Held once again at the Hamilton YMCA, Knees of Fury 48 featured a stacked card of local talent, rising up-and-comers, and even a future superstar or two.
The House of Pain, Shepp's own stable, had another successful night, bringing home several stoppage victories and an incredibly gutsy performance from young Jordan Forlong who stepped it up another level after suffering a horrific forehead cut in the first round courtesy of William Robson De Oliveira.
The fight was stopped in between rounds by the ringside doctor who had seen more than enough, but Shepp was pleased with the outcome.
"It worked better than a win," he said. "The sky's the limit for Jordan now, and he really brought out the agro after he got cut which was great. He's not going to be afraid of anyone. It was an awesome result. He looked like a legend, got a taste of his own blood, we're happy."
House of Pain fighter Carlos "The Flying Fijian" Hicks took out City Lee Gar's Harley Love in an explosive brawl pitched as an elimination match for a spot on the King in the Ring 72III.
Hicks showcased slick head movement and looked to have the first round cinched before being dropped on the bell after being caught on the ropes and punished to the head and body by Love. Hicks made referee Terry Hills' 8 count but headed back to his corner visibly shaken.
Coming out for the second round, Hicks threw a front kick straight through Loves' guard within the first second and sent him crashing to the canvas. Whiffing on a flying knee on the restart, Hicks was nailed by a crunching counter-punch and both men began brawling in the middle of the ring. The 'Flying Fijian' got the better of the exchanges though, and Love hit the floor again after a seven-shot combination landed mostly clean. Love regained his feet but Hicks never relented, dribbling Loves' head with endless punching combinations. Terry Hill saw enough and the fight was called off.
Following a post-fight conversation with Jason 'Psycho' Suttie, Shepp revealed that both fighters would be competing for Dan "The Hangman" Hooker's vacant King in the Ring 72III crown on November 8, alongside veterans such as Edwin Samy.
In the co-main event Quade 'The Magician' Taranaki took on an unknown quantity in Singapore's Amir Gani over five rounds. Gani looked to be experienced, and sported an impressive moustache, but the fight ended up as a coming-out party of sorts for Taranaki, who entertained the home crowd with a dominant performance culminating in a fifth round tko complete with flying knees and combination punching.
"Quade showed a bit of swag," said Shepp. "He wasn't listening to his corner, I said to him 'I might as well not even be here,' but it was all good. You can't squash that sort of attitude, he just wanted to have fun."
The result was exactly what Shepp was hoping for.
"My boys are so much better than they've shown yet, and they're all feeding off each other. Success breeds success and I just wish I had twenty of them, they're like racehorses."
In the main event, New Zealand's fastest rising superstar and recently announced Super 8 wild card Israel 'The Stylebender" Adesanya continued his march to the top, dispatching England's Joe Boobyer, an experienced heavyweight living and training in Thailand.
It was a textbook 'Stylebender' performance, starting with a four-man dance crew and finishing with an easy second-round knockout. Equal parts Ernesto Hoost, Ong Bak and Dhalsim, Adesanya dominated from the opening bell. Utilising flawless defence, fluid movement and a sharp counter-striking game, Adesanya never looked to be in trouble. When Boobyer leaned right one too many times, Adesanya cracked him with a step-up knee and the fight was done.
It was an emphatic end to an entertaining night of fights with a few faces that look set to stick around.
Next on the calendar for Knees of Fury is their 50th event penciled in for February next year. The full fight card is due to be released in two weeks, but Shepp promises a spectacular lineup.
"Israel will be back, Rob 'The Powerdrill', Andre 'The Giant' Meunier, Kim Johnson. Everyone who is anyone will be on that card."
Knees of Fury 50 will be held in Adelaide and I can think of one writer who will be trying to get over for it.
Check out some of the action from Knees of Fury 48 below including fighters from San Bu Kai, Wild Stables, Ngakaunui and more.