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Fight Hard: Wilson vs Johnson - Preview

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

When Fight Hard last setup shop at the Family Arena in February, it announced new ownership. Many wonder how this change would effect the area's largest amateur promotion.

They put those fears to rest revealing a busy summer schedule, and will return on April 18th armed with a stacked amateur fight card featuring a flyweight match-up between two of the best the Midwest have to offer.

Since he's returned from South East Missouri last summer, Charles Johnson (11-1-1) has been on a tear. Many questioned how he would look coming off a year layoff and the first loss of his career. He quickly silenced the doubters with a one minute submission victory over Donte Butler. He returned a month later matching up with Matthew Nall in a fight nominated for Amateur Fight of the Year. An injury put him on the shelf for most of the winter, but he returned in March to take out upstart prospect Erik Newman winning in the second round.

Johnson, who competed on the track team at SEMO, has incredible fitness and athletic ability and has a quickly improving ground game that he has worked at tirelessly at St. Charles MMA under coaches Mike Rogers and Jeff Henry.

Fighting out of Emporia, Kansas, Demetrius Wilson (13-4) has quickly made name for himself in the Kansas City area as one of the amateurs to watch. Winning seven out of his last eight bouts, Wilson has defeated most of his peers on the western half of the state, and recently headed east to find new competition. Most recently, Wilson defeated Steve Barbee at the March Rumble Time at Ameristar Casino. Wilson is a grinder with good wrestling and is hard to put away as evident by his high number of decision victories.

The match-up between Wilson and Johnson will most likely go to the judge's score cards and will come down to who can control the center of the cage. Whomever takes home the victory will have a lot of momentum heading into to the pro ranks as both of these fighters are ready to make the jump.

Julius Anglickas is a nightmare for promoters. When opponents find out who they're fighting, they often find reasons not to show up. David Nowland knows all about the big Lithuanian and has accepted this challenge.

To sweeten the pot, matchmaker Kain Royer has declared it a title bout with the winner becoming the first Unified Midwest Light Heavyweight Champion joining the likes of Erion Zekthi, Michelle Pearce, Dan Busch, and Wes Powers.

Quickly becoming a fan favorite at Fight Hard is the soft spoken lightweight Derek Clardy. Teddy Roosevelt famously said "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Clardy might not say much but he packs one heck of a punch.

Clardy, out of Modern Combat Systems, is matched up against Jeradon Brown. Brown took a break for most of 2013 and all of 2014 before returning in February. While his return took a bit of a misstep (losing a decision to Dakota Bush) Brown had serious trouble with Bush's wrestling, something he shouldn't have to worry about with Clardy. This fight could definitely steal the show as both fighters will keep the fight standing.

Grappling phenom Andrew Wiltse will look to continue his dabbling into MMA with a match against "Beast Mode" Marcus Brownlee. Like Anglickas, Wiltse often has trouble finding opponents willing to stick around. The grappler out of Pedigo Submission Fighting recently won the Blue Belt division at the IBJJF Pan's competition in Long Beach winning all matches by submission.

Brownlee is strong and athletic and has won both of his previous fights by submission.

One of the female bouts to keep an eye on is between Sheena Brandenburg and Kelly D'Angelo. D'Angelo, out of Berger's MMA, is a tough competitor who looked very well rounded at her first MMA fight back in December. Brandenburg will have a serious edge in experience with over 15 amateur fights, but looks to a bit of a weakness for the ground game, something D'Angelo will most likely bring to the fight.

Fans of the "big boys" will enjoy the match-up between Max McNeely and Dusty Chandler. McNeely has fought primarily out of South East Missouri and cleared out that region building a 6-2 record. Chandler will welcome him to St. Louis where often the competition is a bit more stiff. This should be a fun fight to watch.

A late addition of Tavae Lewis and KJ Jones rounds out what was already a solid amateur card.

Free tickets for this event are available by printing out this voucher.

Full Fight card:
Demetrius Wilson vs Charles Johnson - 125 Title
David Nowland vs Julius Anglickas -- 205 Title
Jeradon Brown vs Derek Clardy
Marcus Brownlee vs Andrew Wiltse
Eric Ellington vs Fred Freeman
Hannah lavely vs Abby Willing
Brandon Runyon vs Jonathan Rosener
Tavae Lewis vs KJ Jones
Markel Bolden vs James Green
Max McNeely vs Dusty Chandler
Sheena Brandenburg vs Kelly D'Angelo
Donny Hancock vs Matte Matteson
Jake Willyard vs Jason Newman

Card subject to change, may not reflect bout order.

Fight Hard MMA: Wilson vs Johnson
Saturday, April 18th
Family Arena, St. Charles, Mo

Photo courtesy of Sara Levin Photography