LEWISTON — Bang (and kick, and grapple) for the buck has characterized most New England Fights activity at Androscoggin Bank Colisee since the successful partnership began.

Not only is Saturday night’s show no exception, it’s nearly a record for action confined to one card.

As of Thursday afternoon, 27 fights were on the docket, two shy of the most ever contested in the NEF cage on a single night.

Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, with the opening bell at 6.

Three New England championship bouts will headline the festivities.

In the main event, Ray “All Business” Wood (4-0) of Bucksport battles Brazilian Gabriel Baino (6-1) for the 145-pound title.

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It’s the first defense of a belt Wood won with a first-round stoppage of Canada’s Lenny Wheeler in an outdoor card at the Bangor waterfront 14 months ago. Shortly after that fight, Wood, who was suffering from knee pain that wouldn’t go away, was diagnosed with a torn ACL and underwent reconstructive surgery.

“Baino is a guy I’ve seen one time, and when he’s in the cage, he fights as if it’s life and death,” NEF co-promoter and matchmaker Matt Peterson said. “And to the credit of the Wood camp, they told us, ‘We want to fight the best available competition,’ even if we had to go to Brazil to find it.”

Wood opted to forgo the usual comeback fight before putting his featherweight credentials on the line.

“Going out there, padding your record, fighting nobodies, once you make it to the next level you’re just going to look silly,” Wood said in a press release. “I certainly had an opportunity to take a tune-up fight, if that’s what you want to call it, but you know, I’m ambitious. I want to make it to the next level.”

The 135 and 155-pound titles also hang in the balance.

Paul Gorman (10-8) defends the bantamweight crown against Tim “The Terror” Goodwin (8-4) of South Carolina. Gorman has successfully defended the honors for more than two years, most notably in a slugfest with recent UFC acquisition Tateki Matsuda that was named NEF”s 2013 fight of the year.

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In a showdown for the vacant lightweight title, Auburn’s Jesse “The Viking” Erickson (3-2) of Lewiston-based Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu takes on Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington (6-7).

“They’ve both won two of their last three fights, and I know they both feel like had great camps and are coming into this one in the best shape of their lives,” Peterson said.

The bout is touted as a matchup of Erickson’s grappling background and Boyington’s striking prowess.

“But I’ve seen (Boyington) in some sticky situations on the ground that he’s come out and looked really good with his jiu-jitsu,” Erickson said. “I’m just preparing for this fight wherever it goes. I’m fully expecting this to be a war.”

Popular Maine pros Ryan Cowette, Ryan Sanders, Jon Lemke, John Raio and Jarod Lawton are among the combatants in the 10 pro bouts.

Raio, of Topsham, has declared that his scrap against Derek Shorey — who is making his pro debut — will be the final fight of his career.

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CMBJJ fighters Ramon Saintvil, Matt Denning, Corey Hinkley, Erik Nelson and Nate Boucher are scheduled to compete in the amateur section of the card.

Caleb Hall (3-1) of Dixfield hopes to rebound from the first loss on his ledger in a fight with Phil Exner.

“I want to showcase my skills and show people I’m one of the top amateur fighters in the northeast at 145,” Hall said. “Phil is a tough guy who comes forward and tries to take the fight to you. It’s a good matchup.”

Two past world champions from Maine will be attendance to meet and greet fans.

Tim Sylvia, who originally was scheduled to fight in the main event before both he and his opponent suffered injuries in training, and Mike Brown are flying in for the event, Peterson said.

Tickets are still available by calling the Colisee box office at 783-2009, ext. 525.


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