| February 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

NEF 27


Lewiston, ME. — February 11th is an important day in history for fans of combat sports in Maine. 52 years ago to the day, Muhammed Ali put Sonny Liston on the floor in a remarkable fight that sky rocketed Ali’s legendary status, cementing the hero as the greatest that ever lived. New England Fights now presents the new millennials; the new kids on the block, in relation to the state’s history of fighting. Featuring their 27th event, NEF has become a mainstay, and New England’s greatest promotion for mixed martial arts, as voted by the fans of the Northeast.

NEF 27 features a four man lightweight tournament to determine their new lightweight champion, left vacant as former Champion Devin Powell has taken his talents to the UFC. There are nineteen bouts on the card, featuring 7 professional bouts, and one championship will be on the line as amateurs Victor Irwin and Ryan Glover (c) fight for the 205lb Light Heavyweight belt.

Following is a breakdown of the card:

155 POUNDS: Ryan Sanders vs. John Ortolani

John Ortolani makes his trip back to his former home (New England) after spending the past few years in Florida, coaching his college lacrosse team. Ortolani, an absolute bruiser of a fighter, gives up several inches in height to Sanders, but makes up for it with his strength. One of the most powerful wrestlers in the division, Ortolani has complimented his wrestling with a very good jiu jitsu top game. Keys for Orto in this fight will be to take Sanders down, remaining on top to look for a submission or taking the back where he can end the fight with strikes or an RNC.

Sanders is 6’1″, huge for lightweight. Formerly a middleweight, Sanders still carries the heavy hands of that weight class. He is known for being a bit up and down in performances, but when he’s up, he can beat anyone. Keys for Sanders will be to use his striking to keep his distance from Ortolani and avoid the takedown. No matter how confident Sanders is on the floor, it’s Orto’s only chance to win the fight.

Prediction: Sanders via TKO


155 POUNDS: Jesse Erickson vs. Jon Lemke

Erickson has been impressive as of late. Winning 5 of his last 6, he has what it takes to walk through a fading Lemke. A master on the ground, Erickson will make no bones about where this fight needs to go for him to win, and win fairly easily.

Lemke is fighting in what may be his last bout. Losing his last four straight, It seems like he has lost his drive to stay in fights when the going gets tough. A former boxer, Lemke has shown flashes of greatness with his hands, but his defense hasn’t kept up with his offense.

Expect Erickson to earn a quick takedown and finish in the very first round. Lemke has a puncher’s chance here.

Prediction: Erickson via Submission


145 POUNDS: Aaron Lacey vs. Chris Jacobs

On paper, Lacey has chosen opponents careful to suit his style, as he works to become the more well rounded fighter he aims to be. For the moment, Lacey is heavily favoring his ground attack, as he should: he bears a slick jiu-jitsu game. Hence his opponent for NEF 27, Chris Jacobs of Florida, is below average on the ground.

Jacobs is an aggressive striker, so much so that he leaves himself open for mistakes and takedowns. He’s also a clinch machine, using the position to avoid incoming strikes and throw elbows on his way out. One thing is for sure about Jacobs: he’s no threat to Lacey on the ground. Keys for Jacobs are to come out strong and fast, and try to end the fight quickly. The longer he gives Lacey to figure him out, the worse his chances get. He needs to keep it standing and keep his distance, and forget the clinch. Lacey needs to start slow, and find his range. He should allow for the clinch if Jacobs wants it, and use it for the takedown. Once the fight hits the floor, Lacey is just too much for Jacobs there.

Prediction: Lacey via RNC


235 POUNDS: Ras Hylton vs. Mike Hansen

This promises to be one of the better fights of the night. Hansen and Hylton are from opposite points of the spectrum. Hilton is a tall, massive striker. Hansen is a bruising wrestler. Much like Ortolani, Hansen needs to take this fight to the ground and use his top game to finish or force Ras to turn and give up his back. Hansen is the far better wrestler and ground fighter. If he can get the fight there early, he’ll end it.

Ras has won all three of his bouts via KO. He’s huge, and his height is very daunting and difficult for anyone to deal with. He has to use distance and footwork to beat Hansen. He should throw kicks out the window and make this a boxing match, as Hansen will eat a kick for the takedown. This limits Ras quite a bit as to what he can do to take Hansen out, however, and i think that’s a big hill for Hilton to climb in this one.

Prediction: Mike Hansen Via TKO punches (Ground)


160 POUNDS: Matt Denning vs. Ricky Dexter

This fight is lopsided in my opinion. Not on paper, but mark my words when it is over. Denning has all but given up on his career and I haven’t figured out why he’s still fighting yet. A below average amateur career is a bad reason to move on to pro, and Denning’s record reflects that. A pronounced jiu-jitsu fighter, he has lost his last three via submission… not a good look for him. Denning’s key to win this fight is to catch a submission fast, preferably in the opening round, before sweat becomes a factor. He should look to guillotine Dexter and get out unscathed.

Ricky Dexter is a moose. A member of the feared Team Irish where everyone comes out spitting nails. Dexter fights like a bully, keeping constant pressure and not allowing his opponents to breathe. If Dexter is the hammer in this fight, Denning will play the nail. Ricky isn’t a technician by any means, but he’s a bully, and he’s collecting this weekend. It’s Ricky’s fight to lose here.

Prediction: Ricky Dexter via TKO rnd 1


145 POUNDS: Josh Harvey vs. Richie Collingham

Who’s Richie Collingham? Good question. Be damned if I know either. Some wins via submission and some losses via submission. An absolute lunatic maybe, if he wants to make his comeback fight against one of New England’s most promising prospects in Josh Harvey. This fight is interesting enough to drive three and a half hours to see. Why does Richie want this fight and what does he have in his back pocket? It better be a gun, if he wants to put Harvey down. Interesting nonetheless because its been 7 years since Collingham last fought. Is Richie any good? Will he take Harvey out? what if he does? Is Collingham the next prospect for New England looking to make a big statement this weekend? Many questions accompany this fight for sure.

Prediction: Josh Harvey via KO

135 POUNDS: Elias Leland vs. Nick Santos

Best fight on the card! Surprised? Im not.

Elias Leland is a scrapper. He takes stupid fights outside his weight class but he’s an entertainer… a man after my own heart. Elias gets it. He just wants to fight, he doesnt care where, or when, or what weight. It’s no surprise that he comes out of the academy of Jay Jack and Amanda Buckner. Elias, with a strict regimen of regular classes (more than three a week) can be dominant at 135lbs.

Nick Santos just woke up from the dead. I’ve seen Nick at every Combat Zone for the past 20 shows. He’s no fool, he never left MMA, and he never stopped training either. He’s a compact little monster and took his time to get where he needed to be to compete at this level. Nick is street tough, and hopefully with his time out he’s developed a ground game, because though we know he can scrap, he lacked jiu-jitsu. I think this fight will be the fight of the night, and war we won’t forget between two tough little guys that just love the fight.

Prediction: come on…. go watch this one 😉


Here is the full NEF 27 fight card (subject to change):


155 POUNDS: Ryan Sanders vs. John Ortolani

155 POUNDS: Jesse Erickson vs. Jon Lemke

145 POUNDS: Aaron Lacey vs. Chris Jacobs

235 POUNDS: Ras Hylton vs. Mike Hansen

160 POUNDS: Matt Denning vs. Ricky Dexter

145 POUNDS: Josh Harvey vs. Richie Collingham
135 POUNDS: Elias Leland vs. Nick Santos


205 POUND TITLE: Victor Irwin vs. Ryan Glover (c)

135 POUNDS: Walt Shea vs. Alan Bustamante

125 POUNDS: Justin Witham vs. Ryan Burgess

140 POUNDS: Alex Clark vs. Henry Clark

185 POUNDS: Sean Worcester vs. John Tefft

115 POUNDS: Sarah Ziehm vs. Nicole Burgess

135 POUNDS: Fred Lear vs. Michael Crespo

155 POUNDS: Devin Corson vs. Winston Cortez

205 POUNDS: Zeal McGrew vs. Pete Grinnel

145 POUNDS: Frank Johanson vs. Jacob Deppmeyer

155 POUNDS: Phil Chason vs. Ross Dannar
125 POUNDS: Angela Young vs. Christine Brothwell

The opening bell this Saturday, February 11 is set for 7 p.m.  Tickets start at $25 and are available at or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009, extension 525.

For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”




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Category: Event Preview

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