by Matt Lo Cascio
Daniel James Dominates Chris Beal
Daniel James did not disappoint as the XFO 60 headliner, fighting in Chicago for the first time in over two years. James gets emotional on his way out to the cage, but when that door shuts he’s all business. He took it right to a game Chris “Tic Tic Boom” Beal, who showed some nifty combinations and a ton of heart. James was able to keep Beal up against the cage several times with a nice Thai plum, and he scored from there with some knee strikes. Beal tried to escape by punishing the body of James, so in round two James switched up his repertoire. He again had Beal up against the cage but disengaged and let his hands go, peppering Beal with shots. It was an uppercut that finally dropped Beal and James got the win less than a minute into round two.
Killa B Bounces Almario in Pro Debut
Brian “Killa B” Peterson said he felt the nerves before his first pro fight but leaned on his coaches for a boost in confidence. Then he leaned on his striking to do away with Neutral Ground’s Dan Almario, a durable fighter that isn’t finished easily. Peterson admitted a slow start but still won rounds one and two. Peterson attacked with some vicious leg kicks, and he put together a slick sequence at the beginning of round three with a barrage of strikes — including a flying knee — that put Almario down for good. “One step closer to the dream,” Peterson said in his post-fight interview.
Regal Wrecks Hernandez, Wins Middleweight Title
Daniel Regal had a true one-punch knockout of Aaron Hernandez in round two of their fight, and Regal claimed the XFO Amateur Middleweight Championship. Regal knew it was over when he flattened Hernandez and so did the referee, who stepped in to wave it off quickly. It was Regal’s XFO debut and he surely had the knockout of the night.
Marino Grapples His Way to XFO Welterweight Title
Fil Marino said he would be too much to handle for Derek Cooper, and he was spot on with his pre-fight analysis. Marino used outstanding wrestling to frustrate Cooper and keep him at bay, beating him by unanimous decision to claim the XFO Amateur Welterweight Title.
Flores Bulldogs MoMo, Notches First Pro Win
MTC’s Edgar Flores needed little time to set aside MoMo Scott, latching on to Scott’s neck and turning it into bulldog choke. Flores caught the choke almost immediately after the fight started, and he did it while both fighters were still standing. It looked like it began as a rear naked choke, but Flores switched it up and dragged Scott to the ground, finishing him just :57 into his pro debut.
Motaz Askar: Mr. Top Position
There’s another Askar brother for Chicago MMA fighters to contend with. MTC’s Motaz Askar slipped past the heavy hands of Wrecking Ball’s Juan Avila and repeatedly took him down, spending an enormous amount of time in top position as he tried to smash Avila. The judges had no difficulty in awarding Askar the win in his debut.
Call It a Comeback: Murphy Perseveres, Submits Papuc
Matt Murphy had the comeback of the night. He somehow survived after eating a huge right hand from New Breed’s Roman Papuc. That in itself was a great feat, but he didn’t stop there. He was able to take Papu down in round two — even as Papuc held onto the cage — then took his back, got the body triangle and sunk in a rear naked choke that was highlight reel material. Murphy remains undefeated at 4-0, and while Papuc lost he is still a fighter to keep your eyes on in the future.
Morgan Defeats Kazmaier with Power and Precision
All she does is win, win, win, no matter what. Stephanie Morgan remained undefeated in the XFO after a convincing win over Wrecking Ball’s Kendra Kazmaier. Morgan took the win via unanimous decision and had little trouble with Kazmaier, who put on an excellent performance at Rocktown Showdown 29. Morgan gets it done with power and precision, making use of all the tools in her possession.
Ballout’s Pro Debut Postponed
The ugly side of the fight game popped up Saturday night when Mazen Ballout’s opponent Randy Tran backed out just minutes before they were scheduled to enter the cage. Tran did not have all his medicals squared away so the bout was changed to an amateur fight, to which Ballout agreed. Tran’s manager did not agree and pulled him from the fight. Ballout hopes to make his pro debut in the next few months.