On Saturday January 23, the Chicago based XFO held their 33rd event. A total of twenty-eight fighters made their way to the cage and fourteen winners were decided. Six amateur fights and eight professional fights capped off the night’s festivities.
The opening bout saw Steve Bingham take on Martin Villafuerte. The first round Villafuerte used powerful leg kicks to stumble Bingham. At the end of the round, Villafuerte scored a big takedown that easily earned him the round. The second round Bingham opened up his striking and landed several power shots. While Villafuerte was able to score a takedown at one point and get full mount, it was too little too late. With the balance of the fight hanging in the third, Villafuerte went back to what was working for him in the first with several leg kicks. Bingham tried to load up the single knockout punch but Villafuerte’s chin proved too tough even against multiple kicks. Villafuerte won the unanimous decision 29-28 on all three judges score cards.
Josh Estrada made quick work of Jesse James Love needing only forty-six seconds to submit Love. Estrada opened the bout with a big overhand right that dropped Love and then followed it up with a double leg take down. After some posturing by both fighters, Estrada grabbed Love’s neck and forced the tapout.
Joey Diel shot in and quickly scored the double leg takedown on Jake Gilski. After a quick punch Diel moved from side control to full mount. Multiple shots were landed before Gilski decided to give up his back and Diel locked in a rear naked choke forcing the tapout at just fifty-one seconds into the first round.
Chris Miller decided that he wanted to show up the two previous fights by submitting Casey Irvin in just 26 seconds. Miller stormed Irvin and Irvin ducked to avoid a punch, but exposed his neck. Miller quickly tightened a choke and got the victory.
Jeff Lavallee continued his winning streak over Arty Hong. After a brief touch of gloves Lavallee quickly landed a straight right. Hong tied up Lavallee until Lavallee took the fight to the ground. Lavallee had an arm in guillotine but it wasn’t in deep. As Hong escaped the bad position he caught Lavallee with a big right and followed it by a leg kick overhand right combo. Lavallee then landed a big right hand of his own that ended the match.
Blaine Podkowa and Craig Pineo had a stand up war. Early in the first round, Podkowa had an arm in guillotine but gave it up in order to put the fight standing. Both fighters landed several shots with Podkowa landing the majority of blows. The second round Pineo shot for a takedown and failed to get it. Instead Podkowa scored a trip takedown and quickly postured up and threw nearly thirty shots with several landing before the ref called a halt to the action.
Kicking the night off for the professional fighters was Bryan Neville and Chris Garcia. Garcia shot for a takedown but left his neck exposed as Neville tried to lock in a guillotine choke. Garcia stood up to try and get out of the choke but it made it worse. Garcia used a great hip throw to get out of the choke and landed in side control. After a couple of punches he easily moved to mount. Neville bucked and gave up his back and Garcia locked in a rear naked choke to the crowds delight.
Matt Tobie made his pro debut against Jake Meyer. In the first round Meyer wanted to establish his power shot and force Tobie to feel his power. Tobie however had the better strikes that landed with more power through out the first round. The start of the second saw Meyer score a takedown only to have Tobie stand up and score his own takedown. Tobie quickly moved from half guard and got the mount. Several shots were landed, the ref warned Meyer, and then called the fight.
Ryan Sturdy and Dan Bolden had more of a grappling match for the first three minutes of the fight. While both fighters were able to land impressive shots, neither could finish the other before they quickly clinched up. Sturdy landed a big takedown and used peppering shots before Bolden tried to escape. While Bolden tried to escape, he gave up his back and Sturdy quickly locked in a rear naked choke and force Bolden to tap before he went to sleep.
Bobby Reardanz came out with a big high kick that just barely missed it’s mark. As he landed a leg kick, Bruce Johnson landed a big right. After a flurry by Johnson, both fighters clinched and looked for a takedown. Johnson got the takedown, but Reardanz attempted an armbar. After standing up, Reardanz used a spinning backlist to again clinch. Once clinched, Reardanz landed several knees forcing Johnson to verbally submit.
Chris Clark came out strong and landed a high kick, leg kick, high kick, straight right combo against Yusup Saadulaev. Unfortunately that was about the only offense that Clark was able to land as Saadulaev landed a big right that dropped Clark. After a quick spin, Saadulaev landed in side control and locked in a key lock forcing the tap just fifty five seconds into the first round.
After the match, Llyod Carter called out Saadulaev wanting a rematch. Saadulaev told Carter to improve his record and he would see what the match makers say about a rematch.
Heavyweights were on display when Boban Simic and Alex Rozman stepped into the cage. Simic used his wrestling base to nullify Rozman’s size and reach advantage through out the first round. At the end of the first, Simic scored a takedown and almost won the fight. Simic quickly scored a takedown in the second round and easily moved to the mount position. From the dominant position, he secured an arm triangle choke forcing Rozman to tap.
In the night’s co-main event Mark Miller took on LeVon Maynard. Maynard worked a series of high kicks throughout match to keep Miller at bay. Miller caught Maynard with a big right that dropped Maynard and followed to the ground. Once on the ground, Miller worked a good ground and pound game for most of the round. With about ninety seconds left Maynard was able to kick Miller off and stand up. Miller landed several big shots, but Maynard landed a flush left hook that knocked Miller out and ended the fight.
A lightweight matchup between Daniel Straus and Gideon Ray capped off the night’s action. Straus showed that he was just on another level through out the fifteen minutes than Ray. Straus took Ray to the ground with ease through out the fight. While Ray tried to work submissions, Straus just powered his way out of the potentially dangerous situations. When the fight was standing, Straus used multiple kicks to keep Ray at bay before setting up the takedown. In the end, Straus won the unanimous decision.
Martin Villafuerte defeated Steve Bingham by unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28, 29-28
Josh Estrada defeated Jesse James Love by guillotine choke :46 of round 1
Joey Diehl defeated Jake Gilski by rear naked choke :51 of round 1
Chris Miller defeated Casey Irvin by guillotine choke :26 of round 1
Jeff Lavallee defeated Arty Hong by technical knockout at 1:38 of round 1
Blain Podkowa defeated Craig Pineo by technical knockout at 1:47 of round 2
Chris Garcia defeated Bryan Neville by rear naked choke at 1:19 of round 1
Matt Tobie defeated Jake Meyer by technical knockout at 1:49 of round 2
Ryan Sturdy defeated Dan Bolden by rear naked choke at 3:50 of round 1
Bobby Reardanz defeated Bruce Johnson by verbal submission at 1:58 of round 1
Yusup Saadulaev defeated Chris Clark by keylock at :55 of round 1
Boban Simic defeated Alex Rozman by arm triangle submission at 2:07 of round 2
LeVon Maynard defeated Mark Miller by knockout 4:14 of round 1
Daniel Straus defeated Gideon Ray by unanimous decision 30-27, 30-27, 30-27