Josh Harvey followed a familiar script as New England Fights made its mixed martial arts debut at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono on Saturday night.
The undefeated NEF professional featherweight champion ended his non-title bout against Dominic Jones as quickly as possible.
Harvey scored a submission victory over Jones at 2:31 of the first round in the main event of “NEF 40: School of Hard Knocks” to improve his record to 7-0-1 — with all those victories coming in the opening five minutes.
“A first-round stoppage is always a pleasant feeling, and another one is an even better feeling,” said the 29-year-old Harvey, a former state high school wrestling champion from Dexter Regional High School.
“It never in this sport can be exactly what you want. You’re always going to feel like you could have done a little more and been a little better, but the fans were excited to be there, and I got to bring a lot of people together and we all had a good time.”
Jones, who also entered the cage with a wrestling background, was willing to go to the mat with Harvey from the outset of this 160-pound catchweight contest. But Harvey gained control and kept working the advantage until he got the chance to pursue the quick stoppage.
“The far-side key lock that ended the fight was a split-second opportunity that was given to me through a couple of landed elbows,” Harvey said. “When he turned away from the elbow, his arm was trapped on the far side and it was a no-brainer.”
Harvey’s victory capped off an action-packed 15-fight card that included only two bouts that were decided by decision.
The other professional bout during the show featured a stunning one-punch knockout by Ellsworth cruiserweight Chris Sarro, who was making his MMA debut.
Sarro, who in January won his weight class at the Northern New England Golden Gloves boxing championships, also moved back to Maine earlier this year after the…