New England Fights (NEF) returns with its next mixed-martial-arts (MMA) event, “NEF 45: Uprising,” on Friday, November 5, 2021, at Aura in Portland, Maine. Earlier today, NEF announced the addition of an amateur women’s strawweight bout to the fight card. BJ Garceau will meet Hayley Martin at a fight weight of 115 pounds.

The fight will see Garceau (1-1) return to the NEF cage after a three-year absence. She made her debut at “NEF 32” in February 2018 with a split decision win over Sarah Ziehm (1-2). Garceau then lost via technical knockout to Chelsea Tucker (3-3) in the third round of their bout at “NEF 36” in the fall of that year. She had been scheduled to make her return to action at “NEF 43” in 2020 until the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the event. Garceau represents Young’s MMA of Bangor, Maine.

“I can’t believe I’m stepping back into the cage again this November,” exclaimed Garceau. “When we had to stop training last year, I felt like I lost my family, my health, and that hit me hard mentally and physically. I was a mess. So once (Young’s MMA head coach) Chris Young and so many other amazing coaches from other gyms said ‘come home’ a/k/a ‘get back into the gym,’ I finally felt whole again once we were on the mats. I didn’t think it would happen again, but honestly after everything that’s been going on in the world and personally the past 18-months, I’ve never wanted to fight this bad. I’m thankful for the opportunity and honestly it could have been anyone standing across from me at this point. I am happy to throw down with Hayley, and promise I will not let anyone down in that cage! I would say more, but I gotta go train. Let’s do this!”

Hayley Martin will be making her in-cage debut in the fight with Garceau at “NEF 45” - just a few weeks after celebrating her 50th birthday. Martin is an independent fighter whose dream it has been to actively compete in MMA.

“I’m beyond excited to step into the cage, test my skills and show what hard work and dedication looks like,” said Martin. “I’m on this journey because I have never felt anything that makes me feel more alive, strong and confident. And when that moment happens on November 5th, I will leave it all in the cage and fight my ass off for every woman that thought dreams can’t come true.”