Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa made a dominant return to the cage on Saturday night, stopping combat sports veteran Gul “The Hebrew Hammer” Pohatu early in the super heavyweight main event at Urban Fight Night 5.
With Mark Hunt, Peter Graham and Jens Pulver all in attendance, Urban Fight Night 5, the first pro/am card from the Sydney based promotion, took place at a packed out Whitlam Leisure Centre in Liverpool. The night featured three pro-rules matchups all up, with Paul Traish taking on Darwin Sagurit in the co-main event and James Najim facing Craig Lankester.
It was a tentative start from both fighters in the headliner. “Bam Bam” took center cage as “The Hebrew Hammer” circled backwards. Tuivasa soon rushed Pohatu with a barrage of punches, dropping him with a right hand and forcing the referee to jump in and call a stop to the short-lived clash. The victory sent the pro Tuivasa crowd into celebration mode. Tuivasa was jubilated with his return to competition and gave an ominous warning for the year ahead, “2016 all these heavyweights better watch out baby”, he told the crowd post fight.
In the co-main event, Australian Top Team fighter Darwin Sagurit made it four in a row by knocking out Lithgow’s Paul Traish just 1:36 into the fight. Traish was cautious of Sagurit’s power and hit the canvas after eating a solid overhand right from the stocky featherweight.
Also fighting out of the ATT gym, James Najim wrestled Fightcross bantamweight Craig Lankester to the canvas in the first round before taking his back and forcing the tap by rear-naked choke.
“Razor” Raymart Quintana from ATT had the hometown crowd behind him against Brad Shortland in the amateur headliner. The fast paced 68kg encounter was closely contested going into the final frame. Shortland’s grappling was the deciding factor in the end however, with the Nova trained fighter gaining mount and forcing the stoppage with punches to remain undefeated.
The hard hitting Adam Rehayem from IMC got the job done in the opening round against Brotherhood’s Joshua Murphy in a welterweight battle. Rehayem, the stockier power puncher came out aggressive from the opening bell. Murphy did well to counter on the back foot but ate a hard punch in an exchange with Rehayem, who sealed the deal with more punches on the canvas.
Among other results from the show, ATT’s Nick Roche and Tony Palemia from LHPC had the crowd on their feet in an entertaining back and forth 88kg battle with Roche getting the judge’s nod after three rounds.
Also on the night, Sani-faavae Laititi (ATT) made an earth-shaking MMA debut, knocking Wimp 2 Warrior fighter Christopher Virgilii out cold in just 13 seconds. The bigger of the two men, Laititi came forward from the get go, arms open looking for the power shot, which he found in the form of a huge uppercut which sent Virgilii crashing to the canvas. It would be some time before Virgilii left the cage, with assistance from officials and teammates.
Australian Top Team’s Nadia Kassem made short work of Belinda Sedgewick in a 57kg WMMA bout. Kassem connected clean with a spinning back fist from the opening bell, stunning Sedgewick. Looking desperate and dazed, Sedgewick dropped down for a leg but Kassem piled on the punches until the referee jumped in and waved it off after just 10 seconds.
The other women’s MMA clash on the night saw Amira Hafizovic (ATT) and Anna Silva (W2W) meet in a competitive featherweight bout which after three rounds was awarded to Hafizovic unanimously. Hafizovic came close to finishing the fight with an armbar near the end of the second round and ultimately walked away with a tight victory.
The night of fights, 16 bouts in total, opened with a crowd pleasing back and forth welterweight battle between Sonny Teokotai (ATT) and Ben Littlefield (EMA). Teokotai came forward throughout the early stages of the fight, which was evenly matched. Teokotai turned it up from the end of the second onwards, however, eventually getting the takedown after a third round flurry before getting the rear-naked choke submission.