Andre Fialho. Just beautiful. Watch this. #XMMA pic.twitter.com/vysz81frka— ShayMyName (@ImShannonTho) January 31, 2021
James Vick saw the return of Xtreme MMA as a launching point for his own career comeback, but Andre Fialho had something to say about it.
The promotion, which put on seven events in Canada between 2007 and 2009, returned after more than a decade on Saturday at the Palm Beach Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. For its first-ever event in the United States, XMMA brought a card jam-packed with familiar names from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Bellator MMA and other top-tier promotions, none more familiar than Vick, a former UFC lightweight contender.
In the welterweight main event of XMMA 8, Vick took on Bellator and Professional Fighters League veteran Andre Fialho. The matchup represented a chance at redemption for both men, as “The Texecutioner” had been inactive since exiting the UFC on a four-fight losing streak in late 2019, while Fialho was on a three-fight skid of his own. Five inches taller and with a slight reach advantage, Vick appeared to win a close first round and was holding his own in the second when, about 90 seconds into the round, Fialho rocked him with a looping left, then sent his mouthpiece flying with a right. He would not get it back. Fialho stalked the hurt Texan, landing over 20 more punches — including at least a half-dozen flush uppercuts to the jaw — before referee Andrew Glenn waved the fight off for a standing TKO at 2:21 of Round 2. While the fight had been stopped on the feet, Vick, bleeding badly from the mouth and nose, immediately laid down on the canvas and was attended to by the cageside physician.
With the vicious finish, Fialho (11-4) snaps the aforementioned three-fight losing streak, while picking up the biggest win of his career, at least in terms of name value. Vick (13-6) has now lost five straight, four by KO or TKO, three of those in the first round.
“Cisco” Rivera Punches out Lilley
Fighting for the first time in nearly five years, 39-year-old UFC veteran Francisco Rivera faced Ryan Lilley in a 140-pound catchweight bout in the co-main event. While both men are habitual bantamweights, Lilley, who stepped up on short notice, missed even the catchweight by five pounds, leading to a de facto featherweight bout. Once the fight started, Rivera applied constant pressure, moving forward and stinging Lilley with low kicks and punching combinations. Lilley, who came out swinging and attempting to draw Rivera into a slugfest, tired quickly. Late in Round 1, Rivera threw a flurry of punches to the body of Lilley, setting up a right hook to the ear that sent the Californian crashing to the canvas. Rivera dove in with more punches, but referee Russ Greenberg was already rushing in to stop the fight. The official finish came at 4:03, getting Rivera (12-7, 1 NC) back on track after the three-fight slide that ended his UFC run in 2016. Lilley, who had been inactive himself since November 2019, falls to 10-7.
Bochniak Outlasts Uruguai
Fighting for the first time since exiting the UFC on three straight losses in October 2019, Kyle Bochniak took on Caio Rocha Uruguai in a featherweight attraction that ended up being the best fight of the night. In a fast-paced, back-and-forth battle conducted almost entirely on the feet, Bochniak’s endurance made the difference, as he pulled ahead of the flagging Uruguai after getting the worse of a frenetic first round. After a rousing 15 minutes, Bochniak prevailed by unanimous 29-28 scores. The victory sets “Crash” (9-5) back on the winning path and perhaps a step towards a second look from a top-tier promotion, while Uruguai (7-4) has now lost three straight; all in Florida, the other two under the Titan FC banner.
Curtis Finishes Stewart Late
Chris Curtis put his disastrous 2019 PFL run further in the rear view on Saturday, as he dragged UFC and Dana White's Contender Series vet Kyle Stewart into deep waters in their middleweight main card matchup. Both fighters seemed to believe that the clash would come down to Curtis’ boxing against Stewart’s broader skill set, and it played out that way. The first round was competitive, but Curtis’ improved takedown defense led Stewart to expend copious amounts of energy trying to bring the fight to the floor. By the end of the second round, Stewart looked completely exhausted, plodding around on rubbery legs as Curtis calmly circled and touched him with jabs and one-twos. Stewart came out gamely for the final round but there was nothing left in the tank. Curtis landed several clean straight lefts that wobbled the MMA Lab product, but it was a right hand that caught him unaware and sent him face-first to the canvas. No follow-up was necessary, and the TKO came officially at 1:41 of Round 3. Curtis (23-8) has now won two straight since his season-ending loss to Ray Cooper III in the 2019 PFL playoffs; Stewart (13-4) sees his modest two-fight win streak come to an end.
Golm Chokes Out Hebert
In the main card opener, former UFC heavyweight Marcelo Golm was simply too big, too experienced and too skilled for Brandon Hebert. However, the nearly 4-to-1 underdog Hebert made it interesting, coming roaring back late in the first round to likely steal the round from the Brazilian. Golm’s strategy of stifling the striker with clinches and takedowns worked for much of the round, but Hebert succeeded in shucking him off late in the round and stinging him with big punch combinations. The second round, though, was all Golm, as Hebert—who had never been past Round 1 as a professional—came out looking tired. Golm secured a takedown with ease, framed an arm-triangle choke and stepped over to finish. Hebert was tapping instantly, and referee Glenn let him out of the fight at 1 minute, 17 seconds. The 28-year-old Golm (8-3) has now won two straight since exiting the UFC with three consecutive losses. Hebert, who turned pro less than two years ago, falls to 2-2.
Prelims: Kyle Noblitt Upsets Jack May
In the featured preliminary bout, Jack May dropped a split decision to Glory MMA & Fitness export Kyle Noblitt. The 39-year-old May, a well-traveled veteran of over a dozen promotions including the UFC, Bellator and PFL, was expected to defeat Noblitt, who stepped up on one day’s notice to face him. However, Noblitt made the most of his opportunity, using superior wrestling to ground the 6-foot-8 May repeatedly. After three rounds, Noblitt prevailed via 30-27, 30-27 and 28-29 scores. The 31-year-old moves to 12-2 as a professional, while May falls to 11-7 with one no-contest.
In other preliminary action, former Olympic wrestler Mahmoud Sebie Fawzy ground-and-pounded Jarell Murry for a TKO win at 1:52 of Round 1 in their welterweight matchup; Tyler Ray put Austin Jones completely out with an arm-triangle choke in just 1 minute, 45 seconds of their welterweight bout; and Charlie Radtke outgrappled Geralbert Castillo on his way to a unanimous decision in the lightweight opener.