Three New Champs Crowned at XFFC 19

It was a night to remember for XFFC’s newest champions.

XFFC 19 went down Saturday night in Grande Prairie, Alta., and featured nine total bouts, including three title fights.

In the main event of the evening, Michael Hill and Matt Krayco (now 7-8-1) put on a five-round spectacle for the crowd in attendance at the Entrec Centre, with Hill coming away as the new XFFC welterweight champion following a unanimous decision victory.

Michael Hill
Michael Hill lands a right hook to Matt Krayco at XFFC 19. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

“It means so much to me to show my dad, my daughter, all the people that support me, and the dreamers that when you work hard, commit to something, and go through ups and downs in life, you can be a champion,” said Hill in an interview.

“I’m a champion now and no one can take that away from me.”

The victory marks Hill’s third-straight inside the cage, and improves his overall record to 11-4-1.

Hill, 31, said he’s ready for a move up to the big show, and said there’s a particular fighter who’s taking up a spot in the UFC that should belong to him.

“I want Sheldon Westcott. The guy is holding up a UFC position and he doesn’t even fight,” said Hill.

“I want to fight in the big show. I put on exciting fights, and that’s what people pay to come watch.”

Up And Coming

The amateur main event and featherweight title bout featured the classic striker versus grappler matchup, with the striker coming out on top in this chapter.

Albaraa Atmeh (now 4-1) used his precise striking, brutal leg kicks, and solid takedown defence to eventually break down Isaiah Metituk (now 4-3) and earn the TKO finish in the third round.

Albaraa Atmeh
Albaraa Atmeh receives the XFFC amateur featherweight title at XFFC 19. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

“The biggest thing for me is composure when I fight. I stayed very composed tonight,” said Atmeh in an interview.

“I had butterflies at first, but as soon as I saw the arena, it’s like I’m at home. I’ve been competing since I was four years old and this is home for me. I plan on taking this to the highest level of the sport.”

While Atmeh, 20, continually landed multiple solid shots to the head of Metituk, it ended up being his leg kicks that secured the TKO.

Atmeh said once he noticed Metituk limping from the first few leg kicks, he knew he could take the leg out of the equation.

“I feel like leg kicks are a very underused part of MMA. You break the guy’s leg down, he has no footwork, he can’t move out of the way of your shots and he can’t take you down,” said Atmeh.

“All the punches and the wheel kick were all set up by the leg kicks.”

Atmeh will now begin preparation for the Amateur MMA World Championships in Bahrain in November where he will represent Team Canada.

Still Undefeated

In the first amateur title bout of the night, Jett Grande (now 7-0) used his strong wrestling background and constant pressure to steal the XFFC amateur lightweight title away from Neal Gottzmann (now 3-1) through a hard-earned unanimous decision.

Grande, 20, said Gottzmann was the toughest test of his young career so far, never giving inch and never leaving the door open for a finish.

Jett Grande
Jett Grande receives the XFFC amateur lightweight title after defeating Neal Gottzmann at XFFC 19. (Photo by Joel Griffith

“He’s, by far, the toughest guy I’ve fought. He’s a very crafty guy and a very slick grappler, so I had to be careful of that, and he had really top notch conditioning,” said Grande in an interview.

“I tried to finish him in the first round, and couldn’t do that. He was able to manage the onslaught, which made for a good war.”

Grande will now join Atmeh in preparing for the World Championships, where he’ll put his undefeated record on the line once again, and look to bring a gold medal back to Red Deer.

With the all-around strong skill set Gottzmann possessed, Grande said it was a good tuneup and preparation for November.

“This was the perfect fight right before Worlds. I got to test my skills in all areas,” said Grande.

“He offered me a good standup fight, I got to fight good, tough battles in the clinch, I got to take him down and test my wrestling, and I got to test my ground skills.”

In other action on the evening, William Carriere, Randy Mahon, Jordan Roberts, Daryl St. Rose, Grey Patino, and Harley King were all victorious in their respective bouts.