It was a successful night for the interstate fighters at XFC 30 with both Rodolfo Marques and Jeremy Joiner taking championship belts back to Victoria while Kiwi Matt Vaile defended his welterweight title.
The event took at the promotions new home, Logan Metro Centre in Crestmead, Queensland on Saturday night.
Bevan O’Malley was scheduled to face XFC featherweight title Shane Young in the main event, however an eye injury to the Kiwi, gave Melbourne based Brazilian Rodolfo Marques the opportunity to fight for the title after Young vacated it.
It was a big step up for O’Malley who despite having a large number of Muay Thai fights, was having only his fifth MMA fight against an experienced opponent who had previously gone to a decision against Bibiano Fernandes and trained with the likes of Jose Aldo at Nova Uniao.
They had an early feeling out process with neither fighter looking to extend themselves before O’Malley started to find his mark with leg kicks. Marques waited until the final seconds of the round before changing levels to take the fight to the ground. O’Malley was able to pop back to his feet before the round ended but that takedown would be a sign of the things to come in this five-round fight.
The Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt wasted no time in the second, landing a strong right before snatching another pair of takedowns with O’Malley scrambling out. Marques landed a stiff straight left that had O’Malley on wobble legs momentarily. This allowed Marques to get a takedown and in the scramble from his opponent, he looked to secure an armbar. The youngster remained calm, escaped back to his feet where the two returned to exchanging punches.
O’Malley lost that spark from his strikes in the third round as he missed with a telegraphed spinning hook kick. O’Malley left himself open with an unsuccessful front step elbow, a la Jon Jones, a gym where he has spent time training at. This gave Marques an easy chance for a takedown but the Brazilian himself gave up position with some overzealous grappling in what ended up being a closely contested round.
Marques started the championship rounds with an exclamation mark, picking up his opponent walking his opponent to his corner where he put him on the canvas. The most significant moment in the fourth was when O’Malley secured mount and attacked with a tight head-arm choke that O’Malley did very well to escape.
The Noke Martial Arts trained fighter started to show urgency in the round, but it would prove to work against him as he opened himself up for takedown by throwing big hooks. Marques again looked to lock up the head-arm choke but O’Malley escape. He pressed forward for the knockout shot in the final seconds which did not come as Marques walked away with the unanimous decision and the XFC featherweight title.
O’Malley drops his first pro MMA fight to take his record to 4-1. The loss comes very early in his MMA career and against such an experienced fighter. He will take a lot of lessons from the bout and won’t be surprised if he will be back fighting for the title sooner rather than later.
It was clear win to Marques though who moves to 23-9-1 and the champ wasted no time in asking for a match-up against Shane Young in his post-fight speech.
“Bevan was an amazing opponent and amazing fighter. I respect him and all my opponents. I don’t come here to talk s**t,” the Brazilian commented before adding, “I wait for Shane Young. I fought him long time ago in Melbourne. I think I won that fight but you know, when you here, you leave it in the judges hands and he got that fight but now I think I have an opportunity to fight him again”.
Heavyweight Chris Lokteff returned to stake his claim in the heavyweight division once again but Victoria’s Jeremy Joiner spoiled the party, stopping Lokteff with strikes in the second round of their heavyweight title belt.
There was no feeling out process as both Joiner and Chris Lokteff threw big punches from the onset. Lokteff was first to rock his opponent but Joiner recovered and sent Lokteff on the back foot not so long after. Joiner landed a big strike that dropped Lokteff with the Victorian fighter attacking and dropping his opponent again with an even bigger left hook. Lokteff scrambled well to see out the round.
Lokteff started the second round very flat footed, wanting to exchange in the middle of the cage as he landed some counters. The two fighters both threw hooks at the same time with the left from Joiner clipping Lokteff behind the ear, that sent him crashing to the canvas once more. Joiner punished with ground-and-pound to get the referee stoppage at a time of 1:58.
A big win for Jeremy Joiner as he secured by far the biggest scalp of his career to move to 5-0 as a pro while it’s back to the drawing board for Lokteff as he drops to 12-2 in what was his first outing since May, 2014.
“(5-0) sounds pretty good. Especially stepping in his here with Chris (Lokteff). I watched a few of his fights and the dude’s fucking legit. I was pretty keen to get in here and test myself so I’m stoked with this”, the Victorian told the crowd in his post-fight speech.
Phuket Top Team trained Matt Vaile triumphantly defending his welterweight title with an imposing outing against fellow countryman Brogan Anderson.
Vaile was on the front foot early as the two exchanged punches but Anderson made his intentions known early as he changed levels and secured a strong double leg takedown; only for Vaile to work straight back to his feet. This happened again however Vaile was aware the third time, sprawling successfully and punishing his opponents leg’s with heavy leg kicks.
Vaile again strongly sprawled in the beginning of the second as he went to work with ground-and-pound. Anderson attempted to stand up but was met by an illegal knee with Anderson still having a knee and hand on the canvas. The referee halted the contest and on the restart, Anderson came out aggressive but made a mistake in giving up his back with a takedown attempt to get reversed. The defending champ went to work with punishing elbows from the cage to get the stoppage at 2:56 of the second round.
With the win, “The Viper” Vaile continues his impressive run, having lost just once in his career against former UFC fighter Ben Alloway. Anderson drops to 9-3.
“I knew coming into this that it was going to be one of my hardest fights. He made it very hard to stick to my game plan but ended up getting back to it and got the finish so I’m happy, I’m happy,” Vaile commented post fight.
In a notable fight earlier on the card, the 2016 IMMAF amateur world flyweight champion Brayden Graham made a successful pro debut stopping Paul Loga via submission in the third round.
XFC 31 will be held on August 19 with the promotion already announcing that former champion Michael Tobin will return on the card.