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February 3, 2020



Portland, Maine (January 25, 2020)

 Manny “The Bermudez Triangle” Bermudez (14-2) may be one of the most appropriately nicknamed fighters in history, as evidenced by the nine triangle submission victories that reside on his very decorated amateur and professional mixed martial arts (MMA) record.  So, his prediction for his upcoming title fight against Bruce Boyington on February 8th at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine came as little surprise when he spoke recently with Ryan Jarrell on Between Rounds Radio.

 Bermudez will be competing in the New England Fights (NEF) MMA cage for the first time since recently being cut from the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) after a 3-2 run in the world’s leading MMA promotion.

 Manny began training at his storied home gym, South Shore Sport Fighting (SSSF) in Rockland, Massachusetts, when he was barely a teenager under the experienced eye of former MMA competitor and world-class coach, Bill Mahoney. Bermudez made his amateur MMA debut in 2012 and compiled a 7-1 record before turning professional in 2015. Once he set out on his pro career, he never looked back, compiling a flawless 11-0 regional record before being signed to the UFC in 2018.

 After being picked-up by the UFC, Bermudez won his first three fights for the promotion, securing each win by submission stoppage. However, after missing weight multiple times and dropping back-to-back losses in his two most recent fights, Bermudez was cut from the UFC.

 “I'm getting older and when you do so much weight cutting so frequently, it becomes tougher and tougher on your body,” Bermudez explained to Jarrell. “And then at some point, you're just worn out from it. This fight's at 55 now [against Boyington], so it's going to be a nice little step back into it. The goal eventually is to get back down to 35 but, well, we're going to try to take this fight and then see where it goes.”

 “The cool thing is that like being in the UFC, I was able to kind of understand that, I feel like I'm definitely on the level of those guys,” Bermudez continued. “I've felt what they feel like. I've trained with guys that I know are better than them. And I know that skill-wise I'm there and physically I'm there too. But, I do think they want to see me make the weight a couple of times, they want to see me get a couple of wins under my belt. A two-loss streak isn't the worst thing that they're worried about. So, I just want to make sure that I come on the local scene and then take a couple of fights, get some finishes, maybe show some variety and then hopefully soon enough we'll get back in there.”

 Since being cut from the UFC, Bermudez had recently been focusing on helping his SSSF teammate, Boyington’s originally scheduled opponent for February 8th, Josh “The Fluke” Grispi (14-5), for his return to action for the first time in seven years. However, unforeseen legal issues forced Grispi to pull out of the fight at the last minute and Bermudez, aware that NEF officials were looking to fill the hole left by Grispi’s withdrawal, answered the call.

 “Me and him [Grispi] just happened to be training together anyways for this fight,” Bermudez explained. “I was his main sparring partner, so I was in pretty good shape in terms of like my reflexes and sparring all the time and this and that. And so when I started hearing that Josh possibly couldn't make the fight, I was like, all right, well, I'll be ready just in case something happens and he actually can't fight. So, when he officially said he couldn't do it, then I just hopped right in and Bruce took it immediately.”

 Accepting challenging fights is nothing new for Boyington, who has built his reputation on facing difficult opponents in cages from Maine to as far away as Madison Square Garden and even Russia. Boyington is also famous for having never lost a fight when a title is on the line.

 “I don't think that the fight's going to go the whole five rounds,” Bermudez predicted. “Bruce is obviously a striker. I've seen his takedown defense and I've seen him off of his back and I wasn’t very impressed. He's been in there with some world-class guys and then there was some tough fighters, so you can't take that away from him. He's in great shape too. His Taekwondo black belt is something that you don't really see a lot of in local MMA. So, I do think he's an interesting style fighter, but he's also just like a specialist. So as long as you watch out for what the specialist does best, you're pretty much good to go.”

 Bermudez also commented to Jarrell that he doesn’t believe we’ve seen the last of a possible eventual showdown between Boyington and Grispi. The future potential fight took on a personal tone back in November when both fighters were brought into the cage in Portland at “NEF 41” to announce the originally scheduled headlining bout. Boyington drew attention to Grispi’s criminal history by wearing a t-shirt into the cage that night that had the statement “real men don’t hit women” printed on it. Grispi served over five-years in prison after he was convicted of domestic assault against his ex-wife.

 While hesitant to go into much detail on the situation, Bermudez did acknowledge that his loyalty to his teammate was at odds with Boyington’s statements on Grispi’s past.

 “Josh is definitely one of my closest friends and I think that what he was saying to Josh, definitely, I definitely didn't like that,” Bermudez stated. “And I think that Josh is still going to try to fight him, though. So, I think at the end of the day, Bruce and Josh haven't seen the last of it. So, when that comes, I think, Bruce is going to have to fight Josh, not me. So, I'm going to go in there, I'm going to do what I do with Bruce and then afterwards, what he and Josh have together, they can settle it.”

 But that’s all for a future date. On February 8th, it’s all about Bermudez versus Boyington for the NEF Lightweight Championship.

 So, in the end, what was Bermudez’s unsurprising prediction for his first fight back on the regional circuit in over two years?

 “First round submission,” Bermudez stated confidently. “We'll say a triangle; I'll say a triangle. I haven't seen one of those in a while.”

 Who would’ve guessed it?

 New England Fights' next mixed-martial-arts event, "NEF 42: Symphony of Destruction," will take place on Saturday, February 8, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. Tickets are on sale now at