LEWISTON, Maine — Paul Gorman finally scored the first home-state victory of his 19-fight professional mixed martial arts career Saturday night.
And he’s got a championship belt to prove it.
The Portland resident won the newly created Maine bantamweight (135-pound) title before some 2,300 fans at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, forcing Adam Toussaint of North Berwick to tap out with a rear naked choke hold at 2 minutes, 4 seconds of the second round of their scheduled five-round bout.
“Any win feels awesome, and this one especially so being my first win in my home state,” said Gorman. “This was just my third fight in Maine and I’d lost the first two, and most of my other fights had been in Massachusetts and elsewhere, so it was good to get this one.”
The Gorman-Toussaint title fight was one of the main events of Fight Night V, the fifth MMA card of the year hosted by the New England Fights promotion and the fourth staged at the Colisee.
Gorman (10-9) and Toussaint (5-5) fought standing for much of the first round, each fighter exchanging kicks, but when the contest went to the mat Gorman controlled most of the action.
“The fight went the way I wanted it,” said Gorman. “I wanted to get him on his back, and he defended it really well throughout the first round and I went back to it in the second round and managed to get the hooks in. I rode it out while he was trying to escape and then I sunk in the choke.”
Bangor’s Ray “All Business” Wood won one of the more anticipated fights of the evening, scoring a technical knockout at 4:22 of the second round over John “First Class” Raio of Topsham in a mutual pro debut.
Wood, ranked tops among amateur 145-pound fighters in the region by NortheastMMA.net before deciding to turn pro, controlled most of the match from the top, landing an assortment of elbow and fists that quickly brought swelling to Raio’s left eye.
Raio, 4-0 as an amateur on previous Fight Night cards this year, was able to gain the top position briefly in each round, but they were temporary advantages until Wood regrouped.
“Honestly, it went just the way we anticipated,” said Wood, a former wrestling standout at Bucksport High School who was 5-1 as an amateur. “I knew we were the bigger, better, stronger, more technical fighter going into it, we just wanted to make sure we stayed composed, stuck to our game plan and played it safe and not do anything too crazy.”
The end came late in the second round when Wood gained the top and pinned Raio against the cage and landed a series of strikes that prompted referee Jimmy Bickford to stop the fight.
“Ray ended up in a dominant position on several occasions,” said Raio. “He did a great job of getting me in full mount, and I got on top a couple of times. but he did a good job of sweeping me.
“The guy’s a pro. I fought my heart out, I left it all on the mat and I have no regrets. Ray’s the best fighter in the Northeast as an amateur and he will soon be as a pro.”
In another featured bout, Jarod Lawton of Augusta outlasted “The” Ryan Sanders of Brewer, winning by submission via knee bar with just two seconds left in the third and final round of their welterweight (170-pound) contest.
This was a back-and-forth 15 minutes of action, with Sanders using guillotine and rear naked choke holds to nearly force Lawton to tap out during the first two rounds.
Sanders (4-3) won the first two rounds on two judges’ cards and was tied with Lawton on the third scorecard entering the final round before Lawton (2-1) mounted his last-minute rally.
“I knew personally that I needed to finish,” said Lawton. “I don’t like things going to the scorecards and leaving it up to the judges. I grabbed it [Sanders’ knee] and squeezed with everything I have.”
Undefeated Dez Green from Team Bombsquad in Ithaca, N.Y., improved his pro record to 6-0 with a three-round unanimous decision at 150 pounds over Brandon “Bad Luck” Fleming, a late replacement from Marshfield, Mass.
And John Ortolani, a professional lacrosse player with the Rochester Rattlers from Billerica, Mass., scored a rear naked choke tapout of Brewer’s Bruce Boyington in a 155-pound battle. Ortolani (7-6) used his upper body strength to take early control, pinning Boyington to the cage until he could position Boyington (3-5) for the submission move.
Two Lewiston-area fighters remained unbeaten during the 11 amateur bouts that preceded the pro card.
Eric Austin, the 37-year-old wrestling coach from Rumford, scored a unanimous decision over Steve Sobel in a 135-pound fight to improve his record to 2-0, while Lewiston’s Brent “Frosty” Dillingham scored his fourth victory in as many fights at 205 by scoring a first-round technical knockout via punches over Ben Raven of Pleasant Point.
Other amateur winners were Shawn Goodrich, Elias Leland, Brandon Bushaw, Daimon Owens, Andrew Tripp, Jesse Erickson, Cody Sargent, Nate Charles and Crowsneck Boutin.