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Shamrock FC: 302 - Preview

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

With respects to Tim Elliott and Louis Smolka from UFC on Fox 24 in Kansas City, the fight between Bobby Voelker and Zak Bucia last May might well have been the best fight in Missouri in 2017.

Voelker and Bucia battled for five exhausting rounds before Bucia was declared the winner by the judges, capturing the Shamrock Fighting Championships welterweight title. Bucia would parlay the win into a successful title defense against Aaron Highfill three months later and from there earned a contract with Bellator MMA. For Voelker, the loss snapped a five-fight win streak, who looked to step back onto the national stage with several impressive finishes along the way.

Eager to put the loss in the rear-view, Voelker (29-13) will be back in action on February 3 in the main event of SFC 302 at the Kansas City Ameristar to take on a familiar face in Matt Delanoit. Nebraska's Delanoit (26-14) is a 40-fight veteran who's been competing for over 11 years and has seen action at LFA, Victory FC, and Titan FC among others. Fighting out of Omaha, Delanoit hasn't been very active since 2011, only having five fights in that span, most recently a decision win in October at LFC 25 on AxsTV. In 2007, Delanoit and Voelker squared off in Des Moines, IA, with Voelker getting a late third round stoppage. Expect the Ameristar Casino to be loud and energetic when the hometown favorite Voelker walks to the cage.

Also on the card, hard-nosed wrestler, Josh Weston will be back in the cage after a 20-month break to face Aaron Derrow in a welterweight bout. Derrow (14-9) has been around the Midwest MMA scene for years, and outside of the UFC, has fought for all the national MMA promotions including RFA, Titan FC, and even Bellator. Derrow has a wicked submission game off his back, something that could pose a problem for Weston who likes to take the fight to the ground and grind it out from the top position. Derrow is coming off a loss to Dave "Caveman" Rickels at Bellator 171 in January 2017 and has been on the shelf since.

Popular heavyweight Anthony Garrett will be back to take on Chris Beal. The 31-year old Beal, fighting out of Cape Girardeau, will once again make the long trek across the state to Ameristar KC. Beal's last visit to KC in the spring of 2016 saw him win impressively over Kevin Woltkamp in the first round. Garrett went 2-0 in 2017 and will hope to rebound from a tame performance at SFC 294 where he uses his size to smother and eventually submit Jesse Beck in the first round. Garrett is highly thought of by SFC President Jesse Finney who has been vocal about Garrett not yet to show his full potential.

Lightweights Chance Thackston and Kagen Mullen will tangle in a fight that should interest those fans of the grappling arts. Thackston, a ground specialist, fighting out of Manhattan, Kansas has three first-round submission victories but will have to rebound from his first loss as a pro in May to the buzzsaw that is Trey Ogden. Facing Thackston is Kagen Mullen (1-1) out of Springfield, MO. All of Mullen's victories in MMA have also come via submission.

They don't get much tougher than Raul Romero, and he's the exact type of fighter a promoter loves: he pushes forward, can take a punch, and never gives up. Romero will tangle with Clayton Brown.

Rounding out the main card is Jacob Thrall and Zach Mead facing off in a pro featherweight contest.

On the amateur side, Travis Sumler will be looking to keep his hot streak going when he faces Korey McAuliffe. Sumler has won his last two via first-round submission.

Undefeated heavyweight Andrew Floyd (4-0) will try and stay unbeaten when he takes on Branson, MO's Dave Koenig (3-1). Expect fireworks in this one as neither fighter has been outside of the first round.

Tickets for Shamrock FC: 302 are available via the SFC Store:

Full card: (Subject to change)

Bobby Voelker vs. Matt Delanoit
Aaron Derrow vs. Josh Weston
Anthony Garrett vs. Chris Beal
Chance Thackston vs. Kagen Mullen
Raul Romero vs. Clayton Brown
Jacob Thrall vs. Zach Mead

Andrew Floyd vs. David Koenig
Savannah Self vs. Andrea Leese (Kickboxing)
Travis Sumler vs. Korey McAuliffe
Marisa Chavez vs. Ciara Dolphus
Nik Bowers vs. John Cold
Patrick Pace vs. Chris LaPerle (Kickboxing)
Tyler Rowe vs. Aaron Terrell

Shamrock FC: 302
Saturday, February 3rd
Ameristar Casino KC, Kansas City, MO