Written by Mike Hammersmith
Titles galore have attracted some of the best of the best in New England for CFX 27, with amateur straps running the gamut fo weight classes, and a much anticipated showdown in the main event. Check out a partial list of the action you can expect this Saturday.
Marc Stevens vs Nuri Shakir
170lb Professional Title
A wrestler since he could walk, Stevens left the mats for the allure of MMA, having bled for the sport and paid his dues over nearly a decade. A vicious boxer/wrestler, Stevens is inside on opponents in a flash, whether he’s hunting for a leg to drive his foe to the canvas or coming over the top with a thunderous shot to the jaw. Making a habit of walking into a promotion and leaving t...heir best fighter in the dust at any weight, Stevens will take on one of the toughest journeymen in the sport.
His tale is spelled across blood-spattered canvas; imprinted on the tattered face of his adversaries; fists like leather-bound stones his pen when writing his history in the sport. A lifetime of martial training and too many fights to count, Nuri Shakir is ready to make a statement as he strives for a strong finish in his MMA career. Shakir is old-school to the core, having a world of technique lost to those who learned the art as “MMA” rather than its core components, and an answer for anything that could occur in the cage.
This is an instant classic with five round potential, pairing two warriors with different styles in a fight that could go a million different ways. Stevens is a workhorse in the cage with constant offense and pressure, which puts the counter fighter in Shakir in a spot; needing to be perfect in execution to keep the bout moving in his favor. Early momentum and the accumulation of damage will play heavily into this match, with the victor being the man who can string together enough punishment to break their notoriously hearty adversary.
Joe Cloutier vs Stephen Stengel
One of the hidden gems of the professional circuit, Joe Cloutier will take to the cage yet again to showcase his dazzling array of skills. A combatant who plugs into the pace of a fight like he was in the Matrix, Cloutier is in command of every transition and beating fighters to the punch over and over, demoralizing them by the second as the fight slips out of their grasp....
An adrenaline addict and one man riot, Steve Stengel is the go-to fighter in the region when a competitor is scaring away less hearty individuals. While he’ll never be confused with a tactician or a technical marvel, he’s more than willing to lay knuckles across any man’s eye socket and meet them blow for blow at center cage.
The fun thing about fights is that someone can be completely dominant on paper, yet still find themselves looking into a doctor’s flashlight when all is said and done.
For all the beauty in Cloutier’s grappling passes, intricate submission set-ups and slick combination work, he’ll be attempting to use it against the barbarian tactics of Stengel, with dire consequences if he finds himself sucked into that world of broken teeth and unforgiving fists.
Jeremy Tyler vs Billy Keenan
145lb Amateur Title
A bruiser in the Featherweight division, Jeremy Tyler will bring his strong-man combat skills to bear in the CFX cage. Tyler operates as one of the strongest fighters in the division, ragdolling fighters with a variety of takedowns and having an eye-popping squeeze on his chokes. With pieces of his game falling into place every day under the Team Irish banner, Tyler will take that next ste...p in his career.
Opposite Tyler will be a local battler who has all but cleared out the amateur circuit, one hacking leg kick at a time. A student of the game, Keegan has grown like a weed in one of the roughest gyms in the state of Massachusetts, Redline MMA, constantly polishing his skills until they float through the air like a whisper. Working a punishing game of jabs and low kicks, Keenan wrecks havoc on his opponent’s base, slowing them down, taking their power, and leaving them ripe for the finish. It’s a kind of fight few are prepared for; left standing on wobbly legs with the path to victory quickly obscured by their pain.
Both fighters are just a hair’s breadth away from turning pro which makes this an exciting match-up at this stage in their career; an amateur title being a great platform for the professional circuit, and defeat being a smudge on a record soon to be thrown away. Given the great rewards and limited risk, expect two fighters who will gladly go out on their shield to have a final accolade in their amateur career.
Crowsneck Boutin vs Brad O'Brien
Sleeping in beachside tents in the dead of winter; rotted-out train cars on derelict tracks; a pioneer home in the modern world. Nights of hunger and want, wildwoods wisdom coming with hypothermic breath. It’s intense fire that turns iron to steel, yet meeting the hardened gaze of Crowsneck Boutin, an argument can be made for bitter cold being just as alchemical. A soul subjected to daily ho...rrors, Boutin found himself transformed on the mats of Choi’s in Southern Maine, learning to turn his street-fight-battered fists into true weapons; a career born from the bitter fruits of violent youth. Deep into an amateur career as a heavily-avoided opponent, Boutin will make the move to his true weight class in a foray to Massachusetts.
Opposite Boutin will be Brad O’Brien, a goliath of a man stepping off the BJJ mats to fight again; shedding the gi for a set of gloves and a chance at a breakout win. A powerful individual at his core, O’Brien has learned to move with silky technique, muscles the least of your problems as he works through precision movements, space to breathe quickly at a premium.
This is a rare case of two brutes who took different directions to refine their skills, with the pair meeting under the white hot lights of CFX. Boutin has fight-ending power harnessed in every strike he throws, making O’Brien’s hunt for a mat game more akin to playing chicken on the freeway than a simple shoot for a takedown. It’s edge of your seat intensity in this middleweight bout, as every strike, throw, and submission will be administered with dire consequence, both in hunt of a defining victory.
Andrew Tripp vs Corey Bowhall
170lb Amateur Title
A young dynamo in the welterweight circuit, Andrew Tripp comes into this fight with one of the most impressive amateur pedigrees in the game today. A hard-nosed wrestler with a knack of incorporating BJJ into his scrambles, Tripp is a nightmare on the mat, with crushing punches on the feet to aid his adversary towards slumber.
A fighter who has travelled far and wide in his amateur career, Bowhall will look to dispatch Tripp in his last bout in the region. While Milwaukee is in Bowhall’s immediate future, his mind is on the task at hand, with a vicious ground and pound game and pressure-fighting style tailor made to break those who don’t have a spine of steel.
These two competitors are both close to the pro circuit and near mirror images of each other in terms of style and execution, the path to victory being one comprised of blood, sweat, and crucial decision-making in the blistering heat of combat.
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CFX 27 takes place Saturday, February 21st at the The Armory in Taunton, Massachusetts. Visit www.cagefx.com for full fight card and ticket information