Scott Hudson, Tom O’Connor, Ryan Dickson all advance in respective brackets at XFC 43

It was a good night for the Canadian contingent last night in Atlanta, Ga.

There were five Canadians in action at XFC 43, and looking to move on in the lightweight and welterweight tournaments.

Hamilton, Ont.’s Scott Hudson (now 12-5-1) secured the unanimous decision victory over D’Juan Owens (now 18-16), utilizing a mixture of precise striking and relentless ground and pound for the 30-27 score on all three judges scorecards.

Hudson said he was initially disappointed in not being able to finish the fight, but said after having the chance to watch the fight, he was happy to have dominated in the fashion he did.

“Looking at it now, it was a pretty one-sided performance for me. I think where the scores were 30-27, it was more like 30-25,” said Hudson in an interview with MMA Empire.

“That guy was so tough. I was really impressed by how tough and gritty he was. I hit him with some big shots, and landed more elbows in this fight than any fight previous, so there’s definitely some positives to play off.”

With the win, Hudson advances to the semi-finals of the XFC lightweight tournament, which will take place on a to-be-determined date in 2021, where he will take on UFC-veteran Kurt Holobaugh.

Hudson said he expects Holobaugh to be the toughest test of his career, but is looking forward to the opportunity to add a win over a UFC-veteran to his list of accomplishments.

“He’s a UFC-veteran, and that’s something I’m looking to add to my resume, taking out someone like him. I think there’s a lot of things I can do to cause problems for him,” said Hudson.

“He’s definitely an opponent to be respected and he’s definitely an opponent that needs to be taken seriously, but I believe I have the tools to put him away.”

O’Connor utilized sound game-plan

Lethbridge, Alta.’s Tom O’Connor (now 9-1) was able to secure the late stoppage of Jose Caceres (now 15-11), forcing the referee to call an end to the action at the two-minute mark of the third round due to strikes.

O’Connor was dealing with an eight-inch height advantage for Caceres, which he said was awkward to deal with at the start of the fight, but eventually was able to find his groove.

“It’s actually deceptive, especially because I’m short, but my reach is actually deceivingly long. I think his reach was 74.5 or 75 inches, but my reach is 74.5 inches, which is hard to believe. We had to measure it five times because even we didn’t believe it,” said O’Connor in an interview with MMA Empire.

“It was about the little things that make up a big difference in that area of range. He is a lot taller and used his range really well, but it was just making sure my footwork was in the right position. If I’m in the slightly right angle on him, then my reach is going to be better than his reach. Even if it is longer than mine, if I’m just in the right position at the right time, then I can start to make sure that advantage is less of an advantage to him and more of an advantage to me.”

O’Connor is now set to take on DWCS-vet Kenny Cross in the lightweight semi-finals, who scored the second round TKO victory over Jarel Askew in later action.

After interacting with him throughout the week and watching his fight, O’Connor said he’s looking forward to the matchup with Cross, and believes it’ll be a highly-entertaining bout.

“He’s a strong and explosive kid. It’s weird in this tournament setting because we’ve been around each other all weekend, cracking jokes, and he was in the same corner room as me. He seems like a really cool guy, charismatic, fun, and he’s an entertainer as well,” said O’Connor.

“I’m just excited to be part of this tournament to get a chance like this because I think this fight is going to be a lot of fun. I like fighting the best in the world, and I want to add another guy to the list, so he’s next on the list.”

Dickson earns his revenge over Hill

Hamilton, Ont.’s Ryan Dickson (now 11-5) made his return to action after a five-year layoff, making quick work of fellow Canadian Michaell Hill (now 11-6-1) with a first round rear-naked choke finish less than one minute into the fight. This was also a rematch to the pair’s 2014 matchup, which Hill won via unanimous decision.

After a short feeling out process, Dickson was able to secure the takedown that led to the winning submission, but he said taking it to the ground wasn’t part of the game-plan coming in.

“I wanted to strike with him, but I could almost read what he wanted to do based on our previous fight together. He was very tentative, and I could see him wanting to throw that right hand. He’s got that heavy right hand that cut me and rattled me before,” said Dickson in an interview with MMA Empire.

“I drilled that double jab, right hand, then it landed, so I kept throwing the combos. Then, I saw him get his hands up, and rather than getting sucked into his game of rock ’em-sock ’em, smash and bang, I saw the opening for the takedown, and that was it. Then obviously with my black belt in jiu-jitsu, auto-pilot just kicked in.”

Dickson will now square off with UFC-veteran Bobby Nash in the welterweight tournament semi-finals. Nash was successful in ousting Canadian Spencer Jebb from the tournament via first round TKO.

Dickson said he believes Nash is a good fight for him, and is predicting a similar fate for him as Hill.

“I love that matchup. He’s tough, he’s big, he’s been in the UFC, he’s got a record, and he beat Spencer Jebb, who’s a tough guy,” said Dickson.

“I’m going to do the same thing to Bobby Nash. Unless he works his jiu-jitsu very seriously, I’m going to choke him out.”

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