Two fighters from Young’s MMA in Bangor will help headline a mixed martial arts show Saturday night at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.
Veteran Ryan Sanders will face fellow Bangor-area combatant Jon Lemke for the vacant New England Fights pro lightweight (155-pound) championship while Young’s MMA teammate Jason Harvey will battle Derek Shorey in the NEF 28 co-main event.
Chris Young, the owner of Young’s MMA and their coach, said his fighters won’t be affected by their gym’s recent uncertainty.
“The one thing I can say about the timing of all this was it fell pretty close to when it would have had to fall not to interrupt the camp,” Young said. “We’ve been tapering off and everyone’s cutting weight so the training part of it wasn’t hindered.”
Young’s MMA was forced to vacate its home of the last two years, the former Bangor YMCA on Hammond Street, to accommodate Penobscot County’s plan to acquire the building.
“As far as the stress level, I was doing my best as the coach not to let spill out how crazy this all was so I’m sure they were feeling some of the tension,” Young said, “but I think overall it hasn’t affected the fight camp at all and both Ryan and Josh will both be ready for Saturday night.”
Sanders (13-8) and Lemke (6-7) meet for the second time in six months, with Sanders earning a technical decision last November in the main event of NEF 26.
The fight was stopped in the third round when Lemke suffered a deep head cut from the cage and, with Sanders leading 20-18 on all three judges’ scorecards through two rounds, he was awarded the victory.
“I think stylistically it will be a little bit different. Game plan wise it will be a little bit different. At the start you might see some different wrinkles from both,” Lemke said. “But at the end of the day we are both familiar with each other, so it will be a similar type fight.
“Definitely after the way the last one ended, I still feel like I have a little unfinished business, a little chip on my shoulder.”
Both Sanders and Lemke scored first-round victories in the opening round of the NEF lightweight tournament in February to earn their rematch with a championship belt on the line.
“The things Ryan didn’t quite do right in the last fight we’re tweaking and we’re adding a few things from what we learned,” said Young. “This was a pretty smooth camp as far as what we were going to work on because we’ve already seen it.”
Harvey (3-0) and Shorey (4-8) were scheduled to battle different fighters from the same Utica, New York, gymnasium at NEF 28. But when Harvey’s original opponent, Eric Mendiola, had to drop out due to injury, so did Shorey’s original opponent, Robert Best.
Harvey has scored three first-round stoppages since turning professional in April 2016, while Shorey is fighting to raise funds for his four children and their mother who were displaced from their Somersworth, New Hampshire, home by fire earlier this year.
Weigh-ins for NEF 28 will be held at 2 p.m. Friday at the Lewiston Ramada, 490 Pleasant St., Lewiston. That event is open to the public and free to attend.