Queensland’s biggest MMA promotion ‘XFC’ returns to action tonight with XFC 30: Conflict of Interest. The Main event is a Featherweight Title bout between rising star Bevan O’Malley and Brazilian submission artist Rodolfo Marques. In a late change, Shane Young was forced to withdraw from the scheduled Main Event and was replaced by the Brazilian.
The promotions second show since moving to the Logan Metro Sports Centre, will feature seven title fights including a Professional Heavyweight Championship bout between Chris Lokteff and Jeremy Joiner, a Professional Welterweight championship match-up between Kiwi’s Brogan Anderson and Matt Vaile and the Main Event.
Heading into the event we discussed a few issues with XFC Promoter Matt Walton, ranging from the last-minute change to the Main Event, to the ground-breaking introduction of the Fan Tipping contest at XFC 29.
Interview with XFC Promoter Matt Walton
What’s the situation with Shane Young and can we expect him to face the winner of O’Malley and Marquez? Shane Young suffered an eye injury during training. They thought he would be ok, but it was worse than they originally thought. You would need to be 100% against Bevan O’Malley, so it made sense for them to pull out. Do I think he will fight the winner? I think it depends on who wins…
What made Marquez the ideal short notice replacement for this championship bout? We had three of Rodolfo’s team mates on the card, and he made his intentions clear. He put his hand up early and said if anything happened to any fighter, he would be ready. We approached so many Welterweights at XFC 29 to replace Matt Vaile, but no one was ready. I think every fighter should only ever be a week away from a taking a call up fight. Rodolfo was, and he benefits from it.
Bevan O’Malley has drawn a lot of support and hype in what is a relatively short career thus far, what can we expect from him in the future should he become the champion on Saturday night? He might have only had four MMA fights, but he’s had over 30 Muay Thai fights, and is a champion in that sport. I think he’s the best 145er in ANZAC MMA, outside of the UFC. And not that it’s a race, but i believe its between Kieran Joblin, Issac Hardman and Bevan O’Malley that will get the next call up to the UFC.
What does it mean to XFC to have another talent progress to the UFC in Luke Jumeau? It was always his next step. We have tried to match him the last 3 shows, and no one would put their hand up to fight him. What does it mean to us? His team gets to share that experience. He will come back a better fighter after each show, and team mates like Matt Vaile, the XFC champ will grow with him. With the longest resume of UFC fighters on our books, it also helps with the sales pitch as well!
This is now the second event since making the move to the Logan Metro Sports Centre, what impact did the change of venue have in making XFC 29 such a successful event? The feedback on the venue was incredible. It really is a world-class venue. The fighters enjoyed having their own area, allowing them to watch the fights as well, and for the crowd to watch them warm up on the mezzanine level was a highlight for them as well. The crowd loved the extra space to move around, and the grandstand seating meant it was like a mini Suncorp Stadium. Not a bad seat in the house. We will have both grandstands out for this show, which will look even better.
The tipping contest that was introduced for XFC 29 was something fresh and engaging for the fans, what was the though process behind bringing that in and can we expect it for XFC 30 and future events? We’ve been approached by so many betting agencies looking to sponsor the show. Incredo, our IT team who built our website and ticketing system came up with idea. But you’re right, it’s all about engaging the crowd. Having a laugh, adding to the suspense, and giving bragging rights! Maybe at our next show, punters might be able to put their money where there mouth is…
FIGHTS TO WATCH OUT FOR
MAIN EVENT – BEVAN O’MALLEY vs RODOLFO MARQUES
Rising star Bevan O’Malley makes his 5th XFC appearance tonight, boasting an unbeaten record of 4-0, all of which have come via finish. O’Malley fights out of Noke martial arts on the Sunshine Coast, but has spent some time developing his impressive skill-set at the famous Jackson-Winklejohn in New Mexico. Bevan is an incredibly dangerous striker, with a proficient background in Muay Thai. There are some massive raps on Bevan and his explosive style, with a genuine belief that he could be one of the next talented Aussies to make the leap to the UFC in the coming years. The one thing we really need to see Bevan tested against, is a dangerous and accomplished exponent of the ground game. He gets that test against Brazilian black-belt Rodolfo Marques.
Marques is a veteran of the sport, with a strong ability to force the fight to the ground and capitalize with slick submissions. Whilst his recent form may not look overly impressive, the skill-set is there to cause Bevan O’Malley problems. Marques’ last fight could provide a solid indication of how this fight will fair. Fighting at Bantamweight against KO artist and TUF athlete, Kai Kara France, Marques was able to pile on the pressure looking for take-downs and negated a lot of offense from France. However, Kai was able to find the opening and put Marques away in the final round with a brutal overhand.
If O’Malley is able to avoid the take down attempts and keep the fight standing, we should see a very similar end result here. Bevan has a more diverse striking arsenal than Kai Kara France and should be an absolute nightmare for Marques if he is able to find his rhythm and throw strikes in numbers.
PREDICTION: Bevan O’Malley via TKO in Round 2
BROGAN ANDERSON vs MATT VAILE
The Welterweight Title bout between Brogan Anderson and Matt Vaile is effectively a New Zealand Championship bout. Since starting out in the New Zealand regional scene, the two stand-out Kiwi Welterweights have taken the Australian circuit by storm, both amassing impressive records. After taking the XFC Title at XFC 26, Vaile has gone 2-1 across Australian promotions, with two knockouts and his only loss coming to former UFC veteran Benny Alloway. Anderson is on a five fight winning streak, only dropping one in his last ten, setting up a mouth-watering clash.
This is an incredibly even match up. Both guys are very physical and aggressive. Anderson has the advantage with a very slick submission arsenal, and Vaile has the power advantage on the feet. I think this fight will definitely develop into a back and forth affair, with both fighters having periods of success. It honestly could go either way, but I’m leaning slightly in favor of Vaile. I think he’s got the strength and solid wrestling base to avoid the dangerous positions that Anderson will be looking, in order to find for his submission offense. On the feet Vaile should have the advantage, and his power may overwhelm Anderson as the rounds progress. In saying that, I won’t at all be surprised if Anderson pulls out a nifty submission victory.
PREDICTION: Matt Vaile via TKO in Round 3
JACKSON SMALL vs JOEL DOWNEY-CAVE
One of the earlier fights on the card that could be a smokey for Fight of the Night honors, is the Lightweight scrap between Jackson Small and Joel Downey-Cave. Both these guys are incredibly tough and very explosive strikers. A recipe for fireworks.
Downey-Cave is a Taekwondo black-belt, with very fluid movement and the ability to flash a finisher at any moment. Whilst his striking is clearly of a high quality, his transition to MMA is still very raw, with only two fights on his resume. His most recent performance was an impressive second round KO victory, but his debut showed he may have some areas for improvement in the grappling department, with a quick two-minute submission loss.
Jackson Small also steps into his new career as a Mixed Martial Artist, with a very strong striking pedigree. An experienced and successful Muay Thai fighter, Jackson linked up with arguably the best MMA gym in Australia, Integrated MMA, to make the transition. Whilst he may be 0-1 in his professional MMA career thus far, that loss was a close decision to a very tough, bigger fighter in Kimo Smith. He also has two knockout victories in a short amateur career before making his pro debut.
There will definitely be a lot of crisp striking and entertaining moments in this fight and I’m giving Jackson Small the edge here. I think at this stage in their careers Jackson may be the more well-rounded fighter. I think Jackson will find ways to get inside the range of the taller Downey-Cave and land the more effective shots. The well-rounded approach that Ingtegrated MMA instills in its fighters should prove to be valuable here, as Jackson may find some success in forcing it to the ground, if he chooses to do so when he gets in clinch range. Jackson Small is one game fighter though and I think that option will be an after thought, depending on how he fares testing his striking against the Taekwondo black-belt.
PREDICTION: Jackson Small via unanimous decision
Date: Saturday 20th of May
Location: Logan Metro Sports Centre, 357 Browns Plains Rd, Crestmead QLD 4132.
Live stream will be available at http://xfcaustralia.cleeng.com/xfc-30/E221521942_AU
Tickets can be purchased at http://tickets.xfcaustralia.com.au
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FULL FIGHT CARD