The anticipated return of Priscus Fogagnolo on Saturday night lived up to expectations and the hype. His opponent Daniel Way stepped up on just four days’ notice, as a replacement for American Jesse Taylor, but Way looked game and ready for the late notice main event challenge.
Hex Fight Series 5 took place at the Melbourne Pavilion.
Both athletes entered the cage appearing relaxed. Way, a native Victorian now based on the Gold Coast, received a big reception from the crowd.
As soon as the match began, Fogagnolo abruptly threw an overhand right, rushed forward, pushed Way against the fence and began striking with knees. He then successfully dragged Way down to the canvas. Fogagnolo took an opportunity to attack with elbows but Way worked himself back to his feet. Fogagnolo again took Way down and started aggressively attacking for submissions and strikes, from top position. Way stayed active from the bottom going for downward elbows on Fogagnolo. Way tried to get back to his feet, but was slammed back down onto the mat by Fogagnolo. Fogagnolo began amping it up, going berserk with elbows from the top. As Way aimed to get back to his feet, Fogagnolo got his back, and sunk in a rear naked choke, forcing Way to tap at 3:59 of round one. With the win Fogagnolo now takes his record to 8-1. Post-fight, Fogagnolo made his intentions clear that he will be working extensively towards a UFC call-up during the next six to twelve months.
The co-main event featured an International match between former UFC fighter Frank Trevino and former Bellator fighter JJ Ambrose. It was a close and competitive fight which was ultimately awarded to Trevino by split points decision, being more active and aggressive with strikes. Trevino also showed impressive takedown defense.
Additionally on the main card, hometown favourite Nick ‘Banjo’ Patterson took on Pancrase veteran, Hiroki Nagaoka. The match was a fast paced, back and forth battle, with Nagaoka aiming to get the fight to the ground. Patterson on the other hand kept to his stand-and-brawl game plan. Most of Nagaoka’s takedowns were halted by Patterson and when he was successful in getting Patterson down to the mat, it was only momentary. Patterson won the match by unanimous decision having outclassed the tough Japanese fighter in the striking department.
Some other highlights on the card included a stunning head kick KO by local welterweight Callan Potter on Sam Hayward early on in the third round. Hayward started the bout strong, turning the fight into a gritty boxing match, until the KO eventuated for Potter. There was also an upset in the middleweight division with Bendigo’s Jim Crute, making his pro debut on the night, submitting a much more experienced Ben Kelleher.
Also on the night the promotion announced a matchup between former UFC fighters Brian Ebersole and Steven Kennedy scheduled for Hex Fight Series 6 on June 24 at the same venue. The grudge match will be for the middleweight title.
David Lewellin is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.