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XFO Night of Champions: Lovrich Retains Title, NICC Takes Two Belts


Justin Lovrich, XFO lightweight champion

Justin Lovrich successfully defended his XFO lightweight title against Tim Carpenter. (Photo: Tomba Images/XFO)

by Matt Lo Cascio
Woodstock Harley Davidson was roaring Saturday night, the venue packed with MMA fans as the XFO held its “Night of Champions” event. Here’s a breakdown of each of the fights.

Justin Lovrich XFO lightweight champion

Justin “Juice” Lovrich moments after his high-elbow guillotine finished Tim Carpenter. (Photo: Tomba Images/XFO)

Lovrich Retains Title With Marcelotine

The Juice Pack represented in full as Justin “Juice” Lovrich attempted to defend his XFO lightweight title against Tim Carpenter. Round one was a frenzy of activity with Carpenter going right after the champ. Lovrich was patient and showed excellent takedown defense. Round two began and Carpenter again went for a takedown, but Lovrich turned a front headlock into a nasty, standing, high-elbow guillotine that would have made Marcelo Garcia proud. Lovrich remains undefeated and has defended his XFO title three times.

Trace Engelkes

Trace Engelkes put on a wrestling clinic against Zac Riley and won the XFO middleweight title. (Photo: Tomba Images/XFO)

Engelkes Smothers Riley, Wins XFO Middleweight Belt

Northern Illinois Combat Club’s Trace Engelkes had little trouble with in defeating Zac Riley by unanimous decision, 30-27 on all cards. He easily landed takedown after takedown and stayed heavy on Riley with a smothering top game. Engelkes hunted for subs but was unable to get the finish. It made it no less a dominant performance. I was a bit surprised there wasn’t at least one 10-8 round on the cards as Engelkes commanded the cage and the pace, and completely shut down Riley.

Kane Cunningham

Kane Cunningham used a smothering wrestling game to beat Juan Avila in the XFO welterweight title fight. (Photo: Tomba Images/XFO)

Cunningham Defeats Avila, Earns Welterweight Title

Like Engelkes, Kane Cunningham also used outstanding wrestling in bringing a second belt back to Rockford and the Northern Illinois Combat Club. Wrecking Ball’s Juan Avila has brass balls and a heart of gold, but the weight difference proved to be too big of a hurdle against the well-skilled Cunningham. Avila jumped up two weight classes to take the fight after both their opponents were late scratches. Cunningham’s wrestling and his ability to maintain top position were just too much, although Avila did have a few catches that Cunningham had to fight through. Cunningham was able to get back mount near the end of round three and he flattened Avila out and began to hammer away. Referee Josh Stewart stepped in to wave it off at 2:25 of round three. Avila will be back in his own weight class on June 1 for Chicago Cagefighting Championship and he’s likely to have his own belt in the near future.

Kendra Kazmaier

The champ-champ did it again. Kendra Kazmaier finished Taylor Lamomska in round two. (Photo: Tomba Images/XFO)

Kazmaier Dominates: The Champ-Champ Scores TKO Win

We are running out of superlatives to describe Wrecking Ball’s Kendra Kazmaier. She took on a very tough opponent in Highland Fight Systems’ Taylor Lamonska, who came right after the XFO’s current flyweight and welterweight champion. This should have been a title fight but ended up a catchweight bout at 130. It didn’t matter to Kazmaier who once again showed off her amazing speed and accuracy with a series of strikes that put Lamonska down for good at 1:47 of round two. One could say she now holds the 125, 130, and 135 titles. She has made tremendous strides over the last few years behind the coaching of Clint Blackburn and she has a bright future in the sport.

Smash With Hypnotik Boxing Gloves

Hypnotik Boxing Gloves


Joey Reis

Joey Reis added another TKO win to his spotless record. (Photo: Tomba Images/XFO)

Joey Reis Is Your Nightmare

Bloomington Team One BJJ’s Joey Reis needed just over two minutes to finish Roufusport’s Conor Fussner, but he was able to show off a diverse skill set in the process. Reis has freakish quick-twitch speed in all aspects of his game. His hand speed drew some oohs and ahhs from the crowd and his scrambling ability is amazing. He made a good fighter in Conor Fussner look ordinary, and Fussner was coming off a huge first-round submission win just a month ago. One of the cageside officials remembered Fussner from his last fight and was shocked at how Reis was able to dispose of him in the first round. Reis has got to be a nightmare to fight. He has a wrestling/jits base but has already registered two first-round TKO wins in two XFO fights. Come back soon, Joey.

Jurado Suffers Injury in Loss to Rego

MTC’s Alex Rego was likely ahead on the scorecards when Victory Martial Arts fighter Oscar Jurado couldn’t answer the bell to begin the final round. The doctor came out to check on Jurado’s knee after round one and let the fight continue. At the end of round two, Jurado’s left knee looked misshapen and swollen from my vantage point at the announce table. Rego was able to display some fine kickboxing skills in the win and we wish Jurado a speedy recovery.

Beseka Bests Ramirez in Kickboxing Fight

UFC Gym Yorktown’s Sean Beseka and MTC’s Anthony Ramirez had a fun three rounds in their heavyweight kickboxing fight. It was a super close fight and that was confirmed by the judges’ scorecards. Beseka ended up taking the win via split decision, but it was a good fight for both combatants. Beseka was coming off a KO loss and showed that he was able to shake that off and get back in the cage, and Ramirez, primarily a wrestler in his first two XFO fights, was able to test his striking skills in this standup-only fight.

Cantwell Chokes Out Ryan

Matt Ryan got after it in the first round, but MTC’s Matt Cantwell worked his ground game and took Ryan’s neck at the beginning of round two. He sunk in a fight-ending guillotine choke at just :26 of the second.

Jose Morales Wrecking Ball MMA

Jose Morales got to mount several times in his win against Rafal Buzinski. (Photo: Tomba Images/XFO)

Morales Finishes Buzinski

Wrecking Ball’s Jose Morales put on a beautiful performance in his win over MTC’s Rafal Buzinski. Morales worked his kickboxing game early and often and also fared well on the ground. He smoothly got to mount several times in the fight and was poised from that position, looking for spots to land rather than just going all out. He got the finish at 1:05 of round three.

Jones Beats Doxtator in Close Fight

Rothwell MMA’s Rick Jones showed off his big power while Pettis Martial Arts’ Dexter Doxtator displayed beautiful footwork and kickboxing. I lost count of how many body kicks he landed on Jones. This one went the distance and the judges saw it for Jones.

Fuji Ice Nogi Collection

About Matt Lo Cascio

Matt Lo Cascio is the co-founder and editor of Chicago's MMA. He is the former play-by-play announcer for the XFO and other organizations, and he has been published by ESPN.com, DraftKings, The Comeback, FanSided, and more.

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