Australian Fighting Championships 14 took place at what was a sold out Melbourne Pavilion on Saturday night. Hometown favourite, Jamie Abdallah retained his light heavyweight title and remained undefeated with a referee stoppage due to strikes in round three of the main event.
Also on the night, a highly anticipated rematch between former UFC-signed fighter Manuel Rodriguez and AFC welterweight champion Corey Nelson, five years in the making, ended with Rodriguez snatching the win via submission late in round two. The bout was moved to a non title match after Rodriguez missed weight.
Easily the biggest draw on the card with the largest hometown following was Jamie Abdallah. Sydney’s Randall Rayment his opponent looked calm, collected, and ready for a war.
The bout began without much of a feeling out process as Abdallah moved in with a jab then a flurry of uppercuts and knees. Rayment went for the takedown as Abdallah sprawled, the two clinched for a bit while battling for position before quickly separating. Rayment went in for a double leg this time, and was successful, but abdallah got back to his feet. Abdallah again showed that he was willing to brawl, connecting with some big shots. Rayment put out his hands signalling for more. Abdallah continued with big shots while Rayment reciprocated with another takedown attempt which was again stuffed by Abdallah. Rayment went for a judo trip and landed on top of Abdallah. Rayment worked for the rear naked choke, Abdallah fought back as he attempted to stand up and Rayment continued punching from the top position and working for the choke. As the grappling continued, Rayment then worked for an arm triangle choke as the round came to an end.
In Between rounds Rayment appeared to be the fresher of the two men. Round two began with Abdallah using his jab while Rayment opted for kicks. Abdallah was connecting with his boxing strikes, Abdallah stuffed another takedown attempt. Rayment then used his jab, Abdallah countered. A brawl between the two ensued both exchanging wild shots. Rayment dictated the movement as he moved forward, with Abdallah aiming to counter. Rayment went for a takedown but Abdallah stuffed it again. Abdallah connected with a big right punch. Rayment began picking his shots well. Both fighters again connected with a striking exchange, as they both were not willing to back down. They continued picking shots as they parried jab for jab. Rayment connected with a jab-cross combination, and then attempted a spinning back kick but missed his target. Rayment showed some evident versatility and toughness. He again went for the takedown but was stopped again by Abdallah. Abdallah ended the round by pushing Rayment against the cage as he attempted a takedown of his own.
The Crowd was loudly chanting Jamie in between rounds, showing their support for the local fighter. Round three began similar to the first, as Abdallah commenced with jabs, then uppercuts. Rayment clinched, both fighters now uppercutting each other with heavy power shots. The two fighters pushed away from the clinch, Abdallah double jabbed as Rayment moved forward then backed away. Another boxing exchange ensued between the two combatants. Abdallah tagged Rayment with a thundering right cross before working for the finish with wild punches and uppercuts. Rayment was hurt but continued to fight back. Abddallah cliched then attacked with continuous knees and strikes as the referee stepped in to stop the fight at 2:41 into the round. Abdallah was awarded the win and retains the AFC light heavyweight title in the process.
In the co-main event between Manuel Rodriguez and Corey Nelson, it was Nelson who seemed to have the crowd support even though both fighters were fighting out of NSW. Nelson quickly began round one with a flurry of punches, Rodriguez attempted a high kick but missed. Nelson then went for leg kicks, Rodriguez rushed forward, Nelson connected with a body kick but Rodriguez got the takedown with a slam. Rodriguez held his opponent down while throwing down elbows. Nelson shuffled his way to the cage, but Rodriguez got into full mount position, Nelson tried to pop out but Rodriguez moved to side control then worked for a Guillotine submission. Nelson worked out of the submission attempt and Rodriguez proceeded with body shots. Nelson then attempted a submission of his own with an armbar. Rodriguez worked his way out with Rodriguez ending the round on top.
Nelson commenced the second round with punches, Rodriguez backed away. Nelson then attempted a leg kick and rushed forward with a flurry of strikes. Rodriguez achieved a takedown and began to throw down more elbows. Rodriguez attempted the guillotine choke again but Nelson got out. Rodriguez moved to full mount again as he attacked with elbows. Nelson tried for a kneebar attempt, Rodriguez then flattened Nelson out, proceeding with elbows and punches. Nelson fought back as the two grappled, Rodriguez now in side control, then transitioned to full mount position. Rodriguez continued to reign down punches. Nelson again tried to get to his feet but got caught in a guillotine. This time the choke was tight and Nelson was forced to tap 4:43 into the second. Rodriguez moves his professional record to 11-5-0 with the win.
Following the fight, Nelson, a MMA veteran and six time Australian title holder, announced his retirement via social media.
Thanks to everyone that come down to support me and everyone that helped me out during the whole camp I trained my ass off as I knew this was going to be my last fight win lose or draw, Im done the fire went out a few fights ago but I’m glad I finished it off with good ppl!!! I still love it, so I’ll be still training and if anybody wanna train hit me up!
Also on the main-card was a match between Kitt Campbell and Stuart Dare. The fight was a back and forth battle in the striking department, but in the end, Dare secured the win after successive takedowns throughout the fight.
Also of note, Lance Ettia defeated Mikey Vaotuua and Tasmanian Rob Wilkinson remained undefeated after submitting local fighter Daniel Schuardt late in round one.
To the great relief of many of his hometown fans, local Judo Olympian Ivo Dos Santos got back on track with a submission win over fellow Victorian Michael Barber, early on in round two.