FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Portland, Maine (September 30, 2022) – New England Fights (NEF) returns to Portland, Maine on Saturday, November 12, 2022, with its next mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event “NEF 50.”  Earlier this evening on The Room Podcast with Steve Domenico, the main event was announced.  “The” Ryan Sanders (20-9) will face Jonathan “War Hawk” Piersma (4-1) for the vacant NEF Professional Welterweight Championship.

Ryan Sanders is no stranger to NEF gold.  He is a former NEF Professional Lightweight titleholder.  Sanders vacated the title to return to the welterweight division post-pandemic.  The 170-pound strap has eluded him to this point in his career.  Sanders has tried to capture it on two previous occasions, but came up short both times against Gil de Freitas (18-6).

A longtime member of the NEF roster, Ryan Sanders is a near-perfect 10-1 in his last 11 fights.  He has finished both of his fights in 2022 in the first round, defeating Mark Gardner via head kick knockout and Stephen Stengel by submission.  He has not lost a fight since the spring of 2018.  Sanders represents VisionQuest Muay Thai based in Newport, Maine.

“I’m giddy for this fight,” said Sanders. “I was hoping for one more fight this year, and that it’s for a title is just icing on the cake. Jonathan is a good grappler, strong, but his striking is mediocre. I’ll put the fight where it exposes his weakness. I’ll make his voice chirp, snatch his soul and bring the title back to VQMT. Evolve or Die.”

Jonathan Piersma will make his NEF debut in the fight with Sanders.  Like his opponent, Piersma has a penchant for finishing fights.  He has won all four of his fights as a pro by submission.  Prior to turning pro, Piersma amassed an impressive 6-1 record as an amateur with five finishes to his credit.  He fights out of Rochester, New York and currently represents Synthesis BJJ.

“It’s an honor to travel 7.5 hrs from Rochester, NY to fight for NEF gold, and put the local guy in his place,” said Piersma. “I’ve trained long and hard at this sport, and this is just one more stepping stone on the path to achieving my dreams. I know Ryan is a tough kid and has been around the game for a while, and I have nothing but respect for him, but on November 12th I’m leaving him unconscious in the center of the cage.”

“NEF 50” is scheduled for Saturday, November 12 at Aura in Portland, Maine.  Doors will open at 6 p.m. with first fight taking place at 7 p.m.  Tickets are available now at

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.