Old School is the senior writer/editor for NorthEastMMA.net, the one web site dedicated to Mixed Martial Arts in New England and New York.  His weekly column will appear on Mondays here at Five Ounces of Pain.

Ten Reasons to watch NEF Fight Night VII
From Old School

Saturday, May 18th in Lewiston Maine, The Androscoggin Bank Colisee will host NEF Fight Night VII. Now I can’t think of one good reason why anyone would want to travel to Maine, but I can sure think of ten…

Here are my top ten reasons why you (and half the State of Maine) should see NEF Fight Night VII…

Reason #1
Marcus Davis 21-9-1 (Team Irish)
Darrius Heyliger 4-1-1 (Bombsquad)

Two of the region’s top Welterweights will collide in a battle of the old and the new. The 39 year old Marcus Davis is once again fighting in his home state, and with Bellator making a play for The Irish Hand Grenade, this may be the last time that we will see him fighting in Maine. At one time Marcus was the gatekeeper to the UFC’s Welterweight division; he brings more than thirty fights and two decades of Combat Sports and MMA experience to NEF VII. An outstanding striker with a solid all around game, the Team Irish founder will look to pad his resume with another win, this one over Darrius Heyliger.
Darrius Heyliger, just 24 years old, brings a modest 4-1-1 record and a Bombsquad full of confidence to the cage. Training out of Ithaca, NY, he will have a significant height and reach advantage. He is young, athletic, and has shown sharp striking in recent wins over Wilfredo Santiago, Jarrod Lawton, and Josh Bellows. Should Darrius be able to effectively use his length and get the jab working, he may be able to pull off the biggest upset of 2013, and ruin the evening for Marcus and a few thousand Mainers!

Reason #2
Heavyweight Title
Travis Bartlett 8-3 (Syndicate)
Tyler King 6-1 (Connors)

After a few changes in the fight card, the Maine State Heavyweight Title will be contested between the top regionally ranked Heavyweight Tyler King and Maine Native Travis Bartlett. This is a fight that was scheduled to take place a year ago, but a medical issue threw a wrench in the works. Tyler King (6-1, Connors MMA) has proven to be the best by beating the best, as his recent wins over Josh Diekman and Eric Bedard will attest. He is tall (6’6”) with an ever evolving and well rounded game; he is not exceptional at any one thing, but is well rounded in all things MMA.
Travis is a bit of an unknown to the Maine fans. He is from Maine, but has never actually fought in Maine, as he has been camped out on the left coast for the past few years, employed as a training partner for some of the top fighters in the UFC. The Showstopper will certainly add some spice to the NorthEast regional heavyweight division, and it all begins on Saturday, May 18th in Lewiston, ME. I can’t see this fight going all five rounds, but I’ve been wrong before and I’ll be there again…

Reason #3
175 lb
Jarrod Lawton 2-1 (AIBJJ)
Cody Anderson 1-1 (Team Triumph)

Cody Anderson cruised through his Amateur career undefeated, but in just his second Pro fight the New Hampshire teenager ran headlong into Ryan Hodge and suffered his first loss. In that fight, Hodge carried a size advantage and showed little respect for Cody’s reputation. In his early fights, Cody has shown great striking and adequate ground game (although his teammates at Team Triumph know that his ground game is exceptional). He will be facing Jarrod Lawton, where he will likely be giving away some size, age (man strength), and experience.
Lawton is just 2-1, but he has a recent win over Ryan Sanders. He is a nationally ranked grappler who just recently began focusing on his MMA. I suspect that Jarrod will try to get this fight to the ground where he can work his submission game. This fight will likely find its’ way to the ground one way or the other, and we may see a grapplers dream fight.

Reason #4
Ray Wood 2-0 (Young’s MMA)
Ahsan Abdullah 3-2 (Bombsquad)

A Pro Featherweight battle between Ahsan Abdullah and Ray Wood will be a rematch of an Amateur fight from early 2012. In that fight Ray Wood came back from being choked out twice to TKO Abdulla late in the first round. (His face turned as blue as the Maine ocean, and ref Kevin MacDonald is still wondering weather or not they teach tapping out at Young’s MMA.  I personally believe that Ray Wood breathes through gills.) Last year’s NorthEastMMA’s Amateur Fighter of the Year, Ray Wood has begun his pro career at 2-0. He has excellent wrestling for MMA, cardio for days (weeks), and he recently graduated from the Scotty Rehm Striking Academy with an “A” for effort. He never looked better than he did in his last win over Smeef Cotito!
The new and improved Ahsan Abdullah trains out of the Bombaquad, travels and fights for a living, and specializes in pissing in the cornflakes of opponent’s home town. He has greatly improved his striking and he loves to stand and bang. He is young (just 20) and always learning. He is a favorite training partner for Sha Shamhalaev. Ahsan (3-2) could easily be 5-0, except for a couple of biased judges in Jersey and Rhode Island. Maine, however, has some of the best judges in the game, but I don’t think either fighter wants this fight to hear the final horn.
This fight is my pick for Fight of the Night.

Reason #5
Lightweight Title
Henry Martinez 9-5 (Team Irish)
Dez Green 8-1 (Bombsquad)

The Maine Lightweight Title will feature UFC veteran Henry Martinez (9-5, now training at Team Irish in Maine, I am told) and Team Bombsquad’s Dez Green (8-1, ranked #7 regionally). Martinez has never fought in the region, but has an extensive background, including three fights in the UFC. He is a solid ground fighter, possibly having the edge in jitz, but will likely be giving away some in the wrestling department to Dez.
Dez Green is fast becoming a favorite all over the NorthEast. With wins over (#1 ranked Featherweight) Rob Font, Brandon Fleming, and John Ortolani, he has become one of the region’s best. So far Dez has shown outstanding wrestling, but he really has not developed his striking and BJJ game to that same level. With each successive fight we get to see a little more of his game, but he is still primarily a dominant wrestler. When two solid ground fighters collide, often times it is the striking that becomes the difference, and this fight has all the makings of a stand-up clinch style battle.

Reason #6
Amateur 185
Buck Pineau 5-2 (Chois)
Allan Josselyn 3-2 (Kaze)

In a rematch of a fight from last September, Allan Josselyn (NH) and Buck “Knuckles” Pineau (Maine) will highlight the Amateur card. Each of these two fighters is ranked amongst the top five Amateur Middleweights, where all five have both wins and losses with-in the group of five. In their first fight, Josselyn (3-2, Team Kaze, NH) was dropped with a head kick early in the first, but he fought back to win a unanimous decision. Buck Knuckles (5-2, Chois, ME) is the local favorite who is coming off the biggest win of his career, a third round submission of #1 ranked Mike Rodriguez. Their first fight was a brawl, and this one promises more of the same…

Now, if those six reasons are not enough to entice New Englanders to hit the highway and head down east, here are four more:

Reason #7
Maine is lovely this time of year. The air is clean and the temperature is cool and comfortable, so much so that you may just feel like purchasing one of those post cards with a Moose on the front. (They’re available at nearly all the general stores, usually stuck right between the jar of pickled eggs and the rack of Slim Jims.)

Reason #8
Maine has the friendliest toll booth workers. It’s true, and with their down east accent and sense of humah, you may find the trip quite enjoyable and stories are well worth the $2.00 toll. Just keep it between the lines…  and watch for Moose…

Reason #9
Maine MMA fans are the best! Really! You see, an awful lot of Maine is still not “cable ready”, so MMA is just about the most important and exciting thing to do on the weekend of the 18th. The black flies are gonna be starting to light up, so camping is out of the question. Deer are not in season, and neither are the tourists. (How come during tourist season we’re not allowed to shoot ‘em?) So nearly all of MMAine will be headed over to the Colisee in Lewiston, where they still say “be there or be square”.

Reason #10
The Lewiston Colisee is the best arena that hosts MMA in the region. This is the same Colisee where Muhammad Ali KO’d Sonny Liston in 1965. With seating for 5,000, a recent multi-million dollar renovation, and plenty of Ship Yard Ale, there’s never a better place to enjoy the fights, and this fight card is one of the best the region will see. The after-party, located just behind the top tier of seats in the Press room, generally features more Ship Yard Ale as well as the current UFC event (UFC on FX 8), where we usually catch the Main Card. And even though mud season is behind us, when in Maine one can never be too careful; there’s no worry here, as the entire Colisee parking lot is paved! Be there or be square…


Photo Credit: Jim Genia – Rebellion Media