If Rob Wilkinson is paving his way back to the UFC, tonight was a big stepping stone.
The Tasmanian demolished Brazilian David Almeida in just 1:29 at Hex Fight Series 21 in Melbourne to win the Hex light heavyweight title. Managing to stuff the Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion’s opening takedown attempt, “Razor” punished Almeida with powerful knees to the body. Despite getting clipped by a right hand on the chin, Wilkinson appeared unbothered and, using another stuffed takedown, rained brutal hammer fists down on floored Almeida. It wasn’t long before Almeida went unconscious, leading Wilkinson to walk off before the referee had stepped in.
“You guys have no idea how motivated I am at the moment,” Wilkinson said of the fight. “I ran through everyone in Australia when I was just a kid, now I’m a fully grown man. I had the hardest time of my life getting released from the UFC and decided to re-apply myself. I’ve learned a lot and I’m not here to just be in the UFC, I’m here to be top ten. I’m ready to compete with the top ten in the world.”
Daniel Almeida notably came in over 5kg over the light-heavyweight division limit at the weigh-ins and was not eligible to win the title had he won.
Wilkinson, now 13-2, remains undefeated outside of the UFC.
On a similar note, it took just 29 seconds for Samiuela Kei to become the Hex heavyweight champion. The fight had barely started when Kei flatlined Ricky Biechun with a huge overhand right. Appreciative that Biechun had taken the fight, but Kei wasn’t surprised by the result.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” he said in the post-fight interview. “We’ve been doing this, we’ve been doing this. Instead of doing our training, I’m getting paid to do it here, and I get a belt.”
If two knockouts in two title fights wasn’t enough, 23-year-old Kaleb Rideout executed a stunning finish of his own. “Krazy Horse” knocked out Thomas David with a perfectly-timed spinning back elbow. It was a competitive matchup between the pair; Rideout using his reach and height advantage, and mixing up his kicks to great effect, and David, who closed the distance and landed a big right hook which incredibly didn’t deter Rideout. Rideout threatened the technique in the first round, but found a home for it in the second. At 3:40 in round two, Rideout folded David to the canvas with a perfectly executed spinning back elbow.
It was also a quick night for Absolute MMA’s Joseph Luciano who dumped foe Dane Beeby just 30 seconds into their welterweight bout. From there, “Lucky” Luciano pinned Beeby against the cage as he worked his arms around Beeby’s neck into a d’arce, securing the tap at 1:28 of the first round.
Hex Fight Series 21 took place at Melbourne Pavilion in Melbourne, Victoria, on Friday, April 9.
See below for complete results: