September 22, 2013

Lewiston MMA show beset by canceled fights

After two planned feature fights are canceled, the substitute main event ends in a controversial decision.

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

LEWISTON - As anniversaries go, it was an unwanted gift for New England Fights.

The local mixed martial arts promotion had already canceled two main events because of injury for its 10th show in Maine, only to find out an hour before Friday's weigh-in that a third would be scrapped.

Saturday's NEF X at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee was supposed to have Bangor's Jon Lemke (3-1) meeting pro lacrosse player John Ortolani (7-7) as the main event title bout for the vacant Maine state lightweight championship. But Lemke did not show for the weigh-in.

"We were informed an hour before weigh-in that he would not be able to make weight. We told him it could not be a title fight," Peterson said.

A half-hour later, Lemke's manager called Peterson and said Lemke would not fight at all.

Lemke is 8-0 in the 155-pound lightweight division as a pro and amateur.

Peterson said Lemke's financial contract would have been honored at a non-title "catch" weight of 160.

With Lemke out of the picture, the finale became Jimmy Quinlan (3-1-1), a former Ultimate Fighter combatant from Methuen, Mass., against Luc Bondole (2-0-1) of California in a 185-pound fight.

With many of the reported crowd of close to 2,000 having already left the Colisee, the fight ended in a controversial majority draw.

Late in the third round, Bondole had a point deducted for holding the cage, though he was gaining little to no advantage at the time.

One judge had Quinlan winning 29-27. The other two saw the fight 28-28, meaning Bondole would have won by split decision without the point penalty.

Lemke-Ortolani had been elevated to top billing after Ray Wood had to cancel his title defense because of a torn ACL. Then the Jared Lawton vs. Leon Davis bout was scratched because of a Lawton injury.

One of the more entertaining early pro fights featured Old Town's Bruce Boyington, starting with numerous spinning kicks, trying to take the fight to Walter Cotito of Nashua, N.H. Cotito weathered the early storm and went for a variety of submission holds. Boyington was able to break free of leg locks, landing chopping elbows in the process, only to have Cotito slap on a choke hold that led to a first-round submission.

"I always feel completely like it's my responsibility" to have an exciting fight, Boyington said. "Win or lose, I just wanted it to go another couple rounds."

That fight seemed to increase the tempo, and Damon Owens, fighting out of Young's MMA in Bangor, battled Skowhegan's Josh Parker in a battle of contrasting styles. Owens (now 2-0 as a pro) is known as a stand-up striker; Parker a grappler. Owens appeared seconds away from submitting to a guillotine choke when Parker (4-7) went to readjust it.

"I was able to get a hand in and fight it off," Owens said.

Owens went on the offensive and was able to apply his own choke for a second-round TKO.

John Raio, a former Portland postal worker who lives in Topsham, picked up his first pro win after four losses with a 28-second TKO of Asa Zorn. Raio took Zorn down right away and connected with a flurry of short left hands to the side of Zorn's head.

Ryan Sanders snapped a three-fight losing streak with a second-round arm bar against Rashaun Spencer.

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

scraig@mainetoday.com

 

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