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July 18, 2019



Orono, Maine (July 16, 2019) – New England Fights (NEF) will debut in Orono on September 7, 2019 at the Collins Center for the Arts with the promotion's next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 40: School of Hard Knocks."  Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur featherweight title fight to the card.  Tom "The Phenom" Pagliarulo (3-1) is scheduled to defend the 145-pound amateur championship against Jimmy Jackson (4-3).

 Tom Pagliarulo captured the amateur featherweight title this past spring at "NEF 38" with a unanimous decision victory over then-undefeated Zac Richard (3-2-1).  Pagliarulo's success in the cage comes as no surprise.  An accomplished athlete on the wrestling mats, Pagliarulo put together a record of 144-36 while competing for Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Massachusetts.  Later, he wrestled for Plymouth State University in Plymouth, New Hampshire prior to making the foray into mixed-martial-arts.  Pagliarulo currently trains at both Spero's MMA and Burgess MMA in New Hampshire.  The fight with Jackson will be his first defense of the title.

 “I'm looking forward to defending my strap against a very game opponent," said Pagliarulo. "My last fight a lot of people doubted me, and the odds were against me. On September 7th, I'm going to give them a reason to never doubt me again. I'm the champ, and I'm here to stay.”

 “Tom Pagliarulo is the NEF champion for a reason," stated NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson.  "His wrestling is as slick as a whistle, and his conditioning never quits. He trains like a title holder should train. He travels to get with the best coaches he can find, he competes in wrestling and other sports when he’s not fighting in the cage—he designs his life around developing the skills to be the best. And when a man does that—he’s dangerous.”

 Jimmy Jackson is a longtime veteran of the NEF cage wars.  This September will be the six-year anniversary of his first appearance with the promotion.  The fight with Pagliarulo will be Jackson's second attempt at capturing NEF gold.  At "NEF 25" in September 2016, Jackson unsuccessfully challenged for the amateur lightweight title against Rafael Velado (4-1).  He spent nearly three years away from cage competition before returning last month at "NEF 39."  Jackson was impressive in his comeback fight, submitting his opponent in the first round.  He represents Young's MMA.

“I couldn’t be happier for this opportunity to not only fight for NEF again, but to do so in my own backyard for a title," said Jackson. "Chances like these are few and far between, so I plan to make the most of it. Don’t leave your seat during this one!”

“Longtime Young’s MMA team member Jimmy Jackson has been with NEF since our first years in business," noted Peterson. "He came up short against Raf Velado in his first attempt to capture a championship and he doesn’t intend to squander this second opportunity at gold. Jimmy will have the more dense bone structure of the two in this bout, as he’s moving down from 155 to 145 for this fight, but at six-feet tall, the champ is nothing to sneeze at in terms of his size either. I love everything that this bout represents—the grizzled veteran vs the fast-rising up-and-comer; two dedicated athletes that have chosen combat sports as a lifestyle. This is another great bout for what is certain to be an unforgettable show.”

New England Fights' next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 40: SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS," will take place Saturday, September 7, 2019 at the Collins Center for the Arts at the University of Maine as the promotion debuts in Orono, Maine.  Tickets are on sale now at