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Australian Fighting Championship

I am a finisher!

Theo Christakos is a name that’s become synonymous with the Welterweight Division in Australian Mixed Martial Arts. Having chalked up 8 wins in his MMA career, and with names such as Alchin, Hamdan, and Mills on his resume Theo is rightfully and deservedly considered one of the best 170 pounders in the Country. That recognition, coupled with his sublime skill, got him a spot in the 4 man Welterweight Tournament and also gave him the tag of one of the early favourites. As a result, Theo entered the Melbourne Pavilion back in July with a huge amount of expectations on his shoulders.

July 2017 provided the platform for Theo’s AFC debut, and it was an experience that he most enjoyed:

“The experience was different as I was fighting in a city I had never fought in before. I had never been to Melbourne so I was excited to explore the city. Fighting in front of the Melbourne crowd was exciting and I was there to make my mark”

On that faithful night in Melbourne, Theo was matched with the hard hitting and ultra dangerous Abdullah Hamdan. In what was an incredibly entertaining bout, Theo prevailed in round 2 following a flurry of perfectly placed punches. The performance not only solidified as his status as an absolute weapon in the cage, it paved the way for a shot at AFC Gold:

“It was a slow start; I didn’t think I really showcased my skills as well as I would have liked to. At the end we were gunning for the victory so that I could make it to the final and demonstrate my full potential”

Theo’s approach to the fight with Hamdan was not exactly what everyone was expecting. Given Hamdan’s reputation as a feared striker, many expected Theo to shoot for the takedown and employ some ground and pound whilst looking for a submission opportunity. However, Theo chose to trade hands with his opponent and in doing so, basically beat him at his own game:

The game plan was to stand with him and eventually go for the take down and follow up with ground and pound. I felt like I could have kept standing with him and eventually knock him out but knowing that this was my ticket to the final, I took it to the ground knowing that I could finish him comfortably there”

Over 6 months has passed since Theo’s victory at AFC 20, which has given him plenty of time to get back in the gym and refine his craft. With less than 6 weeks until the huge title fight, Theo is now deep in training camp working on a game plan that he sincerely hopes will deliver him the AFC Welterweight Title:

“I have been improving my boxing, distance and most of all my cardio. I feel like my ground game is on another level”

Next up for Theo is UFC vet Anton Zafir with the AFC Welterweight Title on the line. Anton’s career speaks for itself and to most this would be considerably intimidating; however Theo is ready for the challenge and feels he will be a far more difficult opponent then that to whom Anton faced back at AFC 20:

“Anton is a great opponent; I met him backstage in Melbourne and he seemed very cool and a down to earth person. I think that his opponent was not up to his level, he was too inexperienced hence why Anton dismantled him quickly”

Further to Theo’s previous comment, Anton was dominant in his victory over Hoshi Friedrich at AFC 20. In particular Anton’s takedowns and ground and pound resembled somewhat of an onslaught that his opponent simply had no answer for. Theo is all too aware of the dangers in which Anton possesses, and thus he is preparing accordingly:

“I have been working on my take down defense and my striking. It won’t be that easy to just hold me down and ground and pound me. Just remember, I don’t like to be on my back so we kind of have a similar style to when it comes to the ground”

In a fight between two of the premier Welterweights in the Country, it can be very difficult to determine who holds the upper hand. Anton will no doubt bring some dangerous tools to the contest, however Theo is confident he’ll have the key advantages where it ultimately counts:”

“My boxing and my ground but specifically the power in my hands whether it be standing or ground and pound”

With just under 6 weeks until ShowTime, Theo will now place his preparation in the hands of a skilled and trusted team and mentor whom he credits for his success as a martial artist. The training partners he has access to and the coaches who will strategically prepare a game plan are the ingredients that Theo believes will construct the recipe for ultimate success:

“We will be preparing at KMA Top Team as always with my mentor Fari Salievski who is the strategic mind behind my fights and also Brian Ebersole who was a top contender in the UFC.  My training partners are Martin Nguyen who is the current 2-time champion in the ONE FC, Omer Suliman and Stevie Uruakalo who are always pushing me along side with KMA Top Team. Tom Cruiz my strength and conditioning coach has also helped me get to my physical peak”

The Welterweight Title fight will form the main event of the AFC’s first venture to Perth. Theo will have the distinct honour of headlining a card that underpins that continual expansion of MMA in Australia, and this is an honour that Theo has accepted with open arms:

“It’s an honor to be headlining an AFC card in Perth as it’s only my second time fighting for the event. I believe that I have earned this spot as I have fought top competitors in Australia and have never padded my record like so many fighters do in the local circuit. I take pride in fighting for the AFC as I want to encourage support for MMA in Australia as we have some of the best fighters in the world that could win belts in the UFC including me”

So in a career full of highlights and success, come March 17 Theo will look to take the next step and add the AFC Welterweight Championship to his ever-growing collection. Having taken the opportunity to ponder this potential accomplishment, Theo can’t wait to get to Perth and conquer the challenge that awaits:

“It would mean the world to me to having two belts – Brace belt and hopefully the AFC belt. I am looking forward to challenging Anton. The Perth fans will not be disappointed as I am a finisher and never like to leave my fights in the judge’s hands”

Tickets will be on sale Friday 9 February 2018.

Article by Josh Warner – AFC

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