Shamrock FC 316's Evan Elder Inspired By Teammate Kamaru Usman

Evan Elders vs. Antonio Atkins - SFC 309

Join PRO Now to Get Unlimited Access to FloCombat!

Join Now

Already a PRO Member? Log In

When Dana White wrapped the belt around Kamaru Usman’s waist at UFC 235, the victory extended beyond an individual accomplishment. After years of being one of the best coaches in the world, Henri Hooft finally had a UFC champion, and his team, Hard Knocks 365, could finally claim they won gold at the highest level. 

The moment was a powerful one—not only for “The Nigerian Nightmare”—but his training partners as well, including Missouri’s Evan Elder.

A relatively new member of Hard Knocks 365, the 21-year-old lightweight was deeply inspired to see the ultimate success of a friend who he battles inside the gym.

“For one, it was awesome knowing I train at the same gym as that guy,” Elder told FloCombat. “Number two, that guy is an awesome guy anyways. It even made me a little emotional seeing how emotional he got after the fight. Just like all of us, we put so much time and effort into all of this. It’s awesome to see that pay off. 

“To be completely honest, it was really inspirational. I know that I can do that. Especially training at the same gym as the guy. Coming from what he’s coming from. We train with the same guys and the same coaches. I know that one day, I can aspire to be there.”

Watch Shamrock FC 316 LIVE on FloCombat

For over a decade, Elder has dreamed of earning a UFC title of his own. Introduced to mixed martial arts by his father at a young age, Elder began wrestling in seventh grade. The plan was always to transition into MMA, but he wanted to have a strong base to lay the foundation. 

Fast forward a few years, and Elder’s pursuit of MMA greatness found him in Stockton, California, training alongside the likes of the Diaz Brothers at Nick Diaz Academy.

“My jiu-jitsu in general has gotten much better since training at Nick Diaz Academy,” Elder said. “Almost all of my jiu-jitsu is learned from the Nick Diaz Academy—their jiu jitsu is just off the chains.”

Eventually, the Missourian returned home and began training at Finney’s MMA—a gym owned by Shamrock FC President Jesse Finney. It should come as no surprise Elder was quickly picked up by the Missouri-based promotion.

Winning six-out-of-seven on the amateur scene, Elder’s lone loss came to now-UFC fan-favorite Luis Pena. Elder has a tremendous amount of respect for his fellow FloCombat veteran, and views the loss to "Violent Bob Ross" as a phenomenal learning experience.

“I’m a firm believer everything happens for a reason,” Elder said. “That loss to Luis Pena was super good for me. Fortunately enough, it was to a good guy. I’m happy he went on to do big things. I think it’s freaking awesome. I like to see anyone doing anything good in life, because you know they’re putting in the time and the work for it.”

Friday night at Shamrock FC 316, Elder will return to the cage when he takes on Derek Clardy. “The Phenom” will look to top his freshman pro appearance, which ended via first round knockout. The entire card will air live and exclusively on FloCombat beginning at 8 PM ET. 

Watch Shamrock FC 316 LIVE on FloCombat

“I know if I get in there and do what I do, there’s no reason I should lose to anybody,” Elder said. “I’m super confident being down here now and getting looks from all of these super-high-level guys. All I have to do is stick to what I do. This is more for me than anything else. I want to get in there and make sure I have all of my bases super solid.”

Expecting to fight three to four more times this year, Elder expects 2019 to be his breakthrough year. 

“I’m going to try to stay active,” Elder said. “I’m praying that I don’t run into any injuries from fights or training. I want to stay as active as possible. I’m not overlooking my opponent by any means, but I think the projected next fight will be in July. Then, I’ll try to get in at least one or two more.

“I’m hoping to at least be 4-0 or 5-0 by the end of the year. I’ll just see where it goes from there. If something awesome pops up, I’m definitely going to take it. If not, I’m going to keep fighting whoever they put in front of me wherever that’s at. Whether it be Shamrock or another organization, I’m going to conquer whoever they put in front of me until I get seen.”

Valor Fights 59 Recap: Outdoor Brawls, KO's, and One Nasty Broken Toe

Whoever said baseball and MMA don’t mix?

AKA Rite of Passage 7 Recap: Tony Kelley Makes Quick Work of Andy Brossett

Friday night, American Kombat Alliance returned for AKA Rite of Passage 7. One of the southeast’s premiere promotions, the event took place at the Horseshoe Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana.

Valor Fights 59: Seventeen Kickass Bouts Set For Saturday Night Thriller

Tonight, Valor Fights 59 kicks off at 6pmET airing live and exclusively on FloCombat. The event takes place at Smokies Stadium in Kodak, Tennessee.

MMA Rumblings: Sacramento Featherweight Banger, Mickey Gall Return, More

Major breaking MMA news is always fun. Smaller details, when compiled, can be just as fun — and there are some juicy nuggets in the wild and wonderful world of MMA right now. 

How Jordan Burroughs Inspired UFC's Desmond Green | Top Turtle MMA


Count Desmond Green as the No. 1 cheerleader for folks going up a weight class. Damaged by trying to cut too much weight early in his own career, Green now actively tries to encourage others to move up to a more comfortable division. Fellow UFC fighter Kurt Holobaugh even cites Green as his primary source of encouragement to go to 155. 

KSW Owner Says US Expansion Is 'For Sure' On His Radar

KSW has quickly become not only one of the biggest promotions in Poland but one of the biggest promotions in the world. Their coliseum event, KSW 39, reportedly drew a record-breaking 56,600 people. Since that show, the company has done shows in their native Poland as well as in Ireland and England. 

Top Turtle MMA Podcast: Top 5 Promotions Outside The UFC, More

What a week it was in matchmaking. UFC 239, 240 and 241 all get crazy, big fights and the Top Turtle MMA Podcast on FloCombat's “Gumby” and Dave are dishing out helpings of their thoughts on all of them. Plus, they’ll dive into this past weekend’s activities with the slam heard 'round the world and more. 

AKA Rite of Passage 7: Former Legacy FC Title Contender Tony Kelley Returns

They’re back! For the first time in seven months, American Kombat Alliance is back! And folks, the Louisiana-based promotion is pulling out all the stops with this one.

Derrick Krantz Steps In To Fight Vicente Luque at UFC Rochester

With Neil Magny's withdrawal coming just days before his UFC Rochester co-main event bout against Vicente Luque, the promotion was scrambling for a welterweight to save the day. They didn't have to look any further than Derrick Krantz.

V3Fights 74 Recap: Teddy Holder Upset, Nick Roehrick Dominates

If you’ve never seen a V3Fights event, you’re missing out.