Many expected the clash between Dimps Gillies and Josh Kuhne to bring absolute fireworks and the lightweight bout didn’t disappoint as the two put on one of the all-time classic fights in the main event of Eternal 65 on Saturday night.
Gillies would have his hand raised in what will also be a first defeat for the local favourite Kuhne.
“Kamikaze” Kuhne came out with the same pace that has seen him win 6 fights inside the first round across his amateur and professional career. Gillies was undeterred, and with his granite chin, he rarely took a backward step, as he gave as good as he got in the early minutes. Gillies was countering with a jab, lead left-hook and some very nice shots to the body. Kuhne started to add some leg-kicks before changing strategy and shooting for a takedown where he put Gillies on the canvas with a single leg. Gillies immediately scrambled and secured side-control. Kuhne powered his way out and the two exchanged on their feet again. Kuhne ate a big shot that put him on the back foot and in the final minute was unsuccessful with a takedown attempt. The telling shot of the first round, came with just over 10-seconds remaining as Gillies put Kuhne on the canvas with a left. Kuhne smirked as Gillies looked to land ground-and-pound but Kuhne was able to escape back to his feet, albeit a bit unsteady as the round ended.
The two traded inside the pocket in round two. Gillies mixed his shots well, as he continued to attack the body. Kuhne landed a heavy right hand but Gillies’ chin continues to prove unpenetrable. A missed high kick saw Kuhne trying to tie Gillies up against the cage. Kuhne set into a more controlled pace and did land shots that would have stopped a lot of fighters. Gillies had the volume, looked fresher and landed the cleaner punches.
Kuhne has never been outside the first round in his MMA career and was able to show that he does have impressive cardio by coming out and putting on an impressive pace in the last. The power shots may not have been as strong but volume continued to be thrown. The final seconds of the bout had both swinging for the fences and Gillies landed a right to put Kuhne on the canvas, just before the buzzer ended the contest.
The decision came back unanimously as Gillies walked away with the unanimous decision victory 30-27 across the board. The NTG Fight & Fitness trained fighter was in excruciating pain as the adrenalin wore off, clutching at his right hand.
Gillies moves to 6-4 in his MMA career while Kuhne drops to 3-1.
Asked what was going through his head after such a gruelling bout, Gillies answered, “Pain, pain, pain. It is all I can feel right now. I [have] done all I can. I try to leave it all out there and try to come out unscathed but that was just impossible against someone like Josh Kuhne and it was proven and it was earned tonight, that victory.”
Asked about a potential shot at the title, Gillies responded confidently, “I am fine with the 3 x 5 minutes [rounds] but if you want to give me 5 by 5 [minutes], you better pay for that 10 minutes to compensate me for my time. I ain’t here to come here to play games. I’m out here to dish out smoke and if anyone out there, they can come and get it.”
Kuhne thanked his family and friends post-fight and explained he will be back.
“I knew it was going to be a hard fight. There is a reason I am fighting the hardest people in Australia because I believe in the top of the league, top of the game, and I want to make those big leagues. The only way to do that is to go through the hardest people in Australia and show that I am on that level. This is just part of the journey. I take it in my stride and I’ll be back and keep on going for it.”
The semi-main event had Justin Van Heerden and a returning Alan Philpott clash in a featherweight bout. Van Heerden was dominant in the first round, as he closed the distance and took the fight to the ground. Van Heerden transitioned to mount before ultimately settling in half-guard where he landed short strikes. Philpott escaped and tripped his opponent to the ground before choosing to step away, preferring to strike with Van Heerden.
Van Heerden had UFC featherweight champ Alex Volkanovski and coach Joe Lopez in his corner, proving advice. A groin shot by Philpott momentarily halted the contest. Late in the second round, Van Heerden shot in for a takedown, he failed but didn’t give up, as he continued to pressure. When the fight went to the canvas, Van Heerden immediately locked up the triangle choke and was able to get the tap.
Van Heerden was boisterous in the face of his opponent as the referee stepped in. Calmer heads prevailed and the two ended up embracing.
A disappointing return for Philpott but a big win for Van Heerden who already has his next match-up planned as he called out a former training partner.
“My friend sitting cageside here. Diego Pereira. Let’s do it. Let’s run it back. Let’s go. If it fancies you, let’s do it. If not me, you know me brother, I’ll always find another fight.”
The two clashed back in August 2017 with Pereira securing the third-round stoppage. The two ended up training partners before Van Heerden moved to the Freestyle Gym.
Earlier on the card, David Martinez returned back to the winner’s column with a rear-naked choke submission over Tim Schultz while Dom Mar Fan had a composed performance to win a unanimous decision against Roy Armistead.
- Dimps Gillies def. Josh Kuhne via Decision (Unanimous)
- Justin Van Heerden def. Alan Philpott via Submission (Triangle Choke), Rd 2. 3:55
- David Martinez def. Tim Schultz via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 2:58
- Dom Mar Fan def. Roy Armistead via Decision (Unanimous)
- Niam Stephen def. Trevor Sinclair via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 1, 3:20
- Jamie Sporne def. Ciaran Daly via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 1, 2:51
- Lachlan Stitt def. JayJay Te Huia via TKO, Rd 1, 2:14
- Selina Mongi def. Amene Hedaya via Decision (Unanimous)
- Christian Lapham def. Jayden Veavea via TKO, Rd 3, 0:39
- Dominic Aston def. Basir Demirel via Decision (Unanimous)
- Mitch McLaren def. Luke Melrose via Submission (Triangle Choke), Rd 3, 1:32
- Jack Lipa def. Matthews Frustockl via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 2:30