New England Fights (NEF) returns with its next mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event, “NEF 46: Decade of Dominance,” on Saturday, February 12, 2022, at Aura in Portland, Maine. The event will commemorate NEF’s ten-year anniversary. The leading regional promotion launched on February 11, 2012. Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur championship bout to the fight card. NEF Flyweight Champion Tyler Smythe (3-1) is scheduled to defend his title against former NEF Flyweight Champion Ryan “Gordo” Burgess (3-2) at a fight weight of 125 pounds.
Tyler Smythe notched his third MMA win and captured coveted NEF gold in the process when he recently stopped previously undefeated flyweight prospect Caleb “Dr. Feelgood” Austin (5-1) in a New England Fights “Fight of the Night” performance at “NEF 45: Uprising.” Down on the scorecards but not discouraged, Smythe waged a come-from-behind victory to earn the technical knockout (TKO) stoppage over Austin in the final second of the fourth round of their championship bout. Never one to slow down, Smythe, who is trained by Nate Libby out of Evolution Athletix in Saco, Maine, is anxious to make an immediate turnaround and defend his title against a former NEF Champion.
“From bell to bell, every round, I’ll be going at this kid like he owes me money,” Smythe stated. “I want a quick finish. Ryan doesn’t deserve to be in that cage with me. February 12th, I’ll show why I’m the NEF flyweight champ.”
Ryan Burgess is no stranger to championship challenges. Hailing from Rumford, Maine, Burgess is one of only four Mountain Valley High School mat men to ever win triple state crowns in wrestling. He amassed an amazing 151-23 overall high school record before graduating and turning his attention to mixed martial arts. Burgess quickly made a name for himself in MMA when he won the NEF Flyweight Championship in November 2015 with a split-decision nod over then Champion Dustin Veinott (5-4). When Burgess last competed, he displayed a dangerous Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) game off his back in defeating Nate Boucher (0-1) in a heated hometown rivalry. Burgess, a BJJ purple belt, trains under Jason “JB” Bell and fights out of Bell’s Famoso BJJ.
“I’m super excited to make my return on NEF’s 10-year anniversary show,” Burgess stated. “It’s been a long time coming for me to return to the cage and I can’t think of a more perfect scenario than coming back and regaining my flyweight title with a finish over Smythe. It’s been three years since I’ve competed, but my coach, Jason Bell, and I have been putting in work behind the scenes. I can’t wait to showcase my skills and put on a show for the fans.
“Smythe seems like a tough opponent, and it was no easy feat for him to defeat Caleb Austin for the belt,” Burgess continued. “With that being said, I see many holes in his game that I plan to exploit come February 12th. I hope he’s not expecting the same fighter he’s watching in the three-plus-year-old film he’s researching to better understand me. Mentally and skillfully, I am a far superior fighter compared to my previous bouts and only my training partners actually know the weapons I’ll be bringing into that cage to get the job done. Smythe may rethink his entire pursuit of a professional MMA career when I’m finished with him. The pressure I’m going to bring would melt any of these amateur flyweights in New England and come February they will all be on notice.”
New England Fights “NEF 46: Decade of Dominance” takes place on Saturday, February 12, 2022, at Aura in Portland, Maine. The event will commemorate NEF’s ten-year anniversary. Doors open at 6 pm with first fight at 7 pm. Tickets are on sale now at www.Ticketmaster.com.