Tourney Set To Crown Lightweight NEF Champ
The New England Fights promotion out of Lewiston has announced a four man tournament to crown the next lightweight champion for the company.
The current champion Devin Powell announced that he will vacate the title in advance of his upcoming UFC bout in January. Ryan Sanders, Jon Lemke, John Ortolani, and Jesse Erickson will be the participants for the tournament with the semifinals occurring on NEF 27 in February and the finals coming on NEF 28 card.
Jon Lemke, who is coming off loses to Sanders and Powell in November and August respectively, will face Erickson in one semi-final match-up. The two were scheduled to fight in September before Lemke had to drop off the card with an injury. Erickson beat Crowsneck Boutin on that card to move to 9-5 in his career. Both fighters have faced one another at Bellator 93 in 2013 in which Lemke won in the first round.
Sanders (12-8) is coming into the competition on a two fight win streak after returning to the NEF. Along with his victory against Lemke last fight card, he also beat Derrick Kennington from South Carolina in August. Ortolani (8-10) is making his return to the NEF cage for the first time since 2014, however he fought recently in the boxing ring last September, losing versus Casey Kramlich.
Former NEF lightweight champions include Dez Green, who now fights for Titan Fighting after a stint in Bellator, and Bruce Boyington, who is with the World Series of Fighting promotion.
NEF 27 will take place on February 11 and will also feature the return of Young's MMA standout Josh Harvey.