Evan Elder will meet Orell Fisher at Shamrock FC 327 on Saturday Jan. 11, where he’ll hope to improve to an unbeaten 3-0. Fisher enters the lightweight bout at 0-1.
Elder, a prospect who’s fought Luis Pena as an amateur, still feels Fisher may be his most dangerous opponent yet.
“[He’s] not necessarily the best, but the most dangerous just because he’s a big, tall, athletic explosive striker,” Elder told MMASucka. “I think he poses more of a threat than a lot of my other opponents have as far as power.”
Elder had a successful amateur career, defeating Colin Parr, who also has a winning record as a professional. His lone amateur blemish came against “Violent Bob Ross” Pena, who has since found success in the UFC. While he feels Pena and Parr are far superior to Fisher technique-wise, Elder believes his next opponent stands out in punching power.
Elder noted Fisher, a 5 feet 9 inches lightweight, is tall and fights tall. However, he believes that will be his opponent’s downfall.
“I think the takedowns will be very easy, and I don’t think there’s anyway he’ll be able to stop me on the ground,” Elder said. “I think at any time, I could take him down and finish him, but I’m not worried about standing and banging either. [Fisher] has a slight chance of landing something powerful, but I don’t think he’ll be able to find it.”
Elder said he wants to test his stand-up with Fisher, but admitted that whenever he sees a takedown opportunity present itself, he’ll instinctively shoot it. From there comes Elder’s prediction for the bout.
“I don’t think he’ll be able to stop it or survive on the ground,” he said. “Honestly, we might get into a couple of exchanges and then I’ll probably hit a takedown and finish him. First round.”
Elder began his professional career with a T/KO win over Antonio Atkins in September 2018. He then followed it up with a straight armbar submission of Tremiere Hollie in March. Both wins came under the Shamrock FC banner, a Midwest promotion based in Elder’s native Missouri.
Elder has since made the move to Sanford Mixed Martial Arts in Fort Lauderdale, FL, previously known as Hard Knocks 365. As he began training there in January, this will be his second fight with the camp. He’s spent the past two months training for the Fisher fight after recovering from a freak broken jaw he suffered in training.
Elder believes training at Sanford MMA is a world of difference compared to the training he got back home. He currently trains with former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, undefeated Bellator featherweight Adam Borics, UFC veteran Nik Lentz, undefeated Bellator wrestling standout Logan Storley, former UFC fighter Sean Soriano and more.
“Oh my gosh, it’s a different planet,” Elder said. “This is the big leagues, it feels like down here. It’s almost incomparable. Along with myself, every single guy in the gym does this full time. This is all we do. We wake up, and we eat, sleep and breathe this stuff. From the time the day starts until the time the day ends, we’re focused on being the best mixed martial artists we can be.”
He added that he feels blessed he’s in a position where he can pursue MMA as a full-time career. The coaching, teamwork and general atmosphere of Sanford MMA made the move worth it to Elder.
“I do believe it’s one of the best, if not the best gym in the world.”
Elder believes training with the aforementioned studs will prepare him for anyone Shamrock FC can throw at him at the regional level.
“I don’t mean this in any type of arrogant way at all, but I feel like the gym I’m training at with all these high level guys and the amount of time and effort I put in, I just don’t think I shouldn’t be able to compete with anybody, especially the level we’re at right now with Shamrock,” he said.
For that reason, Elder feels it’s very important that he finishes Fisher, be it in Round 1, 2 or 3.
“For the level I’m expecting myself to be at, which is UFC as soon as possible, I need to completely dominate the local scene,” he said. “I don’t think these guys should be able to hang with me very much if that’s the level I’m expecting to be at.”
Elder confirmed he has his heart set on the UFC – he has since he was a child. As such, he has an unofficial road map planned to get him there. While he’ll stay patient, he believes he could touch down in the Octagon as soon as the end of 2020.
Elder said if he beats Fisher, he feels he’s only one or two wins away from a Shamrock FC title fight; he’d be 4-0 or 5-0 at the time of the shot. Then he’d hope to fight on Dana White’s Contender Series by the end of summer. To do that, he’d need to compete for Shamrock FC three to four times before summer’s end, as that’s when the Contender Series runs through.
He said it’s no big deal if things don’t transpire that way, though. The 22-year-old said he’d be OK reaching the UFC at age 30 if it meant realizing his childhood dream.
“For me, the UFC is more about the legacy,” Elder explained. “Ever since I was a little bitty man, that was what I wanted. ‘I want to be in the UFC. I’m going to be a champion in the UFC one day.’”
Elder’s journey continues when he meets Fisher next Saturday at Shamrock FC 327. The event will stream live on FITE TV for $20. The action goes down at the Ameristar Casino in St. Louis.