O’Connor Spoils the Mahon Party at XFFC 16

Randy Mahon (3-2) entered the cage at XFFC 16 in his hometown of Grande Prairie looking for revenge, but Tom O’Connor (6-1) wasn’t having any of it.

Both fighters came into their main event bout on Dec. 15 riding their own respective wins streaks; a six-fight win streak for O’Connor and a three-fight win streak for Mahon.

O’Connor only needed less than a minute to secure a rear-naked choke, eventually leading to Mahon passing out instead of tapping, and O’Connor stretching his win streak to an impressive seven-straight.

Tom O'Connor, Randy Mahon, XFFC 16
Tom O’Connor celebrates his win over Randy Mahon at XFFC 16. (Rob Trudeau)

“I work day in and day out at the gym. I don’t stop,” said O’Connor in his post-fight interview. “This is what I do now for a living. I put everything into it, so I’m glad it’s showing return.”

After this victory, O’Connor has cemented himself among the best lightweights in Canada, and will likely be in for a stiff test next time he enters the cage.

He didn’t mention any specific names he’d like to see across the cage next, but said he won’t turn down any opponent, no matter who it is.

“Send them all. I’m here to fight anyone,” said O’Connor. “I’m doing this now for a living, so I’ll fight anyone in the world.”

The triumph sees O’Connor’s record improve to 7-1, while Randy Mahon falls back to 3-3.

Francotti’s Pro Debut

In the co-main event, the much-anticipated professional debut of Kyle Francotti (0-0) didn’t disappoint. He and Chris Harrison (0-1) kicked off their heavyweight bout with a slug fest for the first 30 seconds of the fight, which certainly had the crowd buzzing.

After things calmed down a bit, Francotti was able to get back to his strengths and comfort zone, taking the fight to the ground and eventually locking in a rear-naked choke at 3:09 of the first round, and forcing Harrison to tap out.

“The idea was to go out there and throw a couple punches and see where it went, but I didn’t expect it to be a full out barn-burner brawl,” said Francotti in an interview. “Once that happened, I thought I’m already in the storm, so let’s just wait it out, and hopefully I’m not the guy who goes to sleep.”

Going back to his nine amateur fights, Francotti said he’d never really stood and exchanged with an opponent until this bout. He said he gained a lot of confidence in his striking after finally being able to really use his hands.

After the fight, Francotti announced who he’d like to see in the cage with him next, while also saying he’d even offer his fight purse to his opponent to make the fight happen. He said the people of Grande Prairie have wanted to see he and William Carriere battle for a long time now, but it’s never been possible due to Francotti being an amateur.

“Now that I’m pro, there’s absolutely no reason it can’t happen,” said Francotti. “This is a fight for the fans. I’m not doing it for me; I’m doing it for the XFFC fans, I’m doing it for Grande Prairie, and I’m doing it for everyone that stood behind me and supported me through my career.”

Francotti has kicked off his pro career at 1-0, while Harrison still searches for his first win, falling to 0-2.

Metituk Claims Third Straight

One of the more promising young prospects from Grande Prairie, Isaiah Metituk (2-2), welcomed Brody Zarinwy (0-2) into the cage in the amateur main event.

Early in the first round, Zarinwy appeared to have a submission attempt close to locked in, but Metituk forced his way out, and eventually secured a takedown. The takedown proved to be a significant one as he would go on to sink in a guillotine choke at 2:05, forcing the tap out from Zarinwy.

“I knew once I got him to the ground, that Mahood-Fernandes jiu jitsu was going to capture his neck,” said Metituk in an interview. “Hats off to Brody; he’s a tough kid, but you just can’t beat us now. We’re so technical that once we get latched on, it’s over.”

Metituk said he’s now at the halfway point of his amateur career and feels like he’s ready for a step up in competition. He said he wants to test himself against the best amateurs at featherweight, and said he knows he can beat them.

“I’ll take Solomon Coutoreille, I’ll take Joe Mapanda, I’ll take any of these guys,” said Metituk. “It’s nothing personal. I respect them all as fighters, but I just want a step up.”

Now on a three-fight win streak, Metituk improved his record to 3-2, while Zarinwy dropped to 0-3.

In the earlier bouts on the card, Jesse Rothschild-Bull earned his first amateur win, defeating Riley Kilpatrick by unanimous decision in a lightweight matchup. Rothschild-Bull moved to 1-3 while Kilpatrick fell to 0-2.

The first bout of the night saw Will Robbins defeat Joe Westbrook by unanimous decision in the amateur lightweight division. Robbins saw his record rise to 2-3, while Westbrook fell to 1-2.

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