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Maine’s Josh Harvey hopes next fight in New Orleans will catapult his MMA career

While the world of men’s college basketball may be the big sporting story in New Orleans this Saturday night, Josh Harvey is also hoping to make the most of the weekend ahead on The Big Easy.

The 31-year-old mixed martial artist, who trains at Vision Quest Muay Thai in Newport, will face Adli Edwards in a three-round lightweight (145-pound) top prospect match at XMMA4: Black Magic at the Fillmore in La New Orleans Saturday night.

Harvey, a former Dexter Regional High School fighter, aspires to reach the top levels of the sport and brings an 8-1-1 pro record to the fight against Edwards, a former NCAA Division II American wrestler in Ashland. (Ohio) University that is 8-1 as an MMA competitor.

“I don’t like to assume anything and have hope and be disappointed, but I see this fight as a catapult to bigger things,” Harvey said.

Like so many other mixed martial artists in the Northeast and other parts of the country, Harvey has rarely fought since the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020.

Harvey returned to the cage last November for the first time in nearly two years with a first-round technical knockout win over Aguilando Brandao in Portland.

But he sees the break between regular fights not as a negative, but as an opportunity to improve away from the bright lights thanks to his continued work with trainer Primo Bellarosa, who moved to Maine from New York and has opened the training center where the two work in November 2020. .

“My goal for [age] 32 was supposed to be signed to a global promotion, but I gave myself leniency because of the pandemic that kind of stole the first two years of my fighting career,” Harvey said.

“I’ve worked with Primo for a long time, but this is the longest stay we’ve had together because he was in New York before. I already knew when it happened that I was going to improve faster. I’m not going to Not to say it was perfect timing, but I have to show the world no improvement while steadily improving because we never skipped a bit.

This will mark Harvey’s first MMA fight outside of New England, an opportunity he landed through his relationship with Tyson Chartier, who serves as a trainer for UFC fighters Calvin Kattar and Rob Font and represents several other competitors in the Northeast through its agency TopGame Management.

“The manager offered the fight to Primo and before I even watched a tape I said, ‘What do you think? ‘” Harvey said. “I knew he wouldn’t have told me if he hadn’t already watched, so I said, ‘Let’s go.

“It’s a tough fight, but we’ve reached that point where that’s what you want.”

An interesting twist to the fight will be the expected presence of Maine native and former ranked UFC fighter Marcus Davis in Edwards’ corner.

Davis, a Houlton native who moved to North Carolina from Bangor several years ago, coached Edwards, who is based in Raleigh, North Carolina.

One of Harvey’s amateur wins came in 2015 against Davis-trained Ricky Dexter, and Harvey will be cornered for the Edwards fight by Bellarosa and Ryan Sanders, who hasn’t fought since 2018 but defeated Davis in 2014. – the last fight for “The Irish Hand Grenade” before coming out of retirement last November at age 48 with a victory over Stephen Stengel in Springfield, Massachusetts.

He’s going to corner against me again,” Harvey of Davis said. “He said nice things about me though, there’s no bad blood or anything. It’s just a little fighting community.

The Harvey-Edwards bout will be available live for free via the XMMA TV page on YouTube.