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Fight Hard: Zekthi vs Rose - Event Preview

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

Fight Hard returns on Saturday to the Family Arena for its third show in four months.

Matchmaker Kain Royer seems to have a knack for finding exciting fights as February's Fight Hard was one of the most exciting shows in recent memory. While it doesn't quite have the star power of the previous show, there are some very interesting match-ups scheduled for Saturday.

The card will be highlighted by the finals of an inter-promotional bantamweight tournament between Fight Hard MMA and MMA Sports Federation. In a unique situation, the two local fight companies have joined forces and will share talent as well as recognizing each other's champions.

Victorious in February at Fight Hard, Levi Rose will form one half of the main event and will take on Erion Zekthi, who was victorious in March at a MMA Sports Federation semifinal bout.

Rose wasted little time in pounding out late replacement Mark Chappell. Rose, out of New Castle, Ind., has faced stiff competition in his 15-plus fights including Damian Newman and Sheldon Smith and won't be intimated facing Zekthi.

Zekthi's road to the finals was a bit more challenging as it took three rounds to get the victory over Jordan Collins. Zekthi, out of St. Charles MMA, will have just over 30 days between fights whereas Rose fought two weeks ago. It will be interesting to see if Rose's short turnaround will play a factor in the fight.

Zekthi (6-0) comes into this match with a good amount of buzz and expectation, but don't sleep on Rose, as he had Newman in serious trouble in their fight in August of 2012, and were it not for Newman's heroics, would have won the fight

An intriguing women's bout has staked a claim on the co-main event slot.

The classic grappler vs striker match-up will take place when stand-up specialist Ronni Lawrence will take on 48-year Ezra Lenon blue belt Susie Wyatt, fighting out of Finney's MMA. Lawrence proved hard to take down in her last trip to the Fight Hard cage against Michelle Pearce, and if she can avoid Wyatt's guard, could cruise to victory. However, if "Mama Beast" can take the fight to the ground, then Lawrence will be in trouble.

Gracie Humaita stand-out AJ Siscoe will take on Chappell. Siscoe has traded leather with some of the area's best, and could defeat Chappell if he uses his obvious advantages on the ground. In his last trip to the Family Arena, Siscoe lost a decision to Richie Fernow.

Ian Butler returns to action after a long and difficult recovery from ACL surgery. Buter is exciting to watch and loves performing under the bright lights at Fight Hard. Butler will take on Toby Gvillo, who has yet to taste victory at Fight Hard.

One match that could potentially steal the show is between LC Hamid and Donte Butler. Butler has fought for almost every promotion in the area in his four years of competition and is athletic and fun to watch. He'll have his hands full with Hamid, who recently moved training to St. Charles MMA. Hamid dropped an exciting unanimous decision to Trevor Lanzone at Fight Hard in October of last year.

Erion Zekthi vs Levi Rose - Main Event
Bantamweight Tourney Final

Ronni Lawrence vs Susie Wyatt
Mark Chappell vs AJ Siscoe
Montuelle Prater vs TBA
Burr Hunt vs Rodell Thomas
Ian Butler vs Toby Gvillo
Eric Markovic vs Joe Roye
Miguel Lisboa vs Dustin Bivers
LC Hamid vs Donte Butler
Chiavy Rith vs Dan Uhlenbrock
Dustin Snow vs Josh Boyer
Eloy Pluma vs Steven Coleman

Fight Hard: Zekthi vs Rose
Saturday, April 19th
St. Charles Family Arena, St. Charles, MO