Bobby Voelker returns for the first time since a close decision loss to Zak Bucia at Shamrock FC 289. The UFC and Strikeforce veteran will battle Bobby Emmons in the main event of Shamrock FC 302 on Saturday.
Voelker’s loss to Bucia came in a match that was for Shamrock FC’s vacant welterweight title. While “Vicious” fell short against Bucia, he believes that he’ll be able to earn another crack at a belt with a convincing win over Emmons.
Since the Bucia fight, Bucia went on to defend the title against Aaron Highfill. As per Shamrock FC’s agreement with Bellator, Bucia then earned a contract with Scott Coker’s promotion. Seeing Bucia move on to such a big promotion has served as extra motivation for Voelker.
“I tell everyone that you learn more from your losses than your victories,” Voelker told MMASucka. “I had five straight wins [before the Bucia loss]. After you get kind of consistent, you lose the feeling of a loss. Now I’ve got that taste back and I’m hungrier than before. I’m ready to get out there, impose my will, and put on a hell of a show.”
Voelker and Bucia put on one of the most highly-touted fights in Shamrock FC history. It’s a wonder that the fight even went the full 25 minute distance. Voelker said he suffered a “shattered” orbital in the third round when he attempted ground and pound on Bucia, who hit him with an up-kick. Bucia’s heel hit Voelker right in his eye. Despite that, Voelker got through the final two rounds to see the judges award his opponent a unanimous decision.
Voelker feels he’s still at the top of Shamrock’s welterweight division, and he’ll prove it with a win over Emmons. If he’s successful, he’d push his record to 6-1 in Shamrock FC. He feels that would warrant another title shot. Voelker said he and Shamrock CEO Jesse Finney “haven’t really talked about it” heading into fight week. Voelker is willing to put together another win streak if the promotion decides to hold off on a welterweight title match.
“I think [I’ll have earned a title shot,]” Voelker said. “If not, I’ll fight someone else and prove I belong to fight for that belt.”
Getting that shot and a subsequent title defense would help Voelker achieve one of his goals for 2018: reach Bellator or the UFC. Winning a Shamrock title and defending it would guarantee the 38-year-old a Bellator contract.
The veteran actually had to deal with more pre-fight adversity than he was accustomed to. During a couple of weeks leading up to the bout, Voelker had two different opponents pull out of the fight. He was scheduled to rematch Matt Delanoit. After that fell through, he was slated to fight Drew Lipton. Now it’s Bobby Emmons.
Voelker isn’t fazed.
“All three of them are three completely different fighters,” he said. “I found out a week out of the fight. [Emmons] is thinking the same thing: ‘Oh, I’m fighting Bobby Voelker in a week.’ I just have to figure a few things out in training and prepare a bit differently. Figure out what they’ll want to do and prepare for it.”
He’s preparing for Emmons’ Jiu-Jitsu; smart, given that four of Emmons’ five professional wins are via tap out.
One thing remained constant for Voelker. No matter how many times his opponent changed, his prediction for the fight remained the same:
“Me knocking him out. He’s going to sleep.”
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