From the opening bell of the first fight,  the capacity crowd was treated to a thrilling night of mixed martial arts action. Beginning the night, two amateur fighters made their MMA debut, trading jabs for three rounds leaving everything on the mat. Chad Pierce took victory with a unanimous decision over Lyman Curtis at the 155-pound class.

Farmington’s Brianne Genschel made her debut in the cage, taking on Florida’s Jessica Borga. Borga returned to Maine after losing to Rachel Joyce in NEF 25. Genschel struck first opening a cut behind Borga’s left ear midway through the first round. Borga responded with cutting Genschel above her left eye.

“I knew I was bleeding but I just thought it was my nose, I didn’t feel the cut,” Genschel said.

Despite the cut, Genschel held her ground the final two rounds, dancing with Borga and exchanging jabs. At the end, Borga walked away with a unanimous decision for the victory.

“I’m happy with my performance against a five-fight opponent,” Genschel said. “It was invigorating,” she added when referring to her first MMA fight. “It was awesome to have my family and friends here cheering for me.”

Auburn’s Alex Clark from Youngs MMA, also made his MMA debut, squaring off with undefeated fighter Shawn Lunghi. Lunghi proved to be too much as Clark choked out at 2:24 of the second round.

Fernanda “Ferociuous” Araujo from New York took on Hannah “Hollywood” Sparrell in the second female battle of the evening. Araujo took down Sparrell in the second round of their bout with an armbar.

Lewiston’s Darren Ducharme took to the cage for his first amateur MMA fight. Tom Burgess didn’t give him a very pleasant welcome, hitting Ducharme with a flurry of first round punches resulting a Ducharme’s mouth piece coming out during the barrage. Soon after, Burgess continue his assault taking the fight at 2:26 in the first round with a TKO.

Ras Hylton and Kevin Smith entertained the crowd at the 265-lb heavyweight clash. In the bloodiest match of the night, Hylton and Smith exchanged blows, each working on cuts that only opened more throughout the match. At 1:45 in the second round, Hilton captured victory with a TKO earning his third career victory.

Mike Williams of Lewiston, made the most of his MMA debut. His opponent Mike Swan opened the first round taking Williams down, looking to set the tone of the figh. But about half way through the five minute round, Williams turned the table on Swan began taking control of the round. 

Williams came out of his corner surging in the second round, unleashing punches on Swan causing the referee to stop the fight at the 2:40 mark in the second round due to unanswered strikes by Swan.

Fred Lear representing Young’s MMA was victorious by winning his fight by a guillotine move early in the fight over Robby Fraser. Ken Dunn of South Paris suffered his fourth career defeat by losing to Angelo Rizzitello in his 155-pound class fight. Chris Smith garnered a victory downing Nash Roy at the 185-pound match.

An amateur MMA heavyweight tilt featured Nick “The Guardian” Gulliver of Jay and Yorgan Decastro. The two 265-pound fighters flashed their skills from the onset. Trading punches throughout the first round, both fighters showed neither would submit to one another early on. Fighting to the third round, the two heavyweights still refused to give each other an edge. With just over 1:30 remaining in the third round, Gulliver smelled blood. Pushing Decastro back into the cage, Gulliver continued his combination of punches until Decastro could fight back no more with the referee calling the match at 1:09. The TKO gave Gulliver the Amateur New England Heavyweight championship, receiving the belt and promptly wearing it for the crowd.

The first professional fight of the night featured Taylor Trahan and Aaron Lacy. Both won their respective matches in NEF 25 in September. Unfortunately, a match that was suspected to entertain, ended short due to a leg injury to Trahan. Trahan gave a verbal decision to end the fight, giving Lacy the victory, improving his record to 4-0.

Josh Parker and Derek Shorey fought in a catchweight bout in the co-feature of the night. A fight that had a lot of energy, ended with a quick guillotine move by Parker, ending Shorey’s evening short.

The feature match of the night pinned former teammates Ryan Sanders and John Lemke versus each other. The two formerly trained together and have a lot of respect for each other, as shown throughout the fight.

Sanders came out, using his legs to attack Lemke. They each traded kicks and punches, playing the first round evenly.

“I knew his game plan coming in,” Sanders said. “I wanted to attack him and wear him down.”

In the second round, Sanders continued to tire his opponent down.

“I wanted to continue tiring him out. I wanted to take him down towards the end of the round but the 10-second bell rang and I didn’t have time to do anything,” Sanders said.

Come the third round, neither fighter wanted to the fight to go to the judges. Each coming out of their respective corners aggressively, Sanders took Lemke down quickly on the edge of the cage.

“I got opportunity to take him down,” Sanders said. “Once I did, I started punching and then I noticed blood gushing out of his head.”

The referee stepped in to take a lot. A cut on Lemke’s head had opened up. A cut received when his head hit a portion of the cage. After an evaluation of Lemke, officials decided to call the fight. Rules state, if a fight ends due to unforeseen circumstances, they go to the judges cards for the winner.

After tallying the totals, all three judges voting 20-18 in favor of Sanders.

“He’s such a great competitor, we’ll see each other again,” Sanders said of Lemke.


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