Watley-Desir title fight, Birchler-Govan added to XCC 28

Bradley Desir steps on the scale at Ring of Combat 56 on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016. Photo Credit: Ring of Combat.

Xtreme Caged Combat 28 adds a lightweight championship bout between current title holder Rob Watley (7-1 MMA, and challenger Bradley Desir (9-5 MMA, 0-0 XCC) along with a No. 1 light-heavyweight bout between Chris Birchler (6-2 MMA, 0-0 XCC) and Marcus Govan (4-1 MMA, 0-0 XCC) at the National Guard Armory in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania June 23, 2016.

In his last bout Feb. 24, 2017, Watley made the most of his XCC debut by finishing Josh Visel via third-round TKO to capture the belt at XCC 27.

The 27-year-old out of Charlotte Hall, Maryland won his last seven bouts. His only defeat came in his professional debut, a second-round arm-bar defeat to Francisco Isata at Shogun Fights 10 June 21, 2014.

The current Ring of Combat lightweight champion, Desir, is coming off a seven month layoff after undergoing shoulder surgery. In his last outing, the 30-year-old defended his strap against current “The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption”contestant Julian Lane by third round TKO at ROC 56 Sept. 23, 2016.

Desir won the the title against Eddie Lenoci at ROC 53 via second-round knockout November 2015. at ROC 54, Desir defended his belt against Lenoci when he finished his opponent by TKO in the first round March 4, 2016.

He is (3-1) in his last four fights with a unanimous decision loss to Joseph Lowry at CFFC 59 July 9, 2016.

Birchler is making a move down from heavyweight to 205 lbs. as he will enter the XCC cage for the first time in his career.

After fighting his last six bouts under the Cage Fury Fighting Championships banner, the Caldwell, New Jersey native moves to a different promotion. His last bout included a heavyweight title defeat to current champion Zu Anyanwu via unanimous decision at CFFC 57 March 19, 2016.

Following the first professional title bout of his career, the 29-year-old suffered a MCL strain and LCL while rolling jiu-jitsu during a training session. During his recovery, Birchler cleaned his diet and started shedding weight, eventually helping him make the decision to move down to light-heavyweight.

“It has been an overall positive experience. My diet is better than ever, my cardio, my ability to recover from workouts, everything,” Birchler told NJ MMA News on Feb. 10, 2017. “Maybe not for my next fight, but eventually it will probably be the move to make.”

Govan will be the first to welcome Birchler to his new division. Govan is coming off the only defeat of his career at Hoosier Fight Club 32, a first round knockout at the hands of Dominick Reyes Feb. 11, 2017.

Govan entered the bout undefeated with four-straight victories. His streak included TKO wins against Harley Teague, Ricco Ralston, Jahsua Marsh and Tyler Hufnagle.

Writing for NJ MMA New since 2011, Connor is passionate about covering local mixed martial arts. He graduated from Temple University’s School of Media and Communications with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. His love for MMA stems from his past as a high school wrestler and jiu-jitsu blue belt. Former UFC fighter Kurt Pellegrino coached Connor in his senior year of high school. He worked as a Rally Sports Desk report for The Philadelphia Inquirer and interned as a sports reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News.