Bringing a next instalment of the Australasian Fighting Championships, the AFC hit up the surf coast down in beautiful Geelong for its biggest show to date. With two championship belts on the line, legendary big wave surfer Richie Vas and our first WMMA fight, this was always going to be a big event and it certainly delivered.
Dan “The Riot” Hyatt vs Jamie “The Wild Child” Stewart
Kicking off the card was MMA veteran Dan Hyatt taking on the very dangerous striker Jamie Stewart. There was a lot of mutual respect between the two former Tasmanians who now call Brisbane and Darwin home respectively. Hyatt was visibly the larger of the two fighters and kept Stewart at range, striking from a distance and throwing a flying knee early.
Stewart answered with leg kicks and strikes until Hyatt caught a left kick from Stewart and used a trip to take him down. Stewart looked to have Hyatt in some danger as he wrapped him in guard with the beginnings of a head arm choke, but Hyatt escaped and transitioned beautifully to side control and then swiftly to full mount where he unloaded some strikes and Stewart gave up his back and Hyatt locked in a very quick rear naked choke ending the first fight 1:40 into round one.
Winner: Dan Hyatt, Rear Naked Choke (1:40) Round One.
Troy “Um Nam” Resic vs Mikey “Mental” Vaotuua
Fight number two brought two crowd favourites into a collision course, with Geelong local Troy Resic taking on Mikey Vaotuua. From the opening bell both boys were swinging from the fences. Vaotuua caught Resic early with a huge left, but Resic was unfazed and clinched Vaotuua and ran him about the ring for a takedown, but ended up on the bottom in guard. Resic threatened from the bottom with a triangle and armbar before the ring ropes got in the way and forced a reset in the centre of the ring. It was a relentless affair with both fighters going for broke for the entire fight, Vaotuua connected with numerous heavy handed strikes, but Resic refused to go down and fired back.
At the end of round one Resic caught Vaotuua in a leg lock, but it wasn’t tight enough, so he transitioned to a knee bar. As he was extending it the bell for the end of the round sounded, capping off a fantastic round for both fighters. Rounds two and three were just as exciting, as both fighters tired and fought for dominance in what was a close fight. However the judges scored in a majority points decision for Mikey Vaotuua in what was the AFC 3 Fight of the Night.
Winner: Mikey Vaotuua (Majority Points Decision).
Next up we had a demonstration from two of Geelong’s young Taekwondo gold medallists from the 2011 World Games, Nicholas Kallipolitis and Zorancho Talevski from Elite Taekwondo, who showcased their spectacular talent, in a traditional martial arts exhibition bout. Special thanks to Manny and Catherine from Elite Taekwondo for helping us put on this showcase.
“Slammin” Sam Faiers vs Gene Kapaufs
Sam Faiers took on Gene Kapaufs in our third fight of the night. Kapaufs was a late replacement for local Muay Thai legend Chris Bradford who was unfortunately forced off the card with malaria after a trip to Thailand. Bradford fought just two weeks before in a muay thai show in what was hailed as a battle for the ages in a fight of the night performance, so it was a big loss for the show and the crowd not to have him.
Sam Faiers preparation was for a striker and his opponent changed to a commonwealth games wrestler in Kapaufs, so a lot of credit must go to both fighters for taking the fight. It was a classic stylistic match up of striker verse wrestler and there wasn’t much doubt to where either fighter wanted to take the fight. Faiers was confident and aggressive early and landed some good shots, but Kapaufs clinched used his superior wrestling to take the fight to the ground where he stayed heavy and prevented Faiers attempts to stand and landed some solid ground and pound. Round two Faiers came out fresh despite the punishment he absorbed from the first round and landed some heavy leg kicks early and stuffed a good take down attempt by Kapaufs. After an exchange Faiers clinched and Kapaufs fought hard for a takedown, putting Faiers back on the canvas.
From inside the guard Kapaufs landed some heavy ground and pound while Faiers threw up some strikes from the bottom. As Faiers opened his guard to escape Kapaufs forced his way to half guard and landed some heavy elbows and strikes to Faiers head until the end of round two. Round three Faiers came out firing, two rounds down he knew he had to go for it landing some more solid leg kicks. Gene rushed in a secured a takedown, Faiers locked in a guillotine but was only in half guard and didn’t have the leverage and Kapaufs powered out of it. Faiers managed to stand but Kapaufs held his over hook and kept head control and delivered some good knees and Faiers was opened up badly at the back of his ear. Another takedown and Kapaufs worked for the back and rear naked choke, Faiers was resilient so Kapaufs transitioned to side mount and pounded away with ground and pound for a finish at 2:40 in round three.
Winner: Gene Kapaufs, TKO( Punches) (2:40) Round Three.
Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt vs Daniela Marjanovic
In a much anticipated match up, the new face of womens MMA in Australia Bec Hyatt took on Sydneysider traditional martial artist Daniella Marjanovic. Many were expecting this to be fight of the night and it certainly delivered. The atmosphere in the crowd was amazing and there was more support for this fight than any other of the night, the noise in The Arena was deafening. We knew this was going to go off from the opening bell and without question it did! Marjanovic landed a right kick and was immediately counted by Hyatt’s left hook and a right which dropped Marjanovic, who quickly fired up a double upkick glancing off Hyatt, who then fought straight to back control and locked in a rear naked choke and unconventionally pulled Marjanovic backwards. The choke was sunk incredibly deep and despite elbow strikes by Marjanovic to Hyatt’s legs, she held on and choked Marjanovic unconscious.
Marjanovic was out for some time, while Dan Hyatt and others nursed her back to consciousness. Full credit to the warrior that is Marjanovic for not tapping out and fighting to the end, it’s a credit to her and to WMMA. As Bec Hyatt said before the fight, she wants to redefine the saying “you fight like a girl” and I think together the heart of both girls have made some headway in that department. There certainly hasn’t been many examples of husband and wife fighting on the same fight card, but in what is likely an Australian, if not worldwide first, the Hyatt’s made sure they made us all take notice both winning in the first round in emphatic fashion.
Winner: Bec Hyatt, Rear Naked Choke (0:21) Round One.
Richie Vas vs Matt “Jagerbomb” Jaggers
Bra Boy, big wave surfer and star of the recent documentary “Fighting Fear” (8 – 1) Richie Vas was up next, taking on the experienced The Ultimate Fighter 14 contestant the American (20 – 7) Matt “Jagerbomb” Jaggers. Matt Jaggers certainly had the experience advantage, having faced legends such as “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. However, the support was definitely behind Richie Vas as both the locals and the Bra Boys made their allegiance known.
At the outset, Vas rushed from his corner and was immediately chasing down Jaggers, pushing him against the ring ropes and using in and out striking. Jaggers was composed and kept his distance while firing back shots of his own including some nice leg kicks. Richie changed levels and threw strikes to the head and body while continuing to push Jaggers against the ropes and cut down his movement. Jaggers went for a takedown, but Vas easily stuffed it. Both fighters engaged and Jaggers threw a nice overhand, and then went for a takedown which Vas stuffed again. Vas then clipped Jaggers with a nice right and left. Jaggers regained his composure and threw back a huge uppercut which narrowly missed and used his jab to establish some distance. As Vas was coming inside Jaggers caught him with a nice right and he started to look settled for the first time, landing some good shots of his own. Both fighters landed some nice hooks and then Vas landed a right hook to the body that visibly hurt Jaggers.
Though he recovered quickly, the next left hook from Vas however dropped Jaggers, who collapsed into the ring ropes. Vas fell into guard and unleashed some unanswered ground and pound and referee Chris Shen called a stop to this fight at 2:38 in round one. It was a great effort by Vas, who used constant pressure to wear down the Jaggers. The last two fights have shown a vast improvement by Richie Vas and interest must surely be rising to see him rematch his only loss and arguably Australia’s #1 bantamweight Gustavo Falciroli.
Winner: Richie Vas, TKO (Punches)(2:38) Round One.
Lightweight title fight: Rusty “The Wrecking Ball” McBride vs Daniel Hooker
Next was the first of the two title fights, contested in the lightweight division pitting Rusty “The Wrecking Ball” McBride versus New Zealand’s champion Daniel Hooker. Both have fought in the AFC before – Rusty has fought and won on every previous AFC show over Matt Prince, Yuma Ishizuka and Richard Buhrmann respectively. Hooker also fought on the last show, versus Yuma Ishizuka and got a decision win, in similar fashion to Rusty’s win, setting up this intriguing championship bout. Contested over 5 x 5 minute rounds, I don’t think there were many that thought that this fight would go the distance. Rusty was steely eyed, poised and ready, while Hooker was relaxed and calm in the other corner.
At the bell there was a quick feeling out process and Hooker threw a high kick to keep Rusty on his toes, Rusty answered with a flurry, though Hooker moved back and avoided the blows. Hooker threw a massive leg kick which landed hard and then Rusty threw one of his own in reply, which also landed hard. It was shaping up as a war of attrition, with strike for strike blows, Hooker staying on the outside and Rusty launching in. As Rusty rushed in he caught Hooker with a low blow and the referee stepped in to give time for Hooker to recover. He only needed a few moments and then the referee restarted it.
Wasting no time, Hooker threw a vicious head kick which connected, though Rusty fired back with another flurry of blows stalking Hooker across the ring. The two clinched and Rusty fired some solid shots to the body, while Hooker landed a clean knee to the head which dropped Rusty to the canvas. Rusty recovered immediately and ate another knee getting up, but Hooker backed up before landing a leg kick. Hooker landed a nice jab to the mouth of Rusty and Rusty pushed forward clinching against the ropes. Hooker secured double underhooks, whilst Rusty got an arm hooked through the ring ropes and the referee stopped the fight, freed the arm and then let the fight continue. Hooker works for a takedown, while Rusty throws left hooks to Hookers head. A vicious knee from the clinch by Hooker lands low and the cracking noise is audible throughout The Arena.
Rusty was visibly shaken and in a great deal of discomfort from the blow and required a few minutes to recover. A touch of gloves and then another head kick by Hooker which was blocked and then Hooker through a body kick which Rusty caught and then threw two rights which connected well. Rusty stalked Hooker and threw strikes and then a kick and slipped and Hooker capitalised, getting into guard and quickly passing to side control, before ending up with a head arm control from the front and then the fight returned to the feet while Rusty then worked for a takedown. Hooker secured double underhooks again and a delivered a big knee to Rusty’s head before taking Rusty down and securing his back. Rusty defended well and Hooker slipped off, only to take down Rusty again and land in half guard. Rusty threw up a guillotine, but didn’t have the leverage to finish and probably wisely chose not to go for it. Hooker transitioned well and from a loose half guard started to unload some big ground and pound, while Rusty complained it was to the back of the head.
Hooker then locked in head arm control and used it to try and transition to the back. He managed to get the back and a rear naked choke locked in, but without any hooks. Hooker seemed a little too high on Rusty’s back to finish the choke. Unable to finish it, Hooker maintained back control and delivered ground and pound until the end of the round. In between rounds, the doctor checked on Rusty’s eye and gave it the all clear. Rusty looked like he’d been in a fight, Hooker by comparison was pacing in the other corner ready for round number two.
At the bell both fighters looked good coming out for the second round, Rusty still focused and Hooker still very relaxed. There was a quick feeling out process again, with Hooker again throwing a headkick which missed. Hooker then landed a nice leg kick and Rusty answered with a flurry pushing Hooker the length of the ring into the ring ropes and both fighters clinched. Rusty threw some nice strikes from inside the clinch as they fight around the ring, while Hooker returns some solid knees of his own landing high on Rusty. Rusty then dropped for a takedown and pushed Hooker against the ropes. Hooker defended the takedown and ended up with Rusty’s back and walked him around the ring looking for a takedown of his own, while delivering some knees to the legs of Rusty. Rusty fights for a reverse kimura from back control – a move made famous by Sakuraba. Hooker completed the takedown, though Rusty got back to feet and Hooker got a single leg takedown and wound up getting side back control. Hooker was looking for another rear naked choke, putting his hooks in, but some clever defence allowed Rusty to slip out the back door and get back to his feet, but he ate another knee to the head. Back on the feet, both fighters exchanged heavy leg kicks and some crisp striking. Rusty seemed to be finding his range and then Hooker landed a short elbow which opened up Rusty just above his eye. Rusty landed some heavy strikes in return, but the referee was forced to call a halt to get the cut checked by the doctor as the cut started bleed heavily.
As the fight restarts Rusty came out all guns firing, but Hooker answered with more accurate strikes, including a nice stiff jab. Rusty flurried as he ate a leg kick, but the blood was in his eyes and he clearly couldn’t see. He turned away holding his eyes and Hooker threw a final punch which connected hard and Rusty staggered and fell. The referee then stepped in and called a halt, Rusty made his way to his corner and the doctor called an end to the fight. The last punch was a little contentious, but the fight continues until the referee stops the fight.
Winner Lightweight championship: Daniel Hooker, Doctor Stoppage (Cut) (3:57) Round Two.
Heavyweight title fight: Soa “The Hulk” Palelei vs Joe “Doc” Kielur
Last up was the battle of the big boys for the inaugural AFC heavyweight title. Joe goes into the fight with a perfect 10 and 0 record, Soa goes into the fight 15 and 3, having demolished his previous opponents. The bell rings and the fighters touch gloves. The Doc throws a left jab to Soa’s body then goes for a takedown unsuccessfully.
As Joe throws a leg kick to Soa, Soa picks Joe up into the air slamming him flat down on his back with a quick take down, within the 11th second of the fight, this spells danger for the big man from the US.
Soa then forcefully pins him down using his weight, pushing Joe to the corner of the ring close to the ropes. Soa gets into full mount, postures up and starts to unload throwing elbows and strikes. The Doc blocks a few of the blows but Soa’s pure strength and power punches break through his guard. Soa knocks him out at the 1.13 mark of the first round taking his record to 16 and 3. It’s an emphatic win by The Hulk who becomes the AFC Heavyweight champion.
Winner Heavyweight championship: Soa Palelei (KO) (1.13) Round 1
- Dan Hyatt defeats Jamie Stewart via SUB – round 1
- Mikey Vaotuua defeats Troy Resic via UND
- Gene Kapaufs defeats Sam Faiers via TKO – 2:40 seconds of round 3
- Bec Hyatt defeats Daniela Marjanovic via. SUB (RNC) – 21 seconds of round 1
- Richie Vas defeats Matt Jaggers via. TKO – 2:38 of round 1
- Daniel Hooker defeats Rusty McBride via TKO (Doctor Stoppage, cut) – 3:57 in round 2
- Soa Palelei defeats Joe Kielur via. TKO (Full Mount) – round 1
Adam Milankovic, Matt Pillios, Tony Del Vecchio, Justine Milankovic, Malissa Thompson, DJ J Funk,
Sean Bridger, Liam Crain, Nikola Yerkovich, Jess Sinclair, Kirsty-Lee, Anthony Yankovski, Sam Greco, epicentre, unseen TV. And AFC sponsors GNC, Antler, The Sporting Globe, Finance Funding Australia, WMD