VALPARAISO | Josh Shockley has been in big fights before, but Saturday night's might prove to be his biggest – for now.
Shockley kept Micah Miller on his back most of the fight en route to a unanimous decision win in the Hoosier Fight Club 16 main event at Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso.
Shockley (11-2) beat Miller (18-6) with 29-28 scores across the board from the three judges to win for the fourth time in five fights. With mixed martial arts industry leader Ultimate Fighting Championship returning to Indianapolis for an event on Aug. 28, it may be the type of win that could catapult Shockley to a shot with the UFC.
"I'm not sure what's going to come of it, but I'm going to keep myself in good shape just in case a big opportunity arises," Shockley said.
Shockley opened the fight with a kick to the body and a right hand before quickly landing a takedown against Miller, who trains at the elite American Top Team gym in South Florida alongside his brother, UFC featherweight Cole Miller.
That takedown and Shockley's control on top would be the framework to his win as he controlled Miller and landed punches and elbows from Miller's guard. But Miller, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, stayed active from his back, consistently looking for submissions. His first-round triangle-choke efforts, though, were powered out of by Shockley.
But in the second, Shockley found himself in a little more danger. Although he was on top again, it was Miller controlling his posture and coming close enough with triangle attempts to have the pro-Shockley crowd concerned.
With the fight even going to the final round, Shockley scored another takedown, and this time did some visible damage from the top when he cut Miller above his right eye with a slicing elbow. Unable to get off his back as Shockley stayed heavy on top, Miller was forced to go after submissions – and came closest when Shockley picked him up to slam him to the canvas. But he never could get close enough and the Duneland Vale Tudo-trained Lake Station graduate had his second straight win.
"There's not a better team in the country than Duneland Vale Tudo – that's what got me through this fight," Shockley said.
Miller, who was an opening-round contestant on Season 14 of the UFC reality series "The Ultimate Fighter," lost for the second consecutive time.
In the co-main event, Season 16 "Ultimate Fighter" contestant and HFC veteran Kevin Nowaczyk (13-3) got back in the win column with a unanimous decision sweep of Bellator veteran Quinton McCottrell (8-11). It was Nowaczyk's fourth win in five fights and moved him to 5-3 under the HFC banner – with the losses coming to current UFC welterweight Neil Magny, former UFC fighter Kris McCray and former Strikeforce fighter Nathan Coy.
Up-and-coming Duneland Vale Tudo fighter Matt Hemry (3-0) stayed unbeaten as a pro with his third straight submission, literally lifting Rocky Salas (0-2) from the canvas with a standing choke for several seconds before setting him down, adjusting his grip and picking him up again with the choke cinched in to secure the tap.
Hemry said he's slowly making his way down to flyweight (125 pounds) after fighting Salas at a 130-pound catchweight.
"I kind of wanted this to be quicker. The last two lasted a little while," Hemry said of his second- and third-round submission wins in his first two pro fights. "So that was my goal – to come out and finish him. I'm still working my way down (to 125). I've got to keep working at it, but that's the goal."