Australian Fighting Championships returns this Saturday night at the Melbourne Pavilion, and for the very first time, the promotion has partnered up with Chinese promotional powerhouse Kunlun Fight to co-promote the event.
The historic ten-fight card culminates with two title fights put on the line and also includes it’s fair share of international and local talent.
In the main-event, Victorian striking specialist Jamie Abdallah will defend his light-heavyweight title against Bellator, Pride and UFC veteran Rameau Sokoudjou.
Abdallah (7-1), has been inactive due to injury, having last fought back in April 2016. There, Abdallah ventured down to middleweight to contend for the middleweight strap, but was stopped at the hands of newly signed UFC fighter Rob Wilkinson. The 26-year-old captured the light-heavyweight belt back in March 2015 with a quick stoppage over Daniel Almeida, before defending it six-months later against Randall Rayment.
Judo specialist Sokoudjou (18-18) has been very active as of late and currently is on a two loss streak against formidable opposition in Sergei Kharitonov and Lukasz Jurkowski. Sokoudjou made his AFC debut earlier in the year in China, where he disposed of Brazilian Marcelo Tenorio quickly in round one via a brutal ground-and-pound stoppage.
In the co-main event, undefeated rising star Issac Hardman will be looking at defending the AFC lightweight strap when he takes on the much more experienced Rob Hill.
Fighting out of Team Integrated MMA & Nitro Boxing in Brisbane, Hardman (8-0) defends for the first time after capturing it with a win over James Bishop in China back in April. Hardman added the XFC lightweight title, defeating New Zealander Kieran Joblin in August.
A veteran of over a decade, Hardman’s opponent Rob Hill (14-9-1) has been very impressive in his last three outings going undefeated in all of them. Most recently, Hill took a unanimous decision win over TUF Smashes vet Ben Wall at AFC 17, which played out to be a back-and-forth war. The 32-year-old will have experience on his side, having competed locally and internationally with wins against the likes of Bernardo Magalhaes and Japanese fighter Yusuke Kasuya among his accomplishments.
Also on the card, promotional favourite Mikey Vaotuua is matched up against Chinese UFC veteran & TUF winner Zhang Lipeng in what promises to be entertaining stand-up war. Additionally local undefeated fighter Daniel Jones takes on Spaniard Francisco Jose Vinueles.
David Lewellin is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.