Buckley vs Robinson - Showdown
Due to some restructuring there is a new main event for Shamrock Fighting Championships: Showdown Saturday at the River City Casino.
Jordan Howard was scheduled to take on Ray Grindstaff for the SFC bantamweight title and a chance at a Bellator contract but Grindstaff pulled out of the fight midweek due to an injury.
So while Howard was left out in the dark until Bellator vet Deandrew Jones stepped into the picture, a new main event quickly transpired.
Bumped up from the main card, Joaquin Buckley, one of the top young prospects in the region, will face a veteran in Kalel Robinson in a welterweight matchup.
Buckley is 2-0 and has yet to taste defeat, going unblemished as an amateur as well.
Robinson is 14-7 but has not fought since July of 2012.
Robinson, 30, is currently training on his own from his home base of Quincy, Il. In 1999 he took his first amateur fight after years of studying Tae Kwon Do and wrestling in high school. Robinson was an undefeated lightweight amateur and won nine of his first 10 pro fights.
"I'm back. I want at least another 10 fights," Robinson said. "I just couldn't live without it. I would be driving around in my truck and see a bag hanging from a tree and I just want to park and go hit it."
Robinson was originally slated to fight Buckley's Finney's MMA teammate, Adam Cella.
"I'm kind of upset about that," Robinson said. "I had been training for and preparing for that type of fighter. It changes my whole mindset. I found out about two weeks ago and I wasn't ready for a strong, explosive fighter. But, the time is here and I'm a pro and I'm going to handle it accordingly."
Buckley and Cella's fight game are nearly night and day. While Cella relies on his length and vast knowledge and experience in the striking aspects, Buckley is a physical and athletic whirlwind.
"(Buckley) is really explosive. He's a cardio freak and he's coming in to hurt and finish," Robinson said. "We have the same aggressive style. But I have a game plan in mind. I respect him and I think it's going to be a great match-up. "
Robinson feels refreshed and rejuvenated following his two-year sabbatical from the sport.
"I was coming off two-fight losing streak and I just didn't believe in myself," he said.
For the 20-year-old Buckley, Saturday's sudden main card slot is a blessing for a fighter who started out on the deepest portion of the under card.
"I've started at the bottom and now I'm at the top," Buckley said. "I'm blessed to be given the opportunity. It's going to be a crazy, packed show."
A self-professed class clown during his days at Marquette High School, Buckley took his first MMA fight at 18.
He quickly climbed the ladder of cage success, notching big wins over Brandon Karcher and Kyle Kurtz along the way. Buckley made his pro debut in the fall of 2014 with a win over Wesley Sullivan. Last month he garnered his second pro win at last month XFN 2 with an impressive, first round victory over Bryant West.
He came out of that exchange fairly unblemished, so when his teammate and mentor, Cella, had to back away from the bout with Robinson and a new opponent was needed, Buckley was more than happy to oblige.
"Adam told me I'm better than 2-0 and I get to display that at the the fight," Buckley said. "I'm not worried. I'm just glad to be fighting the this type of fight. I'm moving up and taking chances.
Buckley knows Robinson will likely be his strongest test to date. Robinson's wicked sense of attack has Buckley cautious but far from fearful
"He likes to give a good show," Buckley said. "I love the pressure that he's going to bring. I work better while being under pressure."
Joaquin Buckley vs Kalel Robinson
Jordan Howard vs Deandrew Jones
Eric Irvin vs Josh Thorpe
Malcolm smith vs CJay Hunter
Demagio Smith vs Montoyia Swilling
Nick Pohlman vs Steve Rustemeyer
Rashard Lovelace vs Zac Burcham
Jason Christeson vs Bruce Stolz
Susie Wyatt vs Lylna Thao
Derrik Cleary vs Garrett wells
Larree Hutchison vs TBD
Cody Naucke vs Derik Scott
Auhston Dickerson vs Al Guzma
Shamrock FC: Showdown
Saturday, March 21st
River City Casino, St. Louis, MO