New England Fights is back
New England Fights (NEF) recently announced that the fight promotion will return with its next event, “NEF 44: Back in Black,” on August 21, 2021. The show will originate from the Hampshire Dome in Milford, New Hampshire and will feature a mix of both mixed-martial-arts (MMA) and kickboxing fights. It will be NEF’s long-awaited debut in the Granite State, and it will also be the promotion’s first event since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020.
NEF’s previously-scheduled event, “NEF 43: Rampage,” which was postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic, is still awaiting a rescheduled date at the Collins Center for the Arts at UMaine Orono. NEF executives hope that date will be sometime later in the fall, but at press time they were still waiting on a decision from the Combat Sports Authority of Maine on re-opening the regulation of MMA and boxing events in the state without restrictions.
“Fighters and fans have waited long enough,” declared NEF promoter and co-owner Nick DiSalvo. “With Maine not fully open for combat sports events yet, the Hampshire Dome and the New Hampshire Boxing Commission presented the perfect opportunity to get fighters back in the cage and active again before summer was over.”
New England Fights further announced today the first fight confirmed for the “NEF 44” card in Milford would be an amateur welterweight title contest. Duncan “The Highlander” Smith (5-3), who has held the promotion’s 170-pound championship since June 2018, is scheduled to defend against number-one-contender Mike “All Class” Bezanson (5-0).
“Coming out of COVID we’re going to find out who really wants it and is serious about accelerating in the sport,” said NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson. “Who was working during quarantine, grinding away in their basements and garages and backyards and getting better while the world was shut down? Duncan and Bezanson both believe they are those guys and we’re going to find out on August 21st. These are two of the best in the Northeast welterweight division and I can’t wait to see which one proves that they are ready to punch through into the professional division before the end of 2021.”
Reigning champion Duncan Smith is a perfect 3-0 in the NEF cage. His last defense of the title was at “NEF 38” in April 2019 when he defeated John Tefft (2-1) via unanimous decision. Smith represents Evolution Athletix based in Saco, Maine.
“I’ve never felt more complete and confident in all aspects of living,” said Smith. “I am extremely excited to showcase my skills against a game opponent before I enter the pro ranks. A lot can change in two years.”
Undefeated Mike Bezanson is regarded by many as one of the most exciting competitors on the entire New England scene. He is known for his flashy striking style and explosive finishes. Bezanson represents Team Kaze of Lancaster, New Hampshire.
“I’ve been sitting like a caged lion this last year because of COVID,” stated Bezanson when reached for comment. “Waiting eagerly for everything to open up just like everyone else. I’m very excited to be able to get back in there to perform for everyone! I can assure you this will be the same game plan as all my previous fights. I’m going in there for two reasons, to knock out whoever is in front of me and walk out with a belt over my shoulder.”
“With everything opening up and restrictions being lifted, there is a lot to get excited about,” said Bezanson’s coach and Kaze Dojo owner Greg Williams. “That being said, nothing excites me more than seeing Mike Bezanson bringing his unique brand of violence back to the NEF cage! He is a rare talent and I believe he will eventually realize himself on the highest level. Another amateur belt is just icing on the cake. We all look forward to seeing New England’s best amateur 170 prospect and how he has evolved in the past year!”
Tickets for “NEF 44: Back in Black” are on sale now at www.NewEnglandFights.com/Tickets/. The hybrid MMA and kickboxing event will take place at the Hampshire Dome in Milford, New Hampshire on Saturday, August 21, 2021, with a bell-time of 7 pm.