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October 16, 2018



Portland, Maine (October 15, 2018) – New England Fights (NEF) will hold its final mixed-martial-arts event of 2018, "NEF 36: Battle for the Gold," on Saturday, November 17 at Aura in Portland, Maine. Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of a professional cruiserweight championship bout to the card.  "The Jamaican Shamrock" Ras "Rasquatch" Hylton (3-1) will meet undefeated Yorgan De Castro (2-0) to crown the first-ever NEF Professional Cruiserweight Champion.

 The fight will officially give birth to the brand-new NEF cruiserweight division.  This bout, as well as future bouts in the weight class, will take place at the 225-pound limit.  The division, which sits between light-heavyweight and heavyweight, was approved as an official weight class for MMA by the Association of Boxing Commissions at their annual conference in July 2017.  NEF will be one of the first promotions in the country to institute a cruiserweight division.

 "The adoption of new weight classes at the highest levels of the sport in order to account for the wide gaps in the current championship class structure is inevitable—we’re just getting there first," said NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson.  "There’s no more perfect way to usher in this new era of the 225-pound weight class than with a championship fight on the year-end “Battle for the Gold” show between two high-caliber, hungry opponents that NEF fans are very familiar with. This action-packed event was tailor made to include this breakthrough bout - it’s just one more element to an already blistering card. Fans can be certain that they will get their money’s worth on November 17th."

 Ras Hylton will return to the NEF cage after nearly a year-and-a-half absence.  He is a five-fight veteran of the NEF cage where he is undefeated with three wins as an amateur and two as a professional.  Last August, Hylton knocked out veteran Eric Bedard (6-8) in Rhode Island with a single elbow strike after absorbing a barrage of shots from Bedard that had little-to-no effect.  Standing at a towering 6'6," Hylton holds a black belt in Taekwondo.  He trains with both First Class MMA in Brunswick, Maine and Dragon Fire Martial Arts of South Portland.

 “I’m ecstatic about the response to my FaceTime call to action, and that I get to kick off my cruiserweight run back home," said Hylton.  "I’ve spoken at length about my dream to elevate the draw and excitement to see the heavier divisions, so I thank (NEF owners) Matt Peterson and Nick DiSalvo for working with me again, and launching the title here with NEF! Yorgan is a good strong fighter with heavy hands that I saw work against my best friend Nick Gulliver in another belt war. Now I move to follow ‘The Guardian’s' example, and keep the inaugural strap right here in Maine. Thanks for staying with us everyone!”

 As Hylton noted, this will not be the first time Yorgan De Castro has come to Maine looking to take gold back with him to Massachusetts.  De Castro faced Hylton's teammate Nick Gulliver for the NEF Amateur Heavyweight Title in a losing effort at "NEF 26" almost two years to the day he will fight Hylton.

 "I’m very excited to become the first 225-pound NEF champion," said De Castro. "We will be sure to put on a great show for the fans.  I’ve been through some very dark moments in my all life and on November 17 I’ll make sure I bring all my demons with me and Ras will have to deal with them. This fight will be absolutely epic."

 A native of Portugal now residing in the fighting city of Brockton, Massachusetts, De Castro has had success to date in his professional career.  He has finished both of his previous opponents via technical knockout at light-heavyweight.  For fighters like De Castro and Hylton, the creation of a cruiserweight division in NEF opens a new realm of career possibilities that did not exist before.  De Castro was one of the first individual to respond positively to Hylton's Face Time video calling for the creation of a cruiserweight division.

 "I’m excited to make my NEF debut as a professional fighter in the inaugural cruiserweight division," De Castro continued. "This is a huge opportunity for fighters and I’m looking to make my mark in that division.  I have nothing but respect for Ras—he’s a class act man and very tough—but he has never faced a more dedicated and focused Yorgan and on November 17, I’ll be victorious and write my name in NEF history."

 NEF's next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 36: Battle for the Gold," will see the company make its return to Aura in Portland, Maine.  The event is scheduled to take place Saturday, November 17, 2018 with a bell time of 7 pm.  Tickets are on sale now at