Hex Fight Series returned for show number nine on Friday night to a sold out venue at the Melbourne Pavilion and telecast live on Fox Sports Australia.
In the main event hometown stand-out Jim Crute continued his winning ways and looked unstoppable in a quick and dominant performance over Queensland based Ben Kelleher.
The rematch and title bout for the Hex light heavyweight championship played out similar to their first installment, but Crute looked to be much improved, more confident and aggressive this time around.
Crute began the fight with a heavy leg kick and then quickly dove in for the takedown on Kelleher which was successful. Crute then proceeded to attack for multiple submission attempts while also being active with his grounded strikes. Crute’s aggressiveness and patience for the submission ended up paying off when he sunk in a tight arm triangle choke forcing Kelleher to tap only 1:23 into the bout, much to the happiness of the Melbourne crowd.
With the win, Crute is awarded with his first title and moves to
4-0 5-0 as a professional, while Kelleher drops to 12-11. Post fight, Crute was gracious in Kelleher taking the late notice fight and also made it known that he would be pushing for a UFC call up.
The initial semi-main event between Jordan Cameron and Kyle Aguon was scrapped at late notice when Cameron was forced to withdraw to due to a bad cut.
Moving up to the co-headliner spot was undefeated Australian Top Team prospect Trent Girdham who took on Absolute MMA’s Luke Catubig. The grueling back-and-forth match was primarily fought in the clinch and wrestling department as Girdham initiated and pressured his opponent into grappling with him.
Girdham controlled the fight with his forward pressure and multiple takedowns, but Catubig proved to be tricky and hard to keep down, scrambling back up onto his feet with most take downs. While battling it out in the clinch, both fighters were active with knees. Catubig did have good moments in the stand-up department. Girdham also worked for multiple chokes on Catubig, but Catubig was able to demonstrate great resilience in defending the submissions.
In the end, constant pressure, advantages in grappling and a great game plan were the keys for Girdham being awarded a unanimous decision victory. With the win, Girdham remains undefeated taking his record to 6-0, while Catubig drops to 8-7-1.
Also on the main-card, Bellator veteran JJ Ambrose was matched up against TUF Smashes alumni Ben Wall in a catchweight bout. In round one, Wall surprisingly initiated the takedown early on and was aggressive with his striking opting to attack with powerful hooks and a wild array of strikes.
In round two and three Ambrose picked his shots well and connected cleanly throughout using his jab effectively and countering with left hooks. Wall opted for spinning kicks and strikes to keep his opponent guessing. A flurry of strikes from Ambrose in the later rounds looked to have clearly wobbled Wall and left him bloodied up. Wall didn’t show any signs of slowing down and he continued to use his footwork, but Ambrose kept on connecting cleanly with his strikes.
Ambrose’s overall striking superiority and volume resulted in a unanimous decision victory. Post fight Ambrose announced that he had signed with Bellator and that his match against Ben Wall would be his last with the Hex Fight Series promotion.
Additionally of note, James McGlashan proved to be too strong for fellow Victorian Aidan Aguilera and Daniel Jones was impressive in implementing all facets of MMA to take a decision win against Aydin Mrouki.
Photo Credit: http://www.williamluu.com.au/
Updated: Record amended for Crute from 4-0 to 5-0.
David Lewellin is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.