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June 8, 2019



Lewiston, Maine (June 4, 2019) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday, June 22 with its next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 39: ALL-AMERICAN."  Earlier today, the fight promotion announced that Jesse "The Viking" Erickson (9-7) will meet Dylan Lockard (5-1) for the vacant NEF Professional Lightweight Championship.  Former champion Ryan Sanders (18-9) decided to vacate the title late last year due to the extreme weight cuts he had to endure to make the lightweight limit of 155 pounds.

 The bout, originally scheduled to be a non-title affair between Erickson and Lewis Corapi (8-5), came about after Corapi had to pull out due to illness.

 "Jesse Erickson has been a perennial contender since the inception of the NEF Lightweight Title," stated NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson. "In 22 bouts between his amateur and professional career, you have to go all the way back to his very first fight in 2012 to find the one time that Erickson has ever had a fight go to the judge’s scorecards. He always competes with a ferocity that leads him to securing the finish, or being finished. He’s pure fire every time he climbs in the cage. Dylan Lockard, by the same token, has only lost once between his amateur and professional outings and is one of the hottest prospects in New England right now. As an amateur, Lockard beat both Josh Harvey and Caleb Hall—two NEF staples that are undefeated and have looked unstoppable since turning professional. You couldn’t ask for a more perfectly matched fight between two experienced, hungry athletes to fill the highly coveted lightweight title."

 Erickson has attempted to capture the lightweight belt three times previously, twice against Bruce Boyington (17-11) and once against current UFC competitor Devin Powell (9-4), only to come up short in each fight.  Erickson says he will be patient in this bout in hopes of winning the title that has eluded him to date.

 “First, I want to thank Dylan for stepping up to take the bout," remarked Erickson. "He seems well-rounded and has wins over some quality opponents. I'm working hard every day and will enter the cage in the best shape I've ever been in. I'm not going to be in a rush in the cage on June 22nd. I have five rounds to put him away and finally walk out with that belt. Victory or Valhalla, fourth time’s the charm.”

 Lockard will definitely be entering hostile territory with hundreds of Erickson's hometown friends, family and fans in the crowd.  The fight will take place ten pounds heavier than the featherweight limit Lockard usually competes at.

 Everything about Lockard's background, however, indicates that he rises to meet any challenge.  In 2010 he won a state championship at 152 pounds wrestling for Timberlane Regional High School in Plaistow, New Hampshire, finishing his senior season with an impressive 38-9 record.  He began his amateur MMA career in 2014 and went a perfect 4-0, defeating some of the best the region has to offer including Harvey and Hall.  Lockard turned pro in the summer of 2016.  His only loss to date has been against a very tough Shane Manley (5-5), who longtime NEF fans will remember as the athlete who handed both Jesse Erickson and Ray Wood (8-5) the first losses of their respective MMA careers.  Lockard is currently on a two-fight win streak since the loss to Manley, most-recently upending previously-undefeated Anthony Wright (4-1) on a fight card in Rhode Island last fall.

“I’m excited to come up to Maine and fight for the NEF title," said Lockard when reached for comment.  "Jesse is a really tough opponent, and I think we match up well. It’s going to be an exciting fight for the fans.”

"NEF 39: ALL-AMERICAN," will take place on Saturday, June 22, 2019 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine with a bell time of 7 pm.  Tickets are on sale now at