The XFO is coming to a TV near you this Summer.
A new partnership was announced today between Comcast SportsNet and the XFO that will feature the local MMA promotion in a new weekly series called “The Best of XFO”. Each show will consist of an hour of the best fights in XFO history, as voted on by the fans. Voting is already live on the XFO website, and the series premieres Thursday, June 6 at 11pm CT.
The XFO has long been a springboard for the top MMA talent in the Midwest. They recently announced “XFO Legends“, which is a Hall of Fame of fighters that have made major contributions to the promotion. The first inductees were Jeff Curran, Bart Palaszewski, Clay Guida and Pat Curran. There have been a number of big-name fighters that have fought in the XFO. Felice Herrig, Jamie Varner, Jens Pulver, Kerry Schall and Terry Martin are just a few of the names that have fought in the XFO.
Local cage announcer and ESPN Chicago anchor Ray Flores will host each episode.
“It’s an honor and pleasure to be the host for the Best of XFO,” Flores told Chicago’s MMA. “I’d like to thank everyone involved with the promotion for giving me this opportunity. The show gives viewers a great chance to see the rich history of this amazing organization. I am thrilled to be a part of it, especially on Comcast SportsNet Chicago which does a sensational job of highlighting all of the major local sports teams. I think it’s a perfect match and look forward to seeing what the future has to hold for the XFO on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.”
The next event for the XFO will be the Rocktown Showdown on June 15 in Rockford. Local standouts David Sorensen, Tyler Reece, Dustin Stusse and Chris Conway will all be fighting on that card. Tickets are now available by visiting LocalMMATickets.com.
Rebel of Destruction’s Dion Walker and South Side Knockout’s Jorge Ignacio did battle in a 170-lb. match at Total Fight Challenge last Friday.
The finish came quickly, and in a brutal fashion. This is definitely one for our “Killer Finishes” section.
Props to Massacre MMA and Paris Kixton for the video. TFC’s Joe Goytia announced that the next event will be July 12, and any fighters interested in being on the card should contact him.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Praetorian Fighting Championships is the newest promotion to enter the Chicago MMA scene, and they will hold a press conference at Tilted Kilt in Roselle on Saturday at 5pm.
UFC featherweight contender and Team Top Notch fighter Ric Lamas will be on hand to sign autographs and Praetorian Fighting Championships fighters will be there for a meet and greet with both fans and media.
You don’t see many press conferences for amateur MMA promotions, but Praetorian is taking the time to introduce itself and some of their fighters to the public.
“This is just step one in showcasing some of the best the Midwest has to offer,” Praetorian president Alex Martinez told Chicago’s MMA. “It’s our way of saying this is who we are, these are the guys who will be testing their mettle in the cage for you the fan and there is a lot more to come.”
The first Praetorian event is May 25 at the Finish Strong Sportsplex in West Chicago. Team Curran’s Vince Romandine, Counterstrike MMA’s Andrew Potapenko and Patriot Boxing’s John Marino are on the card, and Praetorian will crown its first champions on that night with four title fights.
Martinez said that Praetorian will use a tournament format for their events, similar in style to Bellator MMA. The first event will feature a a series of opening tournament battles to go with the title fights.
“We are taking a page from Bellator with all our bouts slated as tournament bouts with the winner advancing. No question, in the end the tournament winner would have earned a title shot. The difference between Praetorian and the rest of the promotions is we are NOT in the fighter management business nor are we affiliated with any fight team or gym. We are open to everyone and focused on promoting our brand and most importantly the fighter. Amateur fighters are the backbone of this sport, so why not give them our very best as a promotion?”
Lamas and Ray Flores will serve as the commentators for the video broadcast, with Flores also serving as cage announcer.
Here are the four title fights that will go down on May 25:
Check out the first card and buy tickets at PraetorianMMA.com. You can also buy tickets at the press conference on Saturday.
Video of Team Curran’s Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev at Bellator 95 for the featherweight title.
by Matt Lo Cascio
Pat Curran used the first half of round one in his title fight with Shahbulat Shamhalaev to size up his opponent and find his reach. The second half was all about the attack.
Just moments after Bellator analyst Jimmy Smith said that Curran was known to be a slow starter and uses his wrestling mainly for defense, Curran shot in on Shamhalaev and took him down. Curran first went for his back but switched up into a guillotine choke and dragged Shamhalaev into full guard. The choke was tight and Shamhalaev never tapped, but he did go to sleep. The end came at 2:38 of the first round, with Curran successfully defending his featherweight title for the second time.
The ‘next one’ will be a familiar face to Curran. “I can’t wait to face Daniel Straus in a rematch,” Curran said.
Curran and Straus did battle at XFO 29 in April, 2009, and Curran finished Straus for his first knockout as a pro. Curran had just six pro bouts under his belt at that time, Straus had just five.
The win over Shamhalaev was Curran’s fifth straight win, and his ninth in Bellator, the most of any fighter in Bellator history.
“Thanks for Shahbulat and taking the fight on short notice. This was a big opportunity for him and I thank him for stepping up to the fight. Thank you Bjorn and Bellator for keeping me busy in the cage and continuing to allow me to develop as a fighter,” Curran said.
One of the best fights of the night at Hidden Talent MMA’s “Who’s Next! Round 3″ was Death Squad MMA’s Matt Crowley vs. Energy MMA’s Jonathan Quinlan.
These are they types of fights that get fans hooked on MMA.
Check out our recap of Hidden Talent MMA’s “Who’s Next! Round 3″
by Matt Lo Cascio
Hidden Talent MMA rocked the Lake County Fairgrounds Saturday night with three title fights, an array of spectacular finishes and a raucous crowd for “Who’s Next! Round 3″.
The main event featured a rematch between Jason Belyew and Tim Phinney for the Hidden Talent MMA light heavyweight title. IMMA’s Belyew scored a TKO win over Phinney last April in Rockford, and this time a belt was on the line.
Phinney came out aggressively, looking to push the pace and take the fight to Belyew. He briefly had Belyew up against the cage after an opening exchange, but Belyew was able to get Phinney to the ground, take his back and choke him out at 1:38 of the first round.
“First and foremost I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for changing my life. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for Him,” Belyew said. He also told cage announcer Ray Flores that he does plan on defending the belt at the next Hidden Talent MMA event.
Jarreau Mobley needed just ten seconds — and one big punch — to knockout Counterstrike MMA’s Andrew Potapenko and capture the Hidden Talent MMA welterweight title.
Matt Arnst took home the lightweight title by attacking Adrian Ortega early in round one and getting him to the ground. He sunk in an airtight rear naked choke and Ortega had no choice but to tap. “I’m going to keep doing this until someone tells me I can’t anymore,” Arnst said.
Mundelein’s John Quinlan made his MMA debut behind huge support from his hometown fans. Quinlan started fast and got into an all-out brawl with Death Squad’s Matt Crowley. Late in round one Quinlan dropped Crowley with a right hand, took his back and pounded him out. Crowley got his money’s worth if not the win; Quinlan had a huge hematoma over right eye that was bleeding.
“It was a dream come true. I got hurt, I fought through it and got my hand raised,” Quinlan said.
Just one of the eleven fights went the distance, an exciting back-and-forth bout between Team Curran’s David Sorensen and Team Energy’s Michael Hayden.
Sorensen was able to consistently score from inside Hayden’s guard in round one, and landed a slick outside trip to take Hayden down at end of round. Hayden bloodied Sorensen’s nose, but Sorensen took the round.
During round two, Hayden got a point deducted when he connected with a knee to Sorensen’s head, which is not allowed in amateur MMA. Hayden also landed a spinning back kick that hit Sorensen’s head, and Sorensen gave him a thumbs up. The crowd roared in approval.
Sorensen came back and delivered two liver kicks, then landed two right hands that stunned Hayden. He took Hayden back to the ground and that’s where the round ended. With the point deduction it was a 10-8 round for Sorensen.
Hayden started the final round by landing a push kick and then a nice combo, but Sorensen was again able to get him to the ground, right in front of his corner and coach Doug Mango. Hayden tried for a shoulder lock but couldn’t get it. Sorensen never lost top position as the fight ended and he took the win via unanimous decision.
Tyler Dempsey of Team Energy handed Gracie Barra’s David Santiago his first career loss in an outstanding performance. Dempsey is a huge 170-pounder with great power and dynamic striking. He cut Santiago open with a kick to the face in the first round and also landed a number of significant, heavy shots. Santiago worked an effective jab, but Dempsey was too powerful for him in the round.
Dempsey landed a thudding right cross that dropped Santiago early in round two and immediately got to mount and pounded him out. Santiago got up and spit a stream of blood on the mat, his face wearing the effects of Dempsey’s work.
Prince Miles showed his strength and power during his battle with Joel Yepiz. He actually lifted Yepiz off the ground with a standing guillotine attempt in the first round. In the final frame, Miles delivered a hard right hand that dropped Yepiz, and followed that up with some hammerfists to finish him.
Click here for complete results from Hidden Talent’s MMA’s Who’s Next! Round 3.
Results from Hidden Talent MMA’s Who’s Next Round 3 at Lake County Fairgrounds, Saturday, March 30, 2013
Hidden Talent MMA Light Heavyweight Title
Jason Belyew vs. Tim Phinney (205):
Belyew def. Phinney at 1:38, rd. 1 via side choke
Hidden Talent MMA Welterweight Title
Andrew Potapenko vs. Jareau Mobley (170): Mobley KOs Potapenko with one punch at just :10 of the first round.
Hidden Talent MMA Lightweight Title
Adrian Ortega vs. Matt Arnst (155): Matt Arnst def. Adrian Ortega via RNC, :44 of rd. 1, wins Hidden Talent lightweight title.
Anthony Richmond vs. Jake Childers (145): Childers taps Richmond with a guillotine at :34 of rd. 2
Michael Hayden vs. David Sorensen (135): Sorensen def. Hayden, 30-26, 29-27, 29-27
Joel Yepiz vs. Prince Miles (185): Miles KO Yepiz, :30 round 3
Tyler Dempsey vs. David Santiago (170): Tyler Dempsey def. David Santiago, TKO-strikes, 1:20, rd. 2
John Quinlan vs. Matt Crowley (155): Quinlan def. Crowley, TKO strikes, rd. 1 2:45
Peter Hinsch vs. Victor Gonzalez (170): Gonzalez taps Hinsch with an armbar at 1:40 of round 2.
Zachary Stander vs. Patrick Fish (170): Stander wins via TKO- ref stoppage due to strikes, 1:20 rd. 1.
Franklin Springfield vs. Curtis Chaparata (155): Springfield taps Chaparata with a RNC at 1:11
The XFO heads back to the North side of the city for XFO 47 at the Copernicus Center Friday night, and Hidden Talent MMA presents Who’s Next 3 in Lake County.
XFO 47 features some of the top local pro fighters looking to take that next step:
- Midwest Training Center’s Andre Feliciano tries to remain unbeaten as a pro against Dexter Wright.
- Team Curran’s Cory Galloway goes for his third straight win against Chris Haney.
- Wrecking Ball’s Kent Rexford Jr. looks to give Devon Morris his first pro loss.
- Former Golden Gloves champ and Team Curran fighter Erick Correa takes on HFC and C3 vet Eddie Smith.
Here’s the full card:
Christopher Haney vs Cory Galloway
Dexter Wright vs Andre Feliciano
Eddie Smith vs Erick Correa
Oliver Vazquez vs Jake Constant
Evian Rodriguez vs Lawrence Dunning
Anthony Goodwin vs Pedro Velasco
Kent Rexford Jr. vs Devon Morris
Phil Williams vs Corey Simmons
On Saturday, Hidden Talent MMA presents Who’s Next 3 in Grayslake at the Lake County Fairgrounds.
- Illinois Martial Arts Academy’s Jason Belyew will rematch with Fight Card vet Tim Phinney in the main event. Belyew and Phinney fought at Rumble on the River last April, with Belyew scoring a TKO victory in the first round.
- Counterstrike MMA’s Andrew Potapenko will battle with Boneyard’s Jareau Mobley in a welterweight fight.
- Matt Arnst goes for 4-0 against Team No Comment’s Adrian Ortega.
Check out the full card and get tickets for both events by visiting LocalMMATickets.com.
“I want to fight the best. I live to test myself.” – Chase Beebe
by Matt Lo Cascio
Gilbert Grappling’s Chase Beebe remains one of Chicago’s busiest fighters.
The former WEC bantamweight champion fought six times for five different promotions in 2012, winning all six fights. He suffered a set back at Bellator 90 in February, dropping a decision to Travis Marx.
Next up for Beebe is a trip to Finland to fight Tom Niinimäki at Energia Arena. Having fought overseas in the past, it won’t be new for him, but it is always a challenge.
“It’s different. It’s definitely an adjustment but I have grown to learn that a fight is a fight regardless of where you are and you have to find a way to win either way,” Beebe told Chicago’s MMA.
Niinimaki (18-5) may not be a household name here in the states, but he is well-known in Europe and he will have his hometown crowd behind him in Finland. He’s won nine straight fights and has fought Hatsu Hioki, Bendy Casmir and Per Eklund.
Local fight fans might remember Niinimaki from his fight against Tristan Yunker for Ironheart Crown back in 2006. Ray Flores recalls that Eric Moon flew Niinimaki in for the fight, and Yunker made him tap from a rear-naked choke just 1:34 into the first round.
“He is a very tough opponent and I think it’s going to make for an awesome fight and a great show. I’m looking forward to competing against such a tough opponent. It will be a good test for me,” Beebe said.
Beebe’s always up for a challenge. The main challenge with Niinimaki will be dealing with his ground game. He’s scored submission wins in five of the nine fights in his current streak.
“My sub defense is probably the best part of my game, so I’m not too worried about that. But I’m going to use what I’m good at to make it my fight. I want to fight the best I live to test myself and to move forward by getting better, so I will always fight who ever is put in front of me. I have never turned down a fight.”
On top of fighting, Beebe and his brothers Carson and Conor own and operate Beebe Trained, a gym they opened late last year.
“The gym is going great. Wrestling club is doing really good and Carson and I are starting to build up some MMA classes. Anyone can come in and check it out on Wednesdays.”
Beebe Trained is in La Grange at 300 S. Washington, Unit D.