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August 28, 2017


[NEF Press Release]

Portland, Maine (August 25, 2017) – New England Fights (NEF) will make its long-awaited debut in Portland on Friday, November 3, 2017 at Aura with "NEF 31: The Old Port."  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of a professional mixed-martial-arts bout to the card.  John "First Class" Raio (2-8) will meet Zenon "K-Bar" Herrera (0-5) at a catchweight of 150-pounds.

For John Raio, the bout will mark his return to the cage after more than two years.  Raio retired following his rematch with Bruce Boyington (13-11) in June 2015.  He has decided to make one more run at competing.  Competition has been in Raio's blood since his youth.  He won a Maine state championship wrestling for Gardiner Area High School in 1995, and he went on to wrestle for Plymouth State University and the University of Southern Maine.  While working for the United States Postal Service, Raio began competing in MMA in 2012.  Since his retirement, Raio has concentrated on training fighters at his gym First Class MMA in Brunswick, Maine.  He has led several to championship gold in the NEF cage while working full-time at his current position with Bath Iron Works (BIW).

"I'm excited to get back into the cage," said Raio.  "Two years is a long time after fighting 14 times in three years. I've learned a lot about the sport in that time. Our team's success has motivated me a lot. We have amazing fighters and instructors at our gym. The opportunity to fight in Portland, where I delivered mail for eight years, was too hard to pass up."

Zenon Herrera last competed in the NEF cage in August 2016.  He has split his professional career between boxing and MMA.  Herrera is a military veteran, having served four years in the United States Army and five years in the United States Marine Corps.  On November 3rd, Herrera will look to score his first win since his amateur days on the Florida MMA circuit.

"It's been a long time since last in the NEF cage for both myself and John Raio," said Herrera.  "This will be a great way for both of us to make a return, and I'm very much looking forward to going in with such a well classed person. John and I are both the type who will come forward and never back down.  I really think this is going to be a great match that will be enjoyed by all involved."

NEF's next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 31: The Old Port," will see the company debut in Portland, Maine at the brand new, state-of-the-art venue Aura.  The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, November 3, 2017.  Tickets are on sale now at