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Chris Oth | Knuckle Junkies

Return of the Beast

By Brett Auten | Knuckle Junkies

Rob Washington may be knocking on 30's door but a lifetime of experiences has passed over his eyes.

Washington, a 29-year-old lightweight, has a decorated resume both in and outside of the cage.

He will fight Sean Huffman in the co-main event on Saturday at Shamrock Fighting Championships Inferno held at the Lumiere Place.

From East St. Louis, he is no stranger to fighting on the big stage. Since 2007, ‘The Beast' has racked up 16 pro fights and is 11-5.

"Rob is the real deal," Jesse Finney said. "He is just a really interesting guy. He has trained with a lot of the top guys and hasn't given up an inch if not dominated."

Washington's athletic career started as a wrestler in high school. He went on to grapple for three years while in the United State Navy. While stationed in Guam, Washington began his mixed martial arts training. He jumped right into the fire, snagging pro fights in the likes of Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, and back in Guam.

"It was a great experience being around the different cultures and training styles," Washington said.

He started his career by winning nine of his first 10 fights, including eight in a row in less than a two-year span.

Last year, Washington signed a contract with Maximum Fighting Championships and fought three times in Canada. MFC is the largest MMA promotion in Canada. After three fights and a 0-3 run (including two loses by split decision), Washington circled the wagons at the HIT Squad.

"They have gave me the one-on-one attention that I needed.," Washington said. "It's a family here and I'm surrounded by great strikers, which is going to help me get to the next level."

Injuries have nagged at Washington, but he goes into Saturday feeling the best he has in some time.

"This is the first time in a year-and-a-half that I have no injuries," Washington said.

He will face a cagey veteran in Huffman, who has 36 professional fights under his belt and is 18-18.

"I'm looking to keep it standing and try to out-work him," Washington said. "I'm going to set a good pace from the beginning and try to perform at a high level. I need to fight like I train and show my skills."

The father of three young sons, he is currently going to Lindenwood full-time. He is studying criminal justice. He was a Naval military police officer during his time serving.

Saturday's card kicks off the Shamrock Fighting Championships pro series that will, along with Pinnacle Entertainment, continue nationwide.

All seats for Inferno have all but sold out with only a few $60 tickets available.

For more information, go to http://shamrockfightingchampionships.com/

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