February 18, 2020
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Mixed martial arts return to Bangor in September

Ashley L. Conti | File
Ashley L. Conti | File
Fans cheer as Young's MMA's Ryan Sanders fights Derrick Kenington during their lightweight bout as part of the reality program "Dana White: Lookin' For A Fight" event at the Cross Insurance Center grand ballroom in Bangor in August 2016.

The Maine-based New England Fights mixed martial arts promotion has announced plans to return to Bangor for the third straight year, with “NEF 35: Wicked Season” scheduled for Sept. 8 in the grand ballroom of the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Two previous NEF shows at that locale, in August 2016 and August 2017, each sold out the 1,200-seat facility.

“Our stops in Bangor over the past couple of years have been extremely entertaining, successful events,” NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson of Rumford said. “We’re excited to continue that tradition this year.”

The Sept. 8 show will be the fifth mixed martial card overall held in the Queen City.

NEF staged its first Bangor show at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in June 2013, then Hermon High School graduate and Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White brought the UFC, the world’s foremost MMA promotion, to the Cross Insurance Center’s main arena in August 2014.

The August 2016 NEF show in Bangor was a collaboration between New England Fights and the “Dana White: Lookin’ for a Fight” webcast. Wells lightweight Devin Powell was signed to a UFC contract after winning a bout on that card.

One major appeal of the Bangor area to New England Fights is the presence there of Young’s MMA, perhaps the state’s most successful mixed martial arts facility. Its roster includes the two headliners from NEF’s most recent card last Saturday in Portland, Aaron Lacey and Ryan Sanders.

Sanders, the NEF lightweight champion, improved his professional record to 16-9 with a first-round stoppage via armbar over Vince McGuinness in a non-title bout as part of NEF 34 at the Aura nightclub.

Lacey (5-2), fighting in the NEF 34 main event, lost a competitive three-round unanimous decision to Da’Mon Blackshear (5-1) of Fayetteville, North Carolina.

“Bangor is home to one of the most enduring, decorated mixed martial arts programs in Maine in Young’s MMA, so it’s important that we make regular fights there to showcase the talent coming out of that gym under the guidance and tutelage of the team’s namesake, Chris Young,” Peterson said.

September’s show in Bangor is likely to feature several competitors from Young’s MMA as well as from other gyms throughout eastern and central Maine.

Among the area combatants who could land on the Sept. 8 card are two fighters from The Outlet in Dexter who both won amateur bouts at NEF 34 last weekend.

Angelo Rizzitello improved his record to 2-1 with a first-round victory by D’Arce choke over Clifford Redman in their lightweight bout, while bantamweight Sarah Matulis defeated Carol Linn Powell by rear-naked choke in the first round.

“We expect September to be another blockbuster, sold-out show featuring the athletes familiar to fight fans from that region,” Peterson said. “We’ve emptied the ticket cache prior to doors opening on our last two outings there and expect this show to be no different.”

NEF 34 also featured two title fights.

Duncan Smith of Evolution Athletix in Old Orchard Beach stopped former University of Maine football player Carlton Charles in the fourth round (rear-naked choke) to capture the promotion’s amateur welterweight crown, while unbeaten Kam Arnold of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Lewiston scored a fourth-round knockout victory over Killian Murphy of Nostos’ MMA in Somersworth, New Hampshire, to win the vacant amateur bantamweight title.

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