Frank Johanson, sends a kick at Jacob Deppmeyer during their MMA cage fighting matchup at the Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday night.

LEWISTON — Every. Second. Counts.

So do second chances.

Lewiston native Frank Johanson used his, and used every last second, to pick up his second career victory as part of New England Fight’s NEF 27: Resurgence mixed martial arts card Saturday night at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

It was also a good night for first impressions as well. Johanson’s teammate and fellow Lewiston native Sarah Ziehm won her debut, as did Lisbon native John Tefft.

Johanson faced the debuting Jacob Deppmeyer in a 145-pound bout, and he faced defeat head-on in the first round.

“There was one point, he hit me and I didn’t know where I was,” Johanson said. “My knee hit the ground, I looked up and I saw his leg in front of me. I just said ‘aw (shoot), this isn’t good. I got to get back onto my feet, regain control, get back into the fight.’ So that’s just what I tried to do.”


The fighter out of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Auburn was able to weather the early flurry of punches that Deppmeyer, out of First Class MMA in Brunswick, sent his way. But with the seconds ticking down in the third and final round Johanson felt he was still losing.

That is, until he got on top of Deppmeyer and made him submit with one second left.

“Man, I was trying really hard. I heard ‘short time,’ I locked up the triangle and I just gave it everything I had trying to end it fast,” Johanson said. “I didn’t think he was going to tap, but yeah, right at the last second.”

Johanson’s victory evened his record up at 2-2.

Ziehm made it 2-for-2 in amateur fights for Central Maine BJJ, defeating Mexico, Maine native Nicole Burgess via rear naked choke with 32 seconds left in the third round of a 115-pound bout.

“We like to show our art and finish the fight,” Ziehm said. “We fight till the end and we don’t give up.”


Like Johanson, Ziehm said she wasn’t sure if she would get her opponent to submit before the bell.

“Really I was starting to wonder at the end there,” Ziehm said. “I foresaw that I would end this in a submission, take her to the ground, and that’s exactly what I did.

“It’s pretty amazing. First fight with my team from Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu … in my hometown.”

Burgess, who trains at Berserkers MMA in Rumford, was trying to pick up her first career victory after entering the fight with an 0-1 record.

The Burgess family went 0-for-2, with brother Ryan later submitting to Justin Witham, of Young’s MMA in Bangor, 1:50 into the second round of a 125-pound amateur fight. Burgess looked to be in good position against Witham until succumbing to an anaconda choke.

Tefft went a different route to pick up a victory in his MMA debut. The former Lisbon High School and Husson University football player defeated Sean Worcester via TKO 32 seconds into the second round at 185 pounds.


“It was just finding distance, time, recognizing movements, noticing that I can use my speed against him,” Tefft said.

Tefft said he “for sure” thought he could knock out Worcester, but came into the bout “as blank-minded as possible.”

“It’s a little surreal right now, but it’s good to have this opportunity to try something new, and succeed at it as well,” said Tefft, who trains at First Class MMA.

The headliner of the amateur bouts was a light heavyweight title fight between champ Ryan Glover, of Rumford and Berserkers, and Victor Irwin of Young’s. The challenger improved his record to 3-0 by submitting Glover via rear naked choke just 1:15 into the fight.

A former amateur champion had a better outcome. Ricky Dexter, of Brewer and Team Irish, made a successful professional debut by defeating Lewiston’s Matt Denning via TKO in the first round.

“Getting that first win as a professional, it makes me feel like an actual pro,” said Dexter, who vacated the NEF welterweight title to turn pro. “I just had to not be an idiot, which I was almost an idiot. I was almost caught in the arm bar, but I got out of it, got back up to my feet and just landed a big body shot against the cage. He didn’t want any more after that.”


Young’s MMA had a solid night in the octagon, winning all of its amateur fights, including Angela Young — wife of Young’s owner Chris Young — defeating Christine Brothwell in the opening bout of the event. Fred Lear and Alex Clark also won amateur fights for Young’s.

It wasn’t such a good night for Berserkers, whose fighters failed to come out with any victories. Besides the Burgess siblings and Glover, Mike Hansen lost his professional heavyweight bout to Ras Hylton, who was making his pro debut out of First Class MMA and Dragon Fire MMA.

The night came to an end with two semifinal fights in the lightweight title tournament. The title was vacated when champ Devin Powell signed with the UFC. Four of NEF’s top lightweight’s began their quest to take over that title spot. In the first of the two semifinals, Team Irish’s Jon Lemke defeated Lewiston native and Central Maine BJJ fighter Jesse Erickson via a first-round TKO. Erickson was upset with the bout being stopped, believing he was still able to keep fighting. The outcome was the same as when the two fighters squared off at Bellator 93.

There was no doubt about Ryan Sanders’ knockout victory over John Ortolani in the other semifinal. Sanders, out of Young’s MMA, finished off Ortolani in 20 seconds to set up a title fight with Lemke. That bout will take place at NEF 28 on April 29.

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John Tefft gets caught in a headlock by Sean Worcester during the first round of their MMA match up Saturday night at The Colisee in Lewiston.5Sarah Ziehm throws up her arms in victory after winning her first MMA cage fight at the Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday night.Nicole Burgess gets in a knock to the head at Sarah Ziehm during Saturday night’s MMA cage fighting at the Colisee in Lewiston.Frank Johanson, who trains with Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu celebrates his victory over opponent Jacob Deppmeyer in MMA cage fighting at the Colisee in Lewiston on Saturday night.

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