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NEF 50: Piersma v. Sanders Live Play-By-Play

Updated: Nov 12, 2022

Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"

New England MMA fans the day is finally upon us, just one day short of my 37th birthday, and I can confidently say that this year I'll be getting everything I asked for; fisticuffs! New England fights has 17 mixed martial arts contests on the docket this evening as Matt Peterson and Nick Disalvo play host to the monumental 50th NEF event, from the heart of Portland, Maine's Old Port, at Aura Night Club. Festivities will all lead up to the headlining bout as New York's Jonathan "War Hawk" Piersma (4-1) meets former NEF Lightweight Champion; "The" Ryan Sanders (20-9) with the vacant NEF Welterweight strap on the line. For those who cannot be in attendance this evening a stream for the event can be purchased by visiting the link here, or fans can stay up to date on all the NEF 50 action by following this article throughout the night as we bring you live play-by-play coverage from our seats cageside at Aura Nightclub.

Update: We are now down to 16 fights on the card, as both Featherweights; Danny Wahlberg and Eddy Pena's opponents fell out and both these young amateurs threw caution into the wind, and signed to fight one another. Other than that the fight card stays in tact as we sit here cageside at Aura enjoying a very tallented group of drummers greeting the NEF fans as they make their way to their seats.

Undercard (Amateurs)

Ed Davis (1-0, Titan Athletics) vs. Patrick Mitchell (1-0, Team Ellison)


Round 1: Ed starts the action with a front kick to the face as Davis looks to strike from the Muay Thai stance. Mitchell shoots and Davis stuffs and looks to return to striking range where he has Mitchell hurt bad on the cage. Another combination and Mitchell collapses and John English stops this one.

Decision: Ed Davis defeats Patrick Mitchell by TKO strikes at 1:00 of round 1.

Armon Bryant (0-0, CMBJJ) vs. Tristan Wood (0-0, Karasu Tengu)

Catchweight (165lbs.)

Round 1: Armon starts with some thigh kicks and we are under way here as Wood ducks a combination and looks for a takedown against the cage. Tristan buries Bryant on the canvas with a slam and looks to work. Bryant tries to escape but Tristan ends up in mount. Wood rains ground and pound and Bryant gives his back and ends up on his feet in a scramble. Tristan moves forward behind a 5 punch combination that hits on all cords before taking Bryant down where the round ends. 10-9 Wood.

Round 2: Wood opens round 2 with a combination and another slam that has Bryant fighting from his back again. Tristan sinks in a tight Guillotine that gets the tap from Bryant.

Decision: Tristan Wood defeats Armon Bryant by Submission (Guillotine) at :42 seconds of the second round. Tristan Wood looked every bit a monster in this one.

Eddy Peña (0-0, Vision Quest) vs. Danny Wahlberg (1-0, USMMA)


Round 1: Danny comes out active but Eddy is countering well with some shots of his own that have Danny shooting for a takedown that Pena stuffs. Pena seems to be emptying the tank looking for the takedown as Wahlberg looks to weather the storm. but the storm is showing no signs of letting up. Wahlberg gets the late takedown as what seemed somewhat of a last ditch effort, takes the back of Pena and sinks in a tight RNC that forces Pena to tap.

Decision: Danny Wahlberg defeats Eddy Pena by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:13 of the second round! What a fight Danny dug deep to come back from the brink of elimination here!

Soren Mercer (0-0, Titan Athletics) vs. Rosen Iliev (0-0, Brown University MMA Club)


Round 1: Rosen comes out quick looking to initiate very early. A counter from Soren catches Rosen as Soren hops on top but lets Rosen back to his feet. Soren fires a punch that turns Rosen and Mercer grabs the seatbelt and sends Iliev for a ride. Soren works to full mount with time to work. Soren grabs a head and arm and passes to the side, forcing Rosen to tapout.

Decision: Soren Mercer defeats Rosen Iliev by Submission (Arm Triangle) at 1:55 of the first round.

Chris Strout (0-2, First Class) vs. Nicholas Mulrey (1-0, South Shore Sportfighting)


Round 1: Nick invites Chris to initiate before shooting for a takedown, Chris grabs a guillotine but Nick Slips it and sinks in one of his own, this one is of the tighter, D'arce variety and has Chris tapping immediately.

Decision: Nicholas Mulrey defeats Chris Strout by Submission (D'arce) at :41 seconds of the first round.

Cassidy Bedard (1-0, CMBJJ) vs. Lindsey Kelley (0-0, Evolution Athletix)

Catchweight (150lbs.)

Round 1: These girls initiate quickly as both girls land early before they tie up against the cage, an errant kick sends Cassidy to the mat, Lindsey follows but Bedard ends up on top with time to work. Cassidy works to full mount then back mount as Lindsey is forced into defense mode. Cassidy sinks her forearm under the chin of Kelley who hand fights momentarily but it's too late as the choke is deep forcing Lindsey to tap.

Decision: Cassidy Bedard defeats Lindsey Kelley by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 2:40 of the first round.

Cody Dular (1-0, Team Benson) vs. Robert Gray (0-0, Team Krane)


Round 1: Gray opens with some stiff jabs as Dular clinches but Gray returns a right hand that separates Dular from Conciousness.

Decision: Robert Gray defeats Cody Dular by Knockout (Punch) at :30 seconds of the first round.

Aaron Rodriguez (0-0, Ascension Athletics) vs. Teddy Politis (2-1, Evolution Athletix)


Round 1: Teddy starts with a stiff jab that AAron answers with a low kick before Teddy shoots and takes Aaron to the mat. Politis begins to work from top control as Aaron keeps the guard closed on Teddy. Politis mixes in some short body shots as Rodriguez looks for an opening from the bottom. Teddy remains on top in control as round 1 comes to an end with Politis firing downward shots. 10-9 Politis.

Round 2: Rodrigues catches an opening kick from Politis and dumps the action to the canvas where Teddy ends up on top in half guard. Rodrigues uses a guillotine to stand up and Eddy greets him with a right hand that turns the lights out. Rodriguez scrambles on the canvas but its John English's legs he is fighting as this one is over.

Decision: Teddy Politis defeats Aaron Rodriguez by TKO (Punches) at 1:23 in the second round.

Jared Turcotte (1-0, CMBJJ) vs. Regian Da Silva, Jr. (0-0, Karasu Tengu)


Round 1: Both men trade to open the action and Turcotte catches Da Silva coming forward, Turcotte follows up with a hammerfist that touches the reset button on the downed Da Silva.

Decision: Jared Turcotte defeats Regian Da Silva by Knockout (Hammerfist) at :13 seconds of the first round.

Zach Faulkner (4-3, Recon) vs. Chase O’Brien (0-0, Wai Kru)


Round 1: Chase draws first with a right hand that sends Zach shooting for the early takedown. Zach gets top position but Chase powers through and gets top control before returning to his feet. Faulkner clinches O'Brien on the cage as Chase looks to get separation. Upon the break Zach launches a headkick that is blocked partially as these guys circle the cage at striking range. Zach clinches again as the round ends with these two on the fence. 10-9 Faulkner...but close.

Round 2: Faulkner opens up round 2 with kicks as Chase looks to find a home for his powerful hands. Faulkner clinches but its short lived as Chase circles and lands a combination. O'Brien slips on a strike and Faulkner follows him to the ground there he works from the top. Chase looks to once again power out of the control of Faulkner but Faulkner remains heavy from the top. Round 2 ends with Faulkner on top controlling the round. 10-9 Faulkner.

Round 3: Chase begins the round coming forward looking to put the pressure on with strikes, but Faulkner clinches him against the cage, much like the first two rounds. Chase gains striking distance and he is going to need to score quick here, but Faulkner clinches again looking to ride out the decision. Once again Chase gets out of the clinch and lets the hands loose, Faulkner covers as O'Brien backs off. Chase lands 2 vicious right hands as the fight ends that send Faulkner spinning into the cage wall as the final bell sounds. 10-9 O'Brien after the near finish in the last 10 seconds.

Decision: Zach Faulkner defeats Chase O'Brien by Majority Decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Main Card (Professionals)

Justin Kangas (Pro Debut, First Class) vs. Brian Cosco (0-1, Brazilian Top Team/Sityodtong)

Catchweight (165lbs.)

Round 1: Justin comes out and establishes the center before Brian changes levels for a big double leg slam. Cosco is on top with plenty of time to work as Kangas looks to stop the forward onslaught, Cosco turns to the right arm of Kangas and ties up a keylock that has Kangas tapping.

Decision: Brian Cosco defeats Justin Kangas by Submission (Keylock) at 1:18 of the first round.

Darren Gibbs (2-10, Allegiance Jiu-Jitsu) vs. Nate Grimard (2-1, Nostos)

Catchweight (150lbs.)

Round 1: A leg kick from Gibbs sets Nate down early as this one starts with a burst from the out of towner. Nate recovers but does do with Gibbs on top looking to work. Nate throws his legs high looking for the Armbar but Darren slips and is being tested by a heelhook from Grimard. Gibbs grabs a leg of Grimard and Gibbs' attempts a heelhook of his own and severly damages the right knee of Grimard forcing the stoppage.

Decision: Darren Gibbs defeats Nate Grimard by Submission (Heelhook) at 1:49 of the first round.

NEF announces an Amateur Bantamweight title fight between Nate Dorr and Key Baltazar on the next NEF card February 11th in Bangor Maine.

Tymar Miles (Debut, Train to Go) vs. Mohammad Al Kinani (3-1, Evolution Athletix)


Round 1: MO begins with leg kicks as Tymar comes forward into the strikes of Al Kinani. Miles ducks a combination looking for the takedown and Mo tosses him on the cage and fires a combination before returning to striking range. Al Kinani drops Miles on the fence and follows up wth heavy ground and pound for the TKO stoppage, albiet a little late on the stoppage by Dale Hart.

Decision: Mo Al Kinani defeats Tymar Miles by TKO (Ground and Pound) at 1:57 of the first round.

Carl Langston (2-6, Clifford’s TKD) vs. Matt Denning (7-16, Denning’s MMA)


Round 1: Carl comes out with sharp kicks and Denning walks right through em. Denning catchs a kick and dumps Carl in his corner where he takes Langstons back with time to work. Denning continues to apply the pressure to the neck of Langston and Carl taps.

Decision: Matt Denning defeats Carl Langston by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:01 of the first round!

Ras Hylton (8-6, ATT Tampa/Dragon Fire/Choi) vs. Jordan Mitchell (10-16, Pitbull)


Round 1: They come out slugging ferociously and Ras knocks Mitchell to the canvas where he follows with heavy ground and pound, Mitchell tries to gain his feet but John English has seen enough and stops this contest.

Decision: Ras Hylton defeats Jordan Mitchell by TKO (Ground and Pound) at :16 seconds of the first round. Violent.

Ryan Sanders (20-9, Vision Quest) vs. Jonathan Piersma (4-1, Synthesis BJJ)

NEF Welterweight Title (Vacant)

Round 1: Sanders starts with leg kicks, Piersma ducks under and takes Sanders down with a single leg with tons of time to work. Piersma works from side control where he lands short elbows to the downed Ryan Sanders. Piersma is very heavy from the top as Sanders looks for an out. Sanders tries to wall walk but Piersma transitions to mount, Sanders regains half guard but Piersma is in control as the round ends. 10-9 Piersma.

Round 2: Sanders comes out striking and Piersma shoots for another takedown. Sanders stuffs briefly but Piersma rag dolls him to the canvas where he resumes work from top control. Sanders keeps going for the high guard to create some space by Jon is on him to stay here. Sanders gives his neck to scramble and Piersma uses the opening to pass to side control. Piersma ends round 2 in total control. 10-8 Piersma.

Round 3: Sanders comes out striking again and its yet another takedown from Piersma who moves to mount. Piersma is going to work, smashing Sanders into the canvas and constantly working. Sanders makes attempts to scramble but Piersma is too heavy from the top. Piersma lands some elbows as the round ends. 10-8 Piersma.

Round 4: A high kick from Sanders makes Jon take his first step back in the fight, before coming forward with a takedown and its more of the same from Piersma, dominant top pressure. Piersma is working the body of Sanders from the top and Sanders has no answers for the grappling of Piersma. Sanders walks up the wall as the round ends. 10-9 Piersma.

Round 5: The fifth round opens with shrikes from Sanders and a scramble then ends with Sanders on top before Piersma sweeps and takes control of the grounded Sanders. John English stands up the action after a fence grab from Piersma, on the restart Piersma takes Sanders right back down where he finishes this fight on top. 10-9 Piersma.

Decision: Jonathan Piersma defeats Ryan Sanders by Unanimous Decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45)) to become the NEF Welterweight Champion.


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