The 2015 Brace championship tournament comes to a head this Saturday night at the AIS Arena in Canberra. In what will be a first for an Australian event, Brace 37 will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass after the promotion signed a content deal with the digital streaming service earlier this year.
The 2015 featherweight strap is on the line in the main event as last year’s champion Jamie Mullarkey (8-0) looks to claim back to back titles when he takes on Greg Criticos (2-0). Mullarkey, 21, earned his place on Saturday night with first-round stoppage wins over Stefan Rosa and David Simmons throughout the year. Outside the promotion, the Magnus Martial Arts product owns an additional 2015 victory over Isaac Hardman at AFC 13, a fight which he also finished within the opening period. Mullarkey’s main event opposition, SPMA fighter Greg Criticos recently submitted Matt Darke at Brace 32.
Following his loss to Mohsen Bahari at Cage Warriors 69 last year, former UFC welterweight Benny Alloway (16-6-0) returned to the local MMA circuit with success, picking up stoppage wins over Tristan Murphy and Rick Alchin. Alloway, who owns and trains out of BBA MMA Fitness Facility on the Gold Coast, spoke with Fight News Australia recently about the upcoming welterweight title clash with Theo Christakos and about his goal of returning to the big show. A win over Sydney’s Christakos (4-0) live on UFC Fight Pass would be a step in the right direction for Alloway. Christakos, a product of Sydney’s KMA gym, will be looking for the big upset on Saturday night. The 25-year-old remained undefeated in this year’s tournament with submission wins over Regan Wilson and Tom Kingston, however, he’ll now face his toughest test to date in Alloway.
The 2015 lightweight title will be contested between Integrated MMA’s Damien Brown (13-8) and Magnus Martial Arts fighter Ben Games (3-0). Brown, 30, scored a place in the final when he choked out 2014 lightweight champion Abel Brites in just 17 seconds. “Beatdown” has enjoyed a standout 2015 with additional victories over Shane Young and Grant Toa Toa. Games, 27, defeated Adam Oxenbridge and last year’s lightweight finalist Ali Cevik en route to the final.
Rounding out the championship bouts on Saturday night, Mark Baskin and Stefan Rosa will vie for 2015 gold in the bantamweight division, while in a women’s strawweight title match, Alessia Espinosa-Vallve squares off with Claire Fryer.
Among non title fights slated for the show, last year’s welterweight tournament runner-up Steve Micallef and Central Coast standout Rick Alchin will both be eager to rebound from recent losses when they face off. Meanwhile, former Brace lightweight title holder Oriol Gaset of Spain returns to the promotion to take on Kiwi stalwart Kieran Joblin in an all international clash.