A year after almost losing an arm in a serious car accident, Brandon’s Curtis (The Demon) DeMarce will step back into the cage next month to resume his professional mixed martial arts career.
After recovering from potentially career-ending and life-altering injuries, the 24-year-old DeMarce is scheduled to fight Brazilian Bruno Capdeville at the Aggression Fighting Championship 16 "Uprising" on March 23 at the Winnipeg Convention Centre.
"I met with my surgeon in Toronto (last week) and (the tests) all came back good and he is really impressed for me to be able to come back from that severe of an incident, not only to come back from it within a year, but to be able to perform at that elite level again," said DeMarce, who is now back home in Brandon preparing for his first fight since November 2011. "So he was impressed and I’m happy with that, so I took the fight."
Last March, DeMarce underwent eight hours of surgery followed by months of dedicated rehabilitation after having his right arm broken in five places after the car he was riding in was T-boned by a driver who made an illegal turn.
It’s been a long road back with 11 months of rehab work to get cleared to return to action for DeMarce, who posted a 12-10 pro record while fighting in some of Canada’s biggest MMA events and getting a long look from the UFC when he tried out for "The Ultimate Fighter" in Las Vegas back in December of 2011.
"(The arm) feels good," said DeMarce, who will drop down from lightweight (155 pounds) to featherweight (145 pounds) for next month’s fight.
"Throughout camp we are going to work on certain things ... and I feel that dropping a weight class is a huge thing because I was kind of in that category where I was too small for 155, but too big for 145. So I think I am going to be a big 145 — strong and fast and hungry coming off of this injury."
The 5-foot-8 DeMarce, who spent six weeks training and coaching in Toronto before returning to Brandon, will fight on a card that will be headlined by Manitoban Nick Penner, who just competed on a UFC card on Dec. 15. The AFC, which is now Canada’s largest MMA organization, also features the likes of former UFC veterans Kendall Grove, Joe Doerksen, Kalib Starnes and John Alessio.
In DeMarce’s return, he will debut in the featherweight division by battling a Gracie black belt who sports a 5-3 record, with the winner expected to be next in line for an AFC title shot.
"Bruno is actually ranked in the top 10 (in Canada) right now, so it’s a good fight for me that will put me back in the top 10, fighting in a new weight class," said DeMarce, who is training with local professional boxer Noel Harding and coach Mike Frederickson at the Brandon Boxing Club to prepare for the fight. "I am motivated and I think that beating Bruno is going to give me that title shot … I think as long as I come in well-conditioned and my cardio is top-notch, then I think I should be ready for this fight."