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August 2, 2019



Orono, Maine (July 29, 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 flyweight bout to the card.  Caleb "Dr. Feelgood" Austin (1-0) will take on Cory Richards (0-0) at a fight weight of 125 pounds.

 Caleb Austin wrestled for Mountain Valley High School in Rumford, Maine where he amassed an incredible record of 208-11 over four years and won state titles at 126 pounds his junior and senior years.  He was named the 2017 "Wrestler of the Year" by the Lewiston Sun Journal.  After graduation, Austin continued his wrestling career at the University of Southern Maine.

 Austin holds the distinction for having the most controversial debut in NEF history.  He faced James Ploss (1-2) at "NEF 28" in April 2017.  The referee was out of position and missed Austin tap to Ploss' guillotine choke in the first round.  Ploss released the hold, believing the fight to be over, but the referee ordered the fight to continue and Austin went on to win later in the round via technical knockout.  An online debate raged on NEF social media for days after the fight video was posted.

 Austin returns to the cage against the debuting Cory Richards on September 7 in Orono after a two-year hiatus from MMA competition.   This time, Austin envisions a more permanent tenure in the NEF 125-pound division and a run with the flyweight title.

 “It’s been awhile since my last appearance in the NEF cage, but during my time away from MMA competition, I’ve continued sharpening my skills and working my wrestling and strength and conditioning," said Austin.  "I’ve been biding my time, prepping for a comeback. Now is the right time for my return with the NEF flyweight division hotter than ever. I look forward to making an impact, establishing myself as a contender, and chasing down the NEF 125-pound title. I’m looking forward to having fun.”

Cory Richards is a 19-year-old from Trenton, Maine who currently represents Acadia Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in nearby Ellsworth, Maine.  Richards has been training regularly with his coaches and teammates in preparation for his debut.  And while Richards is aware of Austin's distinguished background in wrestling, he is confident his own abilities will carry him to victory in the NEF cage on September 7.

 “This debut is everything I’ve been training for," stated Richards. "My coaches and I are putting in hard work every day to make this happen. I don’t plan on leaving that cage without putting on a memorable performance. Caleb Austin is a challenge, but he’s a challenge I’m more than ready to take on. I’m prepared to strike him on the feet and finish him on the ground at any time.”

“Caleb Austin had one of the most controversial debuts in NEF history," acknowledged NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson.  "I know the fight played with his mind for a long time afterwards. I’m excited for his return to flyweight after a long layoff against a very game new name, Cory Richards. The NEF 125-pound weight class is returning to the glory days of the division and September 7th is sure to separate the future title contenders from the rest of the pack.”

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