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XKO to kick off 2011 with ninth event

Kano Gregoire (right), one of Xtreme Knockout's more popular fighters, is slated to headline XKO 9. Andrew Plante/ESPNDallas.com

Xtreme Knockout, a local promotion based out of Arlington, is beginning to pick up steam going into their third year of existence. Over the last couple of years, the organization has consistently packed "The Gym," their combative sports venue, with thousands of rabid MMA fans. And they recently crowned their first champion; XKO lightweight champ Chris Jones. XKO has been a steady bit of normalcy in an otherwise rocky DFW MMA scene.

Even though the organization has had so much success over the last 24 months, Xtreme Knockout continues to maintain a balanced and methodical course as they persistently improve their brand.

Instead awarding belts in their earlier events, where the winner would not likely have earned their stripes, XKO decided to organically grow their talent base, allowing the fans to become more familiar with the many skilled XKO combatants on the roster. Fighters like Chris Jones, Kano Gregoire, and Roy Spoon are all popular XKO fighters that could eventually contend in the UFC with a few more wins under their belt.

Thomas Bussey, XKO owner, indicates that the key to their success is taking one event at a time, and spending the time to nurture their fighter and fan base. They know that they won’t be filling the seats of the AAC anytime soon, but the organization has milestones and goals in place that they feel will make then successful in the long run.

“We want to establish ourselves first and establish our fighters,” said Thomas Bussey in an interview with ESPN Dallas earlier this year. Most of our fighters are repeat fighters. "What we wanted to do was establish great fighters like Chris White, Brandon McDowell and Chris Gregorie as well as get our company's name out there so when somebody says 'Hey, that's the champion for XKO,' it will actually mean something. We are hoping to have title fights at XKO 10 or perhaps sooner.”

“If we can sell out our arena for the next several shows,” Bussey said. “We would like to do one event at a larger venue outside of “The Gym.” In addition, at some point in time we'd like to do a television deal. With all that said, we are going to focus on one fight at a time. We want to get all of our ducks in a row before we really start pushing XKO.”

Although there will be no titles on the line at XKO 9, the organization has really established an intriguing fight card that will have title implications in the near future.

In the main event, Gregoire will face the very entertaining Clay Hantz for a chance to fight in an upcoming title-contender bout at XKO 10 which will crown their first ever welterweight champ. The co-main event will feature the other two 170-pound contenders, Jake Rosholt (former UFC vet) and Jason Painter, a long time XKO fighter.

A lightweight number-one contender bout will feature Roy Spoon vs. Michael Craycraft. Winner of this bout will face current 155 pound champ, Chris Jones, at XKO 10.

The event will also include, Bellator and Shark Fights vet, Douglas Frey who is looking to rebound from his loss at Steele Cage 3.

Brothers, Randy and Jason Villareal have also been added to the card, facing separate opponents.

XKO 9 will take place at ‘The Gym’ in Arlington on January 29. The pre-fight party, featuring a live band, bikini contest, and MMA vendors, will start at 6pm. The first bout will begin at 8pm.

Go to www.xtremeknockout.com for more information about the event or to purchase tickets.

Fight Card (subject to change)

  • Main Event: Kano Gregoire (7-2 and undefeated in XKO) vs. Clay Hantz (4-3)

  • Co-Main Event: Jake Rosholt (7-3 and UFC Veteran) vs. Jason Painter (2-3)

  • Roy Spoon (5-3) vs. Michael Craycraft (2-2)

  • Jarret Jones (4-4) vs. Chris Pecero (2-1)

  • Douglas Frey (8-4) vs. Randy Villarreal (4-2)

  • Mike Sierra (2-3) vs. Jason Villarreal (Pro Debut)

  • Quaint Kempf (2-0) vs. Bobby Pena (1-0)

  • Moises Diaz (1-2) vs. Burt Mcdonald (Pro Debut)

  • Jacob Brannan (2-0) vs. Richard Smith (Pro Debut)

  • JJ Holmes (Pro Debut) vs. TBA