XFC Makes HDNet Debut

April 26, 2009

Knoxville, TN: In the XFC’s first-ever fight card to be broadcast live on national television, the next generation of Mixed Martial Artists hurled haymakers, swapped submission holds, and turned Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee into an all-out warzone.

The end-result was XFC 8: “Regional Conflict,” an event airing live on HDNet that showcased the top emerging talent and most promising up-and-coming fighters in the entire Southeast.

In the televised portion of the fight card, 22-year-old, 264-pound debuting heavyweight Chris “The Beast” Barnett outlasted 60+ fight veteran Johnathan Ivey via unanimous decision. Barnett, a two-time statewide heavyweight high school wrestling champion in Georgia and a third degree Taekwondo black belt, began his MMA training just five months earlier, winning an open tryout with the XFC for a spot in the MTV reality TV series “Made.” The young prodigy dominated the older fighter from the get-go.

“He held position well and was hard to move… he’s just better than me,” said a dejected Ivey. The well-traveled heavyweight from Clarksville, Tennessee had previously battled the likes of Dan Severn, Gan “The Giant” McGee, Ben Rothwell, Ricco Rodriguez, Travis Wiuff, Jake O’Brien, Sam Hoger and Jeremy Horn.

“It was a great experience,” exclaimed an excited Barnett, a native of Athens, Georgia. “I knew he’d try to confuse me with his veteran tricks, but I’m a different breed. I can move! Kicks, flips – I can do it all!”

Jason Wood survived a back-and-forth battle with Derek Schiffer in a 150-pound showdown between twenty-something contenders with a combined 17-3 professional and amateur record. The first round was a close, competitive matchup with both men delivering – and receiving – colossal head-shots. In round two, Wood rocked Schiffer with a vicious volley of cascading punches, forcing the referee to dive atop Schiffer and stop the bout at the 3:41 mark.

In the third fight, ex-University of Tennessee linebacker and “wedge-busting” special teams ace Ovince St. Preux won his blood-feud with light heavyweight Ombey “Kryptonite” Mobley of Tampa, Florida, twisting his ankle and winning by submission 2:36 in round one. Mobley brought a theatrical flair to the contest, mocking St. Preux by dropkicking a Smokey hound dog doll and repeatedly making a “Gator Chomp” gesture in the cage; Smokey is the official mascot of the Tennessee Volunteers.

The highly-partisan crowd loudly booed Mobley throughout the contest, erupting into a crescendo of boisterous cheers when the hometown hero finally upended his Florida challenger.

“It was really satisfying,” said St. Preux, reflecting on his victory. “I was really cranking hard [on the submission hold]. If he hadn’t tapped, he would’ve had a serious injury. This was definitely the highlight of my MMA career.”

Former light heavyweight CT Turner dropped to 185-pounds to face undefeated Julio Gallegos in the fourth fight on HDNet. Both fighters opted to grapple and strike in concussive waves in the first stanza, with neither man able to dominate the other. Arguably, Turner won round one 10-9. But Gallegos began to incrementally deliver the harder and more damaging shots in the second round, locking Turner into a guillotine and refusing to release until he tapped at 2:47.

“There was a little bit of déjà vu,” noted Gallegos, who also bested Turner as an amateur. “I like CT a lot. He’s a good person. In a way it was hard to fight him, because we both overcame adversity – and adversity never overcame us.”

Both Gallegos and Turner experienced homelessness and other serious setbacks in life before discovering the sport of MMA and embarking upon successful professional careers.

In the co-featured bout of the night, Rafaello “Tractor” Oliveira faced XFC Lightweight World Champion John Mahlow at the catchweight of 160-pounds, with Mahlow agreeing to defend his title against Oliveira if he lost to the Brazilian-born BJJ black belt and sparring partner of UFC title-holder B.J. Penn. From the very first round, Oliveira utilized his jujitsu prowess to stymie the XFC champion, winning a three-round unanimous decision.

“Rafaello is a good fighter,” said Mahlow afterwards. “No excuses. We’ll see each other again.”

Undefeated MMA heavyweight and former WWE superstar Bobby Lashley was on hand to present the XFC Featherweight World Title Belt to the winner of the Bruce “The Noose” Connors versus Jarrod “The Wild Card” Card fight in the main event. Connors entered the fight as the favorite, boasting a 6-0 record – with all six wins coming by first round knockout or submission. By the end of the night, Connors’ record would receive its first blemish.

Utilizing blazing foot-speed and precision punches, Card confounded Connors, peppering him with strikes from unorthodox angles, slicing his face into a gruesome mask of shredded flesh and free-flowing blood. Connors refused to back down and twice clamped Card into a deep guillotine, but each time the young fighter wrestled free and returned to his feet. Card won the contest – and the XFC world title – via five-round unanimous decision.

“I’m the new guy on the scene,” said an elated Card, who elevated his record to 10-2-1. “I’m more than ready for the next level. I’ll fight anyone.”

For his part, Bobby Lashley – who announced that he’ll finally be fighting for the XFC in September – seemed impressed with the fight card.

“I thought it was an incredible night,” gushed the former two-time ECW world champion. “I was blown away by all the talent in the cage. These guys now know what it’s like to fight in the big show. As for my upcoming fight with the XFC, anyone they want me to take out, I’ll do.”

Veteran sportswriter Dave Link covered XFC 8 for the Knoxville News Sentinel newspaper, and certainly appeared to enjoy the drama and action.

“I’ve covered all kinds of sports for 25-years but I’ve never covered MMA,” said Link. “This was just great! The entire event was first-class. If I wasn’t covering it, I’d be here as a fan. I’ll definitely be back when the XFC returns.”

For interview requests with XFC president John Prisco or any of the fighters, please contact Scott Pinsker at 727.871.3204, or spinsker@fwv-us.com.

Final results for XFC 8:


Devan Plaisance defeated Paul McEntee by TKO, 3:06 in round one

Matt Traylor defeated Richard Boyd by TKO, 4:37 in round one

Corey Krebs defeated Dean Hamilton by TKO, 1:22 in round one

HDNet Fights

Chris Barnett defeated Johnathan Ivey by three-round unanimous decision

Jason Wood defeated Derek Schiffer by TKO, 3:41 in round two

Ovince St. Preux defeated Ombey Mobley by submission (ankle lock) 2:36 in round one

Julio Gallegos defeated CT Turner by submission (guillotine) 2:47 in round two

Rafaello Oliveira defeated John Mahlow by three-round unanimous decision (Oliveira wins guaranteed rematch for Mahlow’s XFC Lightweight World Title)

Jarrod Card defeated Bruce Connors by five-round unanimous decision (Card wins vacant XFC Featherweight Champion)

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