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Hall, Austin to make mixed martial arts debuts
LEWISTON -- It definitely will be a new experience, however, Caleb Hall and Eric Austin will be ready for the challenge when they make their debuts in mixed martial arts at Fight Night this Saturday.
There are 29 fights on the docket, which features multiple former Maine state wrestling champions at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston. The local flavor will be front and center as Jesse Peterson also steps in to the cage, with a lot on the line.
Peterson, former Rumford resident, is certainly no stranger to the MMA style having won six of his nine previous fights. The former 2000 Maine State Champion wrestler will face a stiff task against Cody Lightfoot for the first-ever Maine state middleweight championship. Peterson wrestled at Mountain Valley, while Lightfoot won three state titles at Marshwood.
Peterson lost to an unbeaten fighter from New York in June, but the decision was later overturned to a no contest when his opponent (all athletes were drug tested by the Mohegan Sun Commission) tested positive for a performance enhancing substance. "Since we began promoting mixed martial arts show in Central Maine at the Colisee seven months ago, we've seen an explosion in interest in the sport from both fighters and fans alike," said NEF co-owner Matt Peterson, who is Jesse's brother and a state rep from Rumford. "In particular, we've seen several successful amateur wrestlers begin the transition into MMA." Hall was a two-time state wrestling champion at Dirigo and Austin won a state championship in the early 1990s for Mountain Valley. Both have no reservations about fighting.
"I can't wait," said Hall, who is enrolling as a freshman at the University of Southern Maine. "I want to see how I can do." “If possible, I'll take my street fighting opponent to the mat and see how it progresses from there,"he said.
Both Austin and Hall believe their wrestling backgrounds will be an advantage. However, its just one aspect of cage fighting. Each competitor wears a thin pair of gloves, covering their knuckles and are free to punch opponents to a knockout. The bare feet can be used to kick each other and securing certain submission holds.
There are a variety of jiu-jitsu submission techniques that a competitor can employ to force an opponent to tap out to including rear naked choke, armbars, d'arce chokes, triangle chokes -- both traditional and inverted, oma plata, gogo plata, heel hooks, knee bars, twisters and more. It's one of the beautiful aspects about the sport -- the limitless and complex moves that a competitor can win with.
Former two-time MV state champion Josh Thornton was scheduled to make his MMA debut in June, however, he contacted mononucleosis and withdrew.
Because Austin and Hall are amateurs, they receive 20 percent of their ticket sales. So when purchasing tickets, be sure to tag their names, so they are credited. Tickets for this event are on sale now at http://www.mma-fightnight.com/news/, TheColisee.com or by calling The Colisee box office at 783-2009.
NEF is running a promotion until Thursday, where any retired or active military personnel can present their military ID at the Colisee back office to get one free ticket to the event.