LEWISTON — When the mixed martial arts cage last stood in the center of Androscoggin Bank Colisee, a sold-out crowd and an international television audience watched the stars of Bellator Fighting Championships slug it out.

The torch is returned Saturday to the local and regional favorites who made that spotlight possible in the first place.

New England Fights presents its seventh and most ambitious fight card since the series launched in February 2012. More than 30 fights are scheduled, with doors opening at 3 p.m. and the opening bell at 4 p.m.

If the cards are growing, it’s because the talent pool gets deeper every time the promotion rolls into town.

Caleb Hall was a senior at Dirigo High School, winning his second Maine Principals’ Association wrestling state championship on the day NEF made its debut.

Two years earlier he had begun supplementing his wrestling technique with mixed martial arts training, even though he wasn’t yet old enough and despite the fact that the sport wasn’t yet sanctioned in Maine.

“Back when I started I thought I’d have to travel to Massachusetts to fight,” Hall said. “I remember how excited I was that day to know that was happening in Maine.”

Hall, 18, who recently completed his freshman year at Plymouth (N.H.) State University, is scheduled to take on Corey Hinckley of Auburn-based Central Maine Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in an amateur bout.

Hinckley and Hall represent the new breed of competitors who have been lured to the sport in part by its sudden and dramatic local presence. Saturday evening will be Hinckley’s MMA debut. Hall had only one previous fight, defeating John Parker in less than a minute via submission in September 2012.

In addition to wrestling at Plymouth State, Hall studies jiu jitsu at a gym in nearby Ashland, N.H., and trains with Dawson Walton and Kyle Gallant in Rumford.

“I basically like the pure fun of competition. There are no excuses. You just get in there and fight,” Hall said. “I definitely feel like this is a sport I can pursue for a long time. Eventually I hope to turn pro and hopefully get on a big stage.”

Mainers are no stranger to worldwide fame in the sport, and one of those standard-bearers will put his talents on display Saturday.

Marcus “The Irish Hand Grenade” Davis (21-9) of Houlton headlines the card in a welterweight scrap with Darrius Heyliger (4-1).

UFC veteran Davis fought on the televised portion of the Bellator card in March. His encounter with Waachiim Spiritwolf reached an unsatisfying conclusion when Spiritwolf crashed to the canvas after receiving a knee near the belt line and was unable to continue. The fight was ruled a no-contest.

“I was absolutely floored by the support I received, heard and felt that night,” Davis said.

Two title fights feature competitors with strong Maine connections.

Henry Martinez (9-5), a Bath/Brunswick-based UFC alumnus, takes on Dez Green (8-1) for the Maine lightweight title. Green hails from Buffalo, N.Y., but has become a popular participant on NEF cards thanks to his personality in and out of the cage.

“I’m excited. I get to (fight for) my first belt. I’ve been working really hard—really, really diligently,” Green said. “This is going to be my first five-round fight. I’m going in there with a lot of energy. I’m looking for the finish.”

Travis Bartlett (8-3) and Tyler King (6-1) collide for the Maine heavyweight belt.

Bartlett, a Bangor native and once a nationally ranked amateur boxer, has spent much of his MMA career in Las Vegas, sparring with the likes of MMA greats Frank Mir and Wanderlei Silva.

“I’m really pleased to be finaly fighting in Maine, and the fact that it’s for the NEF heavyweight title makes it that much better,” Bartlett said.

King is a second-generation NFL player. His career included stops in San Diego and St. Louis, while his father, Steve, spent nine seasons with the New England Patriots.

“You aren’t going to find a tougher guy than Travis on the MMA scene in Maine,” said King, who took the fight after Randy Smith withdrew with an injury. “I’m going to have to bring it harder than I ever have before. The fans are in for a treat.”

Eight fighters — Hinckley, Jesse Erickson, Connor Murphy, Erik Nelson, Matt Denning, Alex Clark, Chris Cobbett and Ramone Saintvil — represent the rapidly growing Central Maine Brazilian Jiu Jitsu stable on the card. Erickson made his pro debut at Bellator with a loss to Jon Lemke of Brewer.

Trevor Hebert of Roxbury also makes his amateur debut, representing Frosty’s First Class MMA of Topsham and co-trainer Brent Dillingham of Lewiston.

A limited number of tickets are stlll available, beginning at $25. All those local fighters and their families surely have scooped up many of them.

“I’m not sure a lot of them know what they’re getting into,” Hebert said with a laugh. “They’ll be coming at least this one time.”

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