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Cage Champs 45 - Event Preview

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

When the final bell rings Saturday in Sullivan, a new Spire Featherweight State Champion will be crowned.

Cage Champs returns to the Big Eagles Hall in Sullivan this weekend and features a main event of two of the area's top amateurs: Buddy McGinnis and Christian Camp, Spire's No. 1 and No. 2 featherweights, respectively.

Saturday's event will also showcase the return of some familiar faces when former Cage Champs champion Lance Benoist and fellow alum Andrew Sanchez bring their Cauliflower bandmates to Sullivan to provide live music to the attendees. Joining them will be pro fighter Zach Freeman, and KJ Editor in Chief, and one of the only members who doesn't have cauliflower ears, Brett Auten. The metal cover band have crafted a set list of songs ranging from Alice in Chains to Metallica to Lynard Skynard. Lead singer and keyboardist Celeste Doerwaldt will be out of town for the show but fellow singer, Charlie Wilson, will be there getting the show started.

While The Cauliflowers will be rocking the stage, in the ring all eyes will be on Camp and McGinnis.

Camp, the 22 year old out of Springfield, is having an impressive 2013 with four wins to only one loss. Three of his wins have been against St. Charles MMA including two over Jason Powell, and an impressive victory against Travis Draper this past March.

"This state title will solidify my position as top '45er in the state." Camp said. "I will beat the best and then go pro. It will assure to me than I am the top '45er, and I want everyone to know it."

The match-up with McGinnis will be no easy fair.

"McGinnis is a bit taller than me," Camp said. "His striking and jiu-jitsu is basic, based on what I've seen. The fact I've been training extra hard will ensure I get the victory. Training like a pro before I go pro is the key."

Camp has mixed up his training a bit for this fight spending some time with Jesse Thorton among others.

"I have been working with a few veteran fighters: Chaz Rooks and Kory Johnson, and Jesse Thorton, a pro fighter on his way to Bellator and UFC," Camp said. "Them along with my coaches Hamar Hann, Steve Purdy and Glenn Cozzens in my gym. They've all been a great help in conditioning me and preparing me."

McGinnis has long been considered the top dog in the amateur featherweight ranks. This will be his second shot at the featherweight state title, losing to Danny Branson in April of 2012.

"This means a lot seeing how the first time it didn't go my way," McGinnis said. "Winning will definitely cement me as the number one ranked guy."

Fighting since 2009, McGinnis has racked up over 30 fights as an amateur including wins over Ricky Bolin, CJ Hunter, and narrow defeats by the now pro Davvy Callows and the aforementioned Branson.

McGinnis says he doesn't know much about Camp, but believes his wealth of experience has prepared him for anyone.

"I take every opponent I'm facing as a tough fight," McGinnis said. "When you're this far along in your amateur career you have to. I don't know much about Camp so can't say how we match up. I know I'm well rounded and am ready for wherever the fight is going to take us. I think it will be a good fight. I could tell you 100 ways I can see the fight going, but everything changes when the door closes and the bell rings."

Also on the card is a match-up of two featherweights with impressive records. Justin Lankford, (9-1) out of Berger's MMA, will be battling Alex Marcias who has yet to taste defeat as an amateur and is 7-0. Not a lot is known about Marcias, who primarily fights out of Southeast Missouri.

Full card:
Buddy McGinnis vs Christian Camp - Spire State Title
Alex Marcias vs Justin Lankford - Spire SE Regional
Denver Sells vs TBA
Bradley "Broccoli" Wells vs Derric Loough
Patrick Sweetsir vs Derek Clardy
Greg Freeman vs Jason Spaw
Dylan Belt vs Matthew Nall
Freed Freeman vs Justin "The Zombie" Yacko
Mario Novy vs Kris Dodson
Bart Nelson vs Craig Dalton
Roy Cain vs Stephen Turner
Chad Carter vs TBA
Joseph Everhart vs Austin Sutton
Theo Greenidge vs Dewey Dotson

Cage Championships 45
Saturday, September 21st
Big Eagles Hall, Sullivan, MO