Australian Fighting Championship (AFC) 22 Recap: Christakos, Sparv victorious in title fights

Australian Fighting Championships welcomed show number 22 on Saturday night at local fight venue the Melbourne Pavilion. The promotion for the first time introduced an amateur card in the prelims to begin the action packed night of fights. Two new champions were crowned on the night in the promotion’s welterweight and middleweight divisions.

In the headliner, KMA product Theo Christakos came from behind and secured a late first round submission to capture the welterweight title against Whitsundays Martial Arts representative and UFC vet Anton Zafir.

Zafir was dominant and aggressive from the get go, and took the match to the ground early. From there, he attacked with elbows and vicious ground and pound. Zafir made multiple rear-naked choke attempts on Christakos, but Christakos defended well on each occasion. Zafir seemed to be able to take down Christakos at will. During the grappling exchanges Zafir made it very difficult for Christakos to get back onto his feet. Christakos persevered in these tough positions however and eventually managed to scramble back onto his feet on occasions. As Zafir was going in for another takedown, Christakos managed to sink in a tight standing D’Arce choke which resulted with Zafir tapping at the 4:15 mark of the first round.

Also the Brace welterweight champion, with the win Christakos adds a new belt to his name and moves to a 9-2 professional record, while Zafir drops to 8-4 following the loss.

In the co main event, Finland’s Glenn Sparv took on tough Tasmanian fighter Stu Dare for the middleweight strap. The match was primarily fought out on the feet until Sparv forced a stoppage via ground and pound midway through round three. The two combatants went toe to toe in the stand up for the most part.

Both warriors had their moments in round one. Dare dropped his opponent briefly, while Sparv demonstrated great strength, grappling control and aggressive ground and pound strikes. The adversaries met centre cage and continued going kick for kick and punch for punch in striking exchanges, neither athlete wanted to back down. Sparv mixed in his elbows and knees well, and was dominant with his grappling. Ultimately, a constant barrage of unanswered heavy ground and pound midway through round three forced the match to a halt.

With the win, Tiger Muay Thai fighter Sparv adds another title to his mantle and moves to 18-4. Following the loss, Dare drops to 8-6.

Also on the night, former power lifting champion Alex Simon made an impressive promotional debut with a devastating highlight reel KO of Lio Illalio at only 11 seconds into the first round. Additionally, UFC veteran Steve Kennedy made it three wins in a row when he submitted a very game Reza Almasi from his back in the later frame of the first round.

Results (Pro):

  • Theo Christakos def. Anton Zafir via Submission (Standing D’Arce), Rd 1, 4:15 – AFC welterweight title
  • Glenn Sparv def. Stu Dare via TKO (Ground and Pound), Rd 3, 2:16 – AFC middleweight title
  • Alex Simon def. Lio Ilalio via TKO (Punches), Rd 1, 0:11
  • Steve Kennedy def. Reza Almasi via Submission (Triangle Choke), Rd 1, 3:56
  • Dane Beeby def. Darcy Balhas via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 3, 2:56
  • Phil Warwicker def. Cameron Dempsey via Submission (Kimura), Rd 2
  • Anthea Paton def. Caitlin McEwen via Decision (Unanimous)

Results (Amateur):

  • Ben Patching def. David Pau’uvale via Submission (Kimura), Rd 1, 2:17
  • Jordan Andrewartha def. Pat De Domenico via Decision (Majority)
  • Chantal Humberstone def. Jodi Hayward via TKO (Referee Stoppage), Rd 2, 1:47
  • Mitchell Brunton def. Zach Madrid via Decision (Majority)
  • Spencer Chan def. Sandeep Bammi via Submission (Kimura), Rd 1, 0:42
  • Mark Hesterman def. Mitchell Brunton via TKO, Rd 3, 0:21
  • Michael Cianciaruso def. Zach Madrid via Decision (Majority)
  • Shane Smith def. Mahesh Fernando via Decision (Majority)
  • Linda Hafoka def. Zoe Sheppard Decision (Unanimous)

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David Lewellin is a Melbourne based contributor for Fight News Australia.