Australian mixed martial arts promotion Brace made its inaugural New Zealand debut in Christchurch on Friday night and it was seen by the world live and exclusive on UFC Fight Pass.
The fight card featured some of New Zealand’s best local MMA talent with top Christchurch prospect Kieran Joblin taking his professional record to 17-6 with a unanimous decision win over Queensland’s Greg Atzori.
In a grueling contest that saw much of the action take place in the clinch against the cage, Atzori relentlessly pressured Joblin looking for the takedown. Joblin showed outstanding takedown defense refusing to be put on his back and instead throwing some great knees and elbows in the clinch and constantly threatening with the guillotine.
Joblin was spurred along by the home crowd in the final round where he picked up the pace and showcased his conditioning. Despite the continuing pressure by Atzori, Joblin managed to secure a number of takedowns during the fight that proved to be the difference in him getting the decision victory.
In the battle for the deep south, the co-main event saw Supremacy FC welterweight champion Brogan Anderson give Queenstown’s Renan Secco his first career loss.
Despite Anderson’s nickname “The Arm Collector” and Secco holding a BJJ black belt the fight stayed almost exclusively on the feet. Anderson showed that he had grown leaps and bounds as a martial artist in his three months training at Jackson/Winkeljohn’s MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico also showing once again why he is a name to keep an eye on.
He looked calm and composed throughout the fight and managed to keep his distance while chopping down the lead leg of Secco. Anderson also showed a powerful left hand that stung Secco on a number of occasions throughout the fight on the way to taking his professional record to 7-2.
In the sole rematch of the night ICNZ heavyweight champion Steve “Warzone” Warby made sure the fight was not left in the hands of the judges like their first outing giving Pane Haraki a TKO loss at 1.56 of the first round.
Warby cracked Haraki with a thundering overhand right early in the fight that sent him to the canvas. Warby was quick to pounce landing a number of unanswered shots before the ref was forced to stop the fight. Despite getting up quickly and protesting to the referee Haraki was clearly not intelligently defending himself and the right call was made.
In the other fights of the evening B.J Bland looked impressive defeating the returning Cole Davids and Faith Van Duin showed why she is New Zealand’s top female fighter defeating XFC Australia flyweight champion Charlene Watt. Matt Vaile also defeated Joe Van Duin after Van Duin received a nasty cut above his left eye that forced the doctor to stop the contest. Ian Blade also showed impressive ground and pound picking up a TKO victory over Cameron Snell.