In a battle of two undefeated fighters, Tasmanian Rob Wilkinson upset hometown favourite Jamie Abdallah to capture the AFC middleweight title, while in the co-main event, Alex Volkanovski again proved why his is one of the countries best fighters with a win over fellow featherweight prospect Jamie Mullarkey.
The event took place at the Melbourne Pavilion in Victoria, Australia on Saturday night.
The loud and boisterous crowd really got behind their local fighter Jamie Abdallah as he entered the cage to a standing ovation. Wilkinson on the other hand, looked at ease, and welcomed the challenge of being the visitor.
The bout began with a jab from each of the fighters during the feeling out process as both fighters looked to work their game early. Abdallah threw a flurry of early punches before being taken down by his opponent. Abdallah wouldn’t stay on his back long as he wall walked his way back to his feet. It was battle of two different game plans as Wilkinson secured a further three takedowns in the opening round which included nearly securing a rear-naked choke submission. Abdallah on his feet remained aggressive, constantly on the front-foot throwing a flurry of strikes.
It was much the same early in the second where Abdallah moved forward throwing heavy punches only to give up the takedown only for Abdallah to escape back to his feet. This time the local fighter started to find his mark, tagging Wilkinson with punches and upper cuts. Wilkinson did secure a takedown and again looked to take his opponent’s back. Abdallah escaped and immediately charged forward with an array of strikes with Wilkinson at this stage looking visibly bloodied up. Abdallah put an exclamation mark on the round with a takedown of his own.
It was a back-and-forth battle early in the third as both fighters slowed. Abdallah attempted a knee and rushed ahead with a desperate takedown attempt which was stuffed by. The Tasmanian upped the pace, came forward and picked his shots. A punch ultimately dropped Abdallah with the referee controversially jumping in to stop the contest.
The official time came at 4:37 of round three. Wilkinson moves his record to an impressive 10-0 and in the process captures the AFC middleweight title.
Alex Volkanovski met Jamie Mullarkey in a highly anticipated match-up between two fighters. Volkanovski opened up with strikes and the takedown early. Mullarkey was able to work back to his feet where the two fighters grappled for position against the fence. The two separated and shortly after Volkanovski dropped Mullarkey with an overhand right. The Wollongong fighter pounced on his opponent, and started to throw heavy ground-and-pound. Mullarkey escaped back to his feet and was met by a leg-kick. Volkanovski slipped a punch from Mullarkey and countered with devastating overhand right to get the knockout victory.
The win was Volkanovski’s ninth in a row as he successfully defends his AFC featherweight title as he again proves why he may be the top prospect in the country no currently signed with the UFC.
The first-round of the lightweight eight-man tournament also began on the night and it proved a good night for the sports veterans with Ben Wall, Gokhan Turkyilmaz and Rob Hill all securing wins. Joining them will be New Zealand fighter James Bishop who also secured a win.