Pinnacle FC 17 is headlined by a pair of professional title bouts, but the fight card also features ten amateur contests on the night as well.
Check out our list of the top amateurs to watch on the card, and see the full lineup here.
5 – Phil Marra
It may seem like a stretch to include a debut fighter as one to watch on a deep card like this, but this guy isn’t just any debut fighter. Marra has extensive wrestling credentials, as a multiple time All-American at Penn State-New Kensington under head coach Francis Healy (that name may sound familiar). He now trains at The Mat Factory as he prepares for his MMA debut.
Isaac Greeley surely has him ready to take on Michael Baker, a 1-0 fighter out of Underground Grappling in Greensburg, Pennsylvania who has also spent time training with noted coach Duane Ludwig.
4 – Sydney Ross
If you watched the amateur debut of Ross at Pinnacle FC 16 in March, then you probably understand why she’s on the list. It’s hard to believe that she’s 18 years old, because she fights with the savvy of a more experienced veteran, and she seems to have that ‘it factor’ that I’ve seen in few fighters during my time in this sport. She walked through Lydia Warren out of Jackson’s MMA in her debut, winning via submission in the first round, and now she’ll face an opponent with some experience in 1-0 Robin Stevenson out of Canada.
3 – John Leancu
Uniontown Fight Club consistently produces hard-nosed and talented fighters, and Leancu is no different. After being out of action for a year since winning the title at Bizzarro Promotions up in Erie last year, he’ll look to set the table for what he hopes is a title win for his teammate Nick Browne in the main event. He takes on Roy Nichols Jr. out of Ohio, who made his debut and has competed six times since the last time we saw Leancu.
2 – Luke Chokan
Chokan represents Hooligans Boxing & MMA in the Cleveland area, and the former high school wrestler has also won two in a row after suffering his lone defeat against Brandon Birr. He’s ranked as the No. 8 amateur flyweight in Ohio. He faces a fellow grappler in red hot Nolan Stahl in the amateur main event with the flyweight title on the line.
1 – Jake Schilling
This was an easy choice, mostly because Schilling has the talent to be a pro at this point in his career. In fact, the last three guys he’s faced are all now pros, as is Philip Parrish who he faced earlier in his career. It’s hard to believe that he’s still only 24 since he made his debut way back in 2012, but this could be the last time we see him as an amateur with a win. He’s taking on a very well-rounded veteran in Mikey Flores out of Ohio, in a fight that has ‘fun scrap’ written all over it.