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June 29, 2016


[NEF Press Release]

Lewiston, Maine (June 28, 2016) – Less than 24-hours after the announcement of the amateur light-heavyweight title fight between Young's MMA's Victor Irwin (2-0) and First Class MMA's Nick Shea (2-0), fight promotion New England Fights (NEF)  released a second championship bout between the two gyms at "NEF 25: HEROES & VILLAINS."  Undefeated Rafael "Air Guard" Velado (3-0), Shea's teammate at First Class MMA, is scheduled to face Jimmy Jackson (3-2), a teammate of Irwin at Young's MMA, for the vacant NEF mixed-martial-arts (MMA) amateur lightweight title.  The title was previously held by Josh Harvey (1-0) of Young's MMA and vacated last April when he moved up to the professional ranks.

"First of all, I appreciate the opportunity that NEF has given me to show my skills in the cage," said Velado.  "There are other promotions in New England, but nobody puts on a show like NEF.  I’ve made it very clear that I am here to fight the toughest guys I can and once again I’m getting my way."

In Velado's last fight, he took on and defeated Mike Peitersen (3-1).  In doing so, Velado handed him the first loss of his career.  Peitersen is another teammate of Jimmy Jackson at Young's MMA.

"Leading up to the Mike Peitersen fight, he and I respectfully challenged each other to train hard and bring it," Velado continued.  "I believe that we did that and then some.  Now I have another Young’s fighter in front of me and I couldn’t be happier. Jimmy Jackson has been looking good in his last few outings and I believe we are a good match-up.  I see a trend of BJJ players who come over into MMA and think they are just going to jits their way through every fight. I can assure you that I am not that guy and you will see a constant evolution of skills in my fights."

Jackson will have the opportunity to gain a measure of revenge for his team against Velado.  After starting his amateur career at 1-2, Jackson has won his last two in a row, including a submission victory over Kris Welch (0-1) at "NEF 16" last year.

"Fighting Raf is a huge opportunity for me - an opportunity I am very grateful for," said Jackson when reached for comment.  "This is the time for me to show how far I've come and how much time and work Chris Young (Young's MMA head coach) and the rest of the coaching staff and team have put into making me the best version of myself.  I do this for them, my team and my family."

"I am pumped to be fighting alongside my First Class MMA brothers and sisters in September and I will be so proud to hand that 155 NEF Championship belt to John Raio (First Class MMA head coach) and tell him, 'There’s more where that came from,'" said Velado in closing.  "As far as 'Heroes & Villains,' I believe every man or woman who steps in that cage is a hero, but you have to have a little villain inside you to do what’s necessary to win."

New England Fights’ next event, “NEF 25: HEROES & VILLAINS,” takes place on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisรฉe in Lewiston, Maine.  Tickets start at just $25 and are on sale now at or by calling the Colisรฉe box office at 207.783.2009 x 525.  Tickets will also be available at the door the night of the event.