The last year has been a whirlwind of sorts for Devin Powell.
A victory in the cage during a mixed martial arts show hosted by Ultimate Fighting Championship president and part-time Levant resident Dana White at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor last August earned the Wells resident a contract with the world’s top MMA promotion.
That was followed by several months spent rehabilitating various injuries from his nose to his knees, a process accelerated by a sudden call to make his UFC debut January 15 in Phoenix.
The outcome wasn’t what he wanted, a loss by unanimous decision to undefeated Drakkar Klose, but the experience has left Powell longing for more.
“It’s the same as everywhere else, it’s just a bigger stage and brighter lights,” said Powell. “I tried not to get too transfixed on the fact that it was the UFC, I kind of of told myself that I had already fought in front of the boss and he liked me and I had won so I couldn’t let it affect me too much.
“It was just another fist fight.”
Powell (8-2) returns to UFC competition Sunday night when he faces Darrell Horcher (12-2) of Shermans Dale, Pennsylvania, as part of UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Powell, the former New England Fights lightweight champion, competes on the undercard that will be televised live by FS2 beginning at 7 p.m.
The main card, set for a 9 p.m. start, will include a co-main event in the middleweight division between Lincolnville native Tim Boetsch (20-11) and former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks (18-6). That fight is scheduled to be aired on FS1.
“Horcher’s a very good southpaw,” said Powell, owner of Nostos MMA in Somersworth, New Hampshire. “One of the biggest problems with fighting lefties is that they train with righties all the time and righties don’t always get lefties to train with, so it’s a different challenge but I’m excited to fight a lefty for the first time.”
Powell’s preparation for the Horcher fight included a month at American Top Team, the gym based in Coconut Creek, Florida, that is considered one of the world’s top MMA facilities.
He got that opportunity through his friendship with Charles Rosa, a UFC veteran who trains regularly with ATT.
“At a gym like American Top Team you get so many different looks at different styles from the different countries these guys come from,” Powell said. “It’s really cool to see what I’m good at again because when you train with the same people they know all your tricks so that’s why you don’t always succeed in practice but then you see those things work against someone who hasn’t seen them before.”
Bailey seeks ‘Black Fly’ belt
Jayda Bailey of Hermon will seek her fourth straight title Sunday at the The Black Fly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championships to be held at Rangeley Lakes Regional School.
The 17-year-old Bailey, who will be a senior at Hermon High School this fall, competes out of Young’s MMA in Bangor and also has trained in taekwondo, boxing, kickboxing, grappling and wrestling with an eye toward a career in mixed martial arts.
She has won her division at the Black Fly tournament in each of the event’s first three years, including last summer when it was dubbed the state championship tournament for youth jiu-jitsu.
“It’s pretty nice to have those wins, and this tournament is nice not only for me but for the younger kids who are coming up to see that there’s a jiu-jitsu tournament that’s local for them,” said Bailey. “It keeps kids interested in competing and I think that’s important for the jiu-jitsu community in general.”
The tournament is the brainchild of Shawn Smith, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Western Maine and owner of The Foundry training center in Farmington.
“Basically there was no place for kids to compete in Maine under the real rules of Brazilian jiu-jitsu so I wanted to create an opportunity for them,” he said.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a grappling-based martial art that uses a point system based on dominant positions similar to wrestling but with the addition of submission techniques that can force an opponent to tap out.
The event has grown from 49 competitors in 2014 to an anticipated turnout of more than 100 competitors this year from most of the major martial arts gyms in the state, including Young’s MMA, the Academy in Portland, Lawton MMA in Augusta and Central Maine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Lewiston-Auburn.
Competition will include Gi (competing in the traditional uniform), No-Gi (shorts and T-shirt), a takedown competition and four overall divisions for boys and girls weighing less than 100 pounds and greater than 100 pounds.
A first-time adult division also is planned featuring competitors ranging from Bangor to Portland.