Corey Nelson made his first successful defence of his Superfight welterweight title at a packed Club Punchbowl in Western Sydney on Friday night. Nelson took on tough New Zealander B.J. Bland in a five-round fight that went the distance.
Bland was put on the back foot from the opening bell as Nelson started the fight like a freight train storming forward, landing consecutive punches and a spinning back fist that rocked the Kiwi. Bland stumbled away from Nelson as the ref looked on closely as it appeared the fight could be stopped early. Nelson then landed a huge takedown as he lifted Bland up and smashed him onto the canvas, shaking the entire cage in the process. Nelson connected with short shots from side control before Bland was able to get back to his feet and press Nelson up against the cage.
It looked as though Nelson was going to be too big and too strong for Bland who was originally looking to be matched up at lightweight before the opportunity to face Nelson arrived. After weathering the early storm from the Aussie, Bland did extremely well controlling much of the fight by pressing Nelson up against the cage to try and slow him down and take away his power punches. When Nelson could separate from the clinch he was able to land the more powerful strikes which ultimately won him the fight in the judges’ eyes. The judges scored the fight 50-45, 49-46 and 49-46, all for Nelson.
Both fighters were extremely well conditioned and kept a solid pace throughout the five-round fight. Now training out of the Lion’s Den Academy, Nelson proved once again why he is still one of the top welterweights in the country while Bland showed he is more than capable at taking fights at this level on this side of the Tasman.
Friday night’s win follows Nelson’s KO victory against Beau Rawiri last year and brings his record to 20-6-1 in the process. Bland, who was riding a five-fight winning streak, drops to 13-8.
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In the co-main event, PMA product David Francis earned his fourth consecutive victory defeating Tom Kingston in a fight that quickly turned into a slugfest.
Francis did well utilizing a strong leg kick early and landing well with the jab. Francis started to dominate Kingston early in the second round landing some big shots which closed the right eye of Kingston. Kingston showed huge amounts of heart as he caught a second wind towards the end of the round which ended with both fighters swinging for the fences. The start of the third round started like the end of the second as both fighters came out throwing wild punches, much to the delight of the Punchbowl crowd. Francis eventually shot and landed a takedown before taking Kingston’s back and finishing him with a rear-naked choke.
The win brings Francis’ professional record to 6-3. Kingston, meanwhile, has now lost three in a row and is 2-4 in his career.
In the other pro fight from the night, KMA trained James Vandarakis scored a first round stoppage against Robbie Lara, submitting the UDA/Roots product early with a rear-naked choke.