Bruce Boyington knocks Russell Lamour Jr. against the ropes during a 160-pound boxing match in Lewiston in June 2017. Boyington returns to the MMA cage this weekend as one of the main events at New England Fights’ ‘Super Saturday’ event.

It’s Super Bowl weekend, so perhaps it’s appropriate that one of Maine’s most recognizable mixed martial arts competitors is returning to the big game Saturday night at “NEF 32: Super Saturday.”

Bangor’s Bruce Boyington, who earned some of his greatest professional triumphs with New England Fights before taking his talents to the world’s stage, returns to regional main-event status for the first time in two years against Taylor Trahan of Littleton, New Hampshire.

Boyington (14-11) vs. Trahan (7-8) headlines a card of five professional bouts and ten amateur scraps. Opening bell at Androscoggin Bank Colisee is set for 7 p.m.

Since defending the NEF professional lightweight title via split-decision victory over Jon Lemke on February 6, 2016, Boyington vacated that belt and signed with World Series of Fighting. That contract took him to such diverse locales as Russia and one of the world’s most storied combat sports venues, New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Now 38, Boyington is no less hungry to compete and entertain local fight fans.

“I couldn’t possibly be more excited to get inside the NEF cage, where I have molded my career, built my fan base and learned so much about myself over the years,” Boyington said. “My opponent is a respectable guy that I believe loves to fight, and I want that in there.”

Another Bangor-based fighter will try to make NEF history by becoming the first fighter to hold multiple professional belts at the same time.

C.J. Ewer (3-0), who won the middleweight title by submitting Mike Hansen in August, drops down to battle for the vacant welterweight title against Kemran Lachinov (5-2) out of Massachusetts.

“My opponent is fierce. (He has) a granite jaw and an iron will,” Ewer said. “He’s by far the toughest fighter I’ve ever faced, and there will be a lot of pressure going into this fight, given that it’s a title fight.”

Two all-local bouts have the potential to turn into grudge matches, if the animosity of social media interactions between the combatants is any indication.

Auburn’s Jesse Erickson (9-7) and Rumford’s Hansen (5-8) were scheduled to “meet in the middle” for a pro showdown at 170 pounds. Erickson has fought most of his career at 155, while Hansen, who walks around at well north of 200, has never fought beneath 185.

Little more than a week ago, citing an abbreviated training session due to his recovery from a fractured leg, Hansen requested a switch from the contracted weight to a catch weight of 179. It led to a fiery exchange between the fighters (also involving some of their most ardent fans) on Facebook, although Erickson ultimately acquiesced to the change.

“I don’t care about his (expletive) excuses. You agreed. You should do what you agreed to do,” Erickson said. “We had almost four months for this. With that much time, there is absolutely no excuse. We’re supposed to be professionals. So here we are now, fighting at 179, which only gives him a greater size advantage. Even still, it won’t be enough.”

Hansen, who has been stopped in the first round in his past four fights, countered that the compromise was his only option other than withdrawing from the fight, which would have been unfair both to Erickson and the fans.

“I was medically suspended and had to see how this injury would heal and if it would stop me from competing,” Hansen said. “It stopped me from getting in a (training) camp the way I should. If anything, Jesse should be happy he is fighting a lesser version of myself. He wants to fight. He will get a fight.”

Erickson fights out of Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (CMBJJ) in Lewiston, while Hansen represents Berserkers MMA out of the Greater Rumford Community Center.

Those two stables are represented in another contentious match. That one is on the amateur side, where former Mountain Valley High School wrestlers Nate Boucher (2-1) of CMBJJ and Ryan Burgess (2-2) of Berserkers are paired in a flyweight bout.

Burgess, a three-time state high school wrestling champion who is three years older than Boucher, questioned the younger fighter’s disposition while he rose through the ranks, while Boucher has wondered aloud about Burgess’ commitment after his brief reign as an NEF amateur champion.

“Nate probably could have been a two- or three-time state champion if he had given himself the opportunity to do that,” Burgess said. “If he still has the same attitude he had back then, it’s going to end the same way.”

“I’m not much for the trash talk. He does it a little to build his ego, I think,” Boucher said. “He was out for a while, so now I’m ahead of him, and he knows he has to go through me.”

Other local fighters on the card include Sarah Ziehm of CMBJJ, featured in one of three women’s bouts; Ryan Glover of Mexico, who ends a one-year layoff in the cage; and Rumford’s Isaac Therrien, who will put his unbeaten amateur mark on the line.

In keeping with the football theme, Patriots’ Super Bowl veterans Max Lane and Ronnie Lippett will host a meet-and-greet with the fans an hour before the fights.

Tickets start at $25 and are still available by calling the Colisee box office at (207) 783-2009 x 525 or at www.thecolisee.com.


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