AFC 21 is a wrap and will go down in martial arts history for a number of reasons namely being the first co-promoted MMA event between two of the sports superpowers in the form of Kunlun Fight and the Australian Fighting Championship.
The packed house at the Melbourne Pavilion were absolutely jacked and were boisterous in their support of an array of Australian and International martial artist. All 10 fights on the card delivered and gave both the fighters and fans a taste of what’s to come in the future. So, let’s wrap up AFC 21!
Kazumasa Majima def. Luke Jones via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 1.
The Japanese fighter, Majima, wasted little time in getting this fight to the ground where he transitioned smoothly and peppered Jones with some effective ground ‘n’ pound. Majima was then able to take Jones’s back and locked in the fight ending rear naked choke to secure himself an impressive victory.
Luke Spears def. Oscar Kong via Unanimous Decision
What a battle! These two talented middleweights threw leather for 3 solid rounds whilst the packed crowd watched in awe. The first round was relatively even with both martial artists connecting with their opponent and landing some solid blows. Luke’s unique striking and feints worked effectively as he was able to land the cleaner shots on Oscar. Round 2 was all Luke as he took his opponent to the ground and put a real beating on him; Oscar showed significant resilience however and was able to make it into round 3. The third round was again entertaining with some wild exchanges however Luke was able to avoid the power shots of Oscar and cruise to a Unanimous Decision victory.
Dane Beeby def. Brock McRobb via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 2
Once again fans in attendance bared witness to a striking master class as Muay Thai practitioner Brock McRobb traded with Karate Black Belt Dane Beeby. The first round included an array of leg, body and head kicks as well as some crisp striking and diverse combinations; it was a tight round however Dane appeared to get the better of the exchanges. In round 2, Dane changed his strategy and shot for the takedown; once the fight got to the ground Dane was able to transition to back control and lock in the fight ending rear naked choke thus earning himself a pivotal victory.
Cody Pfister def. Wu Haotian via Unanimous Decision to win the Kunlun Intercontinental Lightweight Title
In a incredibly entertaining bout that included some wild exchanges, picture perfect takedowns, submission attempts and vicious ground ‘n’ pound, American Cody Pfister claimed his 4th World Title after dispatching Wu via Unanimous Decision. Wu had two very tight Guillotine chokes locked in during the first round however Cody was able to escape on both occasions and land some vicious ground ‘n’ pound which busted his opponent open. In both the second and third rounds, Cody used his wrestling pedigree to land the takedown and score with relentless ground ‘n’ pound whilst negating the continual submission attempts by Wu. In the end, Cody’s aggressiveness and ground control earned him the Unanimous Decision, which now opens the door to some very entertaining Lightweight fights in the future.
Wang Shaowei def. Peter Davenport via TKO (Strikes) in Round 3
In a fight that will forever be marred by significant controversy, 19 year Chinese sensation Wang Shaowei stopped the gallant Peter Davenport in Round 3. The first round saw both fighters exchange until Pete was able to get the fight to the ground where he worked on a rear naked choke whilst peppering his opponent with some nice body shots. When the fighters got back to their feet, Wang landed consecutive low blows on Peter, which stalled his momentum. In round 2, once again both martial artists enjoyed periods of striking and ground control until Wang landed two illegal knees to the head of his opponent, which significantly hurt Peter. As a true warrior does, Peter chose to fight on however early in round 3 Wang was able to get the takedown and land some heavy ground strikes leaving the referee no choice but to wave this one off.
Zhang Meixuan def. Mario Moreno via Submission (Armbar) in Round 2
Speed was on fill display in this one as Chinese poster boy Zhang Meixuan submitted Mario Moreno in a very entertaining bout. Throughout the duration of the fight, both martial artists displayed a range of innovative strikes and kicks; both were able to secure takedowns and also throw up numerous submission attempts. The end to the fight however was bizarre as it was brilliant! Zhang landed a beautiful head kick which was caught by Mario and he then executed a modified single leg takedown. Zhang immediately transitioned his hips and locked in a tight Armbar forcing his opponent to verbally submit sending the pro Meixuan crowd into hysterics.
Daniel Jones def. Francisco Jose Vinueles via TKO (Strikes) in Round 2
Australia’s Daniel Jones showed why he is one of the brightest emerging martial artists in the Country as he comfortably dispatched Francisco inside 2 rounds. For the entire fight, Daniel controlled the striking exchanges and landed the cleaner punches. When he chose to take the fight to the ground, he dominated his opponent and was impossible to buck. Daniel was also able to mitigate the numerous Armbar attempts from Francisco and when the opportunity arose he exploded with strikes forcing the referee to bring this one to an end.
Zhang Lipeng def. Mikey Vaotuua via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in Round 1
In a quick and ultra impressive manner, Zhang Lipeng proved to the martial arts world why he is the #1 fighter in China. In what was always going to be a huge challenge for Mikey, he endeavoured to press the action early with little success. Zhang observed and when the opportunity arose he quickly secured a takedown and locked in the fight ending rear naked choke early in round 1. Full credit to Mikey for stepping up and taking on such and experienced opponent; and for Zhang, well a title shot is well and truly on the cards in the very near future.
Issac Hardman def. Rob Hill via KO (Punch) in Round 2 to retain the AFC Lightweight Championship
Prior to the fight, I referred to Issac Hardman as a puzzle that needed to be solved, and although Rob had moments of success, he was unable to solve the puzzle and Issac well and truly slammed the window shut!
Round 1 was entertaining; Issac used that textbook straight right to set up his arsenal and keep his opponent at distance where he could slowly pick him apart. Rob used the left body kick very effectively and landed 5 or 6 in the first round, which definitely got his opponents attention. Rob was also able to secure a takedown (albeit very brief) as Issac was able to immediately return to his feet and continue to pepper with strikes.
In round 2 Rob looked to continue to use the left body kick however Issac telegraphed and went BOOM! The overhand landed flush on Rob’s chin and knocked him out cold! With that Issac retained the AFC Lightweight Title and confirmed his status as the best Lightweight in the Country. One must ponder if anyone can take the strap of this young martial arts phenomenon…?
Rameau Sokoudjou def. Jamie Abdallah via TKO (Strikes) in Round 2 to win the AFC Light Heavyweight Championship
Pre fight there was a lot of bickering, however when the cage doors closed these two martial arts beasts literally beat the hell out of each other in one of the wildest fights of the night.
In round 1, Jamie took the early control and forced Sokoudjou to the cage where he landed a number of strikes, knees and even a flying knee whilst looking to setup his trademark uppercut. Sokoudjou was able to fire back though and also landed some clean punches and a big knee as well as a takedown however Jamie was able to immediately return to his feet where the combatants continued to throw down.
In round 2, Jamie again clinched and forced his opponent to the cage where he threw what seemed like 15 punches and knees, which, had Sokoudjou badly hurt, and on the brink of defeat. But as Sokoudjou has so many times in his career, he fired back and landed a huge elbow followed by a right hand that dropped and stumbled Jamie. Sokoudjou pounced and although Jamie showed tremendous heart in trying to survive, a number of unanswered blows on the ground forced the referee to stop this one and with that the AFC crowned a new Light Heavyweight Champion. Both fighters were respectful after the bout; Sokoudjou now becomes the hunted and Jamie will be back bigger and better than ever in the very near future.
So AFC 21 is in the books, and what a story the AFC and Kunlun Fight are beginning to write together. Action packed fights, devastating finishes and energetic crowds is the recipe for ultimate success and the revolution of Australasian Martial Arts.
‘Wrap Up’ by Josh Warner – AFC