Shamrock FC: Fuel - Recap
On a night full of marquee-worthy performances, Jordan Howard and Becky Ruth owned the spotlight.
Howard and Ruth, the main-and-co-main event winners of Friday's Shamrock FC:Fuel, walked away from the River City Casino not only with SFC championship belts but multi-fight Bellator contracts tucked into their gym bags.
"Jordan's on his way to Bellator, Becky's on her way to Bellator," SFC President Jesse Finney said. "These are the big boy contracts. The energy in the building was amazing tonight. It was one to remember."
In the main event Howard put his SFC bantamweight title on the line against Danny Aguirre. Aguirre had missed weight the night before, nullifying his chance at both the title and the contract. But little that mattered as Howard, from Jefferson City, put together a stellar outing.
Aguirre, out of Illinois, is a crafty fighter but Howard proved to be the much quicker and harder to hit. Howard cruised to a 30-27 unanimous decision victory, improving to 9-3 and winning his eighth straight.
"Jordan is better than I gave him credit for. He's solid with good jiu-jitsu and elusive, very elusive" Finney said. "His wrestling was way better than thought. That kid he fought has only lost to UFC veterans."
In the third and final round, Howard consistently did a good job stuffing takedowns and landing strong punches off the separation. Howard started to pick away at the 1:26 mark before shoving Aguirre down into his half guard.
At times, Aguirre was able to slow Howard's boxing advantage with a strong clinch.
Howard sprung out to start the second, throwing and landing combinations before getting a take down all in the first 40 seconds. Aguirre tied things up again until the 2:40 mark when Howard started landing to the body. Following a scramble, Aguirre ended up in Howard's guard. Aguirre did little damage while on top before a Howard triangle attempt. Aguirre defended but took a few elbows to the head for the rest of the round.
The pair spent the bulk of the first round snarled together on the fence. Howard opened up after being separated in the final 35 seconds.
Ruth was as angry and on-point as ever and Alice Yauger showed the resolve and guts of three fighters.
Ruth came out to finish in the third round, throwing and landing with conviction and destruction, getting the fight stopped 35 seconds into it. The victory gave Ruth the SFC flyweight title along with a Bellator contract.
"I thought Rebecca stole the show," Finney said.
Going to a jumping lead kick and blasting away with the right, Ruth (5-1) was pumping up the volume for most of the first two rounds.
In the second she bullied Yauger against the cage and landed several rights. Yauger scored a take down at the halfway mark and slowed the offense down some but Ruth worked to get the sweep and ended up in side control, her fan base erupted as she got out of any chance of danger.
Ruth jumped out quick in the first round, pumping her jab and landing heavy rights. Yauger got the fight to the ground but couldn't keep it there. After Ruth walked into a spinning head, kick, she bit down on the mouthpiece and finished the round convincingly.
Joaquin Buckley and Kyle Kurtz put together one of the best rounds of the year. The two rivals, both with bright futures, failed to disappoint if only for the length of the bout. The previously undefeated Kurtz had success with his boxing compared to Buckley scoring slamming takedowns and a landing a pulverizing knee.
From the opening bell, Buckley was able to close the distance and dart in and out but still at the same time, Kurtz was getting the better on the feet. Once Buckley got a takedown, he quickly transitioned to side control then mount. But Kurtz cleverly slid out and escaped and once to the feet again land effective punches in the pocket. Following another Buckley takedown, the fight got back in the clinch in the center of the cage. Buckley nearly KO'd Kurtz with a heavy knee to the head. Buckley swarmed on Kurtz and ran his record to 5-0 with the finish at 4:34.
Jordan Dowdy continues to raise eyebrows and be the subject of whispers along press row.
Dowdy had one of the most difficult match ups of the night in fellow welterweight Mike Gaston. It was the second pro fight for both.
Gaston pressed forward immediately and worked to get the takedown. Once he got it, Gaston passed guard but Dowdy was able to defend and pop back up. Gaston caught a kick and took Dowdy to the ground but once again Dowdy was back to his feet. Once there, Dowdy threw a nice uppercut and landed a tide-turning trip. Dowdy swarmed, landed heavy ground and pound and got the TKO finish.
Yohance Flager nearly had Jason Powell in a kimura to end the first round. When the opportunity rose again in the second, he jumped all over it but this time with the result he was looking for.
Flager (7-6) submitted Powell just 50 seconds into the second round.
Powell had difficulties early in the fight dealing with Flager's speed and quickness advantage. Flager eventually got his timing and distance down before Powell went for a takedown and the two ended up tied up on the fence. Flager latched on to a guillotine attempt that Powell fought through and once he did, Powell started to heat up. He ended the round with some ground and pound after he drug Flager to the ground.
Powell led off the second round with a nice scooping takedown but once on the Flager snared the submission.
What a pro debut for 24-year-old Zach Gerullis out of Hahn's MMA.
Gerullis finished Marc Godecker in the first round to lead off the main card. Gerullis filled in two weeks ago for his coach, Kevin Hahn, who was originally slated to meet up with Godeker.
Godeker earned a takedown within the first minute of the fight and he hung out in guard as Gerullis controlled posture. Gerullis, the former SFC amateur heavyweight champion, patiently slipped out underneath and eventually took Godeker's back. From there, the 6-foot-6er landed whiping punches, causing Godeker to turtle. The fight was eventually stopped with 1:35 left in the first round.
In the featured bout of the amateur undercard, a knee injury derailed Jason Christeson and tempered the large crowd that came to watch his SFC middleweight title fight with Shawn Scott.
An injury default before the start of round two gave Scott the TKO win and made him the new SFC middleweight champ.
Christeson charged across the cage and scored a huge takedown to start the fight. Scott held off and the fight returned to the feet briefly before Christeson scored a second takedown, moved to side control and eventually bulldogged Scott to the floor and took his back. Scott defended well but Christeson stayed with it. Scott escaped underneath toward the end of the first round.
Garrett Wells' smooth ground game led to a decision win over Montrel James.
Wells scored an early takedown, took James' back and flatted him out. Wells sprinkled in some ground and pound, fended off a James sweep attempt and finished the round dropping shots from the back and going for an armbar.
In the second round, James ended up in Wells' guard where Wells was able to control the pace. After eating some ground and pound, Wells pulled off a nice hip sweep, eventually took James' back and landed hammer fists to end the round.
Wells continued to showcase sound ground skills in the third. After haphazardly pulling mount, he slithered his way back to dominant position. He locked James up in a body triangle and worked for a rear naked choke until the final bell sounded.
In the first title match of the night, Cahokia MMA's Cortavious Romious got the rear naked choke on Corte Wahle with just four seconds left in the first round. Romious did a nice job fending off the numerous Wahle submission attempts and landed some sound ground and pound in the process. Just when it looked like things were heading to round two, Romious took Wahle's back and got the tap to become the new SFC featherweight champ.
The War Room's Patrick Sparks made quick work of Jake Willyard with a nice arm triangle submission with 1:13 left in the first round.
To start the night, Cody Nauke came out on top with 2:15 into round one when he submitted Zach Burcham with a guillotine.
Shamrock FC returns to Kansas City on September 26 highlighted by Bobby Voelker will bring his 26-12 record and fireball brand of fighting against Mike Estus. St. Louis standout Adam Meredith makes his first Shamrock FC MMA appearance when he takes on the undefeated Manny Meraz. Meraz is 6-0 and had a stellar 6-1 amateur run.
Shamrock FC is back to St. Louis on Oct. 17 at the Lumiere Casino.
Photo courtesy of Jimmy Range Photography