FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (February 10, 2022) – New England Fights (NEF) returns with its next mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event, “NEF 46: Decade of Dominance,” this Saturday, February 12, 2022, at Aura in Portland, Maine. The event will commemorate NEF’s ten-year anniversary. The leading regional promotion launched on February 11, 2012.
Nathaniel Grimard (0-0) and Anthony Vasta (0-0) are scheduled to meet in a double professional debut at “NEF 46.” Recently, the two featherweights were guests on The Room Podcast with host Steve Domenico.
Grimard is coming off a successful amateur career that saw him put together a 4-1 record and capture the NEF Amateur Featherweight Title. He dropped the featherweight strap in a unanimous decision loss to tough competitor Billy Wilson (7-1) last November at “NEF 45.” Grimard trains at Nostos MMA in Somersworth, New Hampshire under the guidance of UFC veteran and former NEF Pro Lightweight Champion Devin Powell (10-5).
While Grimard would have liked to have exited the amateur ranks with a win, when the opportunity to turn pro presented itself, he took it. He is confident that his team at Nostos has prepared him for this step in his fight career.
“I definitely wanted to get one more win as an amateur before thinking about the next step, but that kid I fought, I think he’s a pro-level fighter,” Grimard told Domenico. “He’s a tough kid. I made a few mental and technical mistakes, but we fixed those. We got the call to go pro, so we’re ready to do it.”
Anthony Vasta represents Defensive Edge MMA where he trains under longtime regional competitor and NEF veteran Connor Barry (7-3). He also cross-trains at Lauzon MMA which is owned by UFC legend Joe Lauzon (28-15). With only two amateur MMA bouts under his belt, Burlington, Massachusetts’ Vasta has had less cage time than his opponent this Saturday night, but he is just as confident in his team and his training regiment as Grimard.
“I’m only 1-1 as an amateur,” noted Vasta during his interview with Domenico. “If you ask me, I would’ve liked to have had six or seven fights by now. Just the way things play out. The opportunity arises. We’re ready for it. It’s not an issue on our part. We’re completely ready for this.”
Vasta also sees advantages to having a larger arsenal of strikes available to him as a pro.
“The knees to the head and elbows are gonna be huge for me being tall and lanky for the division. Training changes, but when you’re training for this fight you have to be the best you – you’re the best you every day. It’s not like amateur. You can’t just live and learn the next fight. You wanna go in there and get the win, especially with everything on the line. The training just has to be on point.”
Grimard recognizes Vasta’s strengths and anticipates not only a battle on their feet, but is also prepared to take the action to the mat if it comes to that. Wherever the fight goes, Grimard predicts an exciting fight this Saturday.
“He’s been pretty active in jitsu,” acknowledged Grimard. “He’s got a slick ground game. He’s getting better in his standup. He’s a Muay Thai guy. I think it’s gonna be a fun fight. I think it’s a good matchup stylistically-wise, a good fight to keep it standing. I think it’s gonna be some crazy scrambles on the ground too.”
The respect for his opponent’s abilities is mutual as far as Vasta is concerned. Grimard and Vasta were two of the only New England fighters to stay active during the Covid pandemic. While the Northeast languished in shutdown, both Vasta and Grimard respectively ventured over 1,000 miles to Florida to compete on MMA cards.
“He’s also one of the only guys who stayed active during Covid,” said Vasta. “He went down to Florida. There’s plenty of mutual respect there. He’s got more fights. He’s got tons of wrestling experience. There’s tons of mutual respect. I respect that he was staying active during Covid. I respect that he asked for a tough opponent for his title fight. That’s a big thing for me – fighting guys that I respect.”
When it comes to their respective pro careers, both Grimard and Vasta are taking things one step at a time and not looking too far into the future, while also looking to stay active.
“I’m excited. I want to stay as active as I can,” said Grimard. “I’m healthy. I’m in good shape, so after this fight camp we’ll see how I feel. Maybe I’ll jump right back in there.”
“The biggest thing with going pro for me is not looking that far,” Vasta told Domenico. “When I keep one thing ahead of me and just go all in with that, you can just take it step by step. You get through this and then you look for the next step.”
As far as predictions for Saturday night, both athletes are anticipating an exciting contest and a big crowd at Aura. Both are looking forward to competing in front of a packed house of fans on the promotion’s ten-year anniversary event.
“I’m excited to fight for NEF,” stated Vasta. “Everything’s been so smooth with them. It’s not far from me – only an hour and a half… I have fans, and I know he has a ton of fans… I’ve got a crew. We got a crew from the gym coming.
“I think the roof’s gonna blow off the place,” Grimard predicted. “I’m expecting a big crowd up there. I don’t think he’s gonna have as big (of a crowd) as I am, but at the end of the day not that it really matters.
“I think it’s going to be a huge year for NEF. I’m just lucky to be a part of it.”
The full interview can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4IYSndDwLQ.
“NEF 46: Decade of Dominance” takes place this Saturday, February 12, 2022, at Aura in Portland, Maine. The event will commemorate NEF’s ten-year anniversary. Doors open at 6 pm with first fight at 7 pm. Tickets are on sale now at www.Ticketmaster.com. The event will also stream live in its entirety at www.CombatSportsNow.com at a price of $29.99.
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.