MMA by the Bay made its debut Friday night to a packed crowd at The Pier in Geelong. The newly formed promotion brought the cage to the city for the very first time. The event was headlined by a competitive, fan friendly welterweight battle between local Victorian standout Sam Hayward and NSW fighter David Francis, which unfortunately was ended by a deep gash to Hayward’s forehead.
Early on in round one, Francis opted to move forward and attack with leg kicks. Hayward replied with a solid push kick to keep his opponent at length. Both fighters attacked with head kicks, Francis connected well. Francis aimed for the takedown, but Hayward pushed away from the double leg. Francis began to use his jab, Hayward reciprocated with a combination of boxing strikes. Francis opted for the wilder more powerful punches, while Hayward attempted cleaner strikes and continued to use his push kick to keep Francis at bay. Francis peppered away at Hayward’s leg with kicks hoping to slow down his movement. Francis dove in for a takedown and pushed Hayward up against the fence, Hayward defended well, however. The round ended with a flurry of powerful punches from Francis. Hayward looked visibly bloodied up at the bell.
Round two started with a wild array of strikes from Hayward. Both fighters went toe-to-toe in boxing exchanges. Neither fighter wanted to back down. Hayward connected with a solid overhand right, Francis gave one of his own. Hayward went for a knee on Francis. Hayward demonstrated good head movement to avoid some big shots from Francis. Francis continued to attack with leg kicks and then a body punch. A brawl between the two fighters ensued. Continued head movement from Hayward made it hard for Francis to connect cleanly. Hayward connected with some big punches, but Francis continued to power himself forward. Francis attacked with a standing guillotine choke, but eventually let it go. The round ended with Francis pressuring Hayward towards the cage.
The match was put to a halt at the end of round two, to the dismay of Hayward and his fans in attendance, as the doctor ruled that the match could not go on due to a gash sustained on Hayward’s forehead. With the win, Sydney based fighter Francis improves his record to 4-3.
Jesse Medina from Mildura and hometown fighter Regan Neoh had a fast paced rematch in the lightweight co-main event. The bout was primarily fought on the ground with Neoh initiating takedowns early. Medina though, a BJJ brown belt, proved to be superior in the grappling and for the most part of round one, reigned down heavy ground and pound on the local fighter.
Round two was a similar affair, Neoh went for the takedown from the get go, which was successful. Medina got back to his feet. A brief striking exchange occurred, until the fight was brought back down to the canvas. Medina kept busy from top position. He then stood; Neoh however caught Medina with an up kick. Medina initiated again on the ground and landed in full mount. Medina then began to throw down heavy ground and pound until an opportunity arose for a rear-naked choke, which Medina capitalised on getting the tap late in round two. Medina now takes his record to an impressive 11-3 and goes two from two against Neoh.