“Matt (Peterson) and I were really excited to get this fight lined up,” said NEF co-owner and promoter Nick DiSalvo. “Not only will this fight determine our first-ever Maine State Welterweight Champion, but it will also determine which of these two athletes is going to take it to the next level. Sanders is one big win away from breaking out on the national scene. Funch is hungry to get back to the UFC. There’s a lot at stake here.”
Sanders is no stranger to Maine MMA fans. The Veazie, ME resident has competed in his home state for all five of his previous pro fights, losing only once, via judges’ decision, in a contest marred by controversy. Sanders’ most recent victory came last month over a game Ray Shawdee by second-round submission to a guillotine choke at NEF’s FIGHT NIGHT III event in Lewiston. “Its an honor to be fighting a UFC vet and top 5 regional fighter in Funch,” said Sanders. “He is very well rounded and tough to finish. Beating him would move me to the next level. I hope he is ready for a war."
“Ryan is the face of Maine MMA,” stated NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson. “I can think of no one more-deserving of a shot at a Maine state title. He’s been with us since the beginning. He’s competed on all three previous NEF cards in either the main event or the co-main event. Chris Young and Ernie Fitch of Young’s MMA (Sanders’ camp) demand only the toughest fights for their guys. They’ll definitely get that in Ricardo Funch.”
Peterson warns the fans not to let Funch’s four losses fool them, “All four of Ricardo’s losses have come in the UFC. He’s undefeated outside of that organization. He’s been in the cage with the best of the best – Dan Miller, Mike Pyle, John Hendricks – so this is a fighter who knows what it’s like to compete at the pinnacle of the sport. He’s currently ranked #2 in the northeast. This is going to be Ryan’s biggest test to date. He’s defending home turf here, trying to keep Funch from returning to Massachusetts with a Maine state title. That’s a tall order. But, again, the Young’s fighters never back down from a challenge.”
FIGHT NIGHT IV is slated for September 8 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, ME. That night will also feature a headline fight between Jesse Peterson (6-2) and Cody Lightfoot (6-3) for the NEF Maine State MMA Middleweight Title. Tickets are already on sale and most of cage-side sold-out within minutes. For more information on this event, visit www.NewEnglandFights.com. You can watch NEF videos, including an interview with Tim Sylvia at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights”. Tickets for Fight Night IV are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling The Colisee box office at 207-783-2009.
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