Varner Finishes Fickett in 40 Seconds at XFC 16

By Mike Whitman Feb 10, 2012
Jamie Varner ended Drew Fickett’s night nearly before it started, clocking the “Night Rider” with an overhand right and pounding him out in the Xtreme Fighting Championships 16 main event on Saturday at the Knoxville Civic Auditorium-Coliseum in Knoxville, Tenn.

The former WEC lightweight champion wasted little time in dispatching his foe in their 160-pound catchweight affair, forcing a verbal tapout due to strikes in just 40 seconds in the “High Stakes” headliner. Though the pre-fight hype between to the two fighters was considerable, the victory was bittersweet for an emotional Varner.

“Honestly, I was scared, even though I thought I was better than him. Drew Fickett is a guy who got me into this sport,” Varner told HDNet analyst Pat Miletich in his post-fight interview. “I was a junior in high school, and I saw him fight. I looked up to him even before I knew him. I had the opportunity to meet him, and he took me under his wing and taught me how to train. I love the guy. I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Varner (Pictured) cracked his former mentor with a straight right hand to the temple that sent Fickett reeling to the mat. He then swarmed on his disoriented adversary, unloading dozens of punches until the bout was stopped.

“We knew if we hurt him, we’d be able to finish him,” said Varner, who has won back-to-back fights. “The right hand was kind of the game plan, to work it off my jab. [It was] a combination of timing and luck and opportunity, and I took it.”

Josh Samman finished a game Mikey Gomez in their co-headlining middleweight clash, taking Gomez’s back midway through the first frame and pounding away until the Floridian tapped. While Samman spent much of the round defending a single-leg takedown and eventually a kneebar attempt, he was merciless once he acquired his Gomez’s back, forcing the stoppage by delivering a constant stream of punches to the head of his defenseless foe.

“We had anticipated he would go for those leg locks and submissions, so I just tried to be real top-heavy,” said Samman. “I know that as soon as I can land a couple [of punches] on somebody’s chin, it will make them rethink their game plan. I like to finish by KO, and I want to make it so every other middleweight doesn’t want to fight me. If you choke someone out, it’s painless. If you knock someone out, they remember that s---.”

The cageside physician called a halt to Heather Clark’s 125-pound confrontation with Marianna Kheyfets after Clark’s right eye swelled shut at the conclusion of the first round. Both women connected solidly in the first frame, with Clark landing low kicks before Kheyfets worked her way inside to score with meaningful punch combinations. Though Clark finished the round with a bang by hitting a throw and landing in side control, the maneuver would prove futile, as she would not see a round two.

“I wanted to get some more work in, but I’m glad to get the finish,” said Kheyfets. “I worked my boxing a lot. I really wanted to come out here and prove that I’m a better striker than her. I wish it could have gone to the second and third rounds, but Heather’s a warrior and I commend her for her performance.”

In a 130-pound affair, Chris Wright took home a unanimous nod over the previously unbeaten Len Cook. Holding just two professional bouts to his credit heading into the fight, Cook seemed to show his inexperience early, attempting a pair of ill-advised lateral drops that landed Wright in his guard in rounds one and two. More of the same would follow in the third stanza, as Cook spent most of the round with his back either on the canvas or pressed against the cage.

Chase Gormley outpointed fellow super heavyweight Brandon Sayles, taking the Fighters United representative down early in the bout and spending the majority of round one in top position. Round two proved to be much more competitive, until Sayles took control late and delivered a series of clean punches and knees. Sayles continued to move forward to start the third frame but was once again taken down. Gormley rode out the last four minutes of the bout from his foe’s half guard, earning a unanimous decision for his efforts.

Amaechi Oselukwue stopped Gerardo Julio Gallegos in just 83 seconds in their middleweight contest, knocking his opponent limp with a perfectly timed right straight. Though Gallegos landed a nice right of his own to start the contest and took down Oselukwue, the 26-year-old escaped to his feet and locked up a Thai plum, delivering a cluster of knees to his foe’s body. After breaking the hold, Oselukwue whiffed on a low kick but used his momentum to spin all the way around and drop his opponent with a lightning-quick right hand.

Dustin West destroyed Stoney Hale in the first main card bout, turning up the heat after a minute-long feeling-out process. “D-West” landed a solid body kick and drove his backpedaling foe into the cage before unleashing a hailstorm of hooks and knees to the head of his hapless opponent. While Hale attempted to cover up and even fire back, West’s flurry proved inescapable, as the Virginian fell to the canvas and was saved from further punishment by referee Gary Copeland.

Additionally, Daniel Crockett, Chris Coggins and Scott Holtzman emerged victorious on the undercard, besting Shane Matchette, Jay Meneghello and Brandon Demastes, respectively.
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