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Jerry Chavez | Chavez Photography

Shamrock FC: Assault - Preview

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

Shamrock FC swung for the fences in 2015, and connected.

The St. Louis-based promotion ran nearly 30 events, hosting fights in both Kansas City and St. Louis. They partnered up with Bellator MMA to bring the company to St. Louis for two successful live events and offered a path to the national stage through guaranteed Bellator contracts for winners of its pro title fights. The company also launched it's own PPV service, offering live streaming of all its events and signed multi-fight contracts for many of the region's top professional fighters.

Not ones to rest on their laurels, Shamrock FC's Jesse Finney and Rob Donaker will hit the ground running, kicking off their 2016 with another ambitious schedule, kicking things off in Kansas City featuring arguably the city's top dog, Bobby Voelker taking on one of St. Louis' hottest young pros in Kyle Kurtz.

After a memorable run in both Strikeforce and the UFC, Voelker landed back in home town of Kansas City with Shamrock FC where he notched three straight wins, two via first round KO. Voelker improved his already impressive record to 27-12 putting away Mike Estus in September.

Voelker sat down with us before the Estus fight and said he has no interest in slowing down as he makes one more run at either UFC or Bellator.

It's hard to argue that any fighter had a better year than Kyle Kurtz. After turning pro in January, he notched off 5 wins in the calendar year, including two for Bellator MMA on St. Louis' grandest stage, the Scottrade Center, a 20,000 seat arena in downtown St. Louis.

The southeast Missourian surprised many in June when he submitted former Ultimate Fighter contestant Adam Cella via armbar at Bellator 138. He would again return to Bellator in November to face Cella's teammate Steve Mann and again it would be Kurtz victorious via submission.

Raising the bar in the level of competition, Kurtz will now face his toughest test yet in Voelker, a fighter who has made a name for his resilience and tenacious striking ability.

"Next year I plan to come out undefeated," Kurtz said. "I'm going to come out strong and aggressive as always and put people away. It's time to get hungry again, Bobby is just one of those guys that's going to get in my way and I'm starving."

Kurtz understands the position he's in and the potential to play spoiler to "Vicious" Bobby's comeback run. He is eager to add another notch to a quickly growing resume.

"He's going to get put away. He's not going to get back to the big leagues," Kurtz said. "I'm going to be taking his place."

As far as the match-up goes with the UFC-vet, Kurtz believes despite his lack of experience he has the advantage when it comes to technique.

"Him and I are very similar styles." Kurtz said. "He's aggressive, goes out there and gives it his all. Technique-wise, when it goes to the ground, I think I'll submit him or set myself up for a TKO. I think I'm a more technical fighter."

Enigmatic featherweight Jacob Akin returns to take on Jordan Hernandez. Akin is looking to rebound from his September rematch with William Joplin. Akin has fought a who's-who of KC's best including former Ultimate Fighter contestant "Sharkbait" Anthony Gutierrez, the hard hitting Kevin Croom, and WEC and Bellator vet LC Davis among many others. The 22-year old Hernandez will be looking to right the ship after a rough 2015 that saw him drop three straight.

Fan favorite Dustin Kramer will face off with Issac Badger at flyweight. Kramer (2-1) started off his pro career with two first round finishes before a memorable fight from SFC: Charged where he tangled with Matt Murphy, ultimately losing via submission. Kramer will be hungry to rebound a much taller Badger, who should post an interesting puzzle for Kramer with his height and reach.

On the amateur side, Tyson Hicks and Trevor McKenzie will battle for the Shamrock FC amateur 155 belt. In his only fight in 2015, Hicks scored a 1 minute 24 second KO of Trevor Johnson at SFC: Clash.

Heavyweights Anthony Garret and Byron Stevens will make for an exciting match-up of two guys who tend to stay on the heavier side of the 265 limit. Garret has only seen the second round in one of his eight amateur fights.

Tickets available through CageTix

Bobby Voelker vs Kyle Kurtz
Cody Peterson vs Oscar Valdez
Dustin Kramer vs Issac Badger
Jacob Akin vs Jordan Hernandez

Tyson Hicks vs Trevor McKenzie 155 Title
Dominic Garcia vs James Cowan
Stephon Ragan vs austin Cunningham
Brian Reeves vs Raymond Powell
Felix Santillano vs Ken Hooten
Anthony Garret vs Byron Stevens
Frank Manion vs Mike Williams
Ray Whitman vs Caleb Johnson
Jewel Ettingburg vs Chris Heavener
Austin Werner vs Jason Kiser

Shamrock FC: Assault
Saturday, January 15th
Ameristar Casino, Kansas City, MO

Photo courtesy of Jerry Chavez Photography

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