One of the continuously growing Midwestern MMA promotions, the X-treme Fighting Organization, Is primarily known as a showcase for up and coming talent from the Midwest , but the fourth chapter in the XFO's book of life featured more than just the usual suspects...
Roger Huerta giving Naoyuki Kotani a peck on the cheek
One of the continuously growing Midwestern MMA promotions, the X-treme Fighting Organization, Is primarily known as a showcase for up and coming talent from the Midwest , but the fourth chapter in the XFOs book of life featured more than just the usual suspects. Besides the normal, homegrown talent, fighters from across the country and even across the border made their way to Lakemoor , Illinois and the Lakemoor Banquet Hall to do battle in a small venue, in a small town northwest of Chicago . But in many other ways, it was a big night for the XFO.
The XFO would crown its first champion, and it would be Bart Palaszewski and Virgil Strzelecki that would clash for the rights to the 155 pound title. The XFOs first female would also take place on this night with a fight between Tara LaRosa and Alisa Cantwell. Fighters from north of the border in Canada would also make their way to town and to top it all off the renowned Kotani brothers, Naoyuki and Hiroaki from the ZST fight organization would make the long trip from Japan.
Bart Palaszewski and Virgil Strzelecki were the main event and the 155 pounders trying to secure the title of first ever XFO champion at any weight. Palaszewski was just two weeks removed from a lopsided loss to Gesias Cavalcante at Ironheart Crown 8, but, Strzelecki on the other hand was fighting for the first time in over 2 and a half years. Would Palaszewski rebound from that kind of loss in just two weeks, or was Strzeleckis inactivity going to make the difference?
Both started the fight apprehensively, but Palaszewski was quicker and more relentless and just under a minute into the round, Palaszewski pushed Strzelecki into the cage and hurt him with a punch. Strzelecki tried clinching, but Palaszewski stepped back and threw a right hook over Strzelecki s extended arms instead. The punch landed flush on Strzeleckis chin and dropped him like his legs had been chopped off. 51 seconds was all it took for the XFO to award Bart Palaszewski the first ever XFO Lightweight Title.
The co-main event featured ZST fighting star Naoyuki Kotani taking on Roger Huerta. Kotani came to the ring first and he paused at the cage door and entered taking his shirt off looking ripped and ready at 155 pounds. Roger Huerta followed and entered the cage with an impressive build and a stone cold stare. The bell rang and the two spent the early seconds of the round feeling one another out. Huerta went high risk by throwing a high kick but Kotani easily eluded the kick and, while Huerta was off balance, dove into his legs and quickly finished a takedown.
Kotani had Huerta on his back and kept him busy defending submission attempts but Huerta finally escaped, stood up, and even took Kotanis back. Huerta lifted and slammed Kotani to the canvass, but in the process Kotani rolled under and isolated Huertas leg. Kotani, with a tight grip on the ankle, starting hyperextending the leg, but Huerta would not tap. He stayed calm and was able to pull enough of the leg out of the submission to reach Kotanis head with his fists. Huerta punched Kotani square in the face twice and he let the leg go to cover up his face. Huerta took advantage by pulling his feet the rest of the way out and pounded left and right hand strikes until the referee stopped the fight at 1:29 of the first round.
Sonnen working on the rear naked choke
Chael Sonnen, a United States Olympic Wrestling team alternate from Oregon and Team Quest, and Terry Martin, a local knockout artist, were the only Heavyweights to compete on the card. Sonnen grabbed Martins head early and quickly threw two knees that didnt quite land flush, but did some damage along the way. Martin swung, missing wildly but Sonnen stayed cool and controlled the action early but, Martin never stopped throwing big looping punches. Sonnen was able to deflect most of the impact from the punches, but was only very rarely able to close the distance. The round ended with Martin getting a takedown and Sonnen pulling guard where Martin landed heavy, punishing body punches. When Sonnen reached his corner between rounds he rested his head on the cage, shaking it back and forth. Though you couldnt hear the words he said, his body said he was hurt.
Sonnen started the second round landing some jabs and crosses, but they didnt do much damage. Each fighter took turns catching his breath and throwing or defending flurries of punches or takedown attempts and each had his chance to take the advantage in the contest. Sonnen was the first to visibly show signs of fatigue. He started clinching and looking to bring the fight to the ground, but, Martin never fell into his trap. He played it smart and when Sonnen fell into guard, Martin would simply stand and wait for the referee to stand his opponent up. While waiting for the stand up, Sonnen was able to recover and even finished the round strong getting some clean shots on Martin, but the bell rang and this time Sonnen reached his corner and shook his head again. He was still hurt and in a surprising outcome to the fight, his corner told the referee Sonnen wouldnt be able to finish the fight. Martin wins after the second round.
Jason Guida spent most of the first round of his fight with Mark Wallen on top in full ground and pound mode. Wallen, however, didnt look worse for wear and started the second round displaying some impressive stand up skills. Wallen landed a right cross and took Guida down against the fence and he fell into a full mount. He was too high on the chest however, and Guida used his legs to push off the cage, rollover and finish the round in the top position. Guidas dominance was evident to the judges who scored the fight unanimously after three rounds for Guida.
Tara LaRosa and Alisa Cantwell were featured on this card as the first Womens fight in XFOs young existance. In a one sided affair, Cantwell tried to keep LaRosa away by jabbing a lot, but in the end LaRosa was just too strong. She got a takedown and used a full mount to secure an armbar at 2:45 in the first round.
Gabe Lemley and Kenny Jewell fought a close round in the first, but it was Lemley dictating the action and Jewell defending multiple sub attempts in the second. 4 and a half minutes into the second round, Lemley was finally able to lock in an armbar and forced Jewell to tapout.
A big slam and subsequent ground and pound won the first round for Clay Guida in his fight with Vito Woods, Guida wouldnt need it to convince the judges on this night however, and in the second round he secured a guillotine choke at 1:19, and Woods tapped out of the fight.
Hiroaki Kotani lasted longer than his brother, but the end result wasnt any better. Hiroaki faced Canadian fighter Alex Gasson.
Both had their chances to finish this fight on the ground or standing, but they were evenly matched and every time one took an edge, the other would retaliate. By the third round, Kotani was doing more of the clinching and stalling and may have played into the judges mind when they awarded Gasson the unanimous decision.
Jay Estrada was dominating his opponent Sonny Leong for much of the first round, but couldnt finish the tough Canadian. Ironically, it was a flash of offense from Leong that Estrada needed to take the advantage. Leong reversed Estrada and got into a mount position, but In doing so, Estrada grabbed Leongs wrist and pushed it behind his back and at 3:54 of round 1 Leong tapped due to keylock.
In the mismatch of the night, 185 pound Nick Thompson faced 155 pound Darren Heinz. Thompson used every bit of his 30 pound weight advantage, but didnt really need it, to choke out Heinz from a guillotine choke just 19 seconds after the bell rang.
Tyrell Roberts, son of UFC veteran Tyrone Roberts, displayed some similar skills as his father when he muscled around Charles Trice. Roberts hip tossed Trice into the cage and pounded Trice until the referee stopped the fight at 2:46 of the first round.