Shamrock FC: Uprising - Event Preview
One week from now the cage will be assembled, the fighters' final weight cut made, and Jesse Finney and his team will be making the final preparations for their first show at River City Casino.
Next Saturday's event will be a birthday party of sorts for Shamrock FC, celebrating 15 years of promoting boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts in St. Louis.
After getting his first taste of the UFC through the Ultimate Fighter, Adam Cella is hungry to get back. Shortly after his fight in Sweden, the 27-year-old from Finney's MMA announced he would be moving down to welterweight. Next Saturday night is the first stop on his road back to the octagon and his debut at 170 pounds.
Original opponent Travis Sveum reinforces the old adage "card subject to change" late last week when he fell over 60 feet, breaking his pelvis. Matchmaker Rob Donaker reached deep into his Rolodex and found a new opponent for Cella in the form of Justin DeMoney, a seasoned welterweight out of Iowa.
Here is a breakdown of the main card fights and our predictions:
Adam Cella vs Justin DeMoney - Cella is a gifted striker with strong punches and even stronger kicks. As he showed on the Ultimate Fighter, Cella isn't afraid to stand with anyone. Cella loves to chip away at his opponents defenses waiting to capitalize on a mistake with brutal results.
DeMoney (17-6-2) is battle tested with over 25 fights, having never been stopped by punches. Currently riding a three fight win streak, Demoney has finished his last three opponents by way of first round submission and unbeaten in over a year.
Prediction: Although less experienced in MMA, Cella has logged plenty of time in the ring and is no stranger to competition having fought over 60 kickboxing matches. Demoney has proven he can take a punch, Cella's strength, so this might come down to who has better skills on the ground. I think Cella wins and takes another step towards getting back to the big show.
Josh Weston vs Bo Smith - Just taking one look at Josh Weston and you realize you're dealing with a special athlete. He is now 3-1 since restarting his career in late 2012. With great wrestling, and improving hands, Weston may be one of the best kept secrets in the area. He's an exciting fighter to watch, and with Next Saturday, Weston will be taking on Bo Smith in the co-main event.
Prediction: Weston should have no issue defeating Smith, most likely in the first round, as always Smith has a puncher's chance.
TJ Thomas vs Mike Foster - TJ Thomas is badly in need of a win having dropped two straight to Sal Wood in the midst of a four-fight skid. Thomas is better than his record would suggest, but just hasn't been able to put it together once the bell rings. He has worked under two of the best grapplers in the area in Kyle Watson and Ezra Lennon, so his submissions are good.
Mike Foster (0-4) is a dangerous fight for Thomas as his record doesn't accurately reflect his in-cage talent. Foster's losses include Matt Ricehouse, Vincent Eazelle, and John Shackleford, and has wins as an amateur over Jimmy Donahue and Bobby Cooper.
Prediction: Thomas has too many weapons on the ground for Foster who has been submitted a total of nine times throughout his amateur and pro career.
Brian Schell vs Brian Grinnell - Brian Schell is now 2-0 in his professional MMA career. The bjj purple belt under Ezra Lennon has slick submissions, and is about as durable as a fighter as you will find. At 41 years of age, training and fighting is not getting any easier. Schell will have to keep father time at bay when he takes on Grinnell.
If it wasn't for an eye injury, Grinell would be 5-1. This could be a really tough test for Schell.
Prediction: Schell has finished almost all of his fights by way of submission, which won't come easy from Grinnell. This fight could go either way.
Ken Porter vs Zach Harvey - One punch, one punch changed the tide of the first encounter between Porter and Harvey. Porter was dominating his opponent until a desperation right hand dropped him to the mat and gave new life to Harvey who was able to finish the fight with a guillotine. Porter won't make the same mistake again.
Porter is a very talented flyweight, and expectations are high.
Prediction: Porter wins this match-up nine out of ten times. Don't be surprised if Porter evens his record to 1-1 on fight night.
Mike Green vs LB McGraig - "Mean" Mike has been a staple of St. Louis MMA for almost as long as Shamrock FC has been around. Green has fought everywhere and fought everyone and as he inches close to 40, has made the decision to turn pro. Fighting in his backyard should help keep Green in the fight if things start going bad.
McGraig (0-2) has fought the tough Rickey Bolin when both fighters made their pro debut, and in his second fight battled Ben Nogueras. McGraig has only been to a decision one time in over 20 fights, and I don't expect him to start now against Green.
Prediction: Green reaches deep into his bag of tricks and catches McGraig in a submission early in the fight. This fight will not go to a decision, and unlikely to leave the first.
Highlights from the undercard include Dustin Fischer vs Scott Futrell in a battle between two, extremely tall, and durable fighters. Don't look for anything fancy in this match-up, this will be a slugfest. Aaron Highfill will take on Tyler Claussen, don't blink, it could end early. The always exciting "Momma Beast" Susie Wyatt takes on Brittany Dugas in a battle of two experienced female grapplers, and in the other women's MMA bout, Rebecca Gullet from 21st Century Martial Arts takes on Marissa Ellis.
Shamrock FC: Uprising
River City Casino - St. Louis, MO
Saturday - June 15th
Fights Start @ 7:30