Australian Fighting Championships 12 took place at the Melbourne Pavilion on Sunday, 22 March with the event taking place at a special time, early in the afternoon. The event was the promotions first caged show in their hometown following the cage ban being lifted earlier in the month.
An enthusiastic crowd cheered on the competitors, especially the hometown favourites where in the main event Jamie Abdallah remained undefeated, dispatching of Daniel Almeida in the opening round.
Abdallah was able to stuff the early takedown attempt from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specialist Almeida. Abdallah then quickly engaged a flurry of punches on his opponent as Almeida struggled to get his back off the cage. A powerful uppercut sent Almeida falling to the canvas and giving Abdallah the knockout, 35-seconds into the contest.
With the impressive stoppage win, Abdallah moves his record to a reported 7-0 and claims the AFC light-heavyweight title.
The co-featured headlining fight for the AFC middleweight title took place between Victorian Daniel Way and New South Welshman Zein Saliba. The five-round fight was a highly contested and grueling one with both fighters showing what their game-plan was early on with Saliba ultimately getting the unanimous decision nod.
Saliba’s strategy early was to get the fight to the ground where he would look to out-grapple his opponent, while also working for a submission. More comfortable on his feet, Way attempted to keep it standing where he looked for the knock-out blow or stoppage. Saliba went in for multiple takedowns and while some were stuffed, Way was eventually dragged to the floor for most of the fight.
Although Way was put onto his back for much of the fight the local fighter remained active from his back, throwing elbows from the bottom as Saliba made it hard for him to get back to his feet. There were glimpses of promise from both fighters when it came to the stand-up battle, as they both clipped each other with a flurry of big shots and constant jabs.
The fifth round ended with Way fighting off an arm-triangle submission from Saliba. Saliba used it to get into top position and proceeded to reign down punches just before the bell went to signal the end of the fight. Saliba’s grappling proved too much for Way as he captured the AFC middleweight strap winning via a unanimous decision and in the process taking his professional record to 6-0.
In a quick and entertaining battle, Judoka youngster Kitt Campbell submitted Matt Eland in the opening round. Both fighters exchanged heavy shots in the opening seconds without much regard for each others handy-work. Campbell then took Eland down where he was able to secure the armbar submission. The end came 1:30 into the first round.
Also on the card, hometown favourite Peter Davenport was upset by promotion newcomer New Zealand fighter James Bishop. Stepping up as a replacement to Damien Brown, Bishop walked away with a first-round submission, securing the rear-naked choke at 4:22 of the opening round.