Bart Palaszewski Officially Retires from MMA

February 26, 2014 by  

Bart Palaszewski

Team Curran’s Bart Palaszewski, a veteran of the XFO, IFL, WEC and UFC, announced his retirement from MMA via Twitter.

Palaszewski (36-17) was an exciting fighter who had a remarkable finish rate, ending 28 of his 36 career wins by either KO or submission.

One of his most exciting finishes came in his UFC debut at UFC 137, when Palaszewski wrecked Tyson Griffin with an onslaught of punches, earning himself $75k and “Knockout of the Night” honors.

In 2004 he fought in the first XFO event, winning by armbar over Tim Newland. Last summer at the XFO’s annual “Outdoor War,” Palaszewski was named one of the “XFO Legends,” along with Clay Guida, Jeff Curran and Pat Curran.

Palaszewski also had a notable run in the IFL, winning his first six fights in the organization, and holds wins over Anthony Pettis, Ivan Menjivar and Kyle Watson.

XFO 50 to Feature Fallon Fox, Danny Aguirre vs. Cory Galloway

January 30, 2014 by  

XFO 50

by Matt Lo Cascio

The XFO will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in a big way — putting on their 50th pro show featuring a veritable who’s who of Chicago’s best MMA fighters.

The show will take place on Friday, March 21 at the UIC Pavillion, the first MMA show there since the WEC came to town in 2009.

Here are confirmed fighters/matchups as of now:

  • Fallon Fox will fight in Chicago for the first time as a pro.
  • Joey Diehl will drop to 115 lbs. and fight in the XFO’s first-ever men’s strawweight bout.
  • MMA Stop/Uflacker Academy’s Danny Aguirre vs. Team Curran’s Cory Galloway
  • Vince Romandine vs. Manny Vazquez
  • Lawrence Dunning vs. Andrew Potapenko
  • Matt “The Monster” Paul makes his pro debut against Lukasz Grabowski
  • Anthony Goodwin vs. James Martin
  • Midwest Training Center’s Rafal Skibinski will fight on the card, fresh off his dominating performance against Drew Reed at XFO 49. Skibinski recently opened Body TransforMMAtion Center in Oak Lawn with Andrew Krzeptowski, who will also fight at the event.
  • As we previously reported, MTC’s Adam Maciejewski will continue his comeback at this event.
  • Pearl Gonzalez, who had a remarkable amateur career here with Combat-Do, will fight for the first time in Chicago as a pro.
  • Other fighters on the card include Oliver Vazquez, Ramy Daoud, Evolution MMA‘s Tom Shoaff and Maurice Greene.

Tickets will be on sale soon at More to come…

XFO 49: Erick Correa vs. Wes Anderson [Video]

December 22, 2013 by  

Erick Correa XFO 49

XFO 49 heavyweight fight between Team Curran’s Erick “The Ram” Correa and MTC’s Wes “Wookie Foot” Anderson.

XFO 49 Amateur Results

December 16, 2013 by  

Dustin Stusse XFO 49

XFO Featherweight Championship

Jordan Wiggins (Dion Riccardo) def. Tommy Hawley (Rockford Combat) UD

XFO Welterweight Championship

Dustin Stusse (Patriot Boxing) def. Vince DeCicco (Team Curran) 2:55 RD. 1, TAP- Guillotine

XFO Middleweight Championship

Ivan Garcia def. Mike Zahn 2:36 RD.1, TKO- Strikes


Chris Gutierrez (Team No Ego) def. Bronson Koenig :24, RD.2 TAP-RNC
Aaron Robertson (MTC) def. Ian Jackson (Energy MMA) RD. 1 :43, KO
Brandon Andriola (MTC) def. Kevin Watkins (MMA Stop/Counterstrike) 2:27 RD. 1, Verbal Tap-strikes
Curtis Doner def. Maximillian Fuentes (Top Notch) UD
Chris Johnson (Team Top Notch) vs. Matt O’Boyle (Gilbert Grappling) 1:23 RD. 1, Tap-RNC
Eddie Whitney def. Ben Grabowski (Team No Ego) 1:56 RD. 2, TKO-Strikes
Chris Affinati def. Rafael Ramirez via UD
Natalie Barczyk (Evolution MMA) def. Nicole Brown (Patriot Boxing) 2:00 RD. 2, TKO
Tina Gomez (MTC) def. Kim Roegner 2:09 RD. 3, TKO-Strikes VIDEO
Nicolas Billegas def. Dan Martinez via UD
Sandy Thomas def. Shauna Stevenson 2:57, RD.2 TKO-Strikes VIDEO
Keith Wenzel (Ottawa MMA) def. Anthony Kelly, :26 RD.1, TKO-Strikes
Jeremy Miller (Patriot Boxing) def. Edgar Flores (MTC) UD
Chris Conway (Patriot Boxing) def. Donny Simpson (MTC) via split decision

Morrow, Marrello Ready for Round Two at XFO 49

December 12, 2013 by  

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 and

Pat Curran vs. Daniel Straus: XFO 29 [Video]

October 30, 2013 by  


by Matt Lo Cascio

XFO 29 was an historic event for a few reasons. The event took place April 17, 2009, and featured the organization’s first female fight, with Buffalo Grove’s Felice “L’il Bulldog” Herrig dropping a split decision to Valerie Coolbaugh.

XFO 29 also featured the first fight between Pat Curran and Daniel Straus. The rematch comes Saturday night, with Curran’s Bellator featherweight title on the line.

Curran suffered his first professional loss to Indiana’s Darren Elkins at C3 a few months before the Straus fight. He came back from that just a month later to beat current UFC fighter Ramiro Hernandez Jr. at Adrenaline II, on a card that featured Pat Miletich, Ben Rothwell, Mike Ciesnolevicz, LC Davis and Chicago’s Mike Russow.

The Straus fight would be Curran’s fourth fight in just five months, with both the Elkins and Hernandez Jr. fights going the distance. It turned out to be significant not just because of the upcoming rematch, but also because that fight featured Curran’s first professional knockout.

Cory Galloway Gets Surgical, Dominates Jeff Bates at RFA 10

October 25, 2013 by  

Cory Galloway at RFA 10

by Matt Lo Cascio

Cory GallowayTeam Curran’s Cory Galloway dominated Jeff Bates at RFA 10 with an incredible display of boxing, including two left-hook liver shots that sent Bates to the mat in third round, where Galloway would finish him with a barrage of strikes.

Galloway hurt Bates several times throughout rounds one and two, and was ready to move in for the kill as round three began. He hurried to the center of the cage at the start of the round, resuming with a series of jabs. He connected with two powerful left hooks that stunned Bates. Tired of the beating, Bates telegraphed a shot that Galloway easily turned away.

Galloway then ducked under a slow jab from Bates, and came up on the other side with a devastating left hook that rattled Bates’ liver. Bates favored that side of his body as he backed up, but Galloway marched in, reloaded, and let the left hand go again, connecting in the same place. Bates crumpled to the mat and Galloway pounced. He let loose with hammer fists and what we counted as 48 unanswered punches before the ref stepped in to wave off the bout.

Bates remained on the ground for a while, his face a bloody mess and his body wracked from the damage of the consecutive liver shots.

Galloway confused Bates throughout the entire fight, using a creative array of strikes, the majority of them landing with precision and power.

In round two, a hard right hand from Galloway knocked Bates mouthpiece out. As Bates retreated, the ref stepped in to pause the action and allow Bates to recover it and put it back in. Galloway was ready to attack again, and didn’t look pleased when the ref stopped the action.

When action resumed, Bates immediately pushed Galloway up against the cage and converted on a double-leg takedown.

“Bates again, showing he does not want to stand up. He wants to get this thing to the ground,” analyst Pat Miletich said.

Bates couldn’t do anything with the takedown, and Galloway got to full guard, swiveling his hips in hopes of setting up an armbar, then utilizing a high guard to neutralize Bates. Eventually the ref broke the stalemate and stood the fighters up.

The fight restarted and Galloway continued to mix up his strikes. Straight left to the body. Crisp jab. Duck under a wild right hand from Bates and connect with a powerful left hook that drew roars from coaches Doug Mango and Jeff Curran. Another left to the body. The body shots were adding up and taking effect –  Bates was slowing and his hands were dropping. Galloway took note.

Galloway took his time, but kept the pressure on. He laid a three-punch combo on Bates, then went back to the body. This was surgical. Left hook to the body that lands loudly. Another 3-2. Bates was seemingly paralyzed defensively, completely unsure of what Galloway would throw. A left hook to the jaw lands, and Bates adjusts his mouth several times. It was a completely dominant round for Galloway.

Between rounds, Miletich commented over the second round highlights. “Galloway staying crisp throughout this fight. A lot of people think that the jab doesn’t work in MMA. I beg to differ with you. Galloway showing that it works quite well.”

After the fight ended, Michael Schiavello commented that Galloway’s boxing was “a delight.” Indeed it was, and it moved him to 4-1 as a pro with an impressive win over a previously undefeated fighter.

Herrig, LaVoy XFO Fight Canceled

August 9, 2013 by  

XFO 48: Outdoor War

UPDATE: XFO tweets that Herrig vs. LaVoy fight not approved by the state and has been canceled.

by Matt Lo Cascio

If we were to rewrite the old ‘sticks and stones’ comeback for the modern MMA fighter, it might go like this: “Lefts and rights may ruin my night, but Tweets will never hurt me.”

Felice Herrig and Amanda LaVoy have exchanged plenty of words leading up to their XFO Outdoor War fight on Saturday, including a lengthy Twitter feud about why the fight was moved to a K-1 style match instead of Muay Thai.

Psychological warfare is a handy tool for fighters, especially for the underdog. It can work if it racks the focus of your opponent and gets them to stray from their game plan. But the more probable outcome is that it serves as a stick that pokes a bear. The bear gets pissed off. You turn to run, but you’re in a cage with nowhere to go.

We’ll find out Saturday night which of these scenarios will take place. But while LaVoy was shooting Tweets at a semi-automatic pace the other day, Herrig let her manager and camp do the talking. She tweeted only about how her weight cut was going.

In other pro fights:

- Gilbert Grappling’s Rob Morrow takes on Team Curran and former “The Ultimate Fighter” contestant Mike Marrello.
- Team Curran’s Joey Diehl looks to build on his April win in the XFC against TFC and Ironheart Crown vet Wade Choate.
- Team No Comment’s Pedro Velasco battles Team Curran’s Vince Romandine, who is making his pro debut.
- Three-time Chicago Golden Gloves champ and Team Curran fighter Erick Correa takes on King of the Cage vet Aaron Ware in a heavyweight match.
- Midwest Training Center’s Oliver Vazquez looks for his first pro win after a very impressive local amateur career. He’ll take on Christian Reynoso.

MTC’s Pat “The Project” Hastings makes his pro debut Saturday night. He talks about the the “Outdoor War” in this video with MTC teammates Damian Norris and Oliver Vazquez.

Click here for more card info and to buy tickets.

Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev: Bellator 95 [Video]

April 5, 2013 by  

Pat Curran celebrates his Bellator 95 win.

Video of Team Curran’s Pat Curran vs. Shahbulat Shamhalaev at Bellator 95 for the featherweight title.

Pat Curran Chokes Out Shamhalaev, Retains Title

April 5, 2013 by  

Pat Curran at Bellator 95

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.

Pat Curran celebrates his Bellator 95 win.“It feels great,” Curran told Smith in the cage after the fight. “I didn’t get hit once in the face. I want to get in, get out, get back to the gym, rest up and on to the next one.”

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.

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