Absolute MMA and Conditioning trained Lukaz Catubig upset two-time Brace featherweight champion Jamie Mullarkey in the Brace 42 main event on Saturday.
The event, which featured the promotion’s semi-final match ups for the 2016 championship tournament, took place at the AIS Arena in Canberra and was streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.
The action heated up right from the opening bell and before long the two were going toe-to-toe against the cage before Mullarkey dropped down and moved the fight to the canvas. There, Mullarkey frustrated Catubig with short elbows from half guard before Catubig scrambled and regained his feet with one minute left in the round. Mullarkey had other plans, however, and shot in for another takedown and the round played out with Mullarkey on top dropping punches.
Round two began with Mullarkey taking centre cage as the two exchanged strikes. Mullarkey once again got it to the ground then unloaded with heavy elbows there from mount. Catubig rolled desperately and Mullarkey seized the opportunity and locked in a rear-naked choke. Catubig escaped and after the two men returned to their feet, Mullarkry drove in for a takedown however it was Catubig who found himself in top position, and from mount, he dropped short elbows on the trapped former champion until the ref waved it off.
The victory follows Catubig’s quick-fire KO of Kris Spence at Brace 38.
In the co-main event, hard hitting central coast welterweight Rick Alchin outworked Eternal MMA title holder Tristan Murphy to take home a unanimous decision. Alchin was able to take Murphy’s back in the opening round following a solid takedown, and with both hooks in, proceeded to frustrate him with short shots as he searched for the rear-naked choke. Murphy, however, did well defending the submission attempt and to see the round out.
Much of the same continued to begin the second frame with Alchin wrestling Murphy to the canvas before taking his back. Murphy scrambled and mounted the stocky welterweight, but while searching for a submission, Alchin reversed the position. The two grappled for the remainder of the round with Alchin landing more short shots from half guard.
Once again Alchin found Murphy’s back early in the third round. Alchin soon moved to mount but Murphy got it back to half guard before the fight closed out and was awarded to Alchin unanimously.
Ballarat based Sam Hayward got back on track with a nice first round arm-bar submission of last year’s welterweight finalist Theo Christakos.
Anthony Bynoe and Nurbolat Kuandyk met in an entertaining, fast-paced lightweight battle contested mainly on the feet for the opening two rounds with both fighters utilising their kicking games well. The final round hit the canvas and saw Kuandyk come close to finishing the contest with a triangle choke, however in the end it was Bynoe who walked away with a close split decision victory.
Alex MacDonald started strong against Jesse Medina and had no reservations taking the BJJ specialist to the canvas in the other lightweight tournament semi-final. As usual, Medina stayed active from the bottom, looking dangerous, however MacDonald out-muscled him from the top position, moving to half guard multiple times and landing short shots for the majority of the opening two rounds. Medina was in desperate need of a finish going into the final frame, however once again MacDonald took him strongly to the canvas. Medina was able to find a sweep midway through the round but it was MacDonald who gained top position again and held onto it until the fight closed out. The Integrated MMA product earned a well deserved unanimous decision for his effort.
Explosive ATT product Darwin Sagurit got back on track against Byron Cowell in a bantamweight semi-final fight stopping the Sydney based Kiwi in the opening round with hard punches against the cage.
The opening bantamweight tournament bout between Richie Ivory and Ben Watson lasted just 66 seconds after Ivory dropped Watson flat on his back with a head-kick following a brief feeling out period.