Fight For It XVIII Featured Bout: Trey Barnhardt and JR Banks square off in the cage

Trey Barnhardt (3-1) has been on a submission tear since kicking off his amateur career in 2023. After suffering a decision loss to Jevon Sanders in his debut bout, Barnhardt turned around the momentum, submitting Joseph Filowiat, Dalton Page, and Brendan Chapman with a kimura, rear-naked choke, and armbar, respectively, across the remainder of the year.

Undefeated at 2-0, JR Banks will be looking to spoil Barnhardt’s streak, and keep his own alive. After a decision victory in his own 2023 debut, Banks went on to submit Demarial Grant with a rear naked choke at Beaufort Brawl 3 in November.

It’s still early in both men’s fighting careers, but it’s clear they each have a knack for finding their way into submission victories. Barnhardt’s four-fight experience, including a hard-fought loss, could give him an edge in experience, but Banks has the air of invincibility to carry into this bout.

With both men having shown their strength in the grappling game, look for both to be cautious about entering the clinch or giving up takedowns. The pairing of two known submission artists is likely to yield a striking match as they work to stay at the end of each others’ range. It’s likely victory will go to whichever has spent the most time honing his stand-up game ahead of this fight.

Fight For It XVIII kicks off 2024 with a powerful card of kickboxing and MMA action at Charlotte’s Grady Cole Center on Saturday, Jan. 27. Catch every moment live or streaming via pay-per-view. Kickboxing prelims start at 3 p.m., and the MMA card ignites at 7 p.m. Tickets for the live event and pay-per-view stream are available now via

And be sure to download the Fight For It app on on The App Store or Google Play to pick your fantasy winners at Fight For It XIV. The pool is free to play and will award the top three scorers with their share of a $500 cash prize.