Rising Central Coast featherweight Jamie Mullarkey (9-0) made it back to back championship tournament victories on Saturday night, submitting Sydney’s Greg Criticos in the Brace 37 main event to take out the 2015 featherweight title.
The promotion’s 2015 championship tournament finale took place at the AIS Arena in Canberra and was streamed live via UFC Fight Pass. Four titles were contested on the night.
The main event began with Criticos landing an inside leg-kick followed by a left hand. Mullarkey moved forward, however, pressuring Criticos with strikes. Criticos drove in for a takedown but he was easily controlled by the champ. Mullarkey forced Criticos up against the cage and landed with knees before separating with a punch combination. The two exchanged leg-kicks as Mullarkey continued forward. Criticos landed with a nice left hand. He drove in for a takedown but once again he was unsuccessful. Mullarkey then unleashed a flying knee as Criticos was backing up, half hitting his mark. They continued the standup battle, Mullarkey connected with a nice left hook to Criticos’s mid section. Mullarkey started to land with consistency at this point in the fight. Criticos ducked under a head-kick and took the champ down however Mullarkey bounced straight back up again. He turned at that point and scored a takedown of his own, Criticos showed good strength and got back to his feet. Mullarkey picked up the pace again but overextended himself with a punch, allowing Criticos to get a takedown with one minute left in the round. Criticos worked to the youngster’s back but Mullarkey is soon standing again right as the round came to an end.
The second round began at a more cautious pace as the two featherweight finalist’s exchanged kicks. Mullarkey resumed his boxing and soon landed with a solid right to the face of Criticos, followed by a left hand, forcing Criticos to try for a takedown. Mullarkey stuffed it and soon took Criticos to the canvas. He transitioned to mount and forced Criticos to roll with a handful of effective short elbows. From there, Mullarkey locked up a rear-naked choke and got the tap.
Former UFC fighter Benny Alloway made it 3-0 in 2015 and was crowned this year’s welterweight champion after proving too strong on the night for KMA Sydney product Theo Christakos in the co-headliner.
Alloway stalked Christakos from the opening bell before rushing in with a leg-kick and tying Christakos up on the cage. And that’s where the action stayed for the remainder of the opening round with both fighters jostling for position. Alloway looked to be the stronger of the two up close and snapped off a number of short elbows. Christakos came close to taking the back of Alloway at one point and both men did well to defend the takedown throughout the five minutes.
Much like the first round, the second period of the welterweight title fight began with Alloway stalking Christakos, who remained hesitant with his striking. Alloway connected with a left hand before closing the distance and forcing Christakos onto the fence. Christakos did well to reverse his bigger looking opponent before tripping him to the canvas. There, Alloway stayed composed and nullified any real offense from Christakos. Alloway eventually scrambled and Christakos pounced on his back, but he was tossed to the ground. Alloway grabbed for a guillotine choke but Christakos defended it nicely and the two soon separated. Following a respectful touch of gloves, Alloway moved forward with a two punch combination with about 40 seconds remaining in the round. Alloway missed with a looping hook and the two fighters clinch on the cage before Alloway took Christakos to the canvas.
Alloway opened up with a leg-kick in the third round, which he followed up with a left hand. Christakos, looking drained at this point, ducked in for a takedown which was easily defended by Alloway. From there, Alloway rained down a number of hard shots on Christakos and the referee jumped in and waved it off.
Brisbane’s Damien Brown took home the 2015 lightweight title on Saturday night, defeating a resilient Ben Games via rear-naked choke in the second round.
The opening round was an entertaining back and forth battle which saw Games land early with a right hand. Brown replied with a clean takedown, the two lightweights were standing again soon after. Brown reengaged with a solid kick to the body. Games answered with a kick of his own, however Brown caught it and threw him to the canvas. From there, Brown unleashed with a swinging right hand, diving into Game’s guard in the process. Inactivity forced the ref to stand the two men. Games came forward from the restart, peppering strikes as Brown opted to search for the knockout blow. The two exchanged in what was a kickboxing battle before Brown stuffed a takedown attempt from Games. The fight hit the canvas briefly, Games worked back to his feet. The round closed out with Brown stuffing another Games takedown and landing short shots from top position.
Games continued his forward movement to start the second round throwing jabs. Brown countered with a body-kick but it was caught by Games. He couldn’t do anything with the position however, and Brown muscled him to the canvas and took his back before locking up a rear-naked choke and forcing the tap.
The bantamweight championship final between Sydney’s Mark Baskin and Stefan Rosa from Melbourne started explosively, but ultimately fizzled into a no-contest midway through the first round after Baskin landed an accidental, but illegal knee on Rosa who was making his way back to his feet from the canvas. From what we did see of the encounter, Baskin looked to have the advantage on the feet, landing a number of clean punches. Rosa did well on the ground and at one stage locked up a tight looking D’arce choke on Baskin.
Central Coast hard-hitter Rick Alchin made short work of SPMA product Steve Micallef in a welterweight contest, dropping the BJJ black belt out cold with a highlight reel left hook just 53 seconds into the first round. With the impressive victory, Alchin rebounds from a loss to former UFC fighter, and 2015 welterweight tournament finalist Benny Alloway earlier in the year.
Among other fights on the night, New Zealand’s Kieran Joblin and Spain’s Oriol Gaset meet in a short-lived 73kg catchweight battle. Gaset, a former Brace lightweight champion, looked to control the Kiwi standout on the cage from the get-go. Joblin, however, utilised his striking nicely from short-range and opened up a deep gash on the Spaniard with a well placed elbow, leaving the doctor no choice but to wave the contest off.
The women’s strawweight title fight between Alessia Espinosa-Vallve and Claire Fryer was scrapped late after Espinosa-Vallve was unable to make the required weight limit.