Caleb Austin from Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gets a few punches in on James Ploss at the NEF MMA fight at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in June 2017 Sun Journal file photo

 

LEWISTON — New England Fights is returning to where it started.

The mixed martial arts promotion announced Monday that it will return to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee on Saturday, June 22. It The event will be its first at the Colisee, where it held its first card in February 2012, in 17 months.

Throughout 2018 and the first half of 2019, the increasing popularity throughout the region of New England Fights (NEF) took it south to Portland and north to Bangor for sold-out events. Now it is returning to the Lewiston-Auburn for what has been dubbed “NEF 39: All-American.”

“The fans really wanted to see us back in Lewiston,” NEF co-founder and Boston-area attorney Nick DiSalvo said. “We’re working on another blockbuster fight card like only NEF can deliver.  Fans will not be disappointed. It’s so exciting to return to the place where it all started. The Colisee holds so much history, not only for our promotion but for combat sports in general.”

DiSalvo started NEF with former Maine state legislator Matt Peterson of Rumford.

“My jaw has hit the floor of the Colisee more times than I can count from all of the amazing combat sports moments that I’ve witnessed at that historic arena,” Peterson said. “Sometimes we travel to the top of the state and sometimes we go to the bottom, but nothing compares to the electricity of central Maine when north meets south right in the middle of it all.”

NEF also announced the first fight for the NEF 39 card: Jesse “The Viking” Erickson (7-9) will take on Lewis Corapi (8-4) in a lightweight contest.

Erickson made his amateur debut at NEF I at the Colisee.

“I’m very excited for this bout,” Erickson said. “I love fighting in Lewiston, and I’ve got a game opponent in Lewis Corapi. He’s someone who always puts on a great fight and I think this match has fight of the night written all over it. I haven’t fought since February of 2018, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been slacking. I’ve competed in several BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) competitions, and I’m always in the gym teaching, training, and sharpening my weapons for the next battle. This is Mortal Kombat, and I’m looking to finish him, victory or Valhalla.”

Corapi, of Massachusetts, is a New England MMA veteran but will be making his first appearance in an NEF cage.

“I don’t know a whole lot about Jesse Erikson,” Corapi said, “but I know he has more fights than me, and experience always means there are more things I’ve got to be prepared for. It also means he’s not going to make it easy for me. I have a feeling that this is going to be a banger of a fight, and he’s certainly got home field advantage, but I’m planning on disappointing the crowd and finishing him in the second.”

For more information and to keep up with the developing card and ticket sale announcements, check the New England Fights Facebook page.

NEF’s next MMA event is NEF 38: Stormborn on Saturday, April 27 at Aura in Portland. Tickets are on sale at www.auramaine.com.


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