Thursday, February 16, 2012

A new reason to watch HDNet Fights

I usually don’t pay much attention to fight cards that HDNet shows every weekend, mainly because most of the cards are headlined by UFC outcasts facing people I’ve never heard of. Occasionally, there are a few fights that catch my eye. The weekend of February 10, Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC) held a card that was broadcast on the channel. Luckily for them, there were no Zuffa-run fight cards that weekend, so I figured I’d get my MMA fix by watching this card. I’m glad I did, because I have new reason to love HDNet and XFC: Marianna Kheyfets.

She won her fight on the card that night by doctor’s stoppage after the first round when opponent Heather Clarke’s eye swelled shut. Even though it only lasted one round, those five minutes were packed with back-and-forth action. Always being one to show a little love to the ladies, I decided to see how Kheyfets looked in her other appearances. Needless to say, I was quite impressed with what I saw. Her first fight under the XFC banner was her pro debut against Kim Couture. Couture had won her first XFC fight, and was looking to build momentum with a win over the inexperienced fighter. However, Kheyfets rained on her parade, rocking Couture on feet and securing a fight-ending triangle choke, all in the first round.

Her next two XFC fights were against Marissa Caldwell and Molly Helsel. Though not as impressive as her first win over Couture, they were nonetheless entertaining. The fights were two action-packed, back-and-forth decision wins. “The Crushen Russian” showed a lot of heart and a well-rounded skillset to earn those decision wins. She also got a win under the Reality Fighting banner against Kaline Medeiros during that time. Her entertaining fighting style has earned her a reputation as a fan favorite and top female prospect to watch. Of all the fights I’ve seen her in, I don’t recall a boring moment in any of them.

I have to give my props to XFC for promoting and featuring Kheyfets, and vicariously to HDNet for broadcasting XFC cards. As an avid supporter of women’s MMA, the more exposure they get on North American soil the better. The more support and exposure Kheyfets gets, the more support and exposure women’s MMA will get. With other names like Sara McMann, Ronda Rousey, and Miesha Tate getting a lot of fan and media attention of late, the women may finally be getting enough steam to heat up discussion of a women’s division in the UFC. To the XFC and HDNet: please continue to promote and televise cards with women fighters on them. Kheyfets is perfect to promote right now; she’s good looking, a skilled fighter, fan favorite, and (at least right now) a winner. Because of that, XFC has a new fan, and HDNet has a new viewer.

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