Australian Fighting Championship: AFC 9 ‘Barney on the Border’

On May 17 2014, the Australian Fighting Championship (AFC) will venture to Albury NSW and conduct a fight card inside a cage for the first time. Headlined by two title fights and a host of other huge match ups, the 10-fight card promises to be the biggest in Australian MMA history. Under the BIG TOP regal 8 marquee approximately 3,500 people will cram in to see the biggest and best MMA action available in Australia.


Welterweight Title Fight

Corey ‘Major’ Nelson vs. Callan ‘Rockstar’ Potter

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On May 17 the AFC will crown its first Welterweight Champion.


Corey ‘Major’ Nelson will appear in the AFC for the 4th time having won all of his 3 previous fights by TKO. Back at AFC 5 Corey defeated Alex Volkanovski with a devastating head kick; he followed up at AFC 6 by defeating Walber De Barros via doctor stoppage after handing out a striking master class, and last time at AFC 8 Corey stopped Rick Alchin after a flurry of leg kicks in the ‘Bad Blood’ fight. Corey’s AFC appearances have been little short of remarkable and despite a small hiccup in his last fight Corey is still considered one of the top Welterweights in Australia. Comprising a TKO win record of 79% Corey is not one to leave the result in the judges hands.

Callan ‘Rockstar’ Potter has made just the one appearance in the AFC back at AFC 7 where he defeated Troy Resic by TKO in the first round. On that occasion Callan dominated from the first bell and easily dispatched Troy in impressive fashion. AFC fans have been keen to see Callan back in Australia’s number 1 fight promotion and at AFC 9 in Albury they will get their wish. Callan is coming off a hugely impressive win with one of the most devastating head kicks in recent memory so he is primed and ready to bring home some AFC gold come May 17. Callan has finished half of his wins by TKO and the other half by submission so the judges may just well get the night off in this one.


Bantamweight Title Fight

Gustavo Falciroli vs. Kai Kara France

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At AFC 7 we were treated to a fascinating contest between the young up and comer Kai Kara-France and the experienced Gustavo Falciroli. On that night we witnessed a controversial finish; at AFC 9 inside the cage there will be no controversy and one of these impressive athletes will leave with the AFC Bantamweight title.

Gustavo has fought all over Australia and Asia and holds a notable win over UFC fighter Richie Vaculik. Gustavo refines his craft across a number of reputable MMA gyms in Australia (Absolute MMA, Resilience Training Centre, Integrate and Adrenaline MMA). It is within these facilitates that Gustavo continues to adapt his innovative striking techniques, which Kai is obviously familiar with. Gustavo holds a 3rd Degree Black Belt in BJJ so Kai will take the fight down at his own peril.

Kai will make the trip from Auckland New Zealand where he trains at Strikeforce MMA (as well as Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket Thailand). Kai has been training with current AFC lightweight champion Daniel Hooker to fine tune his craft in preparation for this huge event. With over 11 years BJJ experience Kai is also a well credentialed Kick Boxer . Being New Zealand’s number 1 Bantamweight at just 21 years of age would seeming be a lot of pressure on a young mans shoulders; but Kai shrugs it off as he continues his journey to becoming the best Bantamweight in Australia. Kai is confident with both his striking and ground game and believes he can handle Gustavo no matter where the fight goes!


Andre ‘The Giant’ Meunier vs. Hale Vaasa

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Andre comes to the AFC with a stellar kickboxing background where he amassed 24 wins and won the IKBF World Title. At 1.9 meters and 105 kilograms he is a man mountain and can very comfortably knock out his opponents with fists, knees, elbows or devastating kicks. It’s safe to say Andre is at home when he is trading shots with anyone tough enough to go with him. The smack talk from his previous opponent has created one unhappy ‘Giant’ so he will be on the warpath come AFC 9.

Hale steps in as a replacement for Herman Sakaria and is looking to make the most of this opportunity. A well-rounded fighter with demonstrable KO power, Hale poses an interesting match up for the ‘Giant’. Hale will no doubt be looking to land a big blow on the chin of Andre and should the opportunity arise an impressive finish is on the cards. Hold onto your hat because at AFC 9 we will see two big men with big power slug it out in what will no doubt be a memorable (and possible quick) fight!


Rodolfo ‘Nightmare’ Marques vs. Alex ‘The Hulk’ Volkanovski

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A late injury forced Alex out of their scheduled bout at AFC 8, but come 17 May these two will finally get it on.

At AFC 8 Rodolfo Marques took on the late challenge of Dean ‘The Punisher’ Purdon and dispatched him with relative ease using impressive takedowns and smothering ground techniques. Rodolfo is a high level Black Belt in BJJ and when given the opportunity he will take the fight to the mat and grind his opponent out. With a plethora of submissions at his arsenal for most opponents the ground is not an option when they face the ‘Nightmare’. But don’t be fooled, standing poses significant risks too. Rodolfo has proven that he wont walk away from a striking contest and will happily throw in a few head kicks for good measure.

Alex is a massive Featherweight and will hold a strength advantage over most opponents he faces. Historically he has used this to his advantage and has been able to successfully dominate his opponents on the ground. Good old ground and pound is his preference once in a dominant position but he wont say no to a submission should it arise. Alex’s wrestling is top class and he uses this to control ring / cage position and turn the fight into a grind. His hands are dynamite so should Rodolfo choose to stand and trade, he won’t want to eat too many clean punches.


Kael Coster vs. Peter ‘Bulldog’ Davenport

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With a Welterweight title fight already on the card, these two dangerous Welterweights will be keen to put their hand up for a future title shot.

Kael made his AFC debut back at AFC 8 in February. On this night he took on dangerous striker Scott Noras and by using a combination of crisp striking, effective grappling and relentless submissions he earned his first victory. Kael is a perfect example of a well-rounded fighter that poses numerous problems for opponents due to the fact that there are no obvious weaknesses. Kael understands the importance of this fight and realises that a ‘W’ will propel his career into the next echelon, so come 17 May its game on.

Peter’s development in the AFC has been fantastic to watch and last time out at AFC 7 he gained revenge on ‘The Punisher’ Dean Purdon with a convincing Unanimous Decision Victory. Peter’s striking speaks for itself; a feared striker with KO power in both hands Peter loves nothing more than to stand and bang! However hard work in the gym has significantly developed his wrestling and BJJ game so we may see a very different Bulldog come May 17.


Daniel Kelly vs. Ben Kelleher

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He’s Back… After a stint in TUF Nations Daniel is back in the AFC and will take on tough and durable Ben Kelleher.

Dan is one of the most respected Judo practitioners going around, with nine Australian Champion medals under his belt. Kelly is also the only Judo competitor to have been selected to fight for Australia on four different Olympic games, most recently the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Dan is undefeated in Mixed Martial Arts amassing a record of 5 wins and 0 losses. He has appeared in the AFC on 3 occasions winning a Unanimous Decision against Fabio Galeb at AFC 4; submitting Chris Birch with a Rear Naked Choke at AFC 5 and sensationally knocking out Bor Bratovz at AFC 6. Success in this fight could set up a long awaited mouth watering AFC Middleweight title showdown with Steven ‘Steamroller’ Kennedy.

Ben Kelleher has won 8 of his past 9 (11-3) fights with 7 of those fights being a first round stoppage. A well-rounded fighter, Kelleher has had a good mixture of finishes with 5 by way of KO, 3 submissions and 3 going the distance. Ben has an innate way of finding holes in his opponents defence and landing the fight ending blow.

When he steps into the cage against Kelly on May 17 in Albury he will be taking on the biggest challenge of his career.


Tommy ‘Gun’ Murray vs. Aden ‘Red’ Baron

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There’s always a lot of talk about how exciting the lighter fighters are; and at AFC 9 we will get two of the most exciting when Tommy Murray takes on Aden Baron.

Murray will make his debut with the AFC on May 17 after a long and successful career in Muay Thai. As a Muay Thai fighter Tom held the WMC Victoria Championship, WKA East Coast of Australia Championship and the WKA Australia Championship. With domestic gold in the bag, Murray was recruited by current UFC fight Urijah Faber at his prestigious MMA Team Alpha Male camp in California. After struggling to find opponents Tom is excited to make his debut in the AFC against fellow Muay Thai fighter Aden Baron.

Aden was involved in the Fight of the Night against Joel Fisher back at AFC 8. On that occasion both fighters traded for over 10 exciting minutes until Aden succumbed to a barrage of elbows. Although he lost, he made a heap of fans by way of his aggressive style and seemingly granite chin. Aden loves to stand and trade and it seems he will get his wish at AFC 9.


Daniel ‘Grasshopper’ Way vs. Steven ‘Steamroller’ Kennedy

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Daniel Way has had to prepare for three different opponents at AFC 9; the latest no doubt poses the biggest challenge in AFC Middleweight Champion Steven Kennedy.

The Grasshopper is full of confidence following a highlight reel KO of Daniel Almedia at AFC 8. On that night Way landed a picture perfect knee to the jaw of ‘Jacare’ knocking him out cold. More recognised as a BJJ fighter Daniel showed the AFC audience that he is no slouch in the striking department. Wherever this fight goes Way will be comfortable and feels he can finish either standing or on the ground.

The Steamroller is the reigning AFC Middleweight Champion after submitting ex-UFC fighter Manny Rodriguez back at AFC 7. Steven takes this fight on about 3 weeks notice but based on his stellar training routine he is fit and ready to go. Another extremely well rounded fighter Kennedy generally uses his strength and wrestling to bully his opponents into submission. He also has crisp clean striking leaving opponents with really no facets of the MMA game to exploit.

On paper these two seem really well matched so no doubt we are in for a cracking bout at AFC 9.


Mikey Vaotuua vs. Troy Resic

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Back at AFC 3 these two warriors fought an absolute classic and arguably the best fight in AFC history. Come 17 May they plan to do it all over again.

Mikey is an astonishingly strong fighter with dynamite in both hands so stand and trade at your own peril. He has proven over his short MMA career that he is very durable and capable of grinding over 3 pressure filled rounds.  Diverse takedowns accompanied by viscous ground and pound equals a tough night for any opponent.

Not to be outdone Troy also embeds a warrior spirit and is keen to avenge the close Decision loss to Mikey at AFC 3. Efficient striking combined with a capable ground game and diverse submissions; Troy plans to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who leaves Albury with the ‘W’. Although a different game plan may be required to ensure success, Troy is aware that once that cage door closes and Mikey starts throwing bombs a stand up war could very well break out.

It will be tough to top the feats of AFC 3, however these two are definitely capable of delivering another instant classic.


James Londrigan vs. Anthony Cowley

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It’s always exciting watching two emerging fighters trying to substantiate their position in Australia’s #1 MMA promotion; generally a competitive fight breaks out and that’s exactly what we are expecting in this one.

James is a very dangerous ground fighter and currently holds a blue belt through 10th Planet Jui Jitsu. A fighter who is not afraid to pull guard and lock in a fight ending submission, James also has a solid striking game giving him confidence that no matter where the fight ends up he can pose issues for his opponent. This mix of capability results in opponents having difficulty preparing a game plan because there are no obvious weaknesses leaving James in a very comfortable position.

Not to be outdone Anthony plans to make a huge impact in his pro debut at AFC 9. Training at Kimekai along with AFC fighter Nick ‘Banjo’ Patterson you can guarantee that Anthony’s game will poses very few holes with numerous ways of finding the finish. Kimekai are renowned for producing well-rounded fighters that are always primed and ready to do battle. Given his background Anthony won’t be fussed where this one plays out as a ground or standing finish are all within his arsenal.

On the biggest stage in Australian MMA one of these young fighters will take the first steps towards serious consideration, we cant wait to find out who it will be.

So there you have it, in a little over a week 20 of the best MMA fighters in Australia and abroad will battle it out in an AFC cage for the first time in front of a packed crowd in Albury NSW. When it’s all said and done we will have 2 new champions and a list of contenders ready to wrestle those titles away. Don’t miss what will truly be the biggest card in Australian MMA history.

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