Maui’s Zane set to face Newell on Oct. 29 card


Zach Zane always seems ready for a new challenge, so it comes as no surprise that he is excited and raring to go as he prepares to step back into the cage.

The Maui mixed martial arts fighter is set to take on Nick Newell on the Oct. 29 Bellator card in Uncasville, Conn., Zane said Thursday.

Zane and Newell were supposed to meet in March in Bellator 241, but the event was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic. Zane, a Baldwin High School graduate, was notified Sept. 7 that the fight was back on.

“Our fight got postponed, postponed until now,” Zane said. “It took a while but you know we’re here thank God.”

The two fighters met for weigh-ins in March as their fight was not officially called off until the day it was set to happen. Zane (14-9) weighed in at 155 pounds, while Newell was at 155.25.

“We met face to face, we had a little conversation over there at the casino and hotel that we were supposed to fight at,” Zane said. “I know a lot about the guy because I’ve been in the sport for a while.”

Newell is 16-3 and famous for being a successful fighter despite being born without a hand on his left arm.

“Anybody who has been in the sport of MMA really knows that guy and respects that guy,” Zane said. “I have the utmost respect for Nick, but at the end of the day we both signed on the dotted line, so we both need to clock in.”

Zane expects a competitive bout.

“I’ve been preparing for anything this fight,” Zane said. “Because, you know, he’s a well-rounded guy, I’m a well-rounded guy. And when you get two guys like that anything can happen.

“I believe that anything can happen so I need to prepare myself for that kind of combat, a high-paced combat, I believe he’s going to bring forward pressure.”

Because of the pandemic, Zane hasn’t fought since his unanimous decision victory over Oahu’s Nainoa Dung in his Bellator debut at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu on Dec. 21. He is eager to make a statement in his long awaited return to the cage against Newell.

“I would love, love, love to knock him out — that’s where my heart’s at — I want to finish this guy because they bring me in and I’m nobody,” Zane said. “I’m humble to know that and it’s OK, but after this fight I will be a somebody after I do something to this guy, finish this guy, just a ‘W’ against this guy — then honestly I will get the respect that I deserve and that I’ve worked so hard for.”

The fight night is set to be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network, making a good showing even more important to Zane’s career. The main event of the card is Dhiego Lima vs. Gegard Mousasi in a middleweight championship bout.

Zane’s children — Eliana, 7, and Jet, 3 — will be watching.

“It’s amazing to be on that card — I’m just so humbled,” Zane said. “Like I said, I’m nobody and I get this opportunity from little old Maui. I come from nothing, no big gyms, no big names. I come from a bunch of guys who believe in me and I believe in them.”

Zane has been home training since the March fight was called off, and he had in the back of his mind that he would be set up to fight Newell again. Zane’s coaches are Christian Diaz and Luis Heredia, the owner of Maui Jiu Jitsu.

His training partners are Kelvin Bowen and Nathan Feitosa, a former Baldwin classmate.

“I believe in good work ethic, staying genuine, keeping genuine people around you — that’s what’s keeping me going and stronger throughout this pandemic,” Zane said. “I honestly haven’t changed my life really besides wearing a mask. … All those guys and my kids, my kids give me motivation.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.


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