Ray “All Business” Wood’s return to Maine’s mixed martial arts world on Saturday night didn’t go exactly as planned.
The Bucksport High School graduate and former New England Fights pro featherweight champion, who now lives in Amarillo, Texas, dropped a unanimous decision to Alexandre Bezerra in the main event of the NEF 29 MMA-boxing card at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
Bezerra used his Brazilian jiu-jitsu background and takedown skills to control the match while winning all three rounds on two of the three judges’ scorecards and by 29-28 according to the third judge.
Wood fell to 8-4 while Bezerra is now 20-5.
“Wishing I received the win but I just wasn’t the better fighter last night,” said Wood in a Facebook post Sunday morning. “I need to re-evaluate my training and the approach. I am so close to putting it all together and becoming the complete martial artist I envision myself becoming.”
Among other highlights during the hybrid show was the announcement that the next New England Fights show, NEF 30, will be held at the Cross Insurance in Bangor on Saturday, Aug. 5. That show will mark NEF’s third event in Bangor and be staged a year to the day from the promotion’s last Queen City appearance, the “Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight” show held on Aug. 5, 2016.
Longtime Camden Hills of Rockport wrestling coach Patrick Kelly became the NEF amateur lightweight (155-pound) champion with a three-round unanimous decision over Rafael Velado.
The 52-year-old Kelly improved his record to 4-0 by dictating a pace in which both fighters remained standing and winning the striking battle against Velado, a black belt in jiu-jitsu who is now 4-1.
Kelly won by scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 to become the oldest titleholder in NEF history.
Josh Jones, a former Erskine Academy of South China and Husson University basketball player, scored the fastest knockout in NEF history, requiring just one right-hand strike to stop Anthony Spires just four seconds into their amateur middleweight (185-pound) match.
Jones, 29, is now 2-0 in his fledgling MMA career.
A highly anticipated boxing match featuring former New England middleweight champion Russell Lamour Jr. of Portland and Professional Fighting League MMA member Bruce Boyington of Brewer ended without a winner. That fight, contested at 160 pounds, was declared a no contest after Boyington was bloodied by an accidental head butt in the second round.
Two of Lamour’s Portland Boxing Club teammates, Casey Kramlich and Jason Quirk, scored victories in the other boxing matches on the card, with Kramlich (8-0-1) defeating Bellator MMA veteran Bryan Goldsby by third-round knockout and Quirk (6-0) scoring a second-round technical knockout over Borngod Washington.