Stacked MMA Lineup Hits Green Bay on Thursday to Benefit Wounded Soldiers
Mixed martial arts and the military join forces Thursday in Green Bay as the Rogue Warrior Championships brings one of the more exciting cards in recent memory into Wisconsin.
Serving as a benefit show for The Stars and Stripes Foundation - a charity that raises money for wounded soldiers and helps the re-acclimatize to society - the lineup features a mixture of national talent, Wisconsin prospects, and a host of veterans turned mixed martial artists.
Showcasing a heavyweight title bout between The Ultimate Fighter 10 contestant Darrill Schoonover and Alonzo Roane, a lightweight showdown pitting Army Ranger Scott Thomatz against Robert Washington, and Wisconsin standouts Gerald Meerschaert, Mike Rhodes, Matt Gauthier and more, the event is one not to miss.
Before spending time verbally jabbing with "Rampage" Jackson back on TUF 10 Texas' Schoonover was a can't-miss prospect. Beginning his career with ten straight victories (not counting a debut No Contest) "The Boss" was on the fast track to success before suffering five consecutive losses to respected veterans such as James McSweeney, Nick Gaston, Richard Odoms, and Tony Lopez.
But the ship looks to be righted as the Army Specialist has since notched back-to-back victories over Adam Padilla and UFC veteran Paul Buentello. Looking to fight his way back into a major organization Schoonover must impress on Thursday night against the far less experienced Roane.
Fighting out of Florida the 33-year-old Roane looks to get back on track following a recent second-round stoppage loss to UFC vet Branden Hinkle back in May. The loss brought his record to 3-2 and was his first time back in the cage since November of 2010.
Thomatz Tangles With Washington
In a fight that could have major implications in the future former Army Ranger Scotty Thomatz looks to bolster an already impressive resume against the experienced Robert "The Beast" Washington.
After five blazing victories to open his career Thomatz ran into trouble against Sterling Ford back in March of 2011 at Caged Warrior Combat's "Battle at the Base". However, the Idaho-native rebounded last month with first round submission win over Roy Bradshaw.
Standing in Thomatz's way of a second straight victory is "The Beast". The Illinois fighter holds a record of 13-6 with victories over the likes of Dave Cochran, Sean Huffman, and Bailey Trent. Over his career Washington has faced off some notable contenders including Rich Clementi and Hermes Franca.
Undefeated Rhodes Battles Gauthier
In what could be the most intriguing fight of the night Roufusport prospect Mike "Biggie" Rhodes puts his undefeated record on the line against fellow undefeated prospect Matt Gauthier. Both fighters have begun their careers in grand fashion, but one will wake up on Friday with a loss on his record.
Since making the transition to Milwaukee in order to train under Duke Roufus, Rhodes has been spectacular. Making his pro debut with a masterfully crafted striking display over Zak Ottow, and then crushing Torrey Berrendes in just 42-seconds, "Biggie" will make his welterweight debut against a tough opponent in Gauthier.
Fighting out of Combat Training Center, Gauthier has impressed since turning pro last year with a submission stoppage over Rashid Abdullah. A "Knockout of the Year" award candidate with his brutal finish of Larry Badillo and back-to-back decision wins over Gary Bivens and Isreal Lozano have brought his record to 4-0.
The matchup between Rhodes and Gauthier should give fans and promoters some insight onto the true potential of both fighters. The win would be the biggest of Rhodes' career and one could argue the same for Gauthier. Nevertheless, this is an intriguing scrap.
Meerschaert Meets Larrea Again
Returning to action for the first time in nearly 18-months, Gerald "The Machine" Meerschaert (14-5) is ready to prove he's stronger than ever. Now training at Roufusport, the Wisconsin's Fighter of the Year in 2010 was supposed to meet Illinois powerhouse Jason Louck. However, Louck has been pulled and Wisconsin gatekeeper Eddie Larrea has accepted the challenge.
Competing for what will be the eighth time this year, Larrea has become a promoter's last-minute safety net. After dropping nine of his last ten it's tough it's tough to realistically expect the 30-year-old to buck his recent losing streak.
Meerschaert and Larrea fought once before back at ECO IV in March of 2010 - already 23 fights ago for Larrea - and "The Machine" took that one with ease via second round submission. It would be a major upset if Larrea finds a way to even the series come Thursday night.
Rogue Warrior Championships features a plethora of other stimulating bouts including Josh Kasee versus Jose Pacheco, Bill Hill against Chris Davis, Freddy Arteaga faces Patrick Paulo, and Gary Conradson vs. Kevin Morris.
As well the night will feature a tribute Karate legend Joe Lewis, the awarding of a special grant to Roufusport to help returning military veterans deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and will be attending by a number of notable veterans. This card is worth your money and better yet, it goes to a good cause.