FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Lewiston, Maine (February 12, 2016) – New England Fights (NEF), America’s number-one regional fight promotion, will hold its next event, “NEF 22: ALL ROADS LEAD HERE” on Saturday, April 22, 2016 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine. The fight card will feature a mix of mixed-martial-arts (MMA) and professional boxing bouts. Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of a featherweight contest to the amateur portion of the “NEF 22” fight card. Bantamweight Champion Johnny Crafts (4-0) will move up in weight to face Taylor Costantino (2-1) at 145-pounds.
Crafts was successful last Saturday in his attempt to capture the inaugural NEF MMA Amateur Bantamweight Title. He took out Henry Clark (3-2) in the third round of their bout in Lewiston. Crafts is a decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) brown belt out of Team New England United (NEU). He also cross-trains with Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ) in Lewiston.
“I’m excited to step up to 145 to fight Taylor,” said Crafts of the upcoming matchup with Costantino. “I will be very strong at that weight seeing as I cut pretty extensively to make 135. It will allow me to focus on different areas this camp instead of putting a lot of my energy into cutting weight.”
Costantino is himself coming off a big win last Saturday at “NEF 21.” It took him a mere 25-seconds to down Frank Johanson (0-1), a training partner of Crafts at CMBJJ, in the first round. Costantino is clear that he is coming to fight on April 23, and he does not plan on engaging in a grappling contest with Crafts.
“Respect to him for coming up in weight,” said Costantino of Crafts. “He’s a glorified pajama warrior that has never been punched in the face with any type of authority. He will clinch quickly and look for the takedown. He’ll realize real quick that he has never fought or trained with anybody like me.”
Crafts and Costantino are not strangers to one another. Several years ago, the two met in a jiu-jitsu tournament with Crafts coming out on top.
“Taylor and I have competed before in a sport jiu-jitsu tournament,” recalled Crafts. “Taylor says I am a glorified pajama warrior who has never been punched in the face, but if I recall correctly, I submitted him without my ‘pajamas’ no-gi in that tournament pretty quickly. I train with a lot of very talented and tough fighters daily who punch me in the face very hard. People say the same thing about me not getting punched – well, I have had four fights and they just haven’t had the chance to. Anyone who has trained with high-level fighters will tell you that gi jiu-jitsu only makes you more of a technical fighter. If he doesn’t believe that, that is fine – he will feel it on April 23rd.”
“Johnny did submit me when I first moved to Maine,” Costantino admitted. “Legit submission, and his pure grappling is definitely high level. My grappling is MMA based, not slow jitsu. It’s grimy, grueling and punishing. Pure grappling, I would worry about his game. But it’s a fight, sport jiu-jitsu means next to nothing to me.
“I wish I could say people will get to see my whole game, but I can’t guarantee that. Johnny will feel my power and look to go to his comfort zone. I will break him, you will see quit in his eyes.”
“After Taylor won in impressive fashion at NEF 21, he immediately screamed at me while still inside the cage that he wanted a black belt for his next challenge,” said NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson. “Well, he’s getting a brown belt in Johnny Crafts who, by all accounts, is due to receive his black belt any day, is a perfect 4-0 in the cage and is the current NEF amateur bantamweight champion. This fight is dripping with drama and will define a future top contender for the featherweight title in NEF’s stacked 145-pound division.”
New England Fights’ next event, “NEF 22: ALL ROADS LEAD HERE,” takes place Saturday, April 23, 2016 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisée in Lewiston, Maine. Tickets for “NEF 22” start at just $25 and are on sale now at www.TheColisee.com or by calling the Colisée box office at 207.783.2009 x 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.