The Melbourne Pavilion will play host to Australia Fighting Championship’s year end event this weekend.
Australia Fighting Championship, AFC for short, is one of Australia’s top Mixed Martial Arts promotions that has to date, paved the way for notables Soa Palelei, Hector Lombard, Dylan Andrews and Richie Vaculik among many others.
Needless to say, AFC’s events have been a glowing success by all accounts.
Saturday’s AFC 7 looks to follow a similar route and will be filled with local talents hoping to progress a step further in their respective pro MMA careers.
With the UFC signing Australian talents for “The Ultimate Fighter Nations: Canada vs. Australia” reality MMA series, AFC officials were forced to implement changes. The organization had been running a 170-lbs and 185-lbs tournament format throughout the calendar year in view of showcasing the culminating match-ups at AFC 7. But with the UFC snapping up tourney finalists Daniel Kelly and Jake Matthews as casts for the “TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia” project, a few tussles were enforced to the fight card.
The headlining bout will now feature a Middleweight Championship title contest between “TUF: Smashes” competitor Manuel “Manny” Rodriguez and grappling ace Steven Kennedy. Rodriguez serves as a replacement for Daniel Kelly, who, as aforementioned, will not be competing due to obligations with the UFC’s “TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia” series.
Rodriguez (9-4) last fought at UFC on FX 6 where he suffered a brutal first round knockout defeat at the hands of fellow Aussie house-mate, Ben Alloway. Rodriguez was seen as a firm favorite to emerge victorious in the “TUF: Smashes” competition but an injury forced the 28-year-old out of proceedings. He looks to snap his current two-fight losing skid come fight night.
Although he’s a formidable fighter on the canvas, his ground skills will be put to the test and possibly neutralized by Steven Kennedy. Kennedy (12-6) is one of the country’s finest 185-lbs fighters, currently riding on a 6-1 streak with five stoppages victories. He made his promotional debut at AFC 5 in May, garnering a first round submission triumph.
This fight will be a heated affair as both athletes have already started trash talking via Facebook and Twitter. There is no love lost between Kennedy and Rodriguez, so expect an action packed fight which will come down to the wire.
In the co-main event of AFC 7, a rematch takes place between Peter Davenport (1-1) and Dean Purdon (4-1). Both fighters fought in the opening brackets of the promotion’s 170-lbs tourney but it was Purdon who topped Davenport on that occasion with a first round Rear-Naked Choke submission win. He succumbed, however, to the same maneuver against eventual finalist Jake Matthews in the next round. While Purdon looks to rebound and get back in the win column, it will be about retribution for Davenport in this fierce grudge match.
Elsewhere on the line-up, AFC 7 will introduce a new tournament in both the Bantamweight and Featherweight ranks. The 135-lbs tournament’s first round is expected to be fought over two events.
The first bracket of the Bantamweight tourney pits former ONE FC star and BJJ maestro Gustavo Falciroli (13-4-2), against Legend FC vet Kai Kara-France (5-3). Falciroli is coming off a loss against ONE FC champ Bibiano Fernandes but will be seen as a heavy favorite to garner the tourney’s 135-lbs throne. In his way, though, is a hungry Kara-France, a fighter hell-bent on extending his current three-fight win streak.
The rest of the 135-lbs tourney match-ups that’ll take place on Saturday include Giancarlo Embradora (3-3) vs. Charlie Alaniz (3-1) and Jordan Lucas (3-0) vs. Adam Corbett (0-6).
The Featherweight tournament will have one bout at AFC 7 with the remaining fights slated for AFC 8. Back on the card is Nova Uniao stand-out Rodolfo Marques (14-3-1), who locks horns with Mark Abelardo (2-2). Marques, 29, holds notable bouts with the likes of Bibiano Fernandes, Yusup Saadulaev and Rob Lisita. He will be looking to use that experience to get the better of Abelardo, and of course get his name back in the win column following a 0-2-1 run. Abelardo, in the meantime, may have his work cut out coming up against someone of Marques’ talent, but a win here will certainly put him on the map and on notice.
Five additional bouts make up the rest of the fight card.
AFC 7 goes down December 14th, at the Melbourne Pavilion in Australia. Fans can catch all the action online at a price of AUD $14.95 at the following link.
And for the very first time, AFC 7 will be held in the afternoon to correspond to primetime viewing for US-based fans on Friday the 13th.
Keep it locked to MMASucka.com for more updates and information on AFC 7.
As it stands, the full AFC 7 line-up reads:
- Steven Kennedy vs. Manuel Rodriguez (For AFC Middleweight Championship title)
- Peter Davenport vs. Dean Purdon
- Gustavo Falciroli vs. Kai Kara-France (Bantamweight Tournament match-up)
- Jordan Lucas vs. Adam Corbett (Bantamweight Tournament match-up)
- Giancarlo Embradora vs. Charlie Alaniz (Bantamweight Tournament match-up)
- Nick Patterson vs. Rod Staader
- Rodolfo Marques vs. Mark Abelardo (Featherweight Tournament match-up)
- Joel Fisher vs. Tim Zosh
- David Gibb vs. Chris Birch
- Alex Volkanovski vs. Luke Catubig
- Troy Resic vs. Callan Potter