Three vacant titles all found new proud owners at XFFC 22 Saturday night in Grande Prairie, Alta.
In the main event, Justin Knoepfli (now 6-4) avenged his previous loss to Justin Grey (now 1-7), taking home a dominant unanimous decision in the rematch and the XFFC amateur bantamweight strap.
Unlike the first matchup, Knoepfli was able to avoid the majority of Grey’s takedowns throughout the fight and utilize his precise and technical striking to pick Grey apart on the feet.
“My striking has always been like that, but I finally just found the confidence to actually let it go in a fight,” said Knoepfli in an interview.
“Justin’s very strong in a Khabib kind of style, so I knew I had to stay away from that this time around.”
Not only was Knoepfli successful in his first career title fight, he also became the first fighter living in Grande Prairie to win an XFFC title in Grande Prairie.
Knoepfli said he couldn’t be more happy to have accomplished this feat, and hopes the citizens of Grande Prairie take notice.
“I’m very happy I was able to keep it in Grande Prairie,” said Knoepfli.
“I hope the city recognizes that and appreciates it.”
Emotional Hurricane for Stevens
In the co-main event, Eric Stevens (now 5-2) went through a whirlwind of emotions before being announced as the new light heavyweight champion.
The initial in-cage announcement had Stevens and Jordan Noseworthy (now 3-3) fighting to a draw, but after further investigation, it was determined the scorecards were totalled incorrectly and Stevens was indeed the victor by majority decision.
“When they said it was a draw, I figured hometown guy so it makes sense. But in my head I was thinking I was on top and I was in control for three or four of the rounds,” said Stevens in an interview.
“I was stoked when they told me. I wasn’t surprised; I figured I got robbed. But that’s why you don’t let it go to the judges.”
It wasn’t all smooth sailing to his second straight title, however, as Stevens found himself in a tight triangle choke early in the fight, as well as rocked hard by a right hand from Noseworthy.
Stevens said he eventually began shooting for more takedowns later in the fight in an attempt to negate Noseworthy’s reach advantage.
“I have a bad habit of eating punches, I take the Homer Simpson approach on things, just tire them out and let them hit you,” said Stevens.
“I was definitely getting fuzzy, which is why I kept taking him down. When he’s down, he’s not as tall and doesn’t have that reach.”
Double The Prize For Kamilov
In what was the fight of the night, Ramil Kamilov (now 5-2) became the new XFFC amateur welterweight champion after defeating Dan Kovalchuk (now 5-2) by TKO with just one second left in the bout.
Despite the grappling strength of Kovalchuk, the bout was contested primarily on the feet with both fighters displaying true heart, grit and determination.
“He was just as tough as I thought, and possibly even more tough,” said Kamilov in an interview.
“The game-plan was to attack the body and get his stamina down, but he still kept on pushing. Even though he could barely stand, he was still taking all kinds of punishment.”
Now that he’s the amateur welterweight champion, Kamilov said he’s looking forward to working with XFFC in the future, hinting he will indeed be defending his title down the line.
As for his immediate future, Kamilov said he’s pushing to lineup a fight for the inaugural Showdown Fight Series event in Calgary in October.
“I’m really happy I got this belt and I look forward to working with Xcessive in the future,” said Kamilov.
“I want to fight at 155 pounds next, at my real weight class.”
In addition to the title, Kamilov received an extra bonus for his performance of the night showing, as he was awarded a Harley Davidson motorcycle, which was being given to the fighter on the card with the best showing.
Isaiah Metituk, Eric Haldemann, Colton Trudel and Owen Swiftwolf were all also victorious on the evening.