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Fight Hard: Zekthi vs Crawford - Preview

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

Fight Hard MMA is back at the Family Arena Saturday night with a mega card of amateur action.

The promotion last set up shop in December. With some extra time to prepare, Fight Hard matchmaker and Academy of Courage coach Kain Royer has drummed up some intriguing championship match-ups that will help shape the amateur landscape in the St. Louis region.

"It's been tough because I love doing this show," Royer said. "We've managed to secure some amazing fights during the layoff. With the extra time, I've also concentrated on AOC fighters which has been great. They've all progressed a ton and have done great things."

Headlining the card is a champion vs champion match-up between Erion Zekthi and Trevon Crawford. Crawford defends the 145-pound championship he won off James Mottershead. Zekthi takes his bantamweight belt and moves up a weight class. Zekthi won the Fight Hard 135 title defeating the dearly departed Levi Rose in April of 2014.

"This is a great card," Royer said. "But really I gotta say, the champ versus champ fight of Erion and Trevon, both are fan favorites, it will be one to remember."

Zekthi tested the waters of the featherweight division just weeks ago when he faced Cortavious Romious at Shamrock FC: Mayhem, wining by split decision and earning that organizations' featherweight title.

"The tough fights have always been what I craved," Zekthi said. "I think there are a lot of fighters out there that just want to win. No one takes a chance anymore, no one wants to step outside of their comfort zone. I thrive on the pressure and I'll gladly fight anyone. The titles mean nothing to me, belts don't mean shit. I want the satisfaction of beating another competitor plain and simple"

While the fight with Romouis was airtight, Zekthi escaped the encounter with a minimal of scrapes and bruises.

"I love fighting. If my body could handle it, I'd compete every week." Zekthi said. "Now that I'm at the Wolves Den I've been training a lot smarter. Been taking recovery just as serious as my training. Look for me to be as active as possible. I'm looking to have four pro fights this year alone along with the two ammy fights I've already racked up."

Joining Zekthi on the quick turnaround is Shaun Scott. Scott successfully defended his Shamrock FC middleweight belt on the same night Zekthi won his Shamrock title. The powerful wrestler from the Danger Room had moments of trouble in his bout with Kevin Roper but gutted out a decision victory.

Scott faces Curtis Eller, who could match him in the strength department. Eller has won six out of his last seven with his only loss to former Fight Hard middleweight champ Wes Powers. Both hope to get their hand raised to claim Powers' vacated title. Eller last competed at Fight Hard in February of 2015 when he defeated Ryan Walker.

St. Charles MMA's resident ammy Luis Pena returns to the cage hoping to bounce back from a submission loss at the December Fight Hard. Pena has been active since then, tightening up his striking with K1 and boxing matches, including winning his division in the 2016 St. Louis Golden Gloves in February. Pena faces James Cowen from Modern Combat Systems for the Fight Hard lightweight strap.

In a women's strawweight bout, "Mama Beast" Susie Wyatt defends her title against Terri Triplett. Wyatt earned the belt after a win over Sheena Brandenburg.

In a Fight Hard flyweight battle it will be Johnson vs. Johnson when Jose takes on Charles from St. Charles MMA. The two fought last year at the US MMA finals here in St. Louis with Charles Johnson taking home the decision.

Shaun's brother, Derik Scott, will have his hands full with Hahn MMA's wunderkind Evan Elder. Since turning 18, Elder has run roughshod on the local ammys winning in sometimes spectacular fashion in MMA and kickboxing.

This one's free. Click the link to print a voucher for FREE tickets.

Here is the full card:

Erion Zekthi vs Trevon Crawford
Shaun Scott vs Curtis Eller
Luis Pena vs James Cowen
Eric Ellington vs. TBA
Terri Triplett vs Susie Wyatt
Jose Johnson vs Charles Johnson
Derik Scott vs Evan Elder
Bredan Nagle vs Zach White
Izzie Robinson vs Savannah Shahan
Quentin Garrison vs Steven Coleman
Demetrius Cannon vs Aushton Midkiff
Frank Cortez vs Tyler Madding
Kenny Murray Jr vs Ace Anderson
Ashley James vs Lyz Lumpkins

Fight Hard: Zekthi vs Crawford
Saturday, March 26th
Family Arena, St. Charles, MO

Photo courtesy of Sara Levin Photography