Australian Fighting Championship has returned to Australia in style, as the Melbourne Pavilion played host to the sublime skills of undefeated striker Israel Adesanya. The New Zealand based fighter was able to make short work of UFC and Bellator veteran Melvin Guillard, advancing his impressive record to 10-0 and capturing the AFC interim middleweight title in the process.
Guillard was ‘the Style Benders’ toughest and most legitimate opponent to date, having competed against the world’s best in several top-flight organisations. Having competed against some of the worlds best kickboxers, however, it was no surprise that Adesanya was able to gain the advantage on the feet, landing crisp straight punches and heavy kicks.
Though the most impressive aspect of Adesanya’s performance was the grappling clinic he put on. Not only was he able to stuff Guillard’s takedowns, but he also effectively implemented his own judo throws and brutal ground and pound to secure the first round TKO victory.
Training out of the City Kickboxing gym in Auckland, Adesanya’s win sets him up for a fight with incumbent AFC middleweight champion Rob Wilkinson (11-0), with the victor cementing their place as one of Oceania’s best in the weight division.
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The initial middleweight title fight between Priscus Fogagnolo and Dylan Andrews was scrapped after Fogagnalo was forced out of the match due to a nasty knee injury.
Elsewhere on the card, Brace champion Theo Christakos and former UFC fighter Anton Zafir locked in a welterweight championship bout against each other with victories on the night over Abdullah Hamdan and Hoshi Friedrich respectively.
In what was his first fight back since his UFC release, Zafir was able to employ his superior grappling skills and avoid some tricky submission attempts from Friedrich to secure a first round TKO victory.
Christakos, meanwhile, had a similarly impressive performance against savvy veteran Hamdan. Christakos calmly endured Hamdan’s aggressive opening before gradually taking over the fight by the end of the first round utlising his impressive grappling skills. By the second round Christakos’ grappling proved to be the difference as he systematically took Hamdan down and finished him.
Zafir and Christakos will square off against each other at a later date, yet to be announced by the promotion.
Following their international debut in mainland China this past April, the promotion will now make their Chinese return on August 5. Fight Card details are yet to be announced for the upcoming event.
AFC 20 was streamed live right here at Fight News Australia. A full replay of the event is now available.
Jake Crane is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.