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October 11, 2022



Portland, Maine (October 10, 2022)

Massachusetts mixed martial artist Amanda Ferreira is just about the right age to have learned everything she knows about the circle of life from “The Lion King.” These days, however, Ferreira, 24, receives an object lesson in that concept every time the alarm clock rings.

She’s busy building multiple careers while raising a 3-year-old, Kaiden, who is already every bit the gym rat Ferreira has been since her own childhood. In fact, Kaiden is the exact same age as Amanda when she made her first foray into combat sports.

“I’ve been doing martial arts since I was three,” Ferreira said. “I’m a black belt in Kenpo Karate, so I did that from about three to 13. Then I took up boxing and then kickboxing and then MMA. I don’t think it was planned to happen. I think it just kind of followed in suit.”

Ferreira (0-1) will enter the MMA cage for the second time and make her debut with New England Fights when she squares off with Cassidy Bedard (1-0) of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in a catchweight bout at “NEF 50,” scheduled for Saturday, November 12 at Aura in Portland, Maine.

Native of a legendary fight town in Lowell, Ferreira is excited about the prospect of testing the waters close to home after shipping out to Illinois for her debut, a decision loss to Alivia Bierley on July 24.

“I know this is (Bedard’s) second MMA fight as well. I know the first one ended up in a huge upset with a disqualification,” Ferreira said. “I’ve got some tape on her. I know she likes to come forward, and I know she likes to strike. I also know that she comes from CMBJJ, so I know she’ll have a good ground game. I’m excited to see what we’re gonna be able to do and put on a good show for everybody there.”

Bedard had her hand raised in victory at NEF 47: “The Battle of L/A” in May after opponent Michelle MacDavid was disqualified for gouging Bedard’s eye.

Ferreira’s transition from kickboxing to MMA has taken place under the watchful eyes of Walter Smith Cotito and Joey Gomez at Karasu Tengu Academy in of Nashua, New Hampshire, where her love of competition has only continued to blossom.

“I was boxing in Lowell, Massachusetts, after I did my karate stuff,” Ferreira said. “That place kinda shut down, so then I went and started kickboxing, and then I made the transfer over to Walter and Joey. They were my teammates before they were my coaches, so it was an easy transition, and I’ve been hooked since.”

Smith Cotito is a veteran of 11 pro MMA bouts, including scraps with NEF greats Bruce Boyington and Ray Wood. Ferreira describes him as a teacher of the game on multi-faceted levels.

“Walter is amazing, man. I can’t say enough about him. He’s the best coach around,” she said. “He’s more than a coach. He’s our mental person. He’s our cardio person. He does everything. Not a lot of people see that, but he’s everybody in the gym’s best friend. If you’re having a bad day, you know you can go to him whenever. He’s my son’s best friend as well, so a coach and a best friend, I can’t ask for anything more.”

A full-time client service representative by day, Ferreira is clear that her most important title is Mom.

Raiden is a regular at KTA, where he can be seen soaking in the ambiance and taking mental notes while Ferreira goes through her rigorous training sessions.

“He’s obsessed. He loves fighting,” Ferreira said. “We always have fights going on in the gym. We have the TV up. We’ll watch film, watch our teammates’ fights.”

Asked if she will nudge her son in the same direction she wandered as a toddler, it sounds as if the decision has already been made for her.

“He pulled Walter aside the other day and said, ‘I want to fight on the TV.’ It was (Dana White’s) Contender Series. He’s our nice little prodigy. He’s three, so we’ve got time with it. He’s punching and kicking. He jumped in jiu-jitsu class the other day and just loves it. He was doing hip escapes, and we never taught him how to do it. It’s awesome to see what they absorb just by watching.”

Ferreira earned the nod from the judges in both of her amateur kickboxing bouts. She won by split decision over Sarah Lee Sudol in April 2019 and prevailed on all three cards against Carol Linn Powell in October 2021.

MMA with its ever-broadening appeal and international audience was a natural next step. Ferreira feels amply prepared by her diverse background.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a difficult transition. I would say more is added to my plate now with the wrestling and jiu-jitsu and kind of just blending everything together,” Ferreira said. “It’s hard work, same as everything else that I’ve done my whole life, so I’m excited, I love it, and I’ll be here for a while.”

The fighter’s description of her summer debut is short and sweet.

“It was a tough decision loss, but if you don’t win, you learn,” Ferreira said. “We took it, and we’re back.”

Ferreira faced all the requisite obstacles of playing a road game in that unveiling. It’s a consequence of being a woman fighting in New England where the talent pool of potential rivals fitting that description is shallow.

Even though one of NEF’s fastest rising and most popular fighters, Glory Watson, is in the women’s locker room, making MMA matches for females in the Northeast remains a chore.

“I fought Carol Linn Powell in kickboxing, and I know she fought MMA for a while as well, but right now she’s off. Chelsea Tucker just came back to the scene, but she dropped to 125. So 135 is an even harder task to find somebody for,” Ferreira said. “My first MMA fight I was flown out to Chicago. It’s a lot, especially to my first MMA fight traveling and whatnot, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I got the flight experience, the traveling during fight week experience, so it’s honestly great.”

The flip side of being in that small room is that it doesn’t take long to make an impression and move to the head of the class.

“Obviously, the ultimate goal for me is one, UFC. Kind of any big show,” Ferreira said. “Short-term goal as a pro as would be Bellator and then just keep building and see what I can do. I’m in it for the long haul.”

As for the next step toward those aspirations, Ferreira expects her versatility to be an asset.

“I like everything, I like stand-up, but I like being on the ground. I’m comfy kind of everywhere,” Ferreira said. “That’s also a perk of having Walter and Joey. We’re comfortable everywhere. We drill every position a thousand times. If we’re there, we know how to get out of it. We’ve just got to make it happen.”

Although it’s her debut as a fighter in Maine, Ferreira is familiar with the rabid spectator base and promises she’ll give them cause to cheer.

“I was a fight fan in Maine. A lot of my teammates have been on the card before,” she said. “Going from a fan to a fighter, I know what the fans like. They like a big finish, a big knockout. It could go all three rounds. It could end in the first round. But I’m here to put on a show.”

Opening bell time for NEF 50 at Aura is set for 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 12. Tickets are on sale now at




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