By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies
Even with 20-years worth of skin in the game, when it comes to fight promotion, you know what can happen.
Shamrock FC celebrated two decades in the combat sports business Saturday night at the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles. Hampered by multiple fights falling through early (both regional standouts Garrett Gross and Aaron Highfill) and late (both Sean Woodson and Dustin Virminglia) the proverbial show must go on with just one pro fight on the card.
“This was a complete challenge for the promotion,” SFC President Jesse Finney said. “Absolutely the most challenging card we’ve had. It’s life. You just keep pushing forward,”
In the main event, Josh Weston was able to turn it into a boxing match when he faced St. Louis veteran Sal Woods.
Down two rounds, Woods made a go of things to start the third round, but Weston’s hand speed and accuracy was the difference all night. The 35-year-old Weston – who snapped a four-fight losing streak in February with a decision win over Aaron Derrow – improved to 6-5 with a 30-27 unanimous decision.
“It’s confidence. I felt like I could hurt him but he couldn’t hurt me,” Weston said. “I’m one of those people who once they start moving get stronger and stronger and once my body settled into the fight was when I was able to start doing stuff.
In the first round, Weston pressed the action, and the two jockeyed for position in a clinch-heavy start. Woods scored a nice trip to get it to the floor, but he couldn’t keep Weston there. Back to the feet and as the round wore on, Weston started to find a home for his punches and stuffed a Woods takedown late in the round.
“I was a little bit too timid in the clinch,” Weston said. “Once I adjusted to it, I really didn’t feel like he could take me down. I didn’t think he had anything there I couldn’t answer. ”
In the second, pressure was again working in Weston’s favor as he worked from the top position early. Once back on the feet, the tide turned convincingly in Weston’s favor as Woods started to bleed and swell out of the corners of his right eye.
“More towards the second my body got into the fight,” Weston said. “It felt to me that he was slowing down a little bit too. ”
Woods saw spit and fire to start the third round, but Weston went back to work piecing away and popping Woods’ head back with the jab. Weston caught a Woods kick and briefly dumping him to the ground. Woods has long been known as a fan-friendly fighter who is always in it until the last minute and once again it was a high impact end to the third round with both throwing heavy leather.
Shamrock FC amateur lightweight champ Evan Elder smoothly defended his title, finishing Brad Ragan with a slick armbar at 2:55 in the first round. Elder, now 6-1, has to be considered the area’s top amateur with his only loss to recent TUF competitor Luis Pena. This could be Elder’s last amateur bout as the 21-year old mentioned a jump to the pros in post-fight interviews.
There were three kickboxing bouts inside the cage that provided a lot of action and plenty of pop from the crowd.
A relentless Patrick Keao earned a unanimous decision win over Mark Perkins. Dan Herina utilized superior technique to earn a unanimous decision win over Josh Jessie in an entertaining kickboxing bout. And Jessica Smith was quicker to the punch and turned up the offense in the second round to get a unanimous decision win over Tiffany Axton.
Finney said the kickboxing bouts, “stole the show.”
“We’re going to continue you with it the pros will be able to kickbox in a cage in the very near future,” Finney said. “The crowd loves it, and MMA can get a little, and if you switch it up, I feel, with two-three (kickboxing) fights a night when you’re having 14, mix it in.”
In other amateur MMA
An explosive Nathan Whited won via TKO over Gaston Marabotto in just over a minute. Whited hadn’t been in the cage in more than 5 years and didn’t seem to have lost a step.
Anthony Oden gave up his back to David Jackstadt in a wild scramble early in the first round, and Jackstadt took advantage of the opportunity and sank in a deep rear naked choke to get the win at 1:03 in the first round.
Shaun Briggs peppered Adam Dixon with some heavy ground and pound to get the TKO win at 54 seconds into the first round.
In a grind it out affair, Jake Richards won a unanimous decision over John Kelly.
SCMMA’s latest prospect Jimmy D’Angelo found himself in a precarious position early in his fight with Nikk Willyard. Willyard came on strong and gained dominant position off the first exchange. Willyard held on to a guillotine but D’Angelo fought to get the sweep. Once on top, D’Angelo was relentless with the ground and pound, earning the finish at 2:54 in the first.
Jesse Martinelli made quick work of Devon Bobby. Martinelli showcased superior grappling, snagging a quick takedown and eventually making his way to mount. From there, he rained down punches, maintained dominant position before getting the rear naked choke.
Once Dustin Brown got loose, there was no stopping him against Travis Taylor.
Brown peppering the body while Taylor was in on a takedown attempt.
The pair were stuck in a position stalemate. before Brown worked back to the feet. Brown landed a knee, created some space and connected with a short shot that wobbled. Brown chased Taylor around the cage, forced Taylor to shell up before the bell. In the second, Brown swarmed from the onset and finished the fight via TKO 30 seconds into the round.
Toshi Miyatsu looked impressive in a unanimous decision win over Chris Peterson. Miyatsu, from Japan and now at Watson Martial Arts, established control early.
In the first, he took the back and was dominant in the grappling exchanges, gaining mount and going for a triangle. Miyatsu continued to manhandle Peterson in the second, advancing to mount and peppering away with punches. Miyatsu went for a slick triangle attempt to close the round, but Peterson was able to fend off a submission. Miyatsu in on a single leg and again to mount to start the third and closed the fight with a rear naked choke attempt.
Also on Saturday, Mark Mayfield became the newest member of Shamrock FC Hall of Fame, first main event. Mayfield fought on the first SFC event on July 11, 1998, and continued to compete for the promotion for over 15 years.
SFC returns to Kansas City on August 18 and is back at the River City Casino on Sept. 7.