Xtreme Fighting Championships is set to return on Friday, Aug. 6, and it’s bringing a pair of televised events to Grand Rapids, Michigan. XFC 45 and XFC YoungGuns 3, two cards fused into one, are set to air on Fox Sports 2 or free on XFCTV.com, along with HBO and Fox Deportes on tape delay.
XFC President Myron Molotky delved into both portions of the card, detailing which fights he is most excited for, as well as who he feels are the hottest prospects in the promotion.
XFC 45 Breakdown with XFC President Myron Molotky
XFC 45, which is set to begin airing at 10 p.m. EST, is headlined by a featherweight clash between UFC and RIZIN veteran Daron Cruickshank and former XFC featherweight champion Guilherme Faria.
XFC YoungGuns 3 will see the professional debuts of Canada’s Jett Grande and American Damon Morosko as they compete at lightweight, in addition to several amateur prospects.
XFC 45: Guilherme Faria vs. Daron Cruickshank
Cruickshank will make his featherweight debut, as well as his XFC debut, when he meets Faria in what should be a striker’s delight.
“This fight has, on paper and everything we’ve seen from both of these kids, this may be one of the greatest bouts we’ve seen in MMA this year,” Molotky told MMASucka. “Forget the big names. Take the names away and put the two guys in the cage: This bout has the makings of fight of the year. It’s going to be unbelievable, I really feel it.”
Cruickshank competed in the UFC’s lightweight division between 2012 and 2016 and has been contracted by Japanese promotion RIZIN Fighting Federation since 2016. Cruickshank, whose moniker is “The Detroit Superstar,” is a Michigan native and will be competing in front of his hometown fans at the DeltaPlex Arena for XFC 45.
Molotky figured putting together Cruickshank and Faria, both known for scoring knockouts, would lead to fireworks. Molotky signed Cruickshank to a one-fight deal, so the American’s future with the XFC is in the air, but Molotky was firm where he stands with Cruickshank as far as his penchant for exciting finishes.
“Daron Cruickshank is a wily veteran,” Molotky said. “Daron can fight in the XFC Hexagon win, lose, draw; that guy is always welcome in the XFC … We talked at the last event at XFC 44. [Cruickshank] said, ‘I’d really love an opportunity to fight for you, Myron.’ I said, ‘Let’s make it happen.’ That’s why we put this together. Even with Guilherme being a part of our roster, this fight was put together based on, I wanted to get Daron inside the cage, and we thought, ‘Hey, this would be a great match-up. A cool match-up.’ That’s why we’re bringing Guilherme in for it.”
Cruickshank spoke about the Faria fight, his weight cut and more in an interview with MMASucka in July.
Bobby Nash vs. Quinton Parks Jr.
In the co-main event, welterweights Bobby Nash and Quinton Parks Jr. are set to make the walk just before Faria and Cruickshank. Nash was originally supposed to fight LaRue Burley for the XFC welterweight tournament finals. However, roughly two weeks before XFC 45, Burley broke his hand during his last round of hard sparring, Molotky said.
“It’s gut-wrenching for this kid that it happened before such a big fight,” Molotky said.
Nash and Burley will still throw down for the welterweight tournament title, regardless of Nash’s result against Parks Jr. at XFC 45, Molotky said.
“We feel it’s the right thing to do,” Molotky said. “For LaRue and Bobby, they both earned this. We just want to make sure it works the right way for them.”
With Parks Jr., Molotky believes the promotion found “a worthy opponent” to keep Nash on the card.
“This is Bobby’s backyard as well,” Molotky said. “He’s a Michigan guy. A lot of friends and family wanted to see him fight, and he’s already put in a full camp. We found Quinton Parks Jr. Tough kid, good record. It’s going to be a challenge for him. Bobby has a little more pedigree with having fought in the UFC and his roll through XFC.”
The original co-main event, heavyweights Brett Martin and Kyle Noblitt, was canceled after Noblitt suffered an injury.
XFC 45 Pro Prospects
On the XFC 45 card, Molotky pointed out Austin Bashi (3-0 MMA, 3-0 XFC) as a bantamweight prospect to watch. Bashi will be going up against James Dunn, who is 3-3.
“Austin has got so much fanfare,” Molotky said. “He came out of nowhere, and everyone is having a love affair with Austin. We love the kid. He’s as great outside the Hexagon as he is inside the Hexagon. What I’m really excited about is a kid we signed named James Dunn. When you take a look at how he’s developing, it’s a whole different game coming into this next match. I think this will be Austin’s toughest fight, so I’m very excited about that.”
Dennis Hughes Jr., who trains under fellow XFC fighter and UFC veteran Kurt Holobaugh, is set to fight Davi Young in a lightweight battle. Molotky compared Hughes Jr.’s pressure to that of RoboCop.
“Everyone knows how high I am on Davi Young,” Molotky said. “Davi has such an upside. He made a few mistakes in the last event that he fought that cost him a win. I think that’s going to be a great fight as well.”
Young’s last fight was a split decision loss to Jake Kozorosky at XFC YoungGuns 2 in May.
Idris Perry and Quran Walker will round out the XFC 45 card with a lightweight scrap.
XFC YoungGuns 3 Card
Jett Grande and Damon Morosko will be making their professional debuts in the main event of XFC YoungGuns 3, though they are the only pro bout on this portion of the card. Grande is the prospect that Molotky is most excited about on the YoungGuns prelims.
“He is a highly-decorated great kid. Had such a great international career. He will be fighting another kid I’m as excited about: Damon Morosko. This is a real tough kid. Jett is walking into this Hexagon against a beast. That could have Fight of the Night across the entire card on paper.”
Chad Decker, Devin Dann and Reese Kelly were also named as fighters to watch by Molotky. They will be fighting John Croak Jr., Andre Sanders and Tyler House, respectively.
The XFC relaunched at the beginning of 2021 following a nearly-5-year hiatus. Molotky feels the organization is trending well and has “great” broadcast partners. The promotion is still working on fleshing out the roster.
“Quite honestly, with the pandemic, that has cut us tight, because a lot of these fighters in Europe or Latin America can’t travel, so, we’re not where we want to be with the roster,” Molotky said. “I think with what we’re able to put together for the events, the events have been exciting, the fights have been good. It’s something we’re going to continue to work through.”
YoungGuns is the key to the organization’s future and success, according to Molotky.
“Developing the future of MMA,” he said. “As I’ve been saying since we relaunched, really take a look at, ‘what this roster going to be in two or three years?’ Right now, we’re auditioning kids either through the trials or giving them a chance on the YoungGuns portion of the events. I think as we continue to push these fighters, make great match-ups, because we have zero gimmes.”
In terms of what the XFC is looking for, it’s simple.
“We’ve got to pick the right fighters to entertain our fans,” Molotky said. “They’ve got to come with a pedigree of, ‘Hey, the door closes, it’s go time.’ Not trying to be cautious or protect their record, or make the fight go through three rounds. I want guys who are killers. I want violence inside the cage.”
XFC 45 is set to go down Friday at 10 p.m. EST while XFC YoungGuns 3 will directly precede it at 7:30 p.m. EST.