NFA: Salvation - Preview
A familiar face to the MMA scene is returning Saturday when Nemesis Fighting Alliance returns after a one-year hiatus.
The promotion primarily known for its huge Civic Center shows in Farmington, have adopted a new home in Arnold. Its last event was in August '14, and saw hometown boy, Tommy Sthair lose to Nikko Glasper in what would turn into a viral video that Bas Rutten labeled "The Running Man Punch".
Fans of Nemesis have become accustomed to NFA highlights showing up on the internet with the most famous of which being the cross-face omoplata choke from Coty Shannon in July of 2012.
KJ spoke with the NFA's Beejay Smith during a busy fight week preparation to discuss the competition and what makes NFA shows special.
"Before there were too many fighters and not enough shows, and now there is the exact opposite." Smith said. "I'm not going to sit here and battle it out with promoters like I used to do. I'm doing it for fun now. The Nemesis Fighting Alliance is a place for fighters to have fun and put on a show for their fans."
During it's hey day, NFA would put on three to four shows a year, but Saturday's event will be only the second in over two years.
"Unfortunately, real life happened." Smith said. "I work at AB and right off the bat I'm only allotted 6 months of weekends a year. There are so many shows going on, I have to pick and choose which weekends are free based on my vacation schedule."
While he still has his eye on a return to Farmington, for now the Eagles Club in Arnold will suffice. A town known for quality wrestling programs, Arnold is a great spot for fight fans.
"It really hasn't been tapped into as far as crowd goes." Smith said. "Our last show we sold every reserved ticket and almost all our general admissions. I always will consider Farmington Civic Center as my home. That's where NFA became legitimate."
After two shows in St. Louis, Smith and company took their show to Farmington and drew in large crowds from a hungry MMA fan base in the mining town 60 minutes Southeast of St. Louis.
"Our first show had 2,100 people." Smith said. "That's never happened with a paid audience. Fight Hard has shows with larger crowds, but that's easier to do when you give away tickets. We had 2,100 for the Canada show and that legitimized us. The second one we had 1,600 and the Greek Fire show we had 1,800."
Saturday's card will feature nine MMA, one K1, and two youth grappling matches on the card.
"I am very in tune with local MMA." Smith said. "I have a lot of buddies that compete and promote shows. I knew Jason Newman had been on a tear lately. I'm giving him a big step up in competition. Mike Bucholz has never competed for us, his brother has so I know a little bit a bout him. He's very main event worthy. Why not have Newman headline it and this will make for some fireworks. This will show what he's got."
Newman's teammate, Josh Boyer will face Dean Vaughan in a match up between two strawweight fighters. The scrappy Boyer is most known for his head kick KO at Cage Champs a year ago. Vaughan has been tearing up the amateur scene in Southwest Missouri fighting primarily for the UnCivil War promotion out of Springfield.
"Basically it's two premiere 115 pounders." Smith said. "These are two guys that are just are the top of the heap."
One fight that will get the crowd going is between two super heavyweights, Jason Brown and Joe Jennings. You shouldn't expect a lot of finesse in this one, just two really big guys looking to slug it out.
"Jason and Joe, these guys are enormous." Smith said. "Like 6'3 - 6'4 and 315 pounds. They're big dudes. We're probably going to see someone go to sleep."
Kicking off things on the adult side is a intense K1 match between two seasoned strikers.
"I'm really excited for Dakota Keeney and Orel Dahan to start the show off." Smith said. "They agreed to no headgear and shin guards. Full K1 rules. I'm very excited to see this fight."
The event starts at 7 with an after party at the nearby Imperial Bowl.
"There was an earthquake in Imperial on Sunday, there's' about to be a 5.0 in Arnold on Saturday." Smith said.
Jason Newman vs Mike Bucholtz
Josh Boyer vs Dean Vaughan
Erik Newman vs TBA
Miles McLemore vs Kevin Mueller
Jason Brown vs Joe Jennings
Nathan Leake vs Ben Lashley
Benji Massie vs Brian Borden
Ien Coleman vs David Kennedy
Derrick Davis vs Shawn Moore
Dakota Keeney vs Orel Dahan - K1
Maddy Goesetis vs Skylar Ponder - Youth Grappling
Caden Goesetis vs Avery Rhoades -- Youth Grappling
Nemesis Fighting Alliance: Salvation
Saturday, September 12th
Eagle's Club, Arnold, MO