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NFA - This is War - Preview

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

Building off the success of April's "Sacrifice and Glory", the Nemesis Fighting Alliance is back for their second show of the year at Casa Loma Ballroom for "This is War" on Saturday. Matchmaker Drew Ingrande has brought back several familiar faces from April including Drew Gigax and Josh Augustine from the main card as well as a host of promising amateur talent.

April's card saw was hampered by a late scratch when main event competitor Chuka Willis had a weight-cutting issue. This left one of the area's top prospects, Sean Woodson without an opponent. The aforementioned Gigax slid into the main event position and remained undefeated with a second-round TKO over Ghenadie Bitco.

Fresh off the first professional KO of his career, the "Big Dog" Eric Ellington will face Will Shutt in the evening's main event. Ellington defeated Scott Ettling in November to improve to 6-1 as a pro taking home KJ's Knockout of the Year in the process. Ellington is quickly setting himself ahead of the pack and his record's only blemish was a submission loss to Miles Johns at LFA 40.

Shutt is a veteran of the Iowa fight scene has over 50 professional fights and faced several future UFC fighters making their way up the ladder, like Jeremy Stephens, Eric Koch, TJ O'Brien, Dakota Cochrane, and local featherweight Alex White. The journeyman will be a stiff test for Ellington as any fighter with Shutt's experience level is a dangerous one. The winner of this fight will take home NFA's first professional title.

Middleweight Jordan Dowdy will make his promotional debut for NFA in the co-main event slot. Dowdy has fought exclusively for Shamrock FC/Bellator since turning pro in April of 2015 and building a 7-4 record in the process.

"I was under contract with Shamrock FC for just under 4 years," Dowdy said. "That's the length of an undergraduate level degree, when I think about it, that's quite some time. When locked into a single promotion, you are committed to only the opportunities on their calendar. Sometimes things time well, sometimes they just do not. If things do not, you may not hear from them for awhile. They have many other things to tend to than just one person. Look at their platform and brand, it has really grown. So, who am I really in the grand scheme of that picture?"

Completely free of any contractual issues and with plenty of options afoot, Dowdy is positive for what the future holds.

"Now if it so happens that I'm in a place where I can compete in a certain time window, depending on heath, family time, work obligations and so forth, I have options," Dowdy said. "I'm on good terms with everyone honestly, and I'm thankful for all past opportunities, but I'm glad to now be back in the drivers seat of being able to have more control of my opportunities. Whenever they may be."

Dowdy will take on Kevin Brown. After losing his first five professional bouts to the likes of Aaron Highfill, Shaun Scott, and Sean Woodson, Brown went on a tear winning five in a row to even his record. A first-round submission loss in April slowed down his momentum and has him sitting at 5-6 as a pro.

If the fight hits the ground, Brown will need to be careful in the guard of Dowdy, a purple belt, who has consistently improved his ground game since joining forces with Nick Sanders, Andrew Ebers, and the guys from Watson Martial Arts. Brown faced a murder's row of talent to start his career, and his record could be deceiving of his actual ability.

In the evening's featured kickboxing bout, Drew Gigax will take on Davy Peter. Gigax has cruised to an unblemished 4-0 and has found a home with NFA having competed on all but one of their events since the relaunch. Gigax's size and reach is a handful for most competitors and he's looked even better since joining forces with Quinton O'Brien at the KBC Garage.

Josh Augustine looks to stay unbeaten when he faces Tremiere Hollie. Representing SCMMA, Augustine made his pro debut in April winning via TKO late in the first round. Augustine should be considered a huge favorite in this match-up, but it's the fight game and anything can happen.

Rounding out the main card is Hahn MMA's Justin Lankford fresh from a victorious pro debut in March. Lankford will face the always dangerous KJ Jones. This fight has the potential for fight of the night as both prefer to do their work on the ground which could make for an interesting stand-up fight.

A pair of amateur titles highlight the all-amateur preliminaries. Orlando Sanders, considered by many as St. Louis' top amateur, will face Chuckie Brooks for the NFA amateur welterweight belt. Sanders defeated Kevin Roper in December to become the #1 contender for the belt. Sanders won by the narrowest of split decisions in a redo of a previously scheduled bout that ended in a No Contest after an inadvertent eye poke. A power puncher with a decent ground game, Brooks will be a good match-up for Sanders. Brooks lost by triangle over the area's other top ammy welterweight Max Choriev in September. Roper, Sanders, Choreiv, and Brooks make-up a class of very talented young welterweights, a match-up with any of these four is must-see.

In the other amateur title bout, Sebastian Grant will look to take home his first taste of gold if he can get past Keegan Irish. Irish is 3-0 with a pair of rear naked choke victories, both for NFA.

Fight card (Subject to change):

Eric Ellington vs William Shutt - NFA Bantamweight Title
Jordan Dowdy vs Kevin Brown
Drew Gigax vs Davy Peter - Kickboxing
Josh Augustine vs Tremiere Hollie
Justin Lankford vs KJ Jones

Orlando Sanders vs Chuckie Brooks - NFA Amateur Title
Keegan Irish vs Sebastian Grant - NFA Amateur Title
Derek Albright vs Tray Martin
David Frasier vs Dylan Hatley
Edwin Rowe vs TBA
Aaron Lake vs Joseph Brown
Daniel Skaggs vs Micah Bell
Jett Bouckaert vs Kaitlyn Jesse - Kickboxing
Jason Akers vs Tivion Taylor

NFA: This is War
Saturday, June 22
Casa Loma Ballroom, St. Louis, MO