EVENT: Conflict 23
WHEN: Saturday, December 6, 2014. Doors at 6 p.m., fights at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Music Vault (8082 Speedway Blvd) in Hardeeville, S.C.
Conflict MMA has been all over the map in the Southeast this year, holding eight events to date in South Carolina and Georgia and opening up a few new markets in the process.
Conflict's ninth event of 2014 is on the horizon, and it represents some of the changes and expansions for Jared Williams' brand.
Conflict 23 also represents the fourth installment of its all-amateur Fight Club Series. All four Fight Club shows have taken place this year.
"If we're gonna find the right market we're gonna have to continue to do it the way we're doing it," Williams said. "You keep peeling the onion back and find which cities work and how many times in each city will work."
The first three Fight Club events all took place in Columbia, S.C., but Conflict heads to Hardeeville for the first time for the latest chapter in this all-amateur series. Located right on the South Carolina/Georgia border, there's a heavy influence from the Savannah area -- another mainstay on the Conflict circuit -- on the lineup.
Williams was asked for his take on how the Fight Club Series had worked.
"One hundred percent perfect on everything we're doing," he said. "It was something I wanted to do a couple years ago. As a whole, it might be viewed as quote unquote taking the cheaper way out, but when we were doing all pro-am cards, we were getting 60, 80 guys that wanted to fight on a particular card. We were working through who to put on, then turning around three months later and 60 to 100 people still hitting us up.
"Now, we're keeping these guys busy and active."
Women's MMA has been a fixture of the Fight Club events and that continues on this card with Jenna Fox (8-2) coming down from Illinois to take on Annie DeCrescente (5-3) to crown a new Conflict Featherweight Female Champion. DeCrescente just claimed the Valor Fights title in this same weight class last Saturday and tries to cap a busy year with her second title win in a span of seven days. That won't be easy against Fox, who has won four amateur championships herself in MMA.
"It's a perfect example of why we get to have these type of fights," Williams said. "We fly a girl in from Illinois ... that's what we did with the same shows in Columbia.
"I love being able to have more shows, get more guys and girls active and try some new cities."
In the main event, Savannah product Josh Collins takes on South Carolinian Allen Lawyer to crown a new Conflict Middleweight Champion. Lawyer (3-2) has lost back to back fights, but his first defeat came against the most recent Conflict 185 champ, Trey Moss. Once Moss vacated the title, Williams knew he wanted to give Lawyer another crack at the title. Collins (3-1) hasn't fought for more than a year, and lost his last fight due to injury TKO in October of 2013. A rematch with that fighter, Adam White, was in the cards but when that fight fell through Williams said it just made sense to pair Collins and Lawyer for the title.
"Allen's had a lot of success on our cards and Josh has had equal success," Williams said. "His only loss was due to injury and I believe it was a fight he was winning.
"Allen lost his first title shot in a great five-round decision and once Trey decided he was either going pro or not fighting anymore, we knew Allen would be back in the title picture."
The other title bout will determine an interim Conflict champ in the featherweight division, with Johnnie Williams (4-2) taking on Zac Cooper (5-3). The winner will then be primed for a unification bout with Bart Weeks, to take place tentatively in February.
Another fight to watch pairs C.J. Davis of Charleston MMA and Robbie Collum in a battle of unbeaten lightweights.
Click here for the full Conflict 23 card.
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