By Alex Silvius | for Knuckle Junkies
Shamrock FC 302 was the opening salvo for Shamrock FC’s schedule of MMA mayhem in KC. The Ameristar Casino was was once again home to professional and amateur MMA featuring a main event between “Vicious” Bobby Voelker and BJJ Black belt Bobby Emmons.
Voelker wanted to keep the fight standing to stay out of the grasp Emmons, who can be deadly off his back, but Emmons was able to quickly drag the fight to the mat. This isn’t the way anyone would draw up a game plan for a striker to beat a grappler and had fans in attendance on the edge of their seat, including Shamrock FC President Jesse Finney.
“You never see Bobby in a boring fight,” Finney said. “Once again, here goes Bobby on his back, fully mounted by a BJJ black belt. That’s just Bobby, I don’t think he’ll ever change as a fighter. He said the guy felt super heavy on top, super tight, he said ‘I felt him squeeze so much I knew he was going to gas out,’ and I just tried to stay calm. That’s a veteran.”
The drama of his early trouble in the fight had the hometown crowd chanting his name willing him to get out of grasp of Emmons.
“He was just so quick,” Voelker said. “When he would snatch something he would just bear hug the hell out of it until he got what he wanted. He got me down, went for the submission, I got out of it, the next thing you know he was going for another one. He had mount for a good part of the round, and he was so tight I knew he would have to get a little tired eventually, and he did.”
Worked hard to create space and get in strikes when possible. Each time Voelker threw a strike though Emmons would grasp onto a free limb. The constant submission attempts and ground control by Emmons were frustrating to Voelker. But Voelker remained calm letting Emmons to gas himself before Voelker exploded out and land a heavy shot that had Emmons seeing stars. From there Voelker kept up the pressure until the referee stopped the fight at 3:46 in the first round.
“He said to me ‘hey man you caught me flush with a punch on the jaw and I completely saw two new stars,” Voelker said. “I sensed him covering up, I threw a couple knees hoping that he would stand up and I could catch him with the kick and catch him with the hook, but he didn’t stand up after the knees so I just started jack hammering the side of his head.”
Voelker rebounds from a loss in May to pick up the 30th professional win of his career and is on a streak winning six of his last seven bouts since exiting the UFC four years ago.
“I need more ground work, more everything,” Voelker said. “I was so ready to show off my improved stand but instead we were on the ground wrestling around, and that’s fine, I’ll take that win. It was a good win.”
The fight between Aaron Derrow and Josh Weston came down to a battle between length versus strength. Derrow had the reach advantage and used his length to hold Weston on the fence with leverage but wasn’t able to score many quality strikes when he had control.
“Even when he had control against the fence I thought I got the better strikes off,” Weston said. “I wasn’t too worried because I could flip position, if he wasn’t striking I felt good, so I felt comfortable in there.”
Weston was able to muscle up and strike more often and with greater effectiveness throughout the 3 round battle.
The quality of strikes and takedowns that Weston put up throughout the fight earned him the decision victory.
“That was the difference maker,” Weston said. “Even when he got those couple takedowns, I was getting strikes off and he wasn’t getting nothing off. He was just trying to hold on. Even in the second round when he was trying for that kneebar, I was striking the whole time, getting damage.”
After the cards were read, all three judges scored the fight for Weston.
“Josh has had those fights where you know, some times you win them and sometimes you lose them,” Finney said. “Maybe God was on Josh’s side to night where he won it.”
Dillon Tolbert made quick work of a normally hard to finish Raul Romero. When Romero came out swinging wild Tolbert grabbed on to Romero’s neck and wouldn’t let go.
“My game place was to wait for him to load up and throw a big punch and take that slick takedown,” Tollbert said. “I didn’t want to clench with him because I wanted to be aware of his ‘old man strength’. Other than that, that was the game plan. ”
Tolbert out of Howard’s ATA in Jefferson City walked Romero to the fence and squeezed the guillotine tight for the victory at 33 seconds of the first.
“I was looking for either that or the armbar on the other side,” Tollbert said. “I told my corner if I had to pick him up and carry him to the other cage, that’s what I was going to do.”
There will be little time off for Tollbert (3-4) who has a scheduled bout with Dan O’Connor on March 9th at Shamrock FC 303.
Eric Ellington stepped up two weight classes to take on Kagen Mullen on a day’s notice. During the feeling out phase in the first Ellington slipped twice while throwing kicks. Mullen didn’t capitalize preferring to keep the fight standing. In the second, Ellington switched things up preferring to jump on top controlling the round and roughing Mullen up.
“I honestly think he felt he saw my videos and saw I like to take people down,” Ellington said. “I think he felt he had an advantage in the stand-up department. I took the fight on 24 hours notice, I didn’t know how my cardio was going to act in that fight so I just took the opportunities. Keep him down, ground and pound, and let the time tick.”
Ellington was cruising in the third round with takedowns and control on the ground, but Ellington didn’t want to leave the fight to chance and continued working hard with ground and pound. The wrestler from out of the Academy of Courage in St. Louis finished via TKO to strikes at 3:49 of the 3rd.
This was Ellington’s fourth straight win, all for Shamrock.
Ellington’s teammate Matt Murphy also stepped up on short notice to take on Jacob Thrall (2-1), who was looking rebound from a loss in December.
“For the last month, month and a half I’ve been really strict on my diet,” Thrall said. “This is one of the best fight camps I’ve ever had. From the diet to the training camp, coming off an injury coming off a loss, it felt great, man.”
After a couple of close rounds, it was Thrall’s wrestling that made the difference, allowing him to get a late submission via rear naked choke in the final minutes of the three round fight.
“Eric Ellington was in his corner, that’s who I want next,” Thrall said. “I want to get him on Bellator in St. Louis. He’s from East St. Louis. He and I went back and forth as number one and number two as the top amateurs in the Midwest. I think it’s only right we finally meet.”
The undercard was highlighted by a heavyweight slobberknocker of a fight between Andrew Floyd and Justin Self. Floyd won by decision in crowd favorite fight of the night.
“That was the fight of the night, hands down,” Finney said. “Those guys were throwing bombs. Throwing the way they were they were going to get gassed out, but they left 100% in the cage. I’m super proud of those guys.”
Shamrock FC is off to a good start in 2018 with another great event at the Ameristar. Look for SFC to return to the Kansas City metro on April 7th.
Bobby Voelker DEF Bobby Emmons – TKO 3:46 1st
Josh Weston DEF Aaron Derrow – Unanimous Decision
Dillon Tolbert DEF Raul Romero – Guillotine 0:33 1st
Eric Ellington DEF Kagen Mullen – TKO 3:49 3rd
Jacob Thrall DEF Matt Murphy – RNC 2:55 3rd
Andrew Floyd DEF Justin Self – Unanimous Decision
Nik Bowers DEF Jon Cold TKO 2:23 3rd
Joshua Easterly DEF Patrick Pace – TKO 1:08 2nd
Tyler Rowe DEF Heath Demetrius RNC 1:03 2nd