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April 5, 2018


[NEF Press Release]

Portland, Maine (April 4, 2018) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to Aura in Portland on April 14, 2018 with the fight promotion's next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 33: Riptide."  Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur middleweight bout to the card.  Mark "Pockets" Gardner (1-0) will meet Brandon Schwink (0-0) at a fight weight of 185-pounds.

 Mark Gardner impressed many in attendance at his debut fight last November in Portland.  Gardner took on top middleweight prospect Carlton Charles (2-1) at Aura.  He absorbed everything Charles threw at him in the first round, eventually scoring a technical knockout victory in the second.  Gardner is a member of The Academy of Mixed Martial Arts based in Westbrook, Maine where he trains under early MMA pioneer Jay Jack.  Gardner will return to the cage after a setback earlier this year when an opponent pulled out on him prior to a scheduled bout at "NEF 32."

“I'm pumped to get back into the cage in April for this next fight," said Gardner. "I've been training hard, and I can't wait. It should be a really fun fight.”

 Gardner's opponent, Brandon Schwinck, is a 43-year-old, lifelong martial artist from Windham, Maine.  He has been a regular contestant in grappling, karate and kickboxing tournaments across the state over the years.  Schwinck has trained with several different gyms, including The Academy where he worked with Gardner on the mats.  The bout on April 14 will be his first regulated MMA fight, a moment that Schwinck says he has waited years to realize.

 "I’m familiar with the MMA fighter and grappler, Mark Gardner," said Schwinck when reached for comment. "We used to train together at the Academy of MMA a few years ago. I respect Mr. Gardner’s strengths and abilities on the ground, and he has an amazing team to prepare him for this fight. I recall me and Mark being fairly well-matched on the ground. We’ve submitted each other on the mats. However, he's a tough, hungry, young buck with lots of weapons at his disposal, so I won’t take him lightly. I know Mark’s surely stepped-up his striking game and stand-up over the last few years, but I’ve been a fighter all my life and feel the bout will be competitive. I believe my NEF debut will be far from a cake walk, though I’m always prepared to put up an exciting fight in any venue I enter. I have no intentions of letting Mark walk over me and I’ll do my best to stop him. Neither of us will achieve a victory easily. I’m looking forward to competing against this dangerous, talented fighter, be it on the ground or standing. I think it will be a great match-up. I’m totally psyched about being part of NEF 33, and in the end, may the best man win."

 NEF returns to Portland, Maine, at Aura on Saturday, April 14, 2018. Tickets are on sale now at  For more information on the event, please visit