The lineup for the Sept. 8 New England Fights “Wicked Season” mixed martial arts card at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor is beginning to take shape with several local fighters already set to compete.
Among the fights is a lightweight battle announced Monday that marks the return of undefeated Josh Harvey of Young’s MMA in Bangor to the cage after a more than 16-month absence due to an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury.
Harvey, who has won all four of his professional bouts by first-round stoppage — two by knockout and two by submission — will face Wisconsin-based journeyman Jay Ellis, a veteran of more than 90 professional fights.
“I’m excited to display the improvements I’ve made since my last fight,” Harvey said.
Another bout will match Bangor-area veteran lightweights Aaron Lacey and Jon Lemke, while NEF middleweight champion C.J. Ewer of Hampden will face Caleb Hall of Dixfield in a nontitle welterweight contest.
NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson expects the Ewer-Hall bout to produce plenty of fireworks.
“No one is lining up to fight Caleb Hall right now except C.J. Ewer,” Peterson said. “C.J. is never one to shy away from a challenge — he’s been that way throughout his wrestling, fighting and professional careers. This fight is all thrills. If Caleb can topple C.J., that’s another major step for him toward the big show.”
Brewer’s Lacey, 5-2 as a professional, has not fought above the featherweight (145-pound) division since defeating Dom Cofone in a 150-pound catchweight bout in early 2014.
But the bout against Bangor’s Lemke (7-8) will provide both fighters the chance to compete in front of a hometown crowd.
Lacey, who trains at Young’s MMA, was due to fight during NEF’s August 2017 stop at the Cross Insurance Center’s main ballroom, but the bout was canceled when his scheduled opponent, Bryan Goldsby, was issued a 90-day medical suspension after being knocked out during a boxing match the previous weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Lacey looks to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to Fayetteville, North Carolina, featherweight prospect Da’Mon Blackshear in his most recent bout on June 16 at Aura in Portland.
Lemke, a member of Titan Athletics in Brewer, has fought on 11 previous NEF cards, including a victory over Jesse Erickson before a nationally televised audience on the NEF co-promoted Bellator 93 event in Lewiston in early 2013.
Lemke has won two of his last three fights, including a second victory over Erickson in February 2017 and, most recently, a unanimous decision against Josh LaBerge in Rhode Island last October.
Ewer, who won the NEF middleweight title during the promotion’s 2017 visit to Bangor, wants to bounce back from his first pro defeat in February. He had sought to become a two-division champion but lost a battle for the welterweight title belt to Kemran Lachinov by first-round submission.
The Young’s MMA product, who serves with the U.S. Air Force security forces, brings a 3-1 pro record into his bout against Hall, a former two-time state wrestling champion from Dirigo High School.
Hall, a one-time NEF amateur featherweight title holder, went 8-3 as an amateur before making his pro debut in April with a first-round stoppage of veteran John Ortolani.
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