On October 18th, the XFC moves one step closer to crowning a Featherweight Champion. LIVE on AXS TV, from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Jason “The Ronin” Hicks and Deivison “Dragon” Ribeiro will lay it all on the line for their shot at championship gold. Both men have penciled in on their calendars a Dec. 2013 title fight with Farkhad Sharipov, but unfortunately, only one will be able to keep the date. Sharipov took care of business in Albuquerque by defeating Stephen Bass for his spot in the upcoming title fight. Now, Hicks and Ribeiro will be looking to punch their ticket to the big dance when the two meet in the Night of Champions III Feature Bout.
Jason “The Ronin” Hicks (5-1) has jumped from the frying pan into the fire. The 32-year-old Hicks started out his 2013 right in the thick of the XFC’s Lightweight title picture. Seeing the opportunities at 155 lbs., Jason Hicks stepped away from his natural weight class of 145 lbs. to be a part of an exciting division that included Nick Newell, Eric Reynolds, and Scott Holtzman. But after dropping a grueling three round war with Holtzman, which put him one fight short of a title bout, Hicks decided to make the move back to Featherweight and see what that division had to offer. What “The Ronin” found was a much deeper, talent rich division than the one he just left. But after the success he had at Lightweight, Hicks would find himself with enough respect from matchmaker John Prisco to be right back in a title hunt. The well-rounded fighter from Charleston, South Carolina was immediately inserted in a 4-man elimination tournament, and when the bracket was set, Hicks was paired with MMA veteran Dragon Ribeiro. With 2 wins by knockout and 2 by submission, Jason Hicks will need to use every tool in his belt to get past the more experienced Brazilian. A win over Ribeiro and Sharipov would catapult Hicks into the category of “elite” fighters, but The Dragon is looking to put The Ronin in a different group; fighters that are good, but “couldn’t win the big ones”.
In January of 2013, Deivison “Dragon” Ribeiro (23-9) had one of the most highly anticipated U.S. debuts in MMA history. After an impressive 22-7 record in his home country of Brazil, Ribeiro decided it was time to make his mark in the States and introduce the American audience to his dominate mixture of knock out power and slick submissions. The blue print was drawn up and the memo went out; Dragon planned to beat TUF Season 15 alum Dakota Cochrane and then look to move on to conquer American MMA. Unfortunately, the American fighters didn’t get that memo. In his first two bouts on U.S. soil, Ribeiro was introduced to some good ‘ol American wrestling and game planning. Dakota Cochrane and Zach Underwood both would go on to dominate Deivison with a heavy, grinding style of MMA that he wasn’t accustom to, and it forced the Brazilian to go back to the gym and totally change-up his training. A determined Ribeiro made the necessary adjustments, and finally, the Dragon we had all looked forward to seeing, showed up in Tampa at XFC 24, where he not only unanimously beat a very good Shah Bobonis, but he nullified his opponent’s wrestling and proved he could adapt and overcome. With his rocky start behind him, Deivision now seeks out his first U.S. MMA title. The man standing in his way is a very talented and very poised Jason Hicks. Hicks and Ribeiro are almost mirror images of each other. Both fighters have strong ground and striking games, and they mix the two beautifully. Dragon will need to look for, and capitalize on, any mistake Hicks makes; but his window of opportunity could be small, as Hicks is a very smart fighter and isn’t known for making many mistakes in the cage.
An excited John Prisco had this to say about his Featherweight elimination bout: “Now that we know Frank Sharipov is sitting on the other side of this bracket waiting, I can’t help but get anxious. It means we are getting closer to crowning another champion in the XFC and solidifying the Featherweight Division. This is such an intriguing match up. Ribeiro is finally feeling comfortable competing here in the U.S. and he’s finding his groove, and Jason Hicks is dropping to 145 after a Lightweight title run; I can’t call this one and that makes it such an interesting fight for me. No matter which guy walks out of Nashville with a “W”, we have guaranteed an exciting inaugural title fight.”
Xtreme Fighting Championships returns to Music City USA for XFC 26: Night of Champions III on October 18, 2013. The event is presented by ICRealTime Security Solutions and Liquid Ninja Energy Drink. The event will be broadcast Live on AXS TV from the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, beginning at 9pm CT/10 pm ET. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, visit www.XFCMMA.com or www.beafantickets.com. For daily updates and news, follow us on Facebook and Twitter @OfficialXFC.