FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (September 5, 2016) – Taylor Trahan is a statistical oddity.
A native of Littleton, New Hampshire, now living in East Concord, Vermont, the 25-year-old pursued mixed martial arts seven years ago, soon as he was legally old enough to do so. He has entered the cage a total of 20 times in professional and amateur competition.
All that experience in this neck of the woods, yet his featherweight bout against Matt Denning at “NEF 25: Heroes and Villains” on Saturday, Sept. 10 at Androscoggin Bank Colisee will be his debut with New England Fights.
Trahan (5-6) is not buying the underdog or bad-guy label, even though he will walk into the historic arena in a city that Denning (3-3) calls home.
“This is only a two-hour trip (each way) for most of my fans,” Trahan said. “Most of them are used to traveling four hours or more to watch me fight. They’re like, ‘Oh, sweet.’”
Both fighters hope the matchup will reverse their recent career fortunes. Trahan has lost five consecutive fights since a red-hot start to his pro docket, while Denning has dropped three of his last four contests.
Denning is quick to point out that the results are deceiving on both sides.
“He fought a guy named Joe Pingitore. Beat him the first time with a rear naked choke and then lost to him in the rematch,” Denning said. “That’s a guy who is one of the best 145-pounders in New England.”
If anyone has the right to consider himself an expert in ranking those middle weight classes, it’s Denning.
The local favorite known as “Ken Doll” has never shied away from fighting the best that NEF has to offer fighters in the neighborhood of 145. Denning twice defeated Derek Shorey. He inched upward in weight, unsuccessfully, against Jon Lemke at 150 and Josh Harvey at 155. Most recently, Brandon Bushaw beat him by submission at “NEF 24: Promised Land” in June.
“You think about Lemke and Harvey, and I train with Jesse Erickson (at Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu),” Denning said. “The only one really missing is Devin Powell. I feel like I’ve fought and trained with the best group of guys around.”
Jiu-jitsu is the go-to for both fighters. Trahan is a brown belt, while Denning is a purple belt.
In other areas, their styles clash. Three of Trahan’s pro wins have come by decision. Denning, meanwhile, has never gone the distance as a pro. He only went to the cards once as an amateur – a loss to Dom Cofone in his cage debut.
Trahan stopped short of a prediction but said that he expects to prevail by submission.
“I see it being a slow first round for at least the first couple minutes,” he said. “Then once I get my timing down and start doing the things I want to do, I don’t see it going into the third round.”
Denning has prepared for a lengthy encounter. He confessed that he smoked through most of his career but has quit.
Couple that with a renewed commitment to road work and Denning forecasts that his fans will be pleased with his readiness for the relatively unknown foe.
“I believe the longest fight I’ve had was two minutes left in the third round,” Denning said. “I feel good conditioning-wise. I’m a shorter guy, so I’ve got to stay at 145.”
He said that sparring against Erickson has prepared him for the taller Trahan.
Denning believes that his striking and wrestling are superior to Trahan’s repertoire, but he complemented his rival by adding that he considers him another in a line of rugged opponents.
“I wanted to pick someone hard to fight. This is my fourth fight in six months,” Denning said. “Before that I took a year off. The last time I won in Lewiston was September of last year. I’m hoping the hometown advantage will help a little bit this time.”
Given the unpredictable nature of MMA, pro fighters must have short memories while applying the hard lessons they learn from losses. Trahan, like Denning, thinks he has achieved that.
“I’ve learned that I have to stick to what I know, and don’t do what’s not me,” Trahan said. “I think that in order for me to win, I have to take it to the ground. I favor the ground style. He’s excellent on the ground, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve seen some things I think I can exploit.”
The opening bell this Saturday, September 10 is set for 7 p.m. The current docket for “NEF 25: Heroes and Villains” includes three professional boxing matches, five pro mixed martial arts bouts and five amateur MMA scraps. Tickets start at $25 and are available at www.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisee box office at 207.783.2009, extension 525.
For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at www.NewEnglandFights.com. In addition, you can watch NEF videos at www.youtube.com/NEFMMA, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”
About New England Fights
New England Fights (“NEF”) is a fight events promotions company. NEF’s mission is to create the highest quality events for Maine’s fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.