Following his stint as a welterweight on the Ultimate Fighter ‘Smashes’ series, and subsequent loss to Ben Alloway at UFC on FX 6, Manny ‘Chalate’ Rodriguez will make his return at Australian Fighting Championship 7 in December, where he is set to meet Steve Kennedy for the promotion’s inaugural middleweight title.
Rodriguez will make his AFC debut following the scrapping of the promotion’s middleweight title tournament, in which Kennedy was scheduled to meet Daniel Kelly in the final. Kelly was recently ruled unavailable for the title fight as revealed in an AFC 7 press release yesterday.
Rodriguez’s time in the Ultimate Fighter house was cut short with the 28 year-old forced from the series after breaking his leg in a gutsy first round submission win over Bola Omoyele. He later received the call up to face TUF team mate Alloway at the season’s finale, and after a confident start to the bout, was sensationally knocked out with a front kick.
Steve Kennedy last fought at AFC 5 where he earned a middleweight tournament semi-final birth in a short lived encounter with Kiwi fighter Cole Davids. After submitting Davids in the first round, the WA standout was paired with Vik Grujic for AFC 6, however Grujic withdrew from the bout late with illness and Kennedy was fast tracked through to the now defunct final.
AFC 7 will take place at the Melbourne Pavillion on December 14. The show will also see the introduction of two new tournaments in the 62kg and 66kg divisions. The promotion also revealed yesterday that the welterweight tournament final between Corey Nelson and Jake Matthews that was slated for AFC 7 has also been scrapped. More news on the card is expected shortly.
* Photo source: fxtv.com.au