Auburn’s Jesse Erickson, right, puts a foot into the face of Bangor’s Jon Lemke during a Bellator MMA fight at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston in 2013. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

New England Fights is billing its return to the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston as NEF 39: All-American — an event that features several title bouts on the pro and amateur sides of a 16-fight card.

The mixed martial arts event will begin at 7 p.m. with a 13-fight slate of amateurs followed by a finale of three professional bouts.

“Josh Harvey (6-0-1) is defending his featherweight title at the top of the ticket on Saturday night, and whenever a fighter is trying to extend an undefeated record, it’s a noteworthy bout,” NEF matchmaker Matt Peterson said. “This will be Harvey’s toughest fight to date; he’s going against a rough, rugged dude, Jordan Downey, who is flying in from Indiana for the bout. Jordan is on a two-fight win streak and has won his last four out of five bouts, so he’s a fighter that is familiar with winning and isn’t flying all the way to Maine to lose.”

Jesse Erickson will fight Dylan Lockard for the NEF lightweight championship.

“This is Erickson’s fourth run for the NEF lightweight championship,” Peterson said. “Clinching NEF gold is an accomplishment that he’s been looking to achieve since he launched his pro career back in March 2013. If Erickson is able to defeat the younger, fast-rising stud, Dylan Lockard, standing in his way, Erickson will also become the winningest fighter in NEF history by notching his 14th victory inside our hexagon.”

Erickson intends to win the title.

“First, I want to thank Dylan for stepping up to take the bout,” Erickson said. “He seems well-rounded and has wins over some quality opponents. I’m working hard every day and will enter the cage in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’m not going to be in a rush in the cage on June 22. I have five rounds to put him away and finally walk out with that belt. Victory or Valhalla, fourth time’s the charm.”

Peterson searched the countryside to find a fighter to take on Glory Watson in a 125-pound amateur bout.

“Glory Watson, within a year’s time, has become one of the most feared female amateur flyweight fighters in the country,” Peterson said. “She’s undefeated at 4-0 and is going for her first title this Saturday night. No one in New England will fight her. We had to reach all the way out to Oregon to find Caree Hill, who is a formidable 4-1 fighter that trains with one of the longest standing MMA schools in the country.”

Watson and Hill each said in a recent news release that they are looking forward to the title bout.

“Caree Hill is a good opponent, and will present a new set of challenges for me as a fighter,” Watson said. “This fight, win or lose, will test my skill and my heart. My time in the amateur ranks may be limited, so I plan to work my way to the top.”

“I’m honored for the opportunity to fight for the flyweight championship for New England Fights,” Hill said. “I relish the challenge of fighting an undefeated fighter in her own backyard. I never back down from a challenge. This is guaranteed to be an exciting fight.”

Nate Boucher is going after the amateur flyweight title against Robert Presley.

“Nate Boucher is on a mission on Saturday night,” Peterson said. “He’s trying to capture the amateur flyweight title for the the second time after losing a controversial split-decision the first time he contended for it. He will have his hands full with Ohio’s Robert Presley, who is highly confident heading into the bout.”

Peterson looks forward to being back in the Colisee and is expecting a large crowd. 

“I always get excited when you have a card full of NEF newcomers, like we do on this event,” Peterson said. “Fighters are flying in from Oregon, Ohio and Indiana — and we’ve got competitors coming in from all corners of New England to fight for us. 

“It’s a diverse mix — we’ve got some great male and female bouts, high-level amateur fights and championship pro fights. It’s the perfect mix and I can’t wait to sit back as a fan on Saturday night and officially kick summer off with some fighting fireworks.

“We always experience a great crowd at the Colisee. Fans are excited to see us back in Lewiston for the first time in a year and a half. We’re looking forward to a packed house and encourage everyone to come out and celebrate all things American with us this Saturday night.”


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