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April 22, 2023




 Portland, Maine (April 18, 2023) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to Aura in Portland, Maine on Saturday, May 13, 2023, with its next mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event “NEF 52: Zero Hour.” Earlier today, the fight promotion announced the addition of an amateur middleweight bout to the card.  Zach Danesh (1-1) is scheduled to meet Dalton Rice (0-0) at a fight weight of 185 pounds.

Zach Danesh holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and trains at Defensive Edge MMA in Wakefield, Massachusetts.  He made his amateur MMA debut last fall on a fight card in Massachusetts and took a loss.  Danesh rebounded and submitted Jon Assam (2-5) earlier this year at “NEF 51” in his second MMA bout.  Danesh is the author of the published work The End of New York (Archway Publishing 2018) – a fictional tale of a young BJJ practitioner’s exploits in New York City.

“I love this art, and I’m ready to bleed for it,” stated Danesh when reached for comment.

Danesh’s opponent will be a familiar face to Maine baseball followers.  Dalton Rice was a star pitcher for Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in South Paris, Maine.  After graduation in 2015, Rice went on to play four years for the University of Southern Maine where he started 39 games and graduated with a 13-9 record and 4.42 ERA.  Rice was scouted by the Los Angeles Angels and, although undrafted in 2019, as a free agent he spent time with the Angels’ rookie league affiliate the Orem (Utah) Owlz.  Rice currently represents Recon MMA based in Westbrook, Maine.

“I’m stoked to make my NEF debut here in Portland,” said Rice. “I believe I can come in and be a tough match-up for anyone at middleweight. I don’t know much about Zach, but I’m prepared for a war. It’s gonna be fun.”

“NEF 52: Zero Hour” will take place on Saturday, May 13, 2023, at Aura in Portland, Maine.  Doors will open at 6 pm with first fight taking place at 7 pm.  Tickets are on sale now at