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Shamrock FC: 273 - Recap

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

After a bit of a slow start, one big punch kicked things into high gear, and intensity never slowed making Shamrock FC: 273 one of most exciting cards of the year.

With nearly a dozen events on the books for Shamrock FC in 2016, this was only the third MMA event at Lumiere this calendar year. Packed with controversial finishes, a big KO, and even a couple of submissions for those ground aficionados, this card kept fans guessing.

Jeff Crotty was on the winning end of the "winner takes all" bet with Kirk Huff. Despite a hellacious weight cut of nearly 25 pounds, Crotty was on point and stayed out of danger to best Huff in the third round.

"I knew I was going to win, plain and simple. I got too much heart," Crotty said. "They wanted me to hype it up, but I don't talk shit. I said lets make this a bet. I felt sluggish today, but I came out and watched my buddy Tanner Thomas. He should have won that decision, it pissed me off."

Huff seemingly wanted to turn the fight into a ground battle, but Crotty's wrestling kept him out of bad positions, and despite his best attempts, Huff couldn't get his triangle to stick.

A punch sat down Huff in the second, and he seemed to be in real trouble, he immediately looked for the takedown, and was able to drag Crotty down. Huff used an omoplotta to sweep but Crotty scrambled away.

"Hell no, I didn't feel threatened," Crotty said. "I got the 'Mexicutioner' Aaron Highfill in my corner. He gets my back every time I get tired. I was comfortable, I was a lot stronger than him. Highfill is a beast, he came back after two weeks of getting his meniscus removed and came in there throwing bombs. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have been in the shape I was in."

The end came in the third when a knee to the ribs from a clench dropped Huff into turtle. Crotty swarmed to get the finish.

"I kneed the shit out of him." Crotty said. "I felt him crumble, it took the wind out of him. He kept ducking under. He was hitting me with a two over the top, so I was stepping back and uppercutting, and he was running right into it."

After the fight an emotional Crotty thanked his coaches.

"These two guys right here Boyd Baller and Ron Bessmer," Crotty said. "Boyd was my first MMA coach, my only MMA coach. Ron Bessmer my wrestling coach since high school That guy drove me back from school when I had no ride. He made sure I got to wrestling practice. He was the at the gym every day, early at Mount Olive."

Cortty improves to 1-1 as a pro, with his only loss coming to Garrett Gross at Bellator 145 last November.

"I want the strap, baby. I want the strap for Shamrock" Crotty said. "I want back in Bellator, I want what's mine. I'm the best 155er there is around here, I'm the pound for pound king. Let's do it, line up whoever."

Controversy soured an otherwise entertaining back and forth match-up between top prospects when the score cards were totaled incorrectly and the wrong winner was announced. Neither fighter was able to gain a clear advantage with lightweights Chris Petty and Dakota Bush making this one hard to judge. Petty controlled the first half of the fight with Bush winning the latter.

Petty dodged an early takedown to jump on the back of Bush looking for a quick submission. Despite his best efforts, Petty couldn't get his arm under the chin to finish the choke, and Bush was able to reset the fight.

"In the first round he had my back for most of the round," Bush said. "He wasn't really working, and I'm super comfortable in that position."

Bush landed a solid combination in the second round to set off his striking. A couple of low kicks below the belt, didn't seem to slow down Bush who went for the head kick early, and stayed without it throughout the fight, often finding a home.

With the fight seemingly tied one round a piece, the third was close with Bush using momentum gained in the second round to sprint ahead. Bush needed to survive a late surge from Petty when Petty landed a couple of solid punches but ran out of time.

"I definitely thought I won the fight," Bush said. "I wanted to setup my head kick a little more, and my jab. I was getting kind of lazy with it. I wasn't the fighter I knew I should have been, but after that first round I knew I had to take those last two rounds."

When the scorecards were read, Chris Petty was declared the winner winning by two of the three judges. After realizing the mistake, judge Tim Francis corrected State Officials and Shamrock's announcer re-addressed the crowd revealing Bush as the actual winner by split decision.

Bush improves to 2-0 as a professional, but was critical of his performance.

"I didn't perform how I wanted to," Bush said. "I've got to get back in the gym as soon as I can. I need to fine tune a few things, and get more comfortable in there. I was hesitating too much."

After switching up his training to focus on his stand-up, the results are starting to pay off for Kris Craig. Craig out of Finney's MMA has always had good wrestling, but the addition of improved footwork and punching accuracy have made him a serious threat to his flyweight peers. In the bout with Shawn McConnnell it was all Craig who closed the distance at every opportunity forcing McConnenell on his backfoot for most of the match before Craig was finally able to store the TKO in the second.

Kicking off the main card was Sam Tamayo and Reggie Evans. The elder Evans out of Xplosive MMA in Hillsborough, IL was riding a hot hand going into the bout but it was a much improved Tomayo who came out the victor.

Tomayo had to navigate his way out of a nasty guillotine early in the fight, but once on top, it was all Tomayo. The former Granite City wrestler kept heavy pressure on Evans, never letting him get his offense going.

The end came in the second when Tomayo latched onto the arm of Evans, finishing with an armbar late in the second round.

"I've been training on my jits," Tomayo said."I've been going to the War Room, Jon Menke is a hell of a coach. I'm trying to make that jump from a wrestler with heavy hands to an all around mixed martial artist."

Tomayo was quick to thank his teammates at CMMA for his improved cardio.

"I had a full training camp for this," Tomayo said. "I had Jordan Dowdy, a 2-time Bellator veteran and Sal Woods a household name round here. They been pushing me in and out of the gym. I was in great shape because these guys shark tanked me. That was the secret, move, I stay in the middle for 10 rounds, and they switch on me."

After the fight Tomayo discussed a planned move to lightweight.

"My team wants to progressively see me get down to '55," Tomyao said. "I'm going to take a fight at '65, then one at '60, and then one at '55. If everything goes good I will look to end my amateur career later this year, and start my pro career early next year."

Speedy flyweights Corbin Howard and Eddie Mayo made for a fun fight, if you were able to keep up with their pace. Howard used his incredible quickness to keep Mayo guessing. After a brief feeling out period, Howard landed a takedown and it was clear he had the stronger wrestlers. From the bottom, Mayo was able to trap the arm of Howard behind his back making for an awkward looking shoulder submission. Once free Howard turned on the nitro.

Transitioning from a headkick to a double leg, Howard once again got Mayo on his back in the second round, where he worked his top pressure. Seemingly conjured out of thin air, Howard jumped into an armbar, but Mayo was able to twist out of it. The end came late in the third when Howard was able to get Mayo to turtle, got his hooks in and finished a rear naked choke. Howard improves to 3-0 and a future match-up with Kris Craig seems imminent.

Greg Freund training out of Finney's MMA only needed one minute and six seconds to dispatch opponent Andrew Escobar for a first round TKO.

After an extended from the cage due to military obligations twenty-five year old Jeremiah Curtright got things rolling again with a blistering KO of Tobby Gvillo in his first fight back.

Curtright resurfaces on the local scene almost three years to the day from his last trip to the cage. Since returning to St. Charles, Curtright has joined up with Mike Rogers' team at St. Charles MMA, who cornered him for the fight.

"I joined the military, joined the Air Force, went did that," Curtright said. "I've been wanting to get back into fighting since I've been back. Took me a while to find the right gym. I tried Berger's, I tried some other that weren't well known. I always knew St. Charles was there so I went out and I've stayed there."

Only seconds into their fight, Curtright connected with a vicious uppercut that flattened Gvillo sending him hard to the canvas, Curtright pounced before referee Mike Wassem called a halt to the action.

"I've' never actually thrown an uppercut," Curright said. "Usually it's always hooks and straight punches. The way he was grabbing, reaching out for me he left it open. I just threw it and it landed on the button. I thought the ref was going to stop it right then because he was stiff."

Vince Hutchens got the better of Tanner Thomas in a very close bout that saw Springfield, IL's Hutchens winning a unanimous decision, despite strong objection from the crowd who did not agree with the judges. Kicking off things on the night was Dylan Hatley out of Sparta, IL winning a decision over Mike Ferris thanks in part to his wrestling.

Shamrock FC returns to Lumeire on August 14th for Xtreme 8 featuring the return of undefeated boxer Raymond Handson.

Photo courtesy of Jimmy Range Photography