Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Center will act as host for the second showing of the Australian Fighting Championship (AFC), The Land Down Under’s fast rising new MMA promotion. On September 3 in Melbourne, Australia there will be a stacked card of fighters from all around the world as well as hometown heroes defending the pride of their nation and a newly minted crown fresh off the forging irons will be up for grabs in the middleweight division. The two men fighting in the main event title bout are none other than perhaps the most powerful middleweight in the world, the Bellator and CFC Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) and UFC, Strikeforce, MFC, and Battlefield tested strongman “JT Money” Jesse Taylor (14-5). Lombard is looking to further cement his place in history by extending his win streak to 17 fights. Taylor, fresh off a first-round submission over PRIDE veteran Denis Kang (35-13), looks to add another titan to his list of victims. A heavyweight bout will serve as the co-main event for the night as Australian born fighter and veteran of Shooto Australia “Ferocious” Soa Palelei (6-2) takes on New Zealand native Hiriwa Te Rangi (0-2). Aussie middleweight “The Bandit” Ross Dallow (3-4) and New Zealand’s CFC veteran middleweight “The Villain” Dylan Andrews (8-3) will meet; neither man has seen the judges, making the intensity of the match that much more explosive. Polish star Marcin Held (10-1) returns to the fighting game after his loss to Michael Chandler (8-0) by Arm Triangle at Bellator 36. He will meet CFC and Shooto Australia veteran Jai Bradney (4-1) who is known for his heavy hands. A battle in the welterweight division will set things off for the main card as “Banjo” Nick Patterson (1-2) looks for win number two against Dave Weston (1-0). Both Patterson and Weston are coming off their first career wins by submission and look to start their climb up the AFC 170lbs. ranks with a win against the other.
Nick Patterson vs. Dave Weston: Although newcomers aren’t familiar with the main card spotlight, that doesn’t mean they can’t throw down. Both Nick Patterson and Dave Weston have only one win on their pro records, but Patterson also suffered two defeats before earning his first victory, so the pressure to start a win streak is heavy on him. Weston is under similar pressure to stay undefeated in the ever growing sport of MMA. Both Patterson and Weston’s wins come by submission, but Patterson’s two defeats were also by submission, bringing his submission defense into question in the match-up. AFC 2′s main card opening bout features two rising stars that nearly promise a go-for-broke style fight, though Weston still holds a slight edge over his competitor. Weston will likely use the pressure of his submission game when the fight goes to the mat and will force Patterson into making a mistake. Then Weston will strike with his Jiu-Jitsu and walk away the winner of his second pro MMA bout. Weston via Submission (Armbar), Round 1
Marcin Held vs. Jai Bradney: Polish MMA star and one-time Bellator veteran Marcin Held is coming back to the game against knockout artist Jai Bradney. Bradney, a pro since 2007, has finished all of his opponents save for a Draw and his lone loss at CFC 12. Held has eight finishes amongst his ten victories; however his Achilles’ Heel is wrestling as Michael Chandler showed when he took down Held and escaped a counter Kneebar attempt to finish Held by Arm Triangle. Bradney has been stopped by TKO before, which plays right into Held’s specialty: relentless ground-and-pound. Held’s skill set allows him to be comfortable in the stand-up or on the ground, though if he has a choice he prefers to take the fight to the mat. Contrarily, Bradney would look to keep the fight standing so he has a better chance of landing that fight-ending strike. Held wants the fight on the ground; Bradley wants it on the feet, but Held has the advantage as he can compete anywhere the fight goes. The wild card of this fight lies in both men coming off losses and knowing they need a win by any means possible. The young Poland native has a bright future ahead of him and already has more experience than Bradney. He likely will stand and trade with Bradney and as the fight wears on, Held will take it to the mat and finish the fight in his familiar territory. Held via TKO (Strikes), Round 2
Ross Dallow vs. Dylan Andrews: Ross Dallow is currently enjoying his first win streak with a pair of consecutive victories, both by first-round submission. Dylan Andrews, however, has alternated between wins and losses since 2008. The common factor in both men’s fight career is that they leave it all in the cage with a kill-or-be-killed style of combat. Both men have been submitted and finished by strikes, but both have also finished opponents in the same fashions. Dallow may not have the experience that Andrews has but he will still pose a threat as he is hungry to keep his streak alive. Andrews on the other hand knows he has to get back to the winning side in order to keep his contender stock alive. Physically, Andrews is the taller fighter with five inches of height over Dallow but Dallow’s stockier frame will give him a possible power advantage. As for the game plans, Andrews has the striking tools while the ground game would slightly favor Dallow. The shorter Dallow’s best choice is to get in and clinch the taller Andrews to take away his lengthy strikes and get the fight to the mat. Andrews will use his jab and leg kicks to keep Dallow at a distance that will allow Andrews to work his more powerful strikes. Dallow will have to be quick on his feet and move in when he gets close enough to clinch, but since AFC is in a ring and not a cage, Dallow will lose the advantage of using the cage to trap his foe. Dallow will have to play it smart and not have Andrews go through the ropes and force a restart. On the betting lines the favorite to win is Andrews; he has more experience and has had more success to back up his striking plus he has the advantage of a ring. Andrews via TKO (Strikes), Round 1
Soa Palelei vs. Hiriwa Te Rangi: Returning to the fight game after his UFC debut defeat by the hands of “Dirty” Eddie Sanchez (12-5) at UFC 79, Soa Palelei is ready to show the world that he is back after almost four years away. Welcoming him is Hiriwa Te Rangi, a man with two losses and no wins. While “Ferocious” Palelei is on a two-fight skid that goes back to 2004, making the ring rust factor very heavy, the reality is that he is the far more skilled and seasoned fighter. Soa Palelei is the clear cut favorite to win this fight in any way he wishes but he will most likely come out to get a finish on the feet. Palelei has defeated every opponent by strikes in the first round save for one, who made it to the fourth; Te Rangi hasn’t even seen the one-minute mark of the first round. The question here is why have a veteran of eight fights face an opponent that hasn’t danced the victory dance in his short career? Every dog has his day in the fighting world. Te Rangi could upset Palelei by the puncher’s chance, but it isn’t likely. Palelei isn’t going to cut corners, even in a bout with a man who has the same number of fights that he has losses. Expect the more experienced Palelei come out guns blazing and play home run derby with Te Rangi’s state of conscious. Palelei via KO (Punch), Round 1
Hector Lombard vs. Jesse Taylor: Bellator and CFC middleweight king, the man deemed “Lighting”, is looking to add a third crown to his mantle and extend his record-holding winning streak to 17. The only thing that stands in front of that is Team Quest powerhouse wrestler Jesse Taylor. Taylor is currently on a pillar of confidence with his win over UFC and PRIDE veteran Denis Kang and hopes to add Lombard to his list of upset opponents. “JT Money” brings a familiar tool with some perks against Lombard – wrestling. Taylor’s hulking frame though makes him a formidable opponent on the mat. Lombard has faced wrestlers before and his Judo background has given him the upper hand against those previous opponents. Lombard and Taylor do share the strength factor so when the two clinch the one who is truly stronger will shine. The multi-promotion 185lbs. champ wants the fight on the feet where he can use the sweet science that has paved the way to stardom while Taylor wants to get away from Lombard’s hands and get to the mat. From the mat Taylor can work his wrestling and control Lombard enough to look for a submission of some kind. The chances of finishing the seasoned Lombard are rather slim but Taylor is somewhat well-versed in the submission game, by which he has earned half of his victories. “Shango” will likely look to make quick work of his American opponent, implementing his typical style of coming forward and throwing heavy strikes; should one connect, Taylor will crumble to the floor only to be followed by Lombard raining down hammerfists on the TUF alum until he is pulled away. Lombard, the adopted son of the Land Down Under will be the hometown favorite and will use the cheers of his beloved Aussie fans to fuel his hands. Lombard by TKO (Strikes), Round 1