Making their much anticipated return to Chicken Ranch Casino in Jamestown, Hoplite Fight Productions will be back in action on Saturday, March 14. Local fighters include Justin “Bushido Kid” Smitley, Lamar “Lion King” Reed and Anthony “Homicide” Howard.
Justin Smitley is looking forward to returning to the octagon; his last fight came in 2019 for Belator MMA.
“It was a big fight for me but to be honest I was battling more than my opponent as I had an illness and battling a hand injury as well. No excuse but it took its toll,” said Smitley.
The Bushido Kid will take on Brandon Crow at Resurrection.
“I don’t know a whole lot about him except that he is a boxer. I am fine with him wanting to stand up, if that’s his comfort zone; I am good with stand up but if it goes to the ground I will end it.”
Smitley is a veteran in the cage and has a record of 11-7-1 and has fought in front of thousands of fans during his career.
“Returning to Chicken Ranch is cool. My last fight was for Bellator MMA in front of thousands of fans. This time it will be in front of a couple of hundred people. I’m excited and I am going to give that Jamestown crowd a show,” Smitley said. “One of the coolest things is that my young son got to go see me fight last year but there were so many people there that he did not have the best view. This time he gets to walk me to the cage and see firsthand.”
The fight will be at 140 pounds.
Due to a shoulder injury suffered in late 2017, Lamar Reed has taken a two year hiatus from the sport. His long anticipated return will take place at Chicken Ranch Casino against Dominic Clarke.
“I am excited and anxious to return to the sport,” said Reed, looking forward to the challenge of taking on Clarke, a former Bellator MMA fighter. “He is an all around fighter, very complete. I am ready for him and whatever he brings to the table.”
Reed enters the fight with a 7-4 overall record and during his down time he has been practicing with the Oakdale High School wrestling team.
“Coach Steve Strange and those boys are no joke. They’re the real thing and I appreciate each one of them.”
Reed also has great memories fighting at Chicken Ranch Casino in the past. In 2014 he won a championship and made his debut inside Chicken Ranch Casino as well.
“I have respect for anyone who steps in that cage. It becomes real to me when I hear that cage door shut and lock. Then it’s go time. The folks at Chicken Ranch Casino will see fireworks when it is time for my fight. I go full force, non-stop. I’m looking to maul someone,” said Reed, who has been training with Last Stand Fight Team in Oakdale and also credits Full Force Modesto for helping him rehab from his injury and preparing for his return.
Anthony Howard will be making his professional debut at Resurrection. Howard built up an impressive amateur career but is looking forward to entering the pro ranks.
“I’ve been working on my cardio more to help adjust from a three-minute round, to a five-minute round,” said Howard, who has not stepped foot in the octagon since August of 2018.
During his lay-off Howard celebrated the birth of his first daughter eight months ago.
“It will be different (fighting) this time because it’s for someone else now and not just for me,” he said.
Howard is a flyweight and will take on Caesar Hernandez out of the Bay Area. Just learning about his fight this past week, Howard is from Jamestown and said he is looking forward to fighting in front of his hometown crowd.
“It’s cool and nostalgic to fight at Chicken Ranch Casino. I’m confident in my fighting ability and will go at it full speed. If it’s standup great, if it goes to the ground then that’s great too.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased at Last Stand Oakdale MMA or Sonora MMA. First row seats are $85, second row is $70 and general admission is $45.