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October 22, 2021


Portland, Maine (October 22, 2021) – When the bell rings at 7 pm EST to start the show on Friday, November 5, it will be the first time New England Fights (NEF) has presented a mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event in its home state of Maine in 21 months.  Shortly after the
venerable fight promotion held “NEF 42” at Merrill Auditorium in Portland on February 8, 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the state and the nation.  The resulting shutdown forced the indefinite postponement of “NEF 43” which was scheduled to take place in Orono, Maine later that spring.  With the state not fully opening for combat sports events until well into 2021, NEF decided to turn to neighboring New Hampshire to hold “NEF 44” last summer.  “NEF 45: Uprising” on November 5 will see the fight promotion make its long-awaited return to action in Maine, as well as close out its first decade of business.  The event will originate from Aura in Portland.

Earlier today, NEF announced the full fight card for “NEF 45.”  It is scheduled to feature a total of 21 bouts with four championships to be decided.

In the main event of the evening, Josh “Hook On” Harvey (7-1-1) will defend the NEF Professional Featherweight Title against the challenge of Aguilando Brandao (9-8).  Harvey has held the championship since February 2019.  Brandao is a tough veteran with more than 15 years of cage experience.

The co-main event will see Mark “Pockets” Gardner (1-2) take on Nick Alley (7-4) in a professional welterweight contest.  Both competitors are veterans of global promotion Bellator’s cage.  Both will be looking to bounce back from losses in their respective previous bouts.

Zac “Rocky” Richard (0-0) will make his professional debut against Carl Langston (0-5) after a successful amateur career that saw Richard capture the NEF 155-pound title.  Langston seeks his first win as a professional fighter.

In other pro bouts, Matt “Ken Doll” Denning (5-10) meets former University of Southern Maine wrestling standout Jon Deupree (0-0) in Deupree’s pro debut, while former NEF Professional Middleweight Champion CJ Ewer (3-3) battles Shaun Ray (2-1) in the welterweight division.

The amateur portion of the fight card will be headlined by three title fights: Caleb Austin (5-0) faces Tyler Smythe (2-1) for the vacant flyweight belt; Felipe Günter (3-0) is scheduled to square off with Teddy Politis (2-0) for the vacant bantamweight championship; and Nathaniel Grimard (4-0) will defend his newly-won featherweight strap against Billy Wilson (6-1).

The sole women’s fight of the evening will also take place on the amateur card as BJ Garceau (1-1) meets the debuting Hayley Martin (0-0) in a strawweight bout.  Garceau last appeared in the NEF cage three years earlier at “NEF 36.”

“It feels like forever since we had a fight in Maine—and what a card to come back with,” said NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson.  “So many prospects in this lineup, so many undefeated fighters putting their perfect records on the line, so much at stake for so many impressive athletes putting themselves to the test on November 5th. Four title fights. For headliner Josh Harvey, his next fight could be the last chance to see him compete before he gets the call to the UFC —he’s that close. Leading up to the main event we have several undefeated amateur athletes that are on the cusp of turning pro and trying to follow in Harvey’s footsteps. AURA is the place to be November 5th!”

The full “NEF 45” fight card (subject to change):


145 POUND TITLE: Josh Harvey (c) vs. Aguilando Brandao
170 POUNDS: Nick Alley vs. Mark Gardner
140 POUNDS: Carl Langston vs. Zac Richard
170 POUNDS: Jon Deupree vs. Matt Denning
160 POUNDS: Jay Ellis vs. Rodrigo Almeida
170 POUNDS: CJ Ewer vs. Shaun Ray


125 POUND TITLE: Caleb Austin vs. Tyler Smythe
145 POUND TITLE: Billy Wilson vs. Nathaniel Grimard (c)
135 POUND TITLE: Felipe Günter vs. Teddy Politis
115 POUNDS: BJ Garceau vs. Hayley Martin
200 POUNDS: David McCarthy vs. Danny Dray
170 POUNDS: Brian Cosco vs. Tyler Kingsbury
265 POUNDS: Tucker Olinsky vs. George Pissimissis
170 POUNDS: Curtis Ouellette vs. Derek Lambert
185 POUNDS: Bryant Wade vs. Brandon Oldenberg
185 POUNDS: Brett Martin vs. Justin Philbrook
155 POUNDS: Jonas Ryerson vs. RJ Janeczek
165 POUNDS: Austin Hamilton vs. David Hart
115 POUNDS: Julian Menjivar vs. Matt Miles
155 POUNDS: Jacob Routon vs. Emmett Huber
135 POUNDS: Tyler Parent vs. Randall Hathorn

“NEF 45: Uprising” takes place on Friday, November 5, 2021, at Aura in Portland, Maine.  Doors open at 6 pm with first fight at 7 pm.  Tickets are on sale now at  The event will also be live streamed on pay-per-view for the price of $29.99 at