LEWISTON — Chances at redemption in the mixed martial cage, or any athletic endeavor, don’t often offer themselves in a span of 10 weeks.

Jesse “The Viking” Erickson of Auburn appreciates the courtesy Bruce “Pretty Boy” Boyington showed him by granting an immediate rematch of their Sept. 6 NEF lightweight title bout.

“I look forward to putting on another exciting fight,” Erickson said in a press release. “After the stoppage (in the first fight), the first thing I said to Bruce was, ‘I’m sorry they stopped it and I hope we can do it again someday.’ Well, that day is coming, and I’m the one with something to prove.”

NEF XV is scheduled for Saturday at Androscoggin Bank Colisee, with an opening bell time of 7 p.m.

Erickson (3-3) lost the belt to Boyington (8-7) by what he perceived as a quick second-round ending. Boyington was dominating the stanza with strikes, but Erickson continued to fight and didn’t believe he was showing any signs of being in danger.

It didn’t take long for Boyington, who was afforded a similar mulligan in the past by John “First Class” Raio, to acquiesce and accept the rematch.

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“I feel a deep obligation to show everyone what the right thing to do is,” Boyington said. “So with that in mind, I’m looking to come into this fight ready to finish what I started in the last one. Jesse says he had more to give, and I feel the same thing myself. I was just getting started.”

Boyington has won five of his last seven fights. He stayed sharp for his NEF XV title defense by participating in the sanctioning body’s first-ever boxing promotion at the Colisee in October.

Seventeen bouts were on the card as of Thursday afternoon, including plenty of angles that should intrigue tri-county MMA fans.

Caleb Hall (4-1) of Dixfield will confront Dom Cofone at 151 pounds in a battle of past Maine high school wrestling champions.

Brothers Steven and Sheldon Bang of Auburn join Erickson in strengthening Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s presence on the docket. Sheldon (1-0) will square off with Henry Clark in the first bout of the night, with Steven (3-1) facing a showdown against Pat Kelly.

Auburn’s Matt Denning is paired with Derek Shorey in a 140-pound pro bout, while “Frosty” Brent Dillingham of Lewiston ends a long layoff at heavyweight against Artie Mullen.

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Mullen, 47, is one of five fighters over the age of 40 on the card. A veteran of a dozen MMA fights, he has been inactive since April 2012.

“I love representing for men over 40, letting the young guys know we are still in the battle,” Mullen said. “At 47 I feel so awesome. It’s time to battle.”

He’s far from the most weathered soul to enter the cage Saturday night. Mladin Holman, a native of Croatia, will become the oldest-ever NEF competitor at 56 when he takes on Gravin Guillen in a super-heavyweight bout.

Bangor’s Rick Matthews, 44, also is scheduled to fight along with Heath Hanson, 41, and Camden Hills High School wrestling coach Pat Kelly, 50.

“I don’t care what anyone else says or thinks. It’s never too late to follow your dreams,” Matthews said. “After all I have been through, age is just a number. Forget your age and just live your life.”

Crowd favorites Jamie Harrison and Ryan Sanders also are scheduled to appear in pro bouts.

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Harrison (4-1), who grew up in Windham and wrestled at the University of Southern Maine under UFC champion Mike Brown, now competes out of Florida.

“In the past two years as a coach we have fought for numerous promotions up and down the east coast, and nothing compares to NEF’s crowds and event production,” Harrison said. “I have never stopped training and have added much confidence to my game. I cannot wait to face a game and respectful opponent like Tollison Lewis.”

Sanders (6-6) will attempt to halt a two-fight losing skid against Florida’s Mark DeFord.

Tickets are still available, starting at $25, at www.TheColisee.com or by calling 783-2009 ext. 525.


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