FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (December 20, 2019) – New England Fights (NEF) today announced the nominees for their annual Year End Awards for 2019’s “Fighter of the Year.” The four nominated fighters who earned top honors in 2019 were: Josh “Hook On” Harvey (7-0-1) from Vision Quest Muay Thai; Glory “The Fury” Watson (6-1) from Young’s MMA; Nate “Backpack” Boucher (6-3) from Central Maine Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (CMBJJ); and Tom “The Phenom” Pagliarulo (5-1) from Burgess/Lauzon’s MMA.
Glory “The Fury” Watson was more active than any other fighter on the NEF roster in 2019. Watson began her winning year at “NEF 37: SUBZERO” back in February when she stopped Wisconsin’s Rachael Lippert (4-4) with a guillotine choke in the third round. A little over a month later, Watson earned a unanimous decision victory over Alyssa Marini (2-2) at a show in Massachusetts. In June, Watson won her first title when she decisioned Oregon’s Caree Hill (5-2) for the NEF Flyweight Championship. In September, Watson dropped down to strawweight for the first time and battered Canada’s Lin MacMillan (0-2) via first round TKO at 1:23. Watson’s only defeat in 2019 came at the hands of Cara Greenwell (10-4) in November at “NEF 41: COLLISON COURSE” when she fell short of securing her second title, dropping a decision loss in the five-round championship bout. Watson went 4-1 in 2019 and secured the NEF Flyweight Championship, which she still holds today.
Nate “Backpack” Boucher had a long road back to contending for a title (two full years, to be exact), but he made good on his goals and went undefeated and secured his first championship in 2019. Boucher began his MMA year back in February when he submitted newcomer Dillon Henry (0-3) in under a minute via rear naked choke (RNC) at “NEF 37.” Boucher returned to the cage in June at “NEF 39: ALL AMERICAN” when he was scheduled to face Ohio’s Robert Presley (6-5) for the NEF Flyweight Championship, but a botched weight cut resulted in Boucher missing weight and the bout becoming a non-title affair. Boucher finished Presley, again with a rear naked choke, at 1:46 of the first round. In November, Boucher made championship weight of 125.0 and faced Steve Desjardins (5-4) for the NEF 125-pound title that he had first fought and lost a split decision to Justin Witham (4-4) for back in November 2017. Boucher left nothing to chance this time and he finished Desjardins at 1:16 of round one thus becoming the NEF Flyweight Champion. In 2019, Boucher went 3-0 with three first-round RNC finishes and won the NEF title.
Josh “Hook On” Harvey didn’t achieve the level of activity that he had hoped for going into 2019, but he still managed to secure the NEF professional Featherweight Championship and remain undefeated. Harvey began his year in front of his hometown fans in Bangor at “NEF 37” when he took out veteran Bill “Jonesi” Jones (13-12) with a first round armlock submission-of-the-year candidate. With the win over Jones, Harvey became the NEF Featherweight Champion. Harvey was scheduled to return in June at “NEF 39” against Indiana’s Jordan Downey (6-4), but an incorrect weight cut forced Harvey to seek medical attention and bow out of the bout at the last minute. In September at “NEF 40,” Harvey was originally scheduled to face his old training partner, Ricky Dexter (1-0), but when Dexter had to withdraw from the bout due to medical reasons, Dom “Domnation” Jones (2-3) stepped up on short notice to face Harvey. Harvey finished Jones in the first round, maintaining his perfect, undefeated record of first-round finishes. Harvey was scheduled to fight in November, but his opponent broke his contract in the final days leading up to the event and Harvey was left without a dance partner for “NEF 41.” All-in-all, Harvey went 2-0 in 2019 and became the NEF 145-pound Champion.
Tom “The Phenom” Pagliarulo was a new face that made a big impact in the Maine mixed martial arts scene in 2019. Pagliarulo made his first appearance in NEF when he showed up at “NEF 38: STORMBORN” to face Zac “Rocky” Richard (5-2-1) for the vacant NEF Featherweight Championship. Outwrestling the wrestler, Pagliarulo displayed a deft takedown game against Richard in route to earning the unanimous decision victory and becoming the NEF Featherweight Champion. Pagliarulo returned to defend his title for NEF’s first stop in Orono, Maine last September at “NEF 40.” Pagliarulo faced challenger Jimmy Jackson in front of Jackson’s northern hometown crowd. In this outing, Pagliarulo, traditionally known for his wrestling, put on a tight, crisp striking display. He damaged Jackson’s face so badly with his strikes in the first round that the cage side doctor determined that Jackson couldn’t continue and the fight was waved off after one round. Overall, Pagliarulo went 2-0 in NEF 2019 and obtained the amateur NEF Featherweight Championship.
Fan voting to determine the winner of the 2019 NEF Year End Awards “Fighter of the Year” will officially open at 12:00pm on Friday, December 20, 2019 and run until 5:00pm on Thursday, December 26, 2019. Fans will determine the outcome of the contest so all are encouraged to participate to vote for their favorite fighter.
New England Fights’ next mixed-martial-arts event, “NEF 42: Symphony of Destruction,” will take place on Saturday, February 8, 2020 at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. Tickets are on sale now at www.PortTix.com.
About NEF Year End Awards
The NEF Year End Awards are chosen annually at the conclusion of every calendar year to recognize outstanding athletic achievement and excellence in New England Fights (NEF). Nominees are selected by a qualified panel of professionals with expertise in combat sports and NEF competitions. Award Winners are determined by fan vote. All NEF Year End Awards Winners will receive a trophy to commemorate their accomplishment.
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 fighters and fans alike. NEF’s executive team has extensive experience in combat sports management, events production, media relations, marketing, legal and advertising.