Jesse Brock vs Kevin Croom MFC 40 under the spotlight
Maximum Fighting Championship 40: Crowned Kings
Shaw Convention Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Event Date: May 9
Watch Event:main card on AXS TV, prelims on Facebook
Kevin Croom (14-4) vs. Jesse Brock (16-8)
Things don’t always go as planned. When Kevin Croom signed on for Maximum Fighting Championship 40, he anticipated that he would vie for the promotion’s bantamweight title, which is held by Anthony Birchak. However, Birchak has been forced out of the fight, leaving “The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly” with a non-title affair against veteran Jesse Brock.
Brock’s record is deceptively average at first glance. The Idaho native has 16 wins, but he has suffered eight losses in a career that spans nearly eight years. The list of opponents in those eight contests is the real surprise. His second loss came via submission against current UFC fighter Donald Cerrone. Brock served as reigning UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson’s last victim before “Mighty Mouse” transitioned to the WEC. Among Brock’s other defeats: decision losses to Travis Marx, Rodolfo Marques Diniz, Jimmie Rivera and Caol Uno. Johnson, Cerrone and Zach Lari are the only three fighters to have stopped Brock. The 5-foot-4 fighter is a powerful wrestler who has claimed two high school state championships and went on to a highly decorated collegiate career at Boise State. He has seven submission victories, three TKO wins and six decision victories. A few of those submissions have come by way of strikes. He has notched wins against the likes of Tyson Nam, Nick Mamalis and Adrian Cruz.
Croom also comes from a wrestling background, but his striking has earned him his moniker as “The Hard-Hitting Hillbilly.” However, he still tends to finish opponents on the mat. He has just three wins by some form of knockout, compared to eight via submission. At 5-foot-11, he’ll enjoy a significant height and reach advantage over his counterpart. The New Mexico native turned pro in 2009 and went just 5-4 through his first nine fights. He’s been on fire in his more recent fights, however, with nine straight wins, including seven first-round stoppages.
Croom is a tough fighter who has been campaigning hard for a shot at the UFC. His only losses came against future Bellator fighter Jose Vega, future World Series of Fighting star Justin Gaethje and future UFC fighters Yaotzin Meza and Ramiro “Junior” Hernandez. There’s not nearly as significant of a name in his win column, but he has defeated some strong competition across a variety of promotions.
Brock is a powerhouse wrestler who will score some takedowns against Croom. Croom might struggle in a ring setting, where he won’t be able to utilize the cage to work his way back to his feet. He’ll need to use his reach to his benefit and attempt to land knees as Brock shoots for takedowns. Croom will also need to stuff those takedowns to gain top position or take Brock’s back. Brock’s performances against Uno and Rivera prove that his wrestling isn’t always dominant. Uno was able to take his back early and threaten with rear-naked chokes, a hold that happens to be among Croom’s favorites.
Croom might not get the choke, but he could take Brock’s back and attack with enough persistence to put him up on the scorecards. Brock is a tough out, so Croom will likely have to outwork him for the decision.
Other key bouts: Tom Gallicchio (18-8) vs. Kurt Southern (13-5) for the lightweight title, Sam Alvey (21-5) vs. Wes Swofford (9-4) for the middleweight title, Victor Valimaki (17-8) vs. Bill Widler (8-5), Jonatas Novaes (11-5) vs. Andrew McInnes (4-1), Marcus Edwards (7-2) vs. Aaron Gallant (6-5)