Decorated striker Ben Edwards made a successful MMA debut, stopping Brandon Sosoli in the first round with ground-and-pound.
The 33-year-old headlined the sold out Monaro Fight Circuit 25 event in his hometown of Canberra on Saturday night.
The bout was originally scheduled at heavyweight but was moved to a super-heavyweight contest after Sosoli advised that he could not make the contracted 120kg weight limit.
Edwards was taken down in the opening minutes of the fight but did well to work his way back up from off of his back. The win came for the local favourite after a failed takedown attempt from Sosoli allowed Edwards to find mount and rain down strikes until the ref waved it off.
Edwards has teamed up with Commonwealth games Judoka Dukie Didier to refine his ground game after spending more than a decade competing in kickboxing against some of the top fighters in the world, including current UFC heavyweight Alistair Overeem.
“I was into MMA before I was into any other fight sport,” Edwards told Fight News Australia back in March 2016.
“I used to buy UFC tapes from the back of the health / martial arts shop and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Something about seeing that for the first time was strangely familiar and really hit home with me, I felt so naturally drawn towards it in a way I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. Unfortunately kickboxing was the only thing available in my city at the time.
“I’m a natural in the grappling aspect and I can’t wait to put some wins together and march into the UFC.”
A former AFC heavyweight champion, Sosoli drops his second fight in a row with the result following his first round KO loss to Tai Tuivasa 12 months ago.