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March 19, 2019



Portland, Maine (March 11, 2019) – New England Fights (NEF) heavyweight ‘Rasquatch’ ‘The Jamaican Shamrock’ Ras Hylton (3-2) had a mixed bag of a mixed martial arts (MMA) run in 2018. Hylton recently joined host Jason Floyd on The MMA Report podcast to discuss the ups-and-downs of the last year and his goals for 2019.

 After losing a fight in New York last May, Hylton rebounded with a beautiful knockout victory over longtime MMA veteran Eric Bedard (6-8) in Rhode Island last August. The win put Hylton in the position to fight Yorgan De Castro for the inaugural NEF Cruiserweight title, a 225-pound division that Hylton has been championing for the widespread adoption of in MMA. De Castro and Hylton shared a wild two-and-a-half minutes in the cage before De Castro ultimately knocked out Hylton to win the title.

 “I was trying to change things up and, you know, it's kind of like playing with a chemistry set for the first time,” Hylton said in describing his 2018. “You get a bunch of ingredients, and elements, and chemicals in front of you and some you're familiar with and some you've got to learn and tinker with some before you can really hone down what it's going for.”

 A lifelong martial artist, Hylton credits his father for putting him on the path that lead to his eventual career choice as a professional fighter.

 “Ever since I started learning how to box a little bit with my dad when I was a kid, I’ve always been fascinated with fighting in general,” Hylton told Floyd. “He never really would have wanted me to be a fighter, but he put a bug in and I never really let go, so it was just the next logical evolution of my learning was getting in there and testing it out in an environment that supports growth and change. So, it's been a great learning experience. I've met a lot of great people and had a lot of fun doing it.”

 It’s no secret to anyone that has seen Hylton compete in the cage that he prefers the standup aspect of the sport as opposed to the ground game, but when asked why he choose to pursue mixed martial arts competition over boxing, he answered without hesitation.

 “The variety and the options available,” Hylton replied. “Don't get me wrong, I completely respect boxing as a sport, but the fact that there's so much focus on just the upper body and punches to the head and more frequently than not. I mean, we're all looking for the knockout shot, but MMA offered the opportunity to really open up and give us more of a realistic approach to one-on-one combat. I mean as long as you play fair, you get to use all the same tools and figure out how to play a different kind of game that still beats the other guys.”

 Standing at 6’6”, Hylton has become known for his menacing height as much as he has for his memorable performances in the cage.  However, Hylton was quick to note that his height can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to combat.

 “It definitely focuses things for both myself and my opponent,” Hylton stated. “I've got a body type that speaks very blatantly of what the advantages are and what the disadvantages are, so it really helps to focus the training and where's there fewer big people than there are small people, you need some sort of way to fine tune things as quick as possible. You know, there's not much of a learning curve before you start getting hurt by it.”

 Hylton’s next fight is set for April 27th when he takes on Charles Penn at “NEF 38: Stormborn” in Portland, Maine. Penn, who fights for Hyaston MMA, will be traveling from North Carolina for the bout.

 “This has been probably the biggest question mark fight I've ever had,” Hylton stated.  “I mean, at least with everybody who's come before there's been some avenue of recent information, but I mean he did bring his amateur career, 6-3, but his last fight was, what? 2013? So, there's a big question mark there, there's a big gap there, where he could have gone in any direction. So it's kind of simplified things for me, because now I get to just stick to my plan of using 2019 to do what I have to do to be the best fighter I can be. So, I get to keep on at him. I don't have the distraction of trying to figure out the other guy. It's really played towards my mental strengths to start off this year.”

 “Execution,” Hylton continued. “Execution of the game plan is what I'm really looking to stick to from here on out. I want to take this as far as I can go. I want to go up as high as I can. And I've been lucky with the support that I've got between my family and my gyms to be able to do something that really makes me feel whole. I want to pay back that investment in full and with as much interest as possible, as soon as possible. I'm in my 30’s now, got to make something happen, you know?”

 NEF's next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 38: STORMBORN," will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2019 at Aura in Portland, Maine with a bell time of 7 pm.  Tickets are on sale now at