Australian Fighting Championship returned to the Melbourne Pavilion on Saturday night, this time around as a co promoted event with Kunlun Fight, adding a different flavour to the usual Victorian based production. The event culminated in two spectacular KO finishes in bouts that were contended for title straps.
In the main event, defending light heavyweight champion Jamie Abdallah took on Pride, Bellator and UFC veteran Rameau Sokoudjou for the AFC light heavyweight championship.
During the entrances, hometown fighter Abdallah most definitely had the local crowd on his side, as the Melbourne fans deafeningly roared and cheered in support of their hometown hero. Sokoudjou entered the arena calm and collected looking ready to put on a show.
Round one began with both fighters going in for the kill early as a wild back and forth exchange ensued. Sokoudjou went for the takedown which was successful, but Abdallah quickly worked himself back onto his feet. Abdallah continued to work his jab well, while Sokoudjou attempted to utilise his leg kicks. Abdallah persisted to push the pace of the fight moving forward the whole round while throwing powerful punches and knees, Sokoudjou backed away but kept on fighting with solid hooks and uppercuts of his own. Abdallah finished off the round strong attacking Sokoudjou with a wild barrage of knees, elbows and punches against the fence.
Abdallah began round two where he left off in the first, aggressively going in for the kill with a flurry of strikes, but this time both fighters looked to have slowed down considerably. Both combatants were effective with knees in the clinch in short bursts. A vicious right elbow followed by a strong hook dazed Abdallah. Abdallah looked to survive, but Sokoudjou continued on with heavy uppercuts and hooks which ended with Abdallah on his back and Sokoudjou raining down ground and pound, forcing the bout to be stopped at 2:16 of round two.
With the win, Sokoudjou is crowned the new AFC light heavyweight champion and the combat sports veteran now takes his professional record to 19-18. Following the loss, Abdallah falls to 7-2. Post fight, Abdallah was gracious in defeat and after a long lay off will be looking at getting back in the win column.
Drawn into the hurricane of knees and punches, Abdallah would have needed one deciding strike to finish it all, but damn, you’d never see what’ coming up next second in the octagon. Press USE APP to watch how veteran Sokoudjou copes with his “displaced anger”.
Posted by Kunlun Fight on Saturday, October 28, 2017
In the co main event, Queensland rising star and defending AFC lightweight champion Issac Hardman was matched up against the title challenger, veteran fighter Rob Hill.
In the initial feeling out process, Hardman attempted to use more straight punches, while Hill attacked with a looping hook and leg kick. Hill initiated the takedown early, but Hardman defended well. Hardman continued to use his jab to keep Hill at bay, while Hill attacked with leg kicks to restrict Hardman’s movement. Throughout the rest of the round, Hill chose to attack with looping hooks and leg kicks, with Hardman opting to go with crisp jab, cross combinations. Hardman looked to be composed under pressure patiently waiting for an opportunity to counter strike, while Hill was the aggressor in the round.
In round two, Hill continued to use his leg kicks. Hardman used good head movement. Hill again went in for the leg kick, but as he was coming in, Hardman connected with a vicious overhand right knocking Hill out flat on impact.
With the win, Hardman retains the lightweight title and furthers his undefeated professional record to 9-0, with Rob Hill dropping to 14-10-1 with the result.
Knockout of the year??
Issac Hardman dispatches Rob Hill with a one-punch KO in Melbourne last night.
(video credit: Kunlun Fight / AFC – Australian Fighting Championships)
Posted by Fight News Australia on Saturday, October 28, 2017
Also on the night, Chinese fighter and UFC veteran Zhang Lipeng made quick work of Sydney based Mikey Vaotuua, claiming the submission early on in round one. Additionally, hometown fighter Daniel Jones remained undefeated earning a second round TKO victory over Spaniard Francisco Jose Vinueles.
David Lewellin is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.