XFC 23 Betting Preview

XFC 23Long-running regional promotion Xtreme Fighting Championships returns to AXS TV this Friday, April 19th at 10PM EST to deliver the much-needed Friday night of MMA action that we’ve become accustomed to from . In the main event, former UFC and Bellator vet, Shamar Bailey (15-8), fights Bellator vet Luis Santos (54-8-1) to shake up their welterweight division. After starting his career at 11-1, Bailey took a tumble down the rankings, going 1-2 in the UFC, 1-2 in Bellator and 1-2 in Strikeforce, each stay ending unceremoniously. Shamar’s bread and butter is his wrestling, but he has decent hands as well. Luis Santos is well-rounded, but falls to the better fighters he faces. He’s coming off a two fight losing streak, losing to Ryan Ford and Ben Saunders in Bellator’s stacked welterweight division. Santos is the bigger fighter, has better submission skills and has a much better stand up game, but he hasn’t fought a very high level of competition. That isn’t taking away anything from a guy who has won fifty fights, but Bailey could be a handful for him if he implements his wrestling, which is never really a staple of the Brazilian regional scene. Lightweights square off in the penultimate bout of the evening, with Bellator and Strikeforce vet Zach Underwood (10-4) taking on Deivison Ribeiro (23-9). Underwood is a true journeyman, as he has wins in both Strikeforce and Bellator, but is still out and looking for fights to raise his stock, which must be difficult when every promotion’s lightweight division is one of their deepest. It doesn’t help that he has a tendency to go to decision either, as promoters always favor exciting fighters. Ribeiro may be able to coax an exciting fight out of Underwood however, as he will certainly look to keep the fight standing and add to his 9 career KOs. Last time out, he put on a game performance against Dakota Cochrane who is right on the cusp of being a UFC-level fighter, so Ribeiro definitely has impressive skills. Look for Underwood to close the distance fast and put Ribeiro up against the chain link and eventually onto the mat to nullify the Brazilian’s striking. In the women’s strawweight 115 pound division, newcomer Stephanie Eggink (2-1) takes on the closest thing to a 115 pound powerhouse in the 4’11” Brianna Van Buren. Eggink just came off of a tough win over Heather Clark last December, while Van Buren threw her opponent around the cage and eventually knocked her out in her pro debut last October. Eggink looks solid, but Van Buren will be very interesting to watch develop. Eggink has yet to be physically dominated and Van Buren looks like she’s a ferocious monster in the cage. Long-time XFC middleweight Gerardo Julio Gallegos (4-3) steps into the XFC cage for a seventh time against late-replacement John Troyer (14-8). Gallegos fights like he’s in a video game, and seems to be fine with the kill or be killed method. He comes out with fists of fury blazing which worked for him in his first four fights, winning them all via stoppage, until his opponents caught on, became patient, and picked him off. Troyer has faltered on the bigger stages, losing in Bellator to Brent Weedman, as well as recently losing his first fight in nearly 18 months at Super Fight League 14 in March. Troyer can give as good as he gets on the ground, which is where he needs to take it if he wants to get in and out of the cage quickly. Gallegos absolutely has a puncher’s chance, but needs to take a more methodical and less beastly approach to the fight. Four months removed from his disappointing loss in Bellator, Joey Diehl (3-4) looks to bounce back and even out his record against fellow relative newcomer to the sport, Eric Moell (3-0). Diehl fights out of Curran MMA, so his first strength is the ground, but he only has rudimentary stand up to complement it. He’s best when he shoots in and brings his opponent to the mat where he can sub them. Moell has yet to taste defeat, and he has three submission victories in less than four combined minutes in the cage. This could be an interesting grappling match, or both men may try to test out their developing striking. Finally, B.J. Ferguson (8-3) takes on Charles Stanford (1-0) in a featherweight battle. Ferguson is best known for his short-lived stint on ‘The Ultimate Fighter 14’ and is clearly more experienced, but Stanford is a big and strong featherweight, who in the limited tape we have seen of him, hits really hard, has a decent sprawl, and is somewhat lost on the ground. If Stanford can shore up his ground game he could prove an interesting prospect, but at this point he’s at a clear disadvantage on the ground. Ferguson is well-rounded, and can finish his opponent standing or on the ground, has a great gas tank, and can take a punch. This looks like an interesting fight for both guys looking to prove themselves.

Written by Jason Nawara

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