It looks as though Xtreme Fighting Championship’s XFC 7: SCHOOL OF HARD KNOX went off without a hitch last night as the first ever pro MMA event in Tennessee history. PRO MMA (promma.info) received the following press release this morning from the organization:
The first professional Mixed Martial Arts fight card ever allowed in the state of Tennessee, XFC 7: “School of Hard Knox” was history-making even before the first bell chimed. Taking place at Thompson-Boling Arena on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, the promotion showcased some of the top emerging talent in the sport, including a pair of undefeated heavyweights, Chad Corvin and Scott Barrett, in the main event. And because of the fast fists and electrifying knockouts during the fight card, XFC 7 also made history by catapulting the careers of the next generation of MMA champions to the cusp of superstardom – and perhaps converting the state of Tennessee into MMA fans in the process.
Ovince St. Preux, the ex-University of Tennessee linebacker and “wedge-busting” special teams ace, received the loudest ovation from the crowd – and opponent CT Turner of Tampa, Florida certainly received the loudest boos, especially after taunting the audience by expressing his support for the Florida Gators with a theatrical “Gator Chomp” while walking to the cage. In pre-fight trash-talk, Turner vowed to “destroy Ovince like the Gators destroyed the Volunteers in football,” but St. Preux definitively silenced Turner with a jaw-busting kick to the chin that blasted Turner to the canvas. Out cold, the referee immediately stopped the fight at 2:36 in round one.
“Oh boy, when I saw him do the Gator Chomp, I knew I had to win this fight!” exclaimed St. Preux. “Otherwise I’d never hear the end of it. CT is a great athlete, but he kept putting his hands down. The moment I saw him drop his hands, I just knew I was going to connect with that kick. It’s a great feeling getting the knockout of the night, and I can’t wait to do it again!”
Immediately after the fight ended, XFC president John Prisco announced to the audience that St. Preux had earned a return bout in XFC and would appear in the organization’s next promotion in Knoxville on April 25. “That was one of the most devastating knockouts I’ve ever seen in my life,” remarked Prisco. “He nearly knocked CT’s head clean off his neck. Ovince deserves another chance to fight in the XFC, and he has an opportunity to do something very, very special in his young MMA career.”
In a shocking upset, unheralded Sarah Wilson of Waterloo, Iowa submitted four-time female world boxing champion Chevelle Hallback at 2:36 in the first round. Hallback’s raw physical strength and pure punching power initially staggered Wilson, but the 21-year-old fighter from Iowa locked in a triangle from the mount and refused to release it, forcing Hallback to eventually tap out at 3:03 in the first round.
“Coming into the fight, I knew I was going to be the underdog,” said Wilson. “Chevelle is unbelievably strong – and she’s actually one of the nicest girls I’ve ever met – but my teammates pushed me hard. I worked specifically on takedowns and in the clinch. And I didn’t travel all the way from Iowa to lose.”
XFC president John Prisco congratulated Wilson on her stunning victory, saying afterwards: “This fight epitomizes what the XFC is all about, and that’s providing an opportunity for undiscovered talent to achieve their dreams and launch their young careers. We don’t protect fighters in the XFC, no matter who they are. Sarah elevated her profile in the sport with that outstanding victory, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Chevelle. Her ground game and jujitsu just needs to catch up with her boxing.”
In the main event, undefeated heavyweights Chad Corvin of Elizabethtown, Kentucky and Scott Barrett of Atlanta, Georgia met in a highly anticipated showdown between rising contenders. Early on, Barrett tried to neutralize Corvin’s vaunted punching power by wrestling Corvin to the ground, to mixed success: Barrett managed to take Corvin off his feet, but even while on his back, Corvin kept firing haymakers. Both fighters arose from the canvas several seconds later and collided awkwardly; Barrett suddenly dropped to the ground, holding his knee and writhing in agony, unable to continue. The referee stopped the bout due to injury 1:30 in the first round.
“A win is a win, but it’s a shame he blew his knee out,” said Chad Corvin. “I knew his game plan was to take me down, but I can still hit hard from the ground. It’s just a real shame it had to end like that.” Regardless, Barrett became Corvin’s fifth straight opponent to be stopped in the first round – with none of these opponents even lasting two minutes against the 23-year-old, 250-pound heavyweight.
Local favorite Shane Matchette of Knoxville exploded in round one against Gerardo Julio Gallegos of Lexington, Kentucky, forcing the action with his fists and ground games. But Matchette was caught at the end of the first with a vicious left-right combination that jolted him off his feet, and he stayed down for several seconds after the bell chimed. Matchette appeared to recover between rounds, pressing the action once again in the beginning of round two, but Gallegos upended him with a sudden takedown, stopping him by TKO with a flurry of punches at 1:41 in the second.
Nate Jolly of Cincinnati, Ohio out-dueled Johnny Cardona of Miami, Florida in a back-and-forth barnburner on the undercard, finally catching his opponent with a barrage of lefts and rights at 3:52 in the third round. Jolly has a 21-2 amateur record, a 2-0 professional record, and took third place in the Olympic Trials in wrestling for three straight years.
Afterwards, John Prisco reflected on a historic night of Mixed Martial Arts: “Our goal was to introduce professional MMA to the state of Tennessee and showcase to the audience exactly what makes this sport so special. Well, this was a night full of outstanding fights, jaw-dropping knockouts, amazing upsets, and dedicated young warriors with big punches and even bigger hearts. I’m absolutely convinced that not only will the XFC grow MMA in Tennessee, but when we return to Knoxville on April 25, the sport will be even bigger. We’re building something with staying power here, and I’m so grateful to the Knoxville community for welcoming us with open arms. With your support, I promise you – MMA and the XFC will be here for a very long time.”
Final results from XFC 7:
Derek Shaffer defeated Mark Tyler by submission, 2:38 in round one
Anthony Stevens defeated Stoney Hale by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Jason Wood defeated Horacio Rodriguez by submission, 2:27 in round one
Dustin Walden defeated Andre Boyd by TKO, 1:11 in round one
Rafaello Oliveria defeated Robert Thompson by submission, 4:50 in round one
Nate Jolly defeated Johnny Cardona by TKO, 3:52 in round three
Gerardo Julio Gallegos defeated Shane Matchette by TKO, 1:41 in round two
Joe Heink defeated Scott Porter by TKO, 1:00 in round one
Ovince St. Preux defeated CT Turner by TKO, 2:36 in round one
Sarah Wilson defeated Chevelle Hallback by submission, 3:03 in round one
Chad Corvin defeated Scott Barrett by referee stoppage, 1:30 in round one
About Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC): Xtreme Fighting Championships – better known to MMA fight fans worldwide as XFC – is the Southeast’s leading independent MMA promotion, and stages the largest live shows in the entire sport this side of UFC. Dedicated to launching the careers of the MMA superstars of tomorrow, XFC’s next mega-event, XFC 8, takes place on April 25 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee, and will be broadcast live on national television, exclusively on HDNet. For more information about XFC, please visit www.mmaxfc.com.