It was another amazing night of fights at the Sears Centre Arena with a near sold out crowd on hand to witness 25 heated mixed martial arts bouts.
The night started with some furious action as the amateurs were looking to kick the crowd into high gear and put on a show of their own. There were some slick submissions and crazy KO's all in the first hour. Midway through the amateur fights, the ladies decided to kick things up a notch and put on some amazing performances of their own with unreal performances really putting the XFO Women's division on the map.
As always, there were some road bumps with the amateurs which saw Kyle Hubert not get cleared by the Athletic Commission to compete and perennial crowd favorite Justin Seeberger have his opponent literally not show up at the venue. Both fighters are up and coming superstars and always look to put on a show, it's a shame the nearly four thousand screaming fans weren't able to see these two young men showcase their skills.
After an extremely brief intermission, Youself Al-Ghoul put on a one sided clinic easily handling Tom Engelhoff for the unanimous victory. Joey Diehl and Sean Barnett brought the crowd back to life with a 3 round battle which saw Joey Diehl pick up a much needed victory over the 11 inch taller opponent.
The next 3 fights of the evening had everyone in the crowd on their feet with amazing displays of athleticism and heart. Adrian Ortega and Pat Hastings came out swinging looking to control the center of the XFO cage. Hastings backed up as Ortega pressed forward and was clipped by a laser guided left hook right to the button that had Hastings unconscious before he hit the canvas. Hastings was of course just fine and Ortega applauded his fallen opponent as he rose to his feet once again and in a show of respect both combatants embraced in the center of the cage as the fans cheered for both fighters.
Up next were the big boys Erick Correa and Wes Anderson. Erick Correa from Team Curran is a golden gloves champion boxer with stellar take down defense who holds and undefeated 3 and 0 record. Wes Anderson is one of the most talked about heavyweights in the area and trains at Greg Jackson's MMA with UFC Superstars Jon Jones, Andre Arlovski and Frank Mir. This was a fight all MMA fans were waiting for. Both men started swinging instantly and everyone expected Anderson to shoot for the takedown. Unfortunately that didn't occur and Correa dominated the stand up battle most of the fight. Anderson showed some early signs of fatigue and it was apparent his gas tank wasn't going to be able to keep up the lightning pace these two men were setting. Correa clipped Anderson with a right hand which stunned Anderson and Correa pounced to pick up the TKO victory as the ref pulled Big Erick from his fallen opponent.
The crowd erupted as Rafal Skibinski's name was called. The huge Polish contingent on hand was as loud as the Sears Centre has ever seen drowning out the voice of the announcer. Drew Reed was outclassed from the start and appeared to be star struck by the massive crowd on hand. A few seconds later the fight was over with Skibinski standing over his beaten opponent with yet another TKO victory.
A rematch of the XFO Outdoor War 9 main event was on tap as Mike Marrello and Rob Morrow made their way to the cage. Marrello won what some would consider a controversial split decision victory over Morrow back in August. Everyone was expecting fireworks in the rematch which was definitely not the case. Not to take anything away from these two great fighters but there were the occasional boos coming from the crowd as the action seemed to come in spurts. Morrow controlled the fight on the feet and was quick to get up from any Mike Marrello take downs. A number of high kicks from Morrow seemed to stun his bigger opponent. When the bell sounded, it was evident Rob Morrow had picked up the unanimous victory, which of course the judges agreed.
The 135 pound'ers were up next with MTC standout Dennis Dombrow challenging local superstar Danny Aguirre. This was Aguirre's first fight in over a year but you couldn't tell that from the first round of the fight. This back and forth battle was incredibly exciting on the feet and on the ground. Dombrow, the Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt was tremendous on the ground and eventually reversed a sticky situation on his back to pick up the RNC victory late in the fight.
At this time one of the stranger occurrences in XFO history happened. The co-main event between Team Top Notch's Mike Santiago and Triton MMA's Mike Budnik was scratched due to time constraints. It's an incredibly unfortunate situation that we still don't fully understand but the decision was made and the XFO staff moved the main event between Poland's Adam Maciejewski and Serbia's Miodrag Petkovic to the next spot.
Both Maciejewski and Petkovic came out looking to take the center of the cage but it was Maciejewski that rushed across the canvas to take the Serbian down. Punishing blows hit the face and body of the big "Serb" as Maciejewski was just too much for the 44 year old Petkovic as the first round came to an end. Round two saw much of the same as Maciejewski landed a number of undefended right hands on the ground rendering his opponent unconscious. As the polish media stormed the cage and security worked to get the medical staff in, the Serbian fighter "came to" and arose to his feet and the night came to an end.
Overall, it was a tremendous event with evenly matched fights that ended in every way imaginable. Chicago hasn't seen an event or crowd like this in years, it was truly a night most fans will remember for the positive. On the other hand there are some fans and fighters that won't and for that we are truly sorry. Not only was the Budnki/Santiago match cancelled as both men were literally preparing to walk down the ramp to the cage, but local rising star Daniel James had his opponent, Jake Zogg, "no-show" the weigh-ins leaving him without and opponent and thus no fight. Fans of all three fighters were understandably upset and for that we don't blame them, we were as well. Budnik and Santiago were most likely going to put on the fight of the night and Daniel James is a one man wrecking machine that is destined for greatness. At the end of the day we are fans of MMA first and foremost, we become fans and advocates for these fighters and these men and women become great friends outside of the cage. These three men fit this definition and we very humbly apologize for the blood, sweat and tears these men shed preparing for this event only to be left disappointed with out a chance to showcase their skills.
At the end of the day, we hope the positives greatly outweigh the negatives and fans were left wanting more from the XFO because we're going to continue to put on a hell of a show to entertain the MMA fans of Chicago and the surround suburbs.
XFO-49 Official Results
Chris Guitierrez def. Bronson Koenig :24 by RNC RD 2
Aaron Robertson def. Ian Jackson :38 by TKO RD 1
Brandon Andriola def. Kevin Watkins at 2:21 by VERBAL SUB RD 1
Curtis Donar def. Maximillian Fuentes by UD
Chris Johnson def. Matt Oboyle at 1:23 by RNC RD 1
Edward Whitney def. Ben Grabowski at 1:56 by TKO RD 1
Chris Affinati def. Rafael Ramirez by UD
Natalie Barczyk def. Nicole Brown 2:00 by TKO RD 2
Tina Gomez defeated Kimberly Roagner at 2:09 by TKO RD 3
Nicolas Billegas def. Dan Martinez by UD
Sandy Thomas def. Shawna Stevenson at 2:57 by TKO RD 2
Jordan Wiggins def. Tommy Hawley by UD - Title
Kieth Wenzel def. Anthony Kelly at 2:26 by TKO RD 1
Jeremy Miller def. Edgar Flores by UD
Chris Conway def. Donny Simpson by SD
Dustin Stusse def. Vinny Decicco at 2:55 by GUILLOTINE RD 1
Ivan Garcia def. Mike Zahn at 2:36 by TKO RD 1 - Title
Yousef Al-Ghoul def. Tom Engelhoff by UD
Joey Diehl def. Sean Barnett by UD
Adrian Ortega def. Pat Hastings at :57 by KO RD 1
Eric Correa def. Wes Anderson at 3:34 by TKO RD 1
Rafal Skibinski def. Drew Reed at :41 by TKO RD 1
Rob Morrow def. Mike Morello by UD
Dennis Dombrow def. Danny Aguirre at 4:46 by RNC RD 3
Adam Maciejewski def. Miodrag Petrovich at 4:01 by KO RD 2