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Fight Hard - 12-28 Event Recap

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

Fight Hard MMA closed out a busy 2013 for St. Louis MMA with a return to the Family Arena, and their fourth and final show of the year..

Fresh from signing a three year extension with the facility, Fight Hard entertained fans on a holiday weekend with a night of crazy submissions.

The evening's advertised main event was scrapped prior to the contest as Bernard Tomas was unable to make the agreed upon weight of 160 pounds. CJay Hunter, Thomas' scheduled opponent took to the microphone to thank his supporters and was greeted by an agitated Buddy McGinnis (Spire's no. 1 lightweight) who was looking for a shot at Hunter at the next Fight Hard on February 22nd.

Bumped into the main event slot was Matt Murphy and Sheldon Smith. Both fighters have a genuine dislike for each other stemming from a previously scheduled fight earlier in the year that was canceled last minute when Smith had to attend to family matters.

Murphy fought with an agitated swagger in the first couple rounds, as both fighters were trading hard shots. Smith closed out the third with a smothering ground assault that neutralized any offense of Murphy. Smith battled for a rear naked choke for most of the round, but could not get the submission. In the end Smith wins a unanimous decision and improves to 17-5.

Jake Roberts survived a couple of early submission scares before landing an inverted triangle on Curtis Eller in the co-main event.

Eller who has won the majority of his victories by submission looked to catch Roberts early and often. Eller seized the opportunity almost immediately by locking on a standing guillotine, but after several intense moments, Roberts was able to get his head free. After a scramble that took the fight to the ground, Eller attempted an ankle lock that looked to once again have Roberts in trouble.

Free from danger it would be Roberts who would go on the offense putting Eller into an inverted triangle where he would finish the fight shortly before the bell in the first round.

Roberts improves to 8-0. Earlier in the week Spire released a pound for pound amateur ranking listing Roberts on top of the heap. He made a strong argument tonight defeating a very tough Eller who drops to 7-3.

Chad Williams and Wesley Powers went the distance throwing heavy leather. The two "middleweights" both showed up north of 200lbs and although over the agreed upon fight weight, were close enough in size that the match could proceed.

Williams controlled the fight for most of the three rounds despite getting dropped early in the first. The All-American from Missouri Valley eventually went to his wrestling to slow down the fight in the third and secure the judge's decision. Williams snaps his losing skid and improves to 16-3.

Joaquin Buckley from Finney's MMA improved to 5-0, and showed why he is one of the best kept secrets in the area. Buckley came out firing against Wayne Collier. Collier wanted none of the stand-up and was able to get the fight to the floor, but fell into Buckley's guard where he locked on the triangle for the win.

Mark Chappell got the submission over Montuelle Prater. Prater has had the hot hand for most of the year, but Chappell was able to take the fight to the ground and get the tap. Prater looked in serious trouble in the first with a nasty kimura. Saved by the bell, the match continued into the second round where Chappell was able to score the evenings second inverted triangle.

Christian Santana waited until the last event of the year to take home the submission of the year. Santana submitted opponent Joe Roye with the rarely seen gogoplata, much to the delight of the jiu-jitsu aficionados in attendance. Satana improves to 6-1.

Erik Newman, the youngest of the three Newman brothers overwhelmed his opponent Dustin Snow getting a TKO victory one minute into their fight.

Tyler Hubbs and Auston Dickerson put on the evenings finest performance with a very close fight three rounds. Hubbs survived some hard shots from Dickerson early to try and get the fight to the floor. Dickerson reached deep into his bag of tricks to sore a submission just 52 seconds into the third round.

Mark Kirkland avoided a spinning back fist from Mike Offer to blast his opponent to the canvas to end the fight 19 seconds into the first.

Despite nearly riding the back of Free Freeman for most of the first round, Jonathan Heatherly couldn't finish the choke. The younger brother of local pro Chris "Stump" Heatherly, looked to be in great fighting shape, but tore his hamstring late in the first and couldn't continue giving Freeman the win to start the second round.

Aaron Harvey won a forfeit victory over Da'Rell Fulgham, and Edrick Dillard won a unanimous decision over Anthony Ford to start the night's action.

Fight Hard returns on February 22nd to the Family Arena.

Cage-side notes and results provided by Chris Whatley.