Weather forecasts inside the Smoky Mountain Convention Center call for a storm of punches, kicks, takedowns and submissions throughout the weekend.
That's because the 3FC is closing out its 2013 with a doubleheader of combat sports. Tomorrow night, November 1, Valor 10 goes down with a split card of kickboxing and amateur MMA fights. Then, on November 2, 3FC 19 takes place with a card consisting of three pro MMA fights and an amateur lineup topped by five title bouts and the return of another former champion.
The format of this doubleheader allows participants and the fight fans to make a true weekend out of it in Pigeon Forge. Plus, splitting the card allowed 3FC promoters Tim Loy and Gene Click to avoid running a ton of fights on either night. There are 14 fights scheduled for 3FC 19, with a four-bout kickboxing prelim card set to begin at 5:30 p.m. The Valor 10 card has 15 bouts: seven kickboxing and eight MMA.
Let's take a look at some of these matchups, as well as some thoughts from 3FC matchmaker Tim Loy.
VALOR 10 (Friday, November 1)
Caleb Cupp vs. Chris Adkins
It's been almost seven years since Cupp (2-0, D-Evil) took an MMA fight but he's kept active by helping train fighters in the Tri-Cities for years. He returns to action against Adkins (2-2, Backwoods MMA), the current middleweight champion for PFC, who stepped in to take this bout on less than two weeks' notice.
Tim Loy's take: "We're excited to have Caleb Cupp making his return to the cage with our promotion. He's a hard guy to match. ... Adkins, he's a handful for that first round. He was winning his fight pretty handily and then he gassed. If he comes in ready to fight and in shape that could be a war."
Justin Watson vs. Will Bolduc
Watson (2-2, Kotona) has enjoyed his fair share of success in combat sports. Bolduc (0-2, Team TKO has suffered both his losses by decision and takedown defense has been the difference each time. If Bolduc can keep it standing, he's got a good shot at posting his first win in MMA.
Kory Weigel vs. Mark Dietrich
An intriguing matchup between two up-and-coming fighters from two of the top teams in East Tennessee. Weigel (2-1, Fit Factory) is undefeated since he started training at Fit Factory, but he faces a potential challenge from Dietrich, a debut coming out of the always-tough Blalock's IMB camp.
Michael Lenas vs. Robby Golden
This was going to be the debut fight for both guys, but Golden (0-1, Team TKO) stepped up on about two hours' notice to challenge Brandon Grimmett for the Ninja FC flyweight title at Ninja Fighting Challenge 4. Lenas comes out of KMAA, which has a track record of producing game fighters.
Jason Kubik vs. Jordan Ambrose
Author of a stunning knockout at a 3FC event earlier this year, Kubik has moved back to the Knoxville area from Utah and looks to make a statement to the middleweight division here against the debuting Ambrose.
Valor 159 title: Nick Baker vs. Brandon Metcalf
Baker defends his Valor title for the first time against Metcalf, who defeated Baker by knockout at a Valor show near the first of the year. There's a healthy grudge going between these two fighters, and Baker is looking to get back on track after a decision loss to Randy Stamey in the headline fight at Valor 9.
Tim Loy's take: "This is one of these fights, man, you don't want to bet on. Nick probably got the better of him in the first round. The second round, Metcalf, he's always swinging for the fences and you can't ever count him out because he's got brute KO power and I've never seen Nick dropped like that. This title is Nick's baby. He doesn't want to give it up."
Valor 194 title: Kyle Wright vs. Sid Wheeler
Wright (Upper Cumberland MMA) and Wheeler (Blalock's) both represent quality fight teams. Wheeler has a 5-0 record in juniors kickboxing, finishing four of his five foes. Wright has a 4-2 mark, and comes out of a gym with a slew of good standup fighters. Definitely a fight worth watching.
Valor 128 title: Ace Samples vs. Joshua Chambers
Two out of state fighters collide in this one, as Samples (1-0, Doro MMA) makes the trip up from Athens, Ga., while Chambers (2-0, Georgetown MMA) heads down from Kentucky. Somebody's leaving Pigeon Forge with a first loss on their record, while the other guy will depart as the owner of a Valor championship.
3FC 19 (Saturday, November 2)
Main Event: Adam Townsend vs. Shane Crenshaw
Two of the top pros in the Southeastern region collide in the main event. Townsend and Crenshaw both have followed similar career paths heading into this fight. Both were phenomenal amateurs. Both won multiple championships at the amateur level, including ISKA gold. And, both are coming into this fight off a decision loss. Crenshaw actually has dropped consecutive decisions, one of those against Ronnie Rogers at Bellator. Townsend suffered a decision defeat at Ring Of Combat this summer. Each man is looking to get back on track and end 2013 on a high note.
One other interesting note. Townsend (5-2, D-Evil) is undefeated under the 3FC banner, winning his final amateur fight here and scoring four of his five pro wins at 3FC events. He's won the majority of those fights by stoppage, but Crenshaw (6-3, Bodyquest/Gastonia, N.C.) has only been finished once in his entire career -- by XFC Open Fight Tryout winner Jason Hicks. Crenshaw also has never suffered a knockout or TKO loss.
Something's got to give in Pigeon Forge.
Tim Loy's take: "That's one of those fights, the winner should get a nice push from it, at least from a southeast regional standpoint. Both guys are coming off tough losses. I think it'll be a good action packed fight. Each guy's going to want to do what the other guy wants to do and both guys are headstrong fighters."
Co-Main Event: Chris Wright vs. Anthony Morgan
Two of the top bantamweight pros in the state, who live within a stone's throw of one another and trained together on a couple of occasions. go head to head. Wright (8-3-1, KMAA/Knoxville, Tenn.) has said that he's returning to his old, more aggressive style of fighting, starting with this matchup. If he's going to finish Morgan (4-2, Fit Factory/Sevierville, Tenn.), he'll be the first to do so. The former ISKA state and regional champ as an amateur, Morgan has never lost a fight by stoppage, either as a pro or amateur.
Tim Loy's take: "It's a great fight. That's the two best 135ers in that area. That's definitely a fight we see going three rounds."
Kodey Gulley vs. Brandon McMahan
The third and final pro bout on the card signals the debut as a professional for Gulley, winner of the 3FC Bantamweight Grand Prix. Stepping in as an injury replacement in the semifinals didn't slow down Gulley, who defeated the two top 135-pound amateurs in East Tennessee, Tyler Hunley and Josh Carter, by decision en route to the Grand Prix crown. He's got a tough draw for his first pro fight against McMahan (1-2, Hard Knox), who is coming off a layoff of more than a year.
Tim Loy's take: "Gulley's on a hot streak. He's knocked off the two top 35 amateurs around here. McMahan's not an easy guy to debut against. A lot of guys sleep on his striking but he's got a striking style very similar to Justin Scoggins if he lets it go."
3FC Heavyweight Title: Jarrett Slaughter vs. Brian Meeks
Slaughter (2-1, North Georgia Hayastan) defends his 3FC championship for the first time against a very formidable foe in Meeks (10-2), an amateur veteran who's making his 3FC debut here. Meeks' 2013 has included a big KO win over Pete Pirtle, who scored a win at a 3FC event earlier this year.
Tim Loy's take: "Our heavyweight division's kind of thin out this way, so we were happy to find Meeks. He's a guy looking to go pro soon. He's ready to make a statement in this fight and hopefully get a pro debut with us after this. He's had a lot of big highlight reel knockouts. We'll see if Slaughter is able to withstand that onslaught."
3FC Middleweight Title: Timmy Eisenbraun vs. Matthew Foley
Eisenbraun, like Slaughter, is making his first title defense and has a very daunting challenge ahead of him. Eisenbraun (4-2, UCMMA) may be one of the more underrated fighters in the area. Of his two defeats, one was against current undefeated pro Dustin Long in Eisenbraun;'s very first fight. The other came against Jeremiah Morgan, who beat Eisenbraun by decision to win the then-vacant 3FC title back in April. Foley (4-0, Four Seasons) is a dangerous competitor who has finished three of his four opponents in the first round.
Tim Loy's take: "This is up there with an entry level pro fight. Eisenbraun, in my opinion, is the top amateur middleweight in our area. Foley, he hasn't lost yet. I expect him to give Timmy a good hard test. That one's a hard one to call."
3FC Lightweight Title: Ayron Davis vs. Kyle Jones
A veteran of the amateur circuit in Virginia and the boxing circuit in West Virginia, Davis (8-4, Team Decimation) makes his 3FC debut with a chance to win a title. All he has to do is get through Jones (3-0-1, Team Ludus) who has yet to sustain a defeat after making his MMA debut last November with a stunning quick KO win at Cage Brawl X.
Waiting in the wings for the winner will be Allen Bilbrey out of Upper Cumberland, who won the 3FC No. 1 contendership earlier this year and originally was scheduled to fight Jones here for the belt before he suffered an injury.
Tim Loy's take: "Ayron Davis has got a lot of experience and some boxing tournament wins up in Virginia. Lot more exp than Kyle. We'll see. Even though he's more exp than Kyle still one of the hardest fights he's ever had.
3FC Featherweight Title: Jamal Mohammed vs. Russell Johnson
The vacant title in the 145-pound division will either go home with Mohammed (3-0, Four Seasons), who scored what many considered a surprising submission win over Bo Preece at 3FC 18 to earn a shot at the title; or Johnson (6-1), a Cookeville, Tenn., product making his 3FC debut. Johnson stepped in on a few weeks' notice after Mohammed's originally scheduled opponent, Nick Gehrts, had to withdraw.
Tim Loy's take: "We were really excited for Mohammed and Gehrts, but we were excited to get Russell in on late notice. He was getting ready for a V3 fight so he was already ready and in shape. I don't know if he's been fighting the caliber of opponents like Mohammed up until this point. Jamal obviously has great jiu-jitsu, he's brown belt out of a great team and had a great submission win at the last one."
3FC Bantamweight Title: Jonathan Pearce vs. David Lewis
Tim Loy's take: "David Lewis is solid. He's better solid than his 2-2 record, he's got very good subs, he's very squirelly and squirmy and hard to contain. Pearce has very good wrestling and his striking has been coming along quite a bit from what I hear. Lewis is definitely a very game guy. He's akways a threat off his back. If Jonathan gets the takedown, which he very well may, he'll have to stay on his toes."
Click here for the full lineup for both nights, which includes links to all of MMA-Insider's preview coverage related to this event.
MMA-Insider's Randy Stamey and Shanon Stamey will be in attendance for both ends of this combat sports doubleheader. We'll be providing live results on both nights, as well as post-fight interviews with many of the winners. Our post-fight interviews from Valor 10 and 3FC 19 are sponsored by Team TKO Martial Arts in Knoxville.
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