September 20, 2013

Fight card's full for MMA show

New England Fights has 27 fights scheduled for its 10th show as the group continues to promote local competitors.

By Steve Craig
Staff Writer

This Saturday marks a milestone for the Lewiston-based New England Fights when its 10th mixed martial arts show gets underway at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

It may also be a test of the product's long-term sustainability.

With 27 scheduled fights (12 pro bouts, 15 amateur), NEF X sticks to promoters Mark Peterson and Nick DiSalvo's method of providing a large number of fights at relatively low cost (tickets started at $25).

Peterson said Thursday 3,000 tickets have been put on sale. Doors open at 3 p.m., with the first amateur fight starting at 4 p.m.

"The response has been really strong and we're expecting our typical Lewiston NEF crowd of between 2,500 and 3,000. Tickets are going fast," Peterson said.

Jimmy Quinlan, a participant in the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter, is NEF X's biggest draw, with a 3-1 pro record. He will meet Californian Luc Bondole (2-0) in a 185-pound fight.

"The reason Jimmy Quinlan hasn't had more fights is no one will get in the cage with him. They all know he's an extremely high-class grappler," Peterson said.

Peterson and DiSalvo expected to hype Wood (4-0), the organization's featherweight champion, against up-and-comer Joe Pingitore (4-0-1) out of Rhode Island. But Wood tore his ACL in the NEF show in August on the Bangor waterfront.

"As far as the card taking a hit, we always try to build these really robust cards. Injuries can happen. It's all but a given in this sport," Peterson said.

The main event now pits Jon Lemke (3-1) from Team Irish in Bangor against John Ortolani (7-7) of Billerica, Mass., fighting for the Maine State Lightweight title that was vacated when Green signed with Bellator.

Lemke has not lost at 155 pounds as a pro or amateur. Ortolani is the faceoff specialist for the Rochester Rattlers of Major League Lacrosse, after spending four seasons as a reserve with the Boston Cannons.

In another pro fight, Ryan Sanders (4-4) of Bangor will be trying to stop a three-match losing streak. He hasn't been in the cage since being knocked out in 10 seconds at the Bellator show. Sanders is facing another 4-4 fighter in Rashaun Spencer who has not fought in 18 months since being knocked out in Atlanta on a card called Tabernacle Fight Party.

"Ryan Sanders (has) headlined the biggest cards we've ever had," Peterson said. "All our biggest cards he's been a part of. Maybe there are no star-studded names but we're a regional promotion and we're trying to build our guys to reach that next level."

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:


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