LEWISTON, Maine — Two title fights and two comeback attempts are among the 20 bouts announced this week for New England Fights’ next mixed martial arts card scheduled for May 10 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Six professional bouts and 14 amateur matchups are slated for NEF XIII, which is set for a 7 p.m. start.
The main event will feature Portland’s Paul Gorman (10-8) defending his Maine bantamweight championship against undefeated Kin “Kong” Moy (5-0) of Boston. Gorman is coming off a successful title defense against Tateki Matsuda last November that was named NEF’s Fight of the Year by a fan vote.
The co-main event will be a rematch for the Maine welterweight crown when reigning champion Gil de Freitas (15-5) of Brazil defends against “The” Ryan Sanders (6-4) of Young’s MMA in Bangor.
De Freitas scored a five-round unanimous decision over Sanders in their battle for the then-vacant title in September 2012, but Sanders defeated legendary Maine fighter Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis last month to earn the rematch with de Freitas, who now trains in Massachusetts.
Among the other pro bouts on the card, Jon Lemke of Team Irish MMA in Brewer will mark his comeback to the cage in a lightweight bout against Devin Powell.
Lemke (3-1) was scheduled to fight John Ortolani for the Maine lightweight crown last September but pulled out of the bout hours before the weigh-ins when he told NEF MMA co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson that he would not be able to make the 155-pound weight limit and did not intend to go through with the fight if he could not win the title.
Lemke subsequently took the next few months off from active competition before being offered the opportunity to return to NEF MMA.
“We believe in second chances,” said Peterson. “Jon Lemke is a great fighter and an even better person. He’s won three fights in a row in-state at 155-pounds, so he’s just a win or so away from getting himself right back into the title picture.”
Powell (2-1) is a Maine native and Brazilian jiujitsu brown belt currently training at The Shop in Somersworth, N.H. The top-ranked lightweight in the Northeast during his amateur days, he is coming off a split-decision loss to Bruce Boyington last Dec. 6 in Derry. N.H.
“I am so incredibly grateful and very much looking forward to this opportunity to step back in the NEF cage and earn some redemption,” said Lemke.
Other pro bouts match Jesse Erickson (2-2) against John Daniels (2-2) and Ryan Cowette (2-2) against Tollison Lewis (0-1) in lightweight clashes and John “First Class” Raio (2-4) seeking his third straight win in a featherweight fight against Amos Collins (1-4).
The amateur portion of the card will be highlighted by the comeback of Ashland native and top-ranked regional middleweight Buck “Knuckles” Pineau, who will make his return to the cage against Floridian Zach Elkins (11-5).
Pineau (7-2) was riding high until his main event bout at NEF IX last August in Biddeford against Isaiah Queen, when midway through the first round he suffered what turned out to be a bone-chip fracture and two torn ligaments in his left knee.
Pineau battled through the injuries for two more rounds to earn the victory by unanimous decision but has not fought since then.
“I am really excited to be stepping back into the NEF cage in May after such a lengthy absence and recovery,” said Pineau.
Elkins, who trains at First Coast Full Contact in Orange Park, Fla., is 11-5 and has held the ISCF Florida State Middleweight Championship for more than a year. Elkins currently is the 11th-ranked amateur middleweight nationally.
“I really appreciate Zach coming all the way up from Florida to make this happen,” said Pineau. “Elkins is a real tough guy with a ton of experience and he’s just the kind of fight I’ve been looking for. I am super excited for this challenge and as usual, I’ll be looking to put on a great show and looking to add another knockout to my record.”
Other NEF XIII amateur bouts match Devon Newell and Sean Evans (275 pounds), Mike Palmieri and Brandon Gibbs (190), Mike Robinson and Chad Jordan (165), Jarrod Tyler and Jason LaChance (155), Dom Cofone and Aaron Lacey (145), Corey Hinkley and Drew Waltz (145), Fred Lear and Phil Exner (145), Carl Langston and Matt Denning (140), Jason Carpenter and Dustin Veinott (135), Trevor Hebert and Mike Crespo (135), Sheldon Bang and Mike Moore (130), Norman Fox and Mike Brown (120) and Jeremy Tyler and TBA (155).
Boyington seeks Cage FX crown
Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington of Young’s MMA in Bangor is scheduled to fight for the Cage FX lightweight title on Saturday, April 12, on the “CFX 24: Unfiltered” card at the Dorchester (Mass.) Armory.
Boyington (5-7) will take on Bellator MMA veteran Saul “The Spider” Almeida (14-5) of Framingham, Mass.
Boyington is hoping to bounce back from a controversial first-round loss to Raio on the NEF XII card in Lewiston on Feb. 8. Raio won that bout by rear-naked choke submission, but according to New England Fights reports many cageside observers felt the referee mistook a hand signal from Boyington as a tapout.
Boyington has maintained he was merely trying to indicate that he able to continue to fight despite Raio’s submission attempt.
Almeida’s most recent fight was a three-round unanimous decision victory over Andrew Fisher on the undercard of Bellator 110 held Feb. 28 at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Conn.