EF Fight Night promoters Nick DiSalvo and Matt Peterson are breaking new ground once again. This time they are not only putting on their first ever show in Bangor (Maine), but they are doing it at an out door event center. The Darling’s Waterfront Pavillion will play host to NEF VIII, “Nations Collide”. The Weather Channel is calling for highs of 78 with twenty percent chance of rain for this coming Friday.
For the first time ever, Young’s MMA and Team Irish fighters will weigh in, then have dinner, and then go sleep in their own beds.
The Main Event will feature Bucksport’s own Ray Wood (Young’s MMA), Maine’s favorite Featherweight, facing Canada’s Lenny Wheeler for the Maine State Featherweight Title. Ray ran his Amateur record to 5-1 against some of the toughest competition available before turning Pro, where he has built a 3-0 record, each fight coming by way of a finish. Ray looks better every time we see him, and he continues to fight the toughest guys that his management can dig up. I spoke to Chris Young (Young’s MMA) last week and he said that there isn’t a lot of video out there on Lenny Wheeler (6-2), so they are just preparing Ray the best they can.
Team Irish Lightweight Jon Lemke (3-0) will take on Canadian Matt DesRoches (4-0) at a catch weight of 160. Like Wood, Lemke left behind a stellar Amateur record before turning Pro, where he is still undefeated. Lemke has looked good in all three of his Pro wins. He has displayed outstanding striking in his brief Pro Career; I thought that Lemke looked excellent in his Pro debut when he out pointed Nate Oses in a battle of solid strikers. What I do know about the Canadian DesRoches is that he is 4-0, all by finish, but he is still lacking a win over an opponent with a strong record.
It’s good to see Ryan Sanders back in the saddle. Once again, Ryan does not have an easy task ahead of him, as he is facing Jersey Welterweight Emmanuel Walo. Sanders (4-4, Young’s MMA) has fought possibly the toughest schedule of any active Welterweight in the region, so don’t be fooled by his 4-4 record. His cardio is excellent and his striking and submission are very solid as well. If Sanders has shown a weakness, it is in his takedown defense; but the folks at Young’s MMA have been focusing on that. I expect to see the best Ryan Sanders that we have seen yet…
Emmanuel Walo is coming up from New Jersey with his 3-1 record. Walo looked really good in his last win, where he handed Toby Oden the first loss of his Amateur or Pro career. Walo also has a win over a very tough Bradley Desir. This fight is either a stepping stone for Walo or a new beginning for Sanders.
Team Irish Welterweight Andrew Hughes will leave behing his 5-1 Amateur record and his top five Amateur Welterweight ranking when he makes his Pro debut against Joe Palazio. Palazio himself was one of the top ranked Ammies at 185 just a year ago. This fight will display just how good today’s debuting Pros are, as both fighters were at the top of successful Amateur careers before turning Pro. Hughes is the home town guy in this one; Palazio trains out of Rukus in Rhode Island. Look for Palazio to make this one a brawl and take the home town guy out of his game.
On the undercard, Caleb Hall (2-0) is taking on Zack Adams (0-1) in a battle of Maine 145ers; this fight has my attention, Hall has won both of his first two Ammy fights by using his wrestling pedigree, and he has looked amazingly efficient doing it. He wrestles at Plymouth State (NH). I keep saying “Keep an eye on this kid”, because he has looked that good. He is young, looks younger, and has a bright future ahead of him. Caleb will be facing Zack Adams, which will be a tough challenge for him at this stage of his career.
Adams puts the BJJ in Young’s MMA. He is 0-1, a fight that he got caught and KO’d in ten seconds. But that can happen to any one. Stylistically, this is a good match; the wrestler v the BJJ fighter. Zack can fight off his back, which is where Caleb will likely put him. Zack was stoked to have this fight. He knows he has the skill set to beat Caleb, but he has to implement it…
For tickets, directions, a current fight card, and all that other good info, visit the promotion’s website.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports