After spending 2011 on the sidelines due to injury, former Ultimate Fighter star Charles Blanchard is set to fight in the co-main event of XFC 17: Apocalypse against fellow TUF star and UFC veteran Corey Hill. Hill is coming off an impressive first round submission win over Charlie Rader at XFC 15 last December, while Blanchard is set to make his debut for the XFC promotion.
Blanchard has won 5 out of his last 6, including a TKO win over Dave Hulett in his last outing in September 2010. 17 months in between fights is a long time, but the Coconut Creek Florida native insists that if it wasn’t for being snakebit with injuries he would’ve been in the cage a lot sooner. “It’s always something,” said Blanchard. “I tore three ligaments in my right ankle before The Ultimate Fighter. I was in a boot on the show. It really sucked because I wasn’t able to compete at the level I am used to. Then after the show, I tore the TCL in my knee. A year later, I messed up my neck. It’s been a crazy year. I’m just ready to put that all behind me and get back in the cage. I’m ready to fight and start building something.”
Now that the injuries are healed and behind him, Blanchard is excited to once again step into the cage and couldn’t be happier that it’s at XFC 17 against a big name like Corey Hill. “I am looking forward to facing Corey at XFC 17,” said Blanchard. “I was very excited when my manager told me he was going to be my opponent. He is a big name and those are the kind of guys I want to face. I want to keep facing guys who are well known, so I can keep advancing my career. I want people to look me up online and say, ‘Wow he beat some of really good fighters. I beat Jim Wallhead in 2008. He went on to defeat Che Mills and Frank Trigg after our fight. I also defeated Douglas Lima in 2009 and he’s done some big things recently, winning the Bellator welterweight tournament last year. A win over Corey would be just as big and keep me headed in the right direction.”
At 6’4 you might think that Hill would be a tough matchup for Blanchard, but according to the ATT product he feels it’s a matchup that is actually in his favor despite the height and reach difference. “I think I matchup very well with Corey,” explained Blanchard. “I know he has some solid submission wins, but my strengths play right into his weaknesses. I’m a black belt in jiu jitsu and I’m very confident should the fight go to the ground. I know Cory is very long. He has reach on all his opponents but it really hasn’t been a factor in his fights so far and I don’t see it being a factor in Jackson either.”
If fighting someone like Corey Hill wasn’t enough to get Blanchard fired up, you can only imagine how excited he must be fighting in the co-main event for the XFC, LIVE on HDNet in front of potentially over a millions of homes. “The fight with Corey could very well be the main event. We are two exciting fighters who normally don’t go to a decision. Both of us are also well known from our time on The Ultimate Fighter. I’m excited to compete for the XFC and glad to be competing on HDNet. Anytime you have an opportunity to fight on HDnet, it’s a big deal. Instead of competing for a few thousand people in the arena I’ll be live in hundreds of thousands homes around the world. It’s a very big deal and I’m thankful for Mr. Prisco for giving me the opportunity. Fighting on a big show like XFC 17 gets me amped and when competing against a competitor like Corey, it really motivates me. I plan on putting on a show for the XFC fans in Tennessee and all over the world watching on HDNet.”
XFC 17: Apocalypse will take place at the Oman Arena in Jackson, TN on Fri. April 13th and will air live on HDNet.