'Tauzemup' achieves double champ status at XFC 56

By Mana Wikaire-Lewis

He called it. Ngāpuhi & Ngāti Toro XFC bantamweight champion Aaron Tau is now officially a two-division champion!

Moments ago saw the Combat Academy fighter defeat Shem "Money" Murdoch for the vacant featherweight championship at XFC 56's main event in Dunedin.

The fight was also broadcast live and free, for the first time, inside the Metaverse via Stageverse, where people could roam a virtual lobby with multiple screens showing the fight and every other match on the fight card in real-time.

Tau's walkout showed him taking his time, absorbing the moment with coach and UFC featherweight Dan "The Hangman" Hooker walking closely behind. After a hug and giving his taonga for "The Hangman" to carry around his neck, Tau entered the octagon pumped and ready. Murdoch's walkout was the opposite as he power walked with authority, eager to get the fight underway as well.

Both fighters touched gloves in the centre as a sign of respect, and the match began. Murdoch kept centre of the cage but Tau circled his opponent like a hawk.

After a minute of measuring and feinting each other, Tau landed a nice outside kick to Murdoch in the first round. Murdoch put his lead hand out to keep him at a distance but Aaron was able to get through, driving Murdoch from one end of the cage to the other in a thunderous takedown. The hometown fighter was able to get to his feet momentarily before Tau wrestled to get on top of "Money's" back.

Ploughing away with fists to Murdoch's head with no fighting back from his opponent, the referee called a stop to the match, and Aaron was declared the winner in the first round and two-division champ in the XFC.

His sixth pro fight in the cage was also his sixth win, continuing an impressive win streak that includes title defences and more title wins. Tau has only ever suffered one loss back in his amateur career.