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May 1, 2017

The Fallout: NEF 28 Sanders v. Lemke II

NEF 28: The Fallout

Travis Lizotte

                New England Fights once again made its march through Lewiston, Maine on Saturday night, April 29th, with the promotion’s 28th show. Injuries ultimately limited the fight card to just nine bouts that culminated in the highly anticipated main event for the NEF Lightweight Title; Jon Lemke v. “The” Ryan Sanders II, for NEF’s previously vacant 155 pound belt. It was evident early that it was going to be a fast and furious night of fights when all four of the fights on the Amateur undercard ended by first round TKO/KO, in fact none of the fights on Saturday’s fight card would need the assistance from the judges. With six TKO/KO’s and three Submissions, all within the first two rounds; NEF 28: Invincible would end up being a, “Do not blink” type of night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. With the highlights coming early and often in the NEF cage, here are some of the stories I took away from the night that was NEF 28: Invincible.
Sanders v. Lemke II
                John Raio’s First Class MMA fighters; Dominic Jones (1-0 Professional), Jacob Deppmeyer (1-1 Amateur) and Josh Jones (1-0 Amateur) go 3-0 with three first round TKO’s on the night. The Brunswick, Maine based gym, First Class MMA, which is operated by former NEF fighter John Raio, brought three of its athletes to the NEF cage Saturday, with overwhelming results. Josh Jones lead off the night, and in his amateur debut and all he needed was 20 seconds to bloody up Sean Worcester, resulting in a referee stoppage victory that set the tone for the rest of the evening. In the third fight of the night, at a Catchweight of 140 pounds; Jacob Deppmeyer took just 1:17 to drop Glenn Kasabian and earn his first MMA victory by referee’s stoppage. The team’s third fight on the bill had Dominic Jones making his professional debut against the veteran Tollison Lewis, Dominic Jones followed in his teammates footsteps when he kicked off the professional portion of the evening with yet another first round knockout. Dominic Jones deployed powerful wrestling and great submission defense to dominate the fight on the mat, where he used vicious ground and pound to stop the NEF Veteran Lewis at 4:30 in round one. With the team’s success Saturday night it is rumored that First Class MMA could have as many as seven fighters on the next NEF card which takes place June 17th, including each of the three fighters who earned huge wins at NEF 28. This is a huge step forward for First Class MMA as they continue to provide NEF with some of its top talent and most exciting combatants.
Dominic Jones Celebrates his First Round TKO Victory

                Team Link Hooksett product Walter Smith Cotito (5-5) earns an impressive Submission win in his effort to get back in the cage with some of the best New England Featherweights. Cotito, who has made a name for himself clashing against some of the premier Featherweights on the regional circuit was looking to do more of the same Saturday night when he was scheduled to face off against undefeated Young’s MMA rising star Aaron Lacey. Lacey however, was injured during his training camp and NEF turned to the veteran of 34 Amateur fights Andre Belcarris, who would make his Professional debut against the Veteran Cotito. Walter did a great job in this fight translating his extreme athleticism that he shows in the gym, to the cage, something that Coach Ed Carr has been working on with Walter. Walter has always been one of the most talented men on the mats at Team Link in Hooksett but has had some trouble “turning it on” in the cage. There was no doubt Saturday night that Walter found it inside himself to “turn it on,” as he used a dominant first round, mostly on the feet, with a second round where he displayed his grappling and submission ability to earn a decisive second round submission victory via Rear Naked Choke against the newly turned professional Belcarris. Cotito was every bit of the fighter he needs to be in the NEF cage Saturday night if he is going to find himself back in the cage with the top Featherweights again. Although the fight with Lacey was a really exciting fight for the Team Link crew, they have to be excited that Cotito preformed as the top level fighters he is against the lesser known Belcarris as Cotito continues to move in the right direction toward another Featherweight feature fight.
Walter Smith Cotito v. Andre Belcarris
Team Link Celebrates Cotito's Second Round Submission Victory

                Josh “Hook On” Harvey (4-0) maintains his undefeated record against Derek “Shatterproof 2.0” Shorey (4-9) who was fighting to support his children whose home was lost to fire. When Derek Shorey and Josh Harvey lost their opponents shortly before NEF 28 due to injuries, the two fighters decided to help save the fight card, and a pay check, and fight one another. For Shorey, the pay check meant more than ever, after his children were displaced from their home following a multi alarm fire that destroyed the apartment building where they dwelled with their mother in Somersworth, NH. Shorey made it known that he needed this fight in order to help provide for his children. As for Harvey, he wasn’t interested in losing an entire fight camp and welcomed Shorey to share the cage with him in efforts to give the fans what they wanted to see. Harvey showed early why he is such a highly regarded prospect on the NEF roster as he absolutely dismantled the veteran Shorey, knocking Shorey out cold with some vicious elbows from full mount. You have to give it to both fighters in this situation, Shorey for doing the only thing he knew how to do; fight for his family and to Harvey for adjusting to the change in opponent and continuing his tear through the Featherweight division. I look for Harvey to be back in the cage soon as he looks to prove himself as one of the top Featherweights in New England.
Josh "Hook On" Harvey

                “The” Ryan Sanders (14-8) writes a Fairytale final chapter in his rivalry with Team Irish and Jon Lemke (6-8) as he captures the most highly regarded Belt in all of New England MMA. There was no mistaking the story behind the Main Event of the evening at NEF 28. As I described in my preview of the fight; the Sanders/ Lemke rivalry went back much further than their battle at NEF 26 in November of last year when a cut to the head of Lemke caused the fight to be finished after just two rounds, declaring Sanders the winner by decision under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts. The two men were former training partners at Team Irish under the leadership of former UFC Veteran Marcus Davis, but when Sanders left Team Irish to train at Young’s MMA a rivalry was born. Shortly after the two parties split Sanders would fight his former Coach Davis, at NEF 12 where he defeated his former tutor. Lemke on the other hand continued his loyalty to Team Irish throughout the split and was seeking revenge for his Coach and training partner Marcus Davis in his efforts to capture the NEF Lightweight crown. When opening round wins pitted the two foes together in the tournament finals for the NEF 155 pound belt the story between the two sides had come full circle. Lemke came out in the first round looking to punch his way through Sanders in a very active first round with both fighters landing significant strikes, Lemke capped off the final minute of the round with a takedown that likely won him the first round on the judges’ scorecards. In the second round Sanders came out the aggressor and eventually ended up with a guillotine choke that caused Lemke to tap in the first half minute of the second round. For Lemke his second chance at redemption had come up short and for Sanders capturing the title put to bed any question that fans had following the two’s first contest. Sanders hopes to follow in the footsteps of NEF Lightweight Champions before him as the last three 155 pound champions in the promotion have all been signed to National Promotions; Devin Powell to the UFC, Bruce Boyington to the WSOF and Des Green to Bellator, a history that has made the NEF Lightweight crown the most highly sought after titles in the Northeast. If the National Promotions don’t come calling soon Ryan had no problem calling out CES fighters Luis Felix and Nate Andrews as possible match ups the next time he steps into the cage.
Sanders Captures NEF Lightweight Gold

                NEF 29: Stars & Stripes will take place on June 17th at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee and the headliner has already been announced; as Ray Wood (8-3) returns from a run in Bellator to face Alexandre Berzerra (19-5) for the nights Main Event. Other fights also announced; the return of Ras Hylton (1-0) as he battles Eric Ramsey (0-1), Rafael Velado (4-0) defends his Amateur Lightweight Belt against Pat Kelly (3-0), Paul Gorman (10-9) takes on James Blair (5-0) and Alex Walker (3-1) faces off with Sarah Ziehm (1-0). For Tickets Call 207.783.2009 or visit