On Friday, December 5, Xtreme Fighting Championship delivered a fight card to the Tampa, FL area that the fans will be talking about for a while.
There were two title fights, two top South African Heavyweights (including the champion), a female professional boxer with four championship belts, and a stunningly vicious knockout in the main event.
The first of the two South African heavyweights on the fight card was Donavin Hawkeye (10-1). His opponent was Chris Davis (1-0), who was originally scheduled to fight on the card as a middleweight.
Davis got the early takedown, but was reversed by Hawkeye. However, the South African was unable to do any substantial damage. Midway through the first round, Davis reversed Hawkeye, and was able to secure an armbar from the top position at 3:58 of Round 1.
The first title fight of the night was for the vacant XFC Bantamweight title. It was also the most exciting fight of the night that saw the action go back and forth with both fighters scoring serious damage. Haender Rodriguez (4-3), fighting out of Team Nogueira MMA was matched up with Jason Goodall (4-0), fighting out of Lee County Combat. This was a rematch of a fight from November 2007 that saw Goodall walk away with a split decision victory.
Goodall was the aggressor throughout the fight, but was on the wrong end of accurate and effective counter right hands delivered by Rodriguez in the first round. However, Goodall was able to control the action when the fight hit the mat with great flexibility and an aggressive jiu jitsu game.
In the second round, Goodall seemed to figure out the range and used his reach advantage a little better. By the third round, Rodriguez was clearly looking to take Goodall off his feet, but was mostly stuffed. Goodall finally connected with a big right hand that knocked Rodriguez to the ground, and quickly finished him via TKO at 4:17 of Round 3.
The first ever female MMA fight promoted by XFC featured the debut of four-time professional boxing champion, Chevelle Hallback, training out of XFC, taking on Melissa Vasquez (4-4), training out of Dragon’s Den in Fort Wayne, IN.
The opening moments of the bout saw Vasquez looking to take Hallback off her feet to avoid trading leather. After Hallback successfully avoided the takedown, she scored one of her own, landing in the top position. After Hallback landed some solid punches, the ref called a halt to the fight giving Hallback the victory in her debut at just 0:41 of Round 1.
The second title fight was for the XFC Lightweight title. John Mahlow (11-9), fighting out of Combat Club, was defending the belt against Luis Palomino (6-3), fighting out of Team Nogueira MMA.
Mahlow controlled the action through the entire fight with wrestling. While no serious damage was inflicted through the first three rounds, Mahlow was clearly winning the rounds on points and wearing Palomino out. In the fourth round, Mahlow clearly began damaging Palomino with ground and pound.
It didn’t take long in the fifth and final round for Palomino to reach the point of desperation as both punches and elbows were landing at will. Palomino turned his back, and Mahlow took advantage, sinking in the rear naked choke at 1:57 of Round 5.
The main event of the night featured the second South Africa heavyweight, Rico Hattingh (11-1). His opponent was Chad Corvin, training out of Submit MMA. Hattingh is the South African heavyweight champion.
The fight got serious from the start when Corvin refused to touch gloves in the center of the cage when the bout began. Corvin then went right after Hattingh with heavy hands, landing an overhand right that knocked Hattingh out cold before hitting the ground.
During those fractions of a second that a ref has to react to a fallen fighter, Corvin rushed his fallen foe and delivered one last direct right hand flush to the face of the unconscious Hattingh. The result was that Hattingh never got up. He was taken out of the cage on a stretcher.
Thankfully, Hattingh is going to be okay. ProMMA.info was able to learn that his nose has been broken in several places. He won’t be able to fly home for several weeks due to the pressurization of airplane cabins. We will post any updates we can obtain on Hattingh’s status.
Overall, XFC had to be pleased with the event. More than 7,200 fans showed up for a Friday night of fights. Only one fight out of ten went to a decision. Most every fight ended in spectacular fashion and was packed full of action, especially the bantamweight title fight.
The matchmaking was obviously well thought out as the action in the cage proved. The level of fighters in the cage was obviously less than a promotion like Strikeforce as the fighters had an average of just over five fights entering into the event.
However, this follows the business model of the XFC as they pride themselves on finding the champions of tomorrow. And many times, these fighters provide the most exciting fights because they are hungry and determined.
If you want to see young, developing talent, an XFC event is the place you want to be. The fights and fighters are very fan friendly, and there are normally big name fighters at the events (Houston Alexander and Hermes Franca were both in attendance on Friday).