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Shamrock FC: Mayhem - Preview

By Matt Frazier | Knuckle Junkies

We don't throw around the word blockbuster very often, but when the card for the March 12 River City Casino show was released the term immediately came to mind.

Shamrock FC promises "Mayhem" for its next River City show, a card stacked from top to bottom with seven pro fights and a eye-opening amateur undercard featuring two title bout that would headline any amateur show in the area.

In the main event, one of St. Louis' hottest fighter returns to action when Kyle Kurtz (5-1) faces "the Hitman" Kevin Engel (4-0).

Engel is a veteran of 35 pro boxing matches and just as many kickboxing bout. But Engel has spent more time in front of the camera, serving as SFC color commentator for its pay-per-view shows, than in competition. The last time Engel made a trip to the cage was September, 2014 when he submitted Anthony Lemon in just over a minute of the first round.

Engel will face a young and hungry Kurtz who has won all but one of his first six pro MMA bouts. Kurtz surprised many by winning not one but two times on Bellator (against Adam Cella and Steve Mann), both by submission. Training out of Modern Combat Systems, Kurtz likes to stand and trade, but is very dangerous off his back, something that has always been a question for Engel.

An old grudge will be settled when Eric Irvin and Josh Weston meet in the co-main event. Both fighters have a similar head first, grinding style where they rely on their wrestling to wear down their opponent. Irvin (10-4) is an exciting fighter to watch as evident from a now infamous fight with Hugh Pulley at Bellator 138 that was voted 2015 Fight of the Year. Irvin has more experience in the cage than Weston, but an in-shape and motivated Weston is a dangerous one.

Two recent Bellator competitors will meet when Garret Gross takes on Rashard Lovelace.

Lovelace, out of Hahn's MMA, will be making his third trip to the cage as a pro and waiting for him is the always dangerous Gross. Lovelace is explosive and has talent for days. Gross has been nominated by Knuckle Junkies for multiple fight of the year awards and gets more dangerous the longer the fight goes. Gross defeated Jeff Crotty in an exciting back and forth affair at Bellator 145 to improve his record to 7-4. Gross, out of the American Top Team, loves to maul his opponents while keeping the fight on the feet, which is Lovelace's bread and butter.

Popular welterweights Matt Helm and Tyler Claussen will tangle. SCMMA's Helm, a father and full-time carpenter has hinted this may be his last. Like Gross and Lovelace, Helm's last bout was for Bellator. Claussen has been on the shelf since 2014, recently getting married. Claussen has won his last two after losing his professional debut.

The sensei out of the War Room will blow the dust off his gloves and return to action after a six year layoff. Brad Jones, the man behind several top young fighter, will be on the other side of the stool. Jones competed in the pioneer days of MMA when there wasn't an amateur circuit and his earliest recorded fight was in 1998, back when many of today's competitors were still in elementary school. Jones will face Coltin Cole out of Arnold BJJ. Cole (2-4) is also returning after a long break having last competed in 2013.

Clay Mitchell will welcome Jason Christeson to the pro ranks. Mitchell was submitted at Bellator 145 in his last fight and will be hungry to get back to his winning ways. Christeson has looked dominant in his handful of amateur fights. If Mitchell can survive the initial wave from Christeson he has a much better chance of winning the longer the fight continues.

Two barn burning strikers, Lee Burns and TJ Jones round out the main card.

In preliminary action, two title fights highlight a yet released all-amateur undercard. Shaun Scott will take on the returning Dustin Fischer. Fischer shook off the ring rust in January and looked very impressive with a win over Kevin Roper. Fischer will have to deal with the powerful and athletic Scott who had a standout 2015 with wins over Jason Christeson and Sam Tamayo. The win over Christeson gave Scott the SFC 185-pound title.

The human highlight reel Cortavious Romious will take on Erion Zekthi in the night's other amateur title fight. Zekthi is the complete package and has shown drastic improvement in each of his amateur fights, the last being a three round domination of Trevor Lanzone last June. Zekthi will be the toughest test to date for Romious, who set the internet buzzing with his brutal KO of David Evans last December. Romious received our award for the KO of the year for that blistering-quick spinning wheel kick that sent Evans to the canvas.

Shamrock FC will be announcing the remaining amateur fights in the upcoming weeks and as always the event will be streamed live on pay-per-view.

Main card:
Kevin Engel vs Kyle Kurtz
Eric Irvin vs Josh Weston
Garret Gross vs Rashard Lovelace
Matt Helm vs Tyler Claussen
Brad Jones vs Coltin Cole
Clay Mitchell vs Jason Christeson
Lee Burns vs TJ Jones

Shaun Scott vs Dustin Fischer - 185 title and Pro Shamrock FC Contract
Cortavious Romerous vs Erion Zekthi - 145title and Pro Shamrock FC Contract
Malcolm Stanley vs Zashaun Gist
Jace Burcham vs Irfan Mulbinovic
Joe Klos vs Luis Felipe
Cody Naucke vs Nikk Willyard
Dustin Horn vs Nick Martin
Mike Hulsey vs Greg Schnieder

Shamrock FC: Mayhem
Saturday, March 12th
River City Casino, St. Louis, MO