LEWISTON — The calendar flipped from January to February this week. It has been long enough for most people to honestly assess whether their New Year’s resolution to lose weight was a sincere quest for self-improvement or idle chatter.

In the mixed martial arts realm, of course, weight cuts are a fact of life for all seasons. On Saturday night at New England Fights XXI, two Rumford fighters will find out how their efforts to slim down and bring their customary power to a lower weight limit will play out.

After three rumbles in the heavyweight division, including two quick knockouts and a memorable loss by decision, Ryan Glover has worked his way down to the 205-pound light heavyweight limit for his second shot at an NEF amateur title. Glover (2-1) takes on Mike Williams (1-0) of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Lewiston for that distinction.

“The weight cut has not been fun, but has gone easier than expected,” Glover said in a press release. “I feel a lot better as I approach 205, and I think I’ll like fighting at this weight.”

Mike Hansen, who won a heavyweight state championship as a wrestler at Mountain Valley High School, has accumulated a 3-2 record in the professional MMA cage primarily as a light heavyweight. He has downsized to the middleweight threshold of 185 pounds for a scrap with Zach Elkins (0-1).

Elkins, an accomplished competitor out of Florida, achieved most of his NEF notoriety as an amateur, taking out Buck Pineau, then the No. 1 ranked middleweight in the organization.


“Zach is a good fighter with a lot of experience in the cage,” Hansen said. “He’s probably looking to come up here and leave with his first pro win. It won’t be that easy.”

The fight card at Androscoggin Bank Colisee is set for a 7 p.m. opening bell. It is the second consecutive NEF promotion to showcase both MMA and boxing, with 23 confrontations in the cage and three more in the ring.

It will be a busy night for Rumford-based Berserkers MMA. In addition to the high-profile outings for Glover and Hansen, both Glover’s brother, Matt, and Tom Burgess will make their debuts. Matt Glover takes on Massachusetts veteran Gravin Guillen, best known to NEF fans for his two victories over 57-year-old crowd favorite Mladin Holman. Burgess is scheduled to battle Caleb Swaveland.

Ryan Glover gets a second opportunity at an NEF strap. Heavyweight honors eluded him in a brouhaha with Billy Leahy, one that ended in a loss by decision.

“It’s going to be bittersweet to hold the belt at 205,” he said. “I lost a close slugfest last June simply because I didn’t stick to our game plan. I dropped the ball that night, and you can rest assured that’s not going to happen again.”

All three amateur championship fights involve a local fighter in pursuit of his first regional crown.


Caleb Farrington (3-0) of Farmington is matched with Ricky Dexter (4-2) for the welterweight (170-pound) title. Farrington, who represents Team Lawton and New England Fights, has stopped all three prior opponents. After sustaining the first two losses of his career back-to-back, including a defeat in a middleweight title bout, Dexter earned his encore with a TKO of Auburn’s Steven Bang in November.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to fight again,” Farrington said. “I will take this as serious as any other fight. I grow every day, and I’m looking forward to showcasing my abilities.”

Johnny Crafts (3-0) of Lisbon looks to claim the 135-pound bantamweight crown against Henry Clark (3-1). Crafts, a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, enters the cage after a one-year layoff.

“I think Henry is a great fighter, but this isn’t the fight for him,” Crafts predicted. “I’m going to beat him anywhere it goes, on our feet or on the ground. I’m overdue for an all-out war, and I hope that’s what he brings.”

Williams is one of four CMBJJ fighters on the docket. Erik Nelson (1-2) is the veteran in the group, paired with Julio Martinez (0-1). Zak Bergeron and Frank Johanson will make their debuts against Ras Hylton and Taylor Costantino, respectively.

The featured MMA and boxing attractions figure to be crowd-pleasers.


Bruce Boyington (12-8) and Jon Lemke (5-3) lock up for NEF’s pro lightweight title in a clash that is being labeled “The Battle of Bangor.”

Boyington, whose three-fight winning streak includes a debut with the World Series of Fighting promotion, represents Young’s MMA, while Lemke fights out of Marcus Davis’ rival Team Irish stable.

“I don’t really understand why he would want a fight with me right now,” Boyington said. “I do believe he will show up and give his best effort, but I wouldn’t want to fight me right now. I’m dangerous, and my confidence is through the roof. When it’s like this, it is going to take a world-class athlete to stop me.”

The theme of shifting weights also prevails in the boxing main event, where Brandon Berry (10-1) of West Forks steps up two divisions to battle Tollison Lewis (2-0) at super welterweight.

In his previous appearance under the NEF banner, Berry battled through a nasty cut to earn an eight-round unanimous decision over Roberto Valenzuela, a Mexican with 145 pro fights to his credit. The bout with Lewis, who had a substantial MMA background before climbing into the ring, is slated for six rounds.

“Tollison is a class act in and out of the ring. I remember being undefeated still, and I know how important keeping the (zero) on the record is,” Berry said. “(Lewis) is a big, strong athlete, and I’m sure he will be more than prepared.”

Tickets start at $25 and are available at the box office, by going to www.TheColisee.com, or by calling 783-2009, ext. 525.


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