Fight Hard: McGinnis vs Busch - Preview
On Saturday, Fight Hard MMA kicks of its 2015 season at the Family Arena as it builds towards it's 5th anniversary in August. Seven events are on the '15 calendar and a promised return to television, this could be the company's busiest year to date.
The marquee fight on Saturday's card is the finals of the lightweight tournament between Buddy McGinnis and Dan Busch. The winner of the match will take home the unified lightweight title and join Michelle Pearce, Erion Zekthi, and West Powers as Fight Hard MMA champions.
In his semifinal match-up with Cody Huff, Busch used his takedowns to wear out Huff in the first round, before dropping and forcing a scramble with a heavy right hand that lead to the eventual takedown. After landing punches from the top, Busch snatched the arm and advanced to the finals.
In the other half of the bracket, McGinnis defeated Terrence Gant. McGinnis neutralized Gant's offense and used tricky footwork and positional advantage to win a unanimous decision. The victory earned "The Hooligan" a spot in the finals and a meeting with Busch.
McGinnis has a knack for taking his opponent's strengths and nullifying them. If he can keep the pressure on Busch he should be able to eek out a decision. Busch is tough and has proven hard to finish so look for this fight to go all three rounds. McGinnis is a tricky match-up for most with his long, lanky build. He uses his jab to keep opponents flustered and at range.
Quentin Garrison has looked great since his move to flyweight, although he'll have no easy task dispatching the experienced Steve Barbee. Nicknamed "Bar-Zilla" by his teammates, Barbee has over 20 fights as an amateur including a successful title bout in Kansas City last November. Barbee has fought everyone and everywhere and may have too much experience for Garrison who has won three of his last five.
Fan favorite Derek Clardy returns to action to face Cody Huff. Clardy was victorious over the weekend against Edrick Dillard at Shamrock with a vicious TKO.
Fighting out of Modern Combat Systems and dubbed the "Silent Assasin," Clardy prefers to let his fists do the talking and has won 7 of his last 9 fights. Clardy showed he has one heck of a chin in his slugfest with Rafael Bazaldua back in July that dazzled the crowd.
Dakota Bush from the Smith Pit will make his Fight Hard debut taking on Jeradon Brown. At 6-1, Bush could make a claim as one of the best lightweights on this card. A win over Brown could put him in line for a shot at the winner of the main event.
One fight to keep your eye on is the debuting Andrew Wilste from Pedigo Submission Fighting. Wilste has quickly made a name for himself in jiu-jitsu circles by winning the Pan Ams in the blue belt division and taking home first place medals at national tournaments almost every weekend.
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Announced matches (subject to change):
Buddy McGinnis vs Dan Busch - FH 155 Title
Quentin Garrison vs Steve Barbee
Erik Newman vs Joe Taylor
Derek Clardy vs Cody Huff
Dakota Bush vs Jeradon Brown
Jordan Leggans vs Marcus Brownlee
James Mottershead vs Vi Nguyen
Andrew Wilste vs Duante Tipler
Irfan Mulabitinovic vs James Green
Curtis Eller vs Ryan Walker
Fight Hard: McGinnis vs Busch
Saturday, February 7th
Family Arean, St. Charles, MO
Photo courtesy of Jimmy Range Photography