title belts.
The main event of the evening saw Anthony “Cheesesteak” Morrison (17-9) unseat Ray “All Business” Wood (5-1) to become the new NEF MMA Featherweight Champion. The loss spoiled what was expected to be a triumphant return home for Wood. The native of Bucksport, Maine had moved to South Carolina in 2014 to pursue his goal of competing in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Morrison was considered Wood’s toughest challenge to date, having himself competed on the national stage in Bellator and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). Still, Wood was recognized as the favorite going into the bout Saturday night. Morrison was dominant for most of the fight, out-wrestling Wood before submitting him with a guillotine choke in the fifth round to capture the belt.
The loss was also the sole blemish on what was otherwise a perfect night for Young’s MMA. The Bangor, Maine-based team had won their previous eight bouts over the course of the evening, an amazing feat considering that the Young’s corners were often running back and forth from the cage to the locker room to prepare their fighters for bouts that were mere moments apart from each other. Of particular note, the opening fight of the card featured Josh Harvey (3-1) of Young’s tearing through top-ten-ranked amateur featherweight Caleb Hall (5-2) with a technical knockout (TKO) victory a mere 36-seconds into the first round. Later, Young’s newest team member, Carl Langston (4-7), got his first win ever on Maine soil with a decision over Sheldon Bang (1-2) in a rematch of a bout Langston had lost at “NEF XIII” last year.
Marcus Davis’s Team Irish went 2-0 on the night with Ricky Dexter (2-0) picking up the second win of his amateur career and Rick Matthews (1-1) getting his first victory. 44-year old Matthews won a decision over Emmett Huber (0-1) while Dexter scored a big knockout on Cory Trial (0-1) in the second-round, sending Trial to a nearby hospital in the process.
Highlight-reel knockouts were par for the course at “NEF XVI.” Among them, UFC, Bellator and Strikeforce veteran Nah-Shon “The Rock-n-Rolla” Burrell (11-5) had already bloodied Ryan Hodge (6-10) before knocking him out in the first round of their professional middleweight contest. The most-talked-about knockout of the evening, however, went to Caleb Farrington (2-0) of Team New England United (NEU) who dropped Brandon “The Enigma” Russell (0-1) with a single right hand just 8-seconds into the first round. The knockout broke the all-time record of 11-seconds previously set by Buck “Knuckles” Pineau (7-4) in April 2012.
More history was made at “NEF XVI” when a father and not one, but two of his sons competed on the same MMA card. Following losses by his sons, Sheldon and Steve Bang (3-3), Dr. Steve Bang (1-0), a member of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ), entered the NEF MMA cage to a loud ovation from the crowd. The bariatric surgeon wasted little time in going to work on his opponent, Matthew Hanning (0-1), taking him down and pounding out a victory via referee-stoppage.
NFL and UFC The Ultimate Fighter veteran Tyler King (8-2) successfully defended the NEF MMA Heavyweight Title in the co-main event of the night, defeating Terry “The Polar Bear” Blackburn (5-3). King stormed into the arena with a determined fire in his eyes. Mid-way through the first round, King took Blackburn down to the mat and worked a Kimura submission, forcing Blackburn to tap-out. During his post-fight victory interview in the cage, King called out a slew of heavyweights and light-heavyweights including local names like Eric Bedard (6-5), as well as national stars such as Bellator’s Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (14-4).
Two bouts were announced for NEF’s next MMA event, “NEF XVII,” scheduled for April 11, 2015 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. NEF MMA Lightweight Champion Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (10-7) faced-off in the cage with Jamie Harrison (5-1) for an interview. Boyington will defend his title at “NEF XVII” against number-one-contender Harrison in the main event. Jarod “Last Minute” Lawton (4-1) and Bellator veteran Dennis Olson (12-7) were also brought into the cage for an interview. The two exciting welterweights will square off at “NEF XVII” in a bout many local observers feel could end up being a contender for “Fight of the Year” in the region.
The full results of “NEF XVI” in Lewiston, Maine:
145*TITLE Anthony Morrison def. Ray Wood (c) via guillotine, round 5 (Morrison wins title)
265*TITLE Tyler King (c) def. Terry Blackburn via Kimura, round 1 (King retains)
185 Nah-Shon Burrell def. Ryan Hodge via TKO, round 1
265 Mike Hansen def. Artie Mullen via TKO, round 1
CATCH Aaron Lacey def. Nick Spencer via tap to rear-naked choke, round 3
CATCH Dustin Veinott def. Dave Brown via tap to armbar, round 1
145 Mike Peitersen def. Henry Clark via KO, round 3
180 Caleb Farrington def. Brandon Russell via KO, round 1
155 Ricky Dexter def. Cory Trial via KO, round 2
155 Dr. Steve Bang def. Matthew Hanning via TKO, round 1
S. HWT Gravin Guillen def. Mladen Holman via unanimous decision
CATCH Fred Lear def. Bryant Orick via TKO, round 2
185 Frank Dellasala def. Heath Hanson via TKO, round 1
155 Jason Lachance def. Steve Bang via unanimous decision
265 Billy Leahy def. Brandon Lessard via unanimous decision
185 Nick Shea def. Jacob Cameron via TKO, round 1
CATCH Rob Kiah def. Clifford Redman via tap to rear-naked choke, round 1
135 Johnny Crafts def. Mike Crespo via tap to rear-naked choke, round 1
CATCH Jimmy Jackson def. Kris Welch via bulldog submission, round 2
205 Chris Perry def. Ruben Redman via unanimous decision
265 Ryan Glover def. Michael Freeman via TKO, round 1
140 Carl Langston def. Sheldon Bang via unanimous decision
155 Rick Matthews def. Emmett Huber via split decision
145 Josh Harvey def. Caleb Hall via TKO, round 1
NEF’s next MMA event, “NEF XVII,” is scheduled to take place on April 11, 2015 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (10-7) will defend the NEF MMA Lightweight Title against number-one contender Jamie Harrison (5-1). In addition, Jarod “Last Minute” Lawton (4-1) meets Dennis Olson (12-7) in a welterweight contest. Tickets for “NEF XVII” start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling The Colisee box office at 207.783.2009 x 525. For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com. In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”