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Eckmann, Skibinski Ready for XFO 50 Fight

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by Matt Lo Cascio

MTC’s Rafal Skibinski hopes to bring the pain when he fights Josh Eckmann Friday night at XFO 50. That remains to be seen, but one thing he’ll certainly bring is a huge group of fans.

“Yes, there will be a lot of our fans again. We just love to support each other in our community.”

Skibinski is referring to the Polish community, which infused the Sears Centre with life at XFO 49, where both he and Adam Maciejewski scored impressive wins. Skibinski, fighting for the first time in over a year, needed less than a minute to finish Drew Reed.

Up next for Skibinski is Old School Wrestling’s Eckmann, who picked a tough out for his pro debut. Eckmann knows Skibinski brings experience, skills and the loud fans, but he remains calm and confident.

“I have always made it a point to seek out the toughest competition I can find. I believe as a fighter that the best and quickest way to get better is to always take on the stiffest competition available. That way, any win is a win worth having, and every loss is an excellent learning opportunity. It is my belief that on any given night anyone is beatable. It’s all going to come down to who worked harder in their camp, and how well their strategy is implemented,” Eckmann said.

Skibinski’s not sleeping on Eckmann, and knows about the strength of his wrestling.

“Yes, Josh is a tough wrestler and a great grappler. However this is not a grappling or wrestling match. We also strike and I know I got more weapons than him on my feet. Also, I work with great wrestlers like him so it should be a great and fun match. Either win or lose I still love that competition,” Skibinski said.

Eckmann hones those wrestling skills in Huntley at OSW, where he works under Russ Tanaka, Mike Kelly and Richard Tado.

“We have a bit of a unique philosophy at OSW where we base all of our MMA training on playing to our strengths as wrestlers. Everything we do is all about good, dominant position, pressure, and taking the fight where we know we are best.”

If Eckmann gets Skibinski to the ground it will make for a very interesting fight. Skibinski likes to use speed and movement to get his hands going, and he’s very effective when he does that. That won’t happen if he’s on his back, trying to grind out escapes and possibly taking a pounding in the process.

Skibinski still has two fights left on his contract with Bellator and says that next year he hopes to land in either their welterweight or middleweight tournaments. “For now I’ll stick with XFO because these guys always treat me well and I love fighting for them.”

So does the big Polish community in Chicago, who will be out in force at the UIC Pavillion Friday night. For tickets to XFO 50 visit xfomma.com/tickets.

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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