After losing to Tom O’Connor by submission in their first bout nearly three years ago, Randy Mahon will look to avenge that loss in his hometown on Friday night at XFFC 16.
Mahon said he had the luxury of watching O’Connor in a matchup against his striking coach, and said he didn’t notice anything different about his style, but just that he had gotten better at aspects he was already good at.
“I think he’s going to come out and strike a little bit, and once he feels the power again, he’s going to try and shoot, and take me down,” said Mahon in an interview. “So we’re hoping to keep the distance, and keep it standing as much as possible.”
Mahon said although O’Connor is a well-rounded fighter, he feels his opponent will be more of a threat on the ground as opposed to standing, despite the ground being a favourable spot for Mahon too.
“We’re going to try and avoid the ground, even though that’s more my strength also, and just take this fight to a kind of unknown spot where we don’t really know who is the better striker,” said Mahon. “Hopefully, we’ll figure that out.”
Despite having already fought O’Connor in his pro debut, Mahon said this will be his toughest test to date, given the vast improvements his opponent has made and the six-fight win streak he’s riding.
He said he’s happy to be competing in a fight of this magnitude in his hometown, as it provides a slight boost knowing the majority of people watching are on his side.
“It always feels good to have the support of your friends, family, and the people close to you, especially for a fight like this,” said Mahon. “It can be pretty lonely when you’re in enemy territory and have everyone against you.”
Grande Prairie Is a Fight Town
Although Mahon will have the crowd behind him, O’Connor said all but one of his professional bouts have been away from home, which is something he thrives off.
“I like that energy a lot actually,” said O’Connor in an interview. “Grande Prairie is good for the hometown guy, but Grande Prairie, in general, is just a great place to fight for any fighter, hometown or not. The crowd there is great, so I’m not worried about it at all.”
O’Connor has fought in Grande Prairie on four previous occasions and said the people of the town seem to be knowledgable in MMA, and love the sport in general.
On his opponent, O’Connor said he and Mahon are actually decent friends, and he’s excited to share the cage with him again.
“It’ll be a lot of fun to see both of us just settle into our styles and just let loose in there,” said O’Connor. “I’m excited to see how much better he’s gotten.”
The full updated fight card for XFFC 16 can be viewed here, and can be watched online using the link below.