Young’s MMA of Bangor teammates Josh Harvey and Aaron Lacey both made successful professional debuts during New England Fights’ NEF 22 mixed martial arts and boxing show in front of an estimated 3,000 combat sports fans at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday.
Harvey, the former NEF MMA amateur middleweight champion, needed just two minutes of the opening round to stop Matt Denning (2-2) in what had been billed as a grudge match, with the former state champion wrestler from Dexter Regional High School using a triangle choke to finish the bout.
Harvey, who was 5-1 as an amateur, made his pro debut at a catchweight of 150 pounds.
Lacey, who vacated the NEF MMA amateur featherweight title to turn pro after a 6-1 amateur career, also needed less than a full round to score his first pro victory. Lacey, competing at 145 pounds, defeated veteran Derek Shorey of the Shatterproof Combat Club in Dexter by D’arce choke.
A third Young’s MMA fighter, Angela DeBeck Young of Brewer, scored her first amateur victory with a unanimous decision over Hannah Sparrell of Newcastle. Both combatants are now 1-1.
Saturday’s 15-fight card featured two title bouts.
Devin Powell of South Berwick won the vacant NEF pro lightweight title with a first-round stoppage of Jesse Erickson of Auburn.
Powell (6-1) scored his fourth straight victory with a succession of strikes that prompted the end of the bout late in the opening round.
Erickson (6-5) was making his third bid for the lightweight belt, having twice lost to former champion Bruce Boyington.
The victory sets up Powell’s first title defense against Jon Lemke (5-4) of Team Irish MMA Fitness Academy in Brewer, who nearly won the belt in February only to lose a controversial five-round split decision to Boyington.
Boyington subsequently vacated the title and now is scheduled to compete on a World Series of Fighting card at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, on June 17.
In an April 1 news release announcing that an already scheduled Powell-Erickson bout would be for the vacated middleweight championship, NEF indicated that the winner “must make his first defense of the lightweight title against Lemke.”
Powell and Lemke already have met once in the cage, with Powell using a guillotine choke to stop Lemke 24 seconds into the first round of their bout at NEF 13 on May 10, 2014.
No date has been set for a Powell-Lemke title fight, but NEF’s next scheduled return to Lewiston is on June 18.
Caleb Hall of Dixfield and the Choi Institute of Portland won the NEF amateur featherweight title vacated by Lacey with a second-round submission of Erik Nelson of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Auburn.
Hall, a former state championship wrestler from Dirigo High School, used a D’arce choke to force an end to the fight and improve his record to 7-3. Nelson fell to 2-3.
Brandon Berry of West Forks and James Lester of the Kronk Gym in Detroit, Michigan, fought to a six-round majority draw in the lone boxing match of the night. Berry won the bout on one judge’s scorecards, but the other two judges had the 140-pound bout tied.
Berry is now 11-1-1 while Lester is 10-9-1.