Jack Jenkins successfully defended his featherweight title in the main event of Eternal MMA 64 on Saturday night, with an absolute striking clinic against Rod Costa over five rounds.
The champ looked fired up, wanting to make a statement against Costa who in the past few months had been vocal for the match-up.
Jenkins mixed his shots up well, attacking the body and the lower leg of his opponent. With the stand-up game not going his way, Costa started to look for the takedown but with the lead leg battered, he struggled to push through to secure it.
To his credit, Costa kept on coming forward throughout the fight and did find the mark with the odd shot but ultimately was left battered and bruised from Jenkins’ heavy shots throughout the contest.
Costa’s best moment came in the final minute as secured a takedown to put Jenkins on the canvas. He quickly went to work but time wasn’t on his side as Jenkins held on to earn the unanimous decision victory.
Jenkins had a clear message in his post-fight speech.
“I came into the scene about 8 years ago and everyone said I was a cocky kid and I wasn’t going to get anywhere.
“And then I cam here and won this belt. And then they said, ‘he might have the belt but he won’t get to the UFC’.
“And now everyone is changing their tone and saying, ‘Well he will get in the UFC but he won’t get far when he gets there,’ and I have one thing to say to all those people, ‘watch me!”
In the co-main event, Joseph Luciano put on an impressive performance as he wrapped up the neck to earn a second-round rear-naked choke submission victory over Tristan Murphy.
A former IMMAF amateur representative, Luciano was dominant on the ground with Murphy failing to find the space to turn the fight in his favour as Luciano stayed heavy, landing ground and pound. The opportunity to attack the neck opened up and the Absolute MMA trained fighter pounced to get the tap.
Luciano moves to 4-1 in his pro record. His one loss occurred on the One Championship warrior series.
“Tristan is a strong athletic guy so I knew I had to wear him and put on the pressure, taking it away from him at the close of the round. We don’t get paid by the round, so it’s good to get a quick finish,” Luciano said in his post-fight interview in the cage.
Asked about the callout from Rideout earlier in the night, Luciano responded, “To be honest all I heard was my name coming out of his mouth. So I don’t know what he said. If he wants to fight, we do it in the cage. We are professionals. I’ll take anyone on.”
The featherweight bout between a returning Ryan Gray and Diego Pereira ended controversially with an illegal elbow giving the win to Gray, after the cage-side doctor deemed Gray unfit to continue.
Pereira was in control of the fight at the time of the stoppage, landing some vicious elbows from the top position. The first one hit the ear however the second one hit the back of the head. The referee immediately halted the contest and Pereira thought the fight was over, walking away with his hands up high.
The doctor came in and after a thorough check of Gray, advised the referee that Gray shouldn’t continue. Gray was awarded the win, but sportsmanlike refused to have his hand raised, apologising to Pereira’s corner.
Gray showed his frustration in his post-fight speech, both at his performance the final verdict.
“I had four years out of the fight game for stuff that was outside of my control. I always wanted to get back in here and test myself. Tonight I had that opportunity and I had the f**king s**t kicked out of me,” he told the crowd post-fight.
“I f**king do not want that win. Write that off my record. I lost that fight tonight. Diego won the fight. It’s devastated. The last thing I ever want in my life is to win a fight like that.
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“The shots may have been a bit to the back of the head, but s**t happens. It shouldn’t be the end of the fight because of that.”
Pereira gave credit to his opponent before also explaining his side of things.
“I was in the moment. I was doing my best to pick my shots and getting them to the side. When you are getting those elbows and they are moving as well, there is always that risk that you might hit the back of the head,” Pereira commented.
“Put your hands together for Ryan. The guy has been out for 4 years. Former champion and he came in here against myself, I’ve been active so he put everything on the line here tonight. Nothing but respect to him and his team. I have nothing more else to say. I was happy to compete against someone of his caliber and unfortunately, that’s the result we got.”
Kaleb Rideout stopped MMA debutant Ben Johnston in the opening round of their welterweight contest. Rideout dropped Johnston with a spinning back-fist. Rideout immediately looked to pounce and Johnston escaped back to his feet only to be dropped again. The ground-and-pound continued and the referee stopped the contest.
The end came only 1:10 into the contest as Rideout moves to 6-2.
The XXX Fight Academy-trained fighter already has his next opponent planned.
“I want to make a fighter call out. He is at the back and I know he can hear me. We were supposed to fight in Hex but you bloody turned me down mate. I’m the most underrated welterweight ever,” Rideout said in his post-fight speech.
“Joey [Luciano]. You are the co-main event bro You better put someone for the fans like I just did then because I am calling you out mate. You can’t duck and weave me now bro. I’m here. There are no protected species in this game.
“I don’t blame me if you don’t take fight after what I did to his last opponent. You can look that up.”
It’s back to the drawing board Johnston, a decorated Muay Thai fighter who never got the opportunity to show off his skills in his cross-over to MMA.
In the opening fight of the main card, Muay Thai fighter Rocky Ogden had a better debut the NTG Fight & Fitness trained youngster was made to work for it, edging Matt Seden by a split points decision.
“I am only getting started but I’m excited to see how this journey goes from here,” Ogden said post-fight.
Eternal MMA 63 was held at the Gold Coast Sports Precinct and the main card was broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass.
- Jack Jenkins (c) def. Rod Costa via Decision (Unanimous) – Eternal featherweight title
- Joseph Luciano def. Tristan Murphy via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 3:16
- Ryan Gray def. Diego Pereira via Disqualification (Illegal Elbow), Rd 2, 4:58
- Kaleb Rideout def. Ben Johnston via TKO (Strikes), Rd 1, 1:10
- Rocky Ogden def. Matt Seden via Decision (Split)
- Jacinta Austin def. Alish Smith via Decision (Unanimous)
- Cody Watego def. Mirwais Kakar via KO, Rd 1, 2:52
- Sara Collins def. Jamie Edenden via Decision (Unanimous)
- Coby Porter def. Tasar Malone via Decision (Unanimous)
- Luke Vidler def. Alastair Volders via TKO, Rd 1, 2:52
- Val Sharipov def. Levi Gonzalez via Decision (Unanimous)
- Alex Ross def. Kyle Gauthier via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 2:42
- Dan Gall def. Stefan Lipski via TKO, Rd 1, 0:43
- Giovanni Zampaglione def. Augusto Bernardi via TKO, Rd 3, 0:34
- Isaac Small def. Jimmy McKenna via TKO, Rd 1, 2:30