Use RC versions during the sprint period,
When the sprint is over and it's time to release, merge the RC versions,
After merging, I listed issues based on fixVersion and used them as Release Notes.
In the next-gen project, you cannot find the merge menu in the Releases version menu.
releases functionality in Next-gen projects was released recently (end of November 2019) and is still missing a few key features.
There is a public roadmap you can follow for updates that are coming soon https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/whats-new/next-gen#shipped
Looking on the roadmap the only change to the Releases is bringing CI/CD information to the release hub so it doesn't look like they'll bring this functionality back to Next-gen any time soon.
If this is an important feature for you I would consider using Classic project in the meantime instead. They're planning to bring roadmaps to Classic projects in few months anyway :)
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