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Morrow, Marrello Ready for Round Two at XFO 49

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XFO 49

by Matt Lo Cascio

Mike Marrello vs. Rob Morrow“You wanna take this inside?” No, that’s not how the Mike Marrello vs. Rob Morrow rematch was agreed to, but the fighters will do it again Friday night at the Sears Centre for XFO 49.

Their first fight took place on a beautiful summer night in August at the annual XFO Outdoor War, some 80+ days — and degrees — ago. Both fighters are ready to work, and hoping to secure a more specific outcome: No scorecards and no debate over who won.

“No judges this time. He already got his Christmas gift back in August from them and Santa,” Morrow said.

Marrello got the official victory in August via split decision, but it was hotly debated locally, especially among the two combatants.

“I know I won! I have watched that fight over, and over, and over… I was real defensive and back peddling but I had the most effective strikes,” Marello told Chicago’s MMA. “Look at his face. He had three cuts and he can say all he wants, but I broke his nose. His legs were red from me kicking the crap out of them. On top of all that, even though he was moving forward, he wasn’t hitting me as nearly as much as he was throwing. I stood up and fought with this guy which is what he is good at. Also, I kneed him in the third round and he winced and he played it off like I kneed him in the junk. Watch the tape — I kneed him on the belt line and I hurt him. The judges saw it for me and I agree.”

Morrow, as you would expect, sees it quite differently.

“He knows I won that fight,” Morrow said. “I thought I won rounds one and two. In round three he got the take down by timing my kick and ended up in my guard not doing anything. Knowing we had the two previous rounds, we (my coaches and me) decided to stay on bottom not letting him catch me with a submission as I go to stand or reverse.”

Rematches usually include some amount of bad blood between fighters. This bout has its share, although it’s not over the top.

“It seems like Morrow is doing more of the trash talking, Mr. ‘I’m going to be judge, juror and executioner’, Marrello said. “So I don’t think there is bad blood.”

Morrow has taken the rematch much more personally. “There is bad blood because he knows I won that fight and he hasn’t fought since, only taking this fight cause he knows I’m a working class fighter. I’ve fought twice since, and was just on vacation with my kids and wife at the Dells.”

Morrow keeps a frenetic pace and Marrello can’t be blamed for not fighting since August, especially since it was his first fight in two years. He says that this time there will be no cage rust and fans will notice a tremendous difference in one area of his game.

“My cardio. You guys will see. Another thing people forget is I had just about two years off from the cage. I was still training, just a little rusty. Like I told XFO MMA, I am going to be the best I have ever been in my career Friday the 13th. I have learned so much over the years from life and my losses. I am so glad everyone will be there to see me put all of my hard work and training together,” Marrello said.

Morrow’s not worried about any improvements in Marrello’s game. “I’m trying to get to a big show, make my mark and get the notice I deserve. He’s in my way.”

For more information and tickets to XFO 49, visit XFOMMA.com and LocalMMATickets.com.

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is a former TV producer who turned to new media in 2005, and he is the co-founder and editor of Chicago’s MMA. He is also the play-by-play announcer for the XFO. His work has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided and more.

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