Dwyer and O’Connor Claim XFFC Gold, Wells Bounces Back

What a night it was for XFFC and Toshido MMA.

XFFC 18 took place Saturday night in Penticton, B.C., and included a member of the Toshido MMA team in each of the 10 bouts on the card, nine of which were victorious.

In the main event, Matt Dwyer (now 11-4) was the tenth and final Toshido team member to set foot in the cage for the evening, and he would go on to wrap up an impressive night of fights for the Kelowna-based MMA gym.

Matt Dwyer
Matt Dwyer lands a left hook to Dominique Steele at XFFC 18. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

Just as it seemed Dwyer and his opponent, Dominique Steele (now 17-11), were headed to the second round, Dwyer landed a stiff shot to the chin of Steele at 4:59 of the first round to seal the victory via knockout and the XFFC middleweight championship.

“I think it went picture-perfect. We did everything we’ve been working on; using my reach properly, staying out of his range, and clipping him coming in,” said Dwyer in an interview.

“It was definitely the outcome we were expecting.”

With the knockout coming with just one second remaining in the first round, there was some uncertainty in the corner of Steele as to whether the round was over, and whether Steele was in fact knocked out.

But despite the debate from Steele’s side, Dwyer said there was no doubt he was out.

“His eyes rolled right to the back of his head,” said Dwyer.

“He stiffened up and fell right back. One more hit and he wouldn’t have gotten back up.”

Eight in a Row For O’Connor

In the co-main event and featherweight title bout, Tom O’Connor (now 8-1) extended his winning streak to eight, while also collecting his first title of his professional career in a third round TKO victory over Chris Day (now 5-5), and handing Toshido their only defeat on the evening.

O’Connor said his focus was dialled in every second in the cage, and he wasn’t going to let anyone take this opportunity from him.

Tom O'Connor
Tom O’Connor pushes forward on Chris Day at XFFC 18. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

“This is what I train every day to do. Every part of my life right now is for this,” said O’Connor in an interview.

“If you’re going to do this sport, you have to put your life into it, and that’s what I’ve done.”

With Day fighting out of Toshido, O’Connor said he knew he was going to be dangerous all around.

Day certainly had his moments through the course of the fight where it looked like he may have had O’Connor in some difficulty, but O’Connor said there was nothing that was going to stop him from getting his handed raised.

“He did a lot of great things in there, and I just had to keep moving and keep pushing until I had the belt,” said O’Connor.

“I wasn’t going to stop until either he finished me or I had the win.”

Heavyweight Lived up to Hype

In the heavyweight division, Grayson Wells (now 4-2) came out on top of a back forth battle with Josh Heinz (now 4-2) that left the crowd at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre in a frenzy.

Grayson Wells
Grayson Wells in action against Josh Heinz at XFFC 18. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

After nearly being knocked out in the second round, Wells recovered and rebounded nicely in the third round to score the TKO victory at 0:32.

But for both Wells and Heinz, it was unfamiliar territory once they stood up off their stools to begin the third round.

“We go lots of rounds at Toshido, but I’m not used to going past the second round ever,” said Wells post-fight.

Damian Johnston, Steve MacDonald, Terrence Chan, Cleveland Bentley, Blake Sigvaldason, Justin Doege, and Cuba Echegoyen were all also victorious on the evening.