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Fight Night has River Valley flavor
LEWISTON -- It certainly wasn't for the faint of heart because the actions proved to be fast and furious-mixed martial arts -- Jesse Peterson, Caleb Hall and Eric Austin hit a tri-fecta -- at Fight Night Saturday.
There were 21 fights, including featured multiple former Maine state wrestling champions at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. The River Valley flavor was evident among the thousands of rowdy fans.
Peterson, of Rumford, was the main event and won the first-ever Maine state middleweight championship with 47 seconds left in the second round against Cody Lightfoot. Austin won a unanimous decision and Hall feasted in 51 seconds.
Peterson had trouble in the opening, but adapted to Lightfoot's style. Eventually, he secured a choke hold and Lightfoot tapped out. It was the 21st fight and finale of the nearly six-hour marathon.
Peterson, a MMA veteran, is a former 2000 Maine State Champion wrestler at Mountain Valley, while Lightfoot won three state titles at Marshwood.
NEF co-owner Matt Peterson is Jesse's brother and a state representative from Rumford. Hall, who was a two-time state wrestling champion at Dirigo. Austin won a state championship in the early 1990s for Mountain Valley. They had no reservations about fighting and credited their performances for having trained together for eight weeks. Austin, in the first bout, secured a head and arm takedown, but quickly realized he was in for a battle against Noah Hall. The combatants returned to their feet and went toe-to-toe.
"He is a Brazilian ju-jitzu fighter," said Austin, after returning from the hospital for stitches. "So I had planned on staying on my feet and working up a sweat before going to the mat because his style is comfortable on back and works well securing holds on the mat."
Austin encountered trouble when he picked up Noah Hall, but Hall (No. 9 in New England) had secured an arm-bar and was excreting pressure on the elbow. Austin quickly realized the danger and dropped Hall on his head. “He would have broken my elbow," said Austin, who has agreed to fight (at Colisee on November 17) against the No. 5 ranked in N.E. "I had also underestimated his striking ability, but he was coming from over the top." Caleb Hall went on the offensive and it paid off; forcing John Parker to tap out due to a rear-naked choke hold, 51 seconds into the first period.
"It felt just like a wrestling match when I stepped into the cage," said Hall. "The game plan was to stay on feet and box, but (double-leg) takedown was there, I shot in and then slid behind and the choke was there."