Bangor-area fighters Ryan Sanders and Jon Lemke won their lightweight tournament semifinals in the main events of the NEF 27 mixed martial arts card held Saturday night before a reported 2,500 fans at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston.

Sanders, who fights out of Young’s MMA in Bangor, needed just 15 seconds to knock out Massachusetts native John Ortolani (8-11) with a kick to the head. Sanders is now 13-8.

Lemke, who trains at Team Irish MMA Fitness Academy in Brewer, improved his record to 6-7 by stopping Auburn’s Jesse Erickson on strikes at 1:15 of the opening round.

Erickson fell to 9-6 after a loss that ended his four-fight winning streak.

That sets up a match for the NEF lightweight (155-pound) championship vacated by Devin Powell when he signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship last fall. Sanders and Lemke are expected to square off at NEF 28 in Lewiston on April 29.

NEF 27 featured six professional bouts and 12 amateur contests.

In other pro bouts, Josh Harvey of Young’s MMA is now 3-0 after defeating Richie Collingham (3-4) by d’arce choke at 2:31 of the opening round. Also scoring first-round wins were Ricky Dexter (1-0) over Matt Denning (3-6) via verbal submission after a brutal body shot and heavyweight Ras Hylton (1-0) over Mike Hansen (5-5) via verbal submission after a punishing kick.

Elias Leland was another first-round winner on the professional side, stopping Nick Santos with an arm triangle.

Another scheduled bout involving undefeated pro Aaron Lacey of Brewer was canceled when his scheduled opponent could make the trip to Maine from Florida because of inclement weather along the East Coast.

Victor Irwin of Young’s MMA became the new NEF amateur light heavyweight champion in impressive fashion, defeating former champion Ryan Glover of Rumford by first-round rear-naked choke.

Irwin, a former wrestling state champion for Brewer High School, is now 3-0 in MMA, while Glover is 3-2.

In other amateur bouts, Walt Shea def. Alan Bustamante via unanimous decision; Justin Witham def. Ryan Burgess via anaconda choke, round 2; Alex Clark def. Henry Clark via unanimous decision; John Tefft def. Sean Worcester via TKO, round 2; Sarah Ziehm def. Nicole Burgess via rear-naked choke, round 3; Fred Lear def. Michael Crespo via TKO, round 2; Devin Corson def. Winston Cortez via unanimous decision; Zeal McGrew def. Pete Grinnell via TKO, round 1; Frank Johanson def. Jacob Deppmeyer via triangle choke, round 3; Ross Dannar def. Phil Chason via unanimous decision; and Angela Young def. Christine Brothwell via unanimous decision.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...