EVERETT, Wash. (July 1, 2010) –Cory Devela (9-4) has helped nurse his girlfriend back to health after she endured an arduous battle with cancer. Now, the 25-year-old Bonney Lake, Wash. resident known as “The One,” will set out to reestablish himself as a force in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) when he faces off with hard-hitting Bobby Voelker (21-8) in a SHOWTIME televised STRIKEFORCE Challengers Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) welterweight (170 pounds) contest at Comcast Arena at Everett on Friday, July 23.
Devela’s start in the cage will be his first since June 19, 2009, when he tapped out to a rear naked choke applied by one of MMA’s fastest rising stars, Luke Rockhold, in the first round (:30) of their meeting at a STRIKEFORCE Challengers event at ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.
“I took care of her and went through the surgery and the chemo (therapy),” Devela said. “She’s all better now so it’s my turn to fight. It was just one of those things where you have to put family before everything else. I just wanted to take care of her before I take care of myself.”
The contest will also be Devela’s first at 170 pounds, where he expects to be a much stronger, faster and a more dangerous contender.
“I think I’ll be at an advantage when I fight Bobby,” Devela said. “He’s been fighting at 170 and I’ve been fighting at 185 so I’m used to guys that are a lot bigger. I think I’m going to be a lot stronger, leaner and I’ll fly a lot better. I’m re-energized.
“At 185, I can eat whatever I want, but I’m a lot more sluggish and slow, I don’t hit my submissions as fast and nothing is as clean and crisp. At 170, I feel like I’m eating right, so everything just flows so much better and easier. “
Devela notched his best victory to date before a home crowd when he scored a first round (1:22) TKO over former UFC star Joe “Diesel” Riggs in the first round of their STRIKEFORCE matchup at Tacoma, Washington’s Tacoma Dome on February 28, 2008. Devela slammed Riggs to the canvas, incapacitating and forcing Riggs to tap out.
After earning a unanimous decision over his next opponent, Dan Molina, however, Devela suffered a setback when power puncher Terry Martin dealt Devela a crushing overhand right that KO’d Devela in the third round (2:08) of their STRIKEFORCE matchup at the world-famous Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on September 20, 2008.
With his girlfriend healthy again, Devela is focused on a new weight class and a reenergized submission game.
Devela vs. Voelker At Strikeforce Challengers In Everett, WA
“I’ve worked a lot on my submissions. I used to try to stand and punch people and it hasn’t worked out for me. I would rather work my grappling and ground-and-pound than anything else.”
As for Voelker, Devela has a plan for the rugged brawler.
“If he comes with an overhand right I’m just going to spear him and beat the hell out of him.”
Voelker is a 30-year-old American Jiu-Jitsu stylist and native of Kansas City, Kansas. A tireless and driven worker, he has become an inspiration while maintaining a 50-plus hour per week job as a vinyl siding salesman and installer and, at the same time, continuing his dedication to the sport of MMA.
“I’ve had a great camp,” Voelker said. “I’m really putting a lot into it. I know I have to fight strong, fight with a lot of heart, a lot of wits and get that victory.”
Before a hometown crowd at Kansas City’s Memorial Hall on Nov. 20, 2009, Voelker staged an incredible comeback in his STRIKEFORCE debut against Erik “Bad Apple” after taking punishment from Apple in the early going of their live SHOWTIME televised matchup. After turning the tides, Voelker unloaded an onslaught of punches to score a TKO on Apple in the second round (1:23) of action.
Voelker doesn’t feel that Devela will have an advantage in cutting to 170 from 185 pounds.
“I don’t think his size will be an issue for me,” Voelker said. “I’m a big 170 – I should be fighting 185. I think it’s a good matchup. I know he’s a little bit taller but other than that I’m not worried about this fight.
“I’ve fought guys who are 185 pounders before who cut down to 170 for the fight just like Cory is doing.”
While Voelker will have his hands full against a naturally-larger opponent, he’ll also have to deal with the pro-Devela crowd in Everett, just one hour north of Bonney Lake.
“Fighting in his hometown doesn’t bother me,” Voelker said. “I always want to go for the knockout, that’s just the way I like to do things. Whether I go in there and everyone is cheering for me or everyone is booing for me it doesn’t really matter. I don’t hear the crowd until after the fight is over.”
Tickets for the STRIKEFORCE Challengers event are on sale and can be purchased at the Comcast Arena box office (866-332-8499) as well as online at ComcastArenaEverett.com and STRIKEFORCE’s official website ( HYPERLINK “http://www.strikeforce.com” www.strikeforce.com).
In the main event, undefeated heavyweight prospect Shane Del Rosario (9-0) will attempt to extend his unblemished streak when he faces fellow heavy hitter Lolohea Mahe (4-1-1).
Devela vs. Voelker At STRIKEFORCE Challengers In Everett, WA
Unbeaten STRIKEFORCE Women’s World Welterweight (135 pounds) Champion and former ballet dancer Sarah Kaufman (11-0) will put her perfect record as well as her crown on the line against international star Roxanne Modafferi (15-5).
In other featured action, Abongo Humphrey (7-1) will take on Mike “Mak” Kyle (16-7-1) at light heavyweight (205 pounds).
The first STRIKEFORCE Challengers preliminary card bout will begin at 5:30 p.m. and the first main card bout will begin at 8 p.m.
The live SHOWTIME telecast will begin at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).