Island Fights 31 — Full Card, Preview and Examination of the Main and Co-Main Events
Island Fights 31
Friday, December 5, 2014
Hadji Shriner Temple – Pensacola, FL
Island Fights Championships and Roy Jones Jr.’s Square Ring Promotions have wanted to hold an MMA/boxing hybrid event since they began working together and this Friday they’ll finally be doing exactly that. Island Fights 31, held at the Hadji Shriner Temple in Pensacola, FL, will open with four straight-up boxing matches before transitioning into mixed martial arts. It’s a move they hope to repeat in 2015 over the course of 12 intended shows—an ambitious schedule for a regional promotion.
Featured below is the full fight card. I’ve expounded upon the main and co-main events of the evening, complete with commentary by Island Fights founder, CEO and matchmaker Dean Toole (who you can learn more about HERE).
Note: This card is subject to change.
Heavyweight (207-265 lbs.) – 3 Rounds
Dillon “Bad Boy” Clecker [7-0]
Richard “Big Man” White [18-6]
Dillon Clecker began fighting professionally back in October 2012 and still hasn’t seen what a third round looks like. All but one of his wins have come by way of first-round knockout. The exception? A second-round rear-naked choke submission against an opponent who he was thoroughly trouncing up until that point. 2014 has been his busiest year yet, as Friday will mark the stalwart Island Fights favorite’s fourth appearance in the ring.
“It’s a weird story with how Island Fights started,” remembers Toole” I used to do amateur and kickboxing shows with Larry Downs Jr. in Pensacola, because amateur MMA was illegal in Florida, and when it became legal we did our first even and Dillon… he played [Division I] football for Southern Miss. Never threw a punch in his life, never went to an MMA class, jiu-jitsu, boxing… nothing, and I needed a heavyweight for our first event. One of the guys backed out, I called Dillon and he took the fight on one day’s notice and knocked the guy out in the first round. The guy was standing up, knocked out leaning against the ropes. That was our first-ever show. This whole Island Fights ride… you know, we’ve been doing it for four years, he’s been with me every step of the way except I’m a promoter and he’s a fighter. It’s kind of crazy. He just got offered to fight Soa Palelei in the UFC. They needed somebody and ended up getting Walt Harris for that one beacuse Dillon was injured and couldn’t take it.”
His opponent, Richard White, snapped a seven-fight losing streak in September in a first-round submission win over former UFC fighter (and Mark Hunt defeater) Sean McCorkle. Suffice it to say that he’s had a rough few years; he’s gone 3-15 in 18 fights. The 27-year-old from Daytona Beach, FL seemed to fall off in mid-2010, but he’s remained extremely active. The submission win over McCorkle, who had submitted him in the Bellator cage two years prior, may have been a turning point for “Big Man,” whose two previous losses were to current UFC heavyweight Jared Rosholt and Island Fights super heavyweight champion Chris Barnett, whose Island Fights 31 match against former TUF competitor Darill Schoonover was unfortunately cancelled yesterday.
Featherweight (145 lbs.) Title Fight – 5 Rounds
Brock Weaver [5-1]
Socrates Pierre [5-2]
This bout, a rematch between former Island Fights amateur lightweight champion Brock Weaver and Socrates Pierre, is one of only two MMA fights on the card that don’t feature giant-sized dudes. When they last met back in February, Weaver secured the win with a second-round submission over Pierre, who appeared to suffer a bothersome eye poke minutes before. The stakes are higher this time, however, as the vacant Island Fights featherweight title is on the line.
Weaver has fought two other times in 2014, losing a unanimous decision—his first professional loss—in April and rebounding at Island Fights 30 against Raymond Camp in September. For Pierre, however, this will be the first time he’s competed since.
“[Their first fight] was one of the best we’ve ever seen,” says Toole. “It was one of my favorites we’ve ever had. But this time, they’re fighting for the title. It’s five rounds and these guys are like even-steven. Brock Weaver is a good friend. This guy’s been fighting on my amateur shows sine he was 17, so to see him grow up and evolve is great. Socrates, he cross-trains with MMA Masters in Miami. I’m friends with a lot of these guys, and these guys are even friends with each other, so that makes it kind of interesting too.”
Weaver, a Native American of the Mowa Tribe, has a well-rounded arsenal containing crisp striking, great transitional grappling from the clinch and above-average cardio. Pierre, a proud Haitian, has striking consisting more of looping power punches; if he doesn’t knock his opponents out, he submits them, as is evident by the three consecutive submission wins he strung together before losing to Weaver.
Heavyweight – 3 Rounds
Chase Sherman [4-0]
Alex Nicholson [2-1]
Heavyweight – 3 Rounds
John Ivey [39-53]
Sammy Collingwood [3-3]
Super Heavyweight – 3 Rounds
Marino Eatman [5-2]
Aubray Collier [0-1]
Welterweight (170 lbs.) – 3 Rounds
Ty Evans [0-2]
Baraq Hunter [1-3]
Island Fights Championships 31 is taking place on Friday, December 5, 2014 at the Hadji Shriner Temple in Pensacola, located at 800 W. Nine Mile Road. Doors open at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the Island Fights website and follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
A freelance MMA, entertainment and business journo born, raised and residing in Miami, FL, Jesse Scheckner is a musician, cinephile and recovering ne’er-do-well who still believes Mickey Rourke’s finest days in film have yet to come. He isTuffGnarl.com‘s editor-in-chief. Follow him on Twitter: @JesseScheckner.