September 10, 2008

by Clinton MacDonald for MMAWeekly.com

With the rise of mixed martial arts in America and Japan
over the last decade many nations have taken interest in the sport and have
tried to do their part in taking mixed martial arts to a global scale.
Australia is one of these countries that have had fighters test their skills in
many other countries away from their homeland.


Being the most recognisable of these Aussie fighters, Elvis
Sinosic had his start in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the year 2000,
when he submitted highly respected Pat Miletich student Jeremy Horn with a
modified triangle choke and arm bar. Sinosic went on to fight Tito Ortiz for
the UFC light heavyweight championship, albeit unsuccessfully, but he paved the
way for Australia’s entry into the MMA world.


Since Sinosic first stepped into the Octagon other
Australian fighters have tried their hand in the UFC, Pride Fighting
Championships and other international events such as Pancrase and England’s
Cage Rage. Most recently with George Sotiropoulos going through Season 5 of the
Ultimate Fighter reality show and Cuban born Hector Lombard, who is a frequent
attraction in Sydney-based Cage Fighting Championship, signing on to join the
roster of Elite XC, as well as others such as Perth-based Soa Pelalei and
Sydney-based Brad Morris making appearances in the UFC. It seems that Australia
has a few fighters on offer.


Luke Pezzutti, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and former
MMA combatant himself, now an organizer of Australia’s biggest MMA promotion,
Cage Fighting Championship, spoke to us about what is happening in Australia’s
local MMA scene leading up to the CFC’s fifth event on Sept. 12 in Sydney. “A
friend of mine suggested to me that I could run my own show, we could do it
together. And that’s how CFC was born,” he said.


“I wasn’t happy with how it was going,” Pezzutti said
regarding earlier MMA attempts in Australia. “I wanted to do a show in New
South Wales. I was sick and tired of seeing good fighters fight as
demonstrations on kick boxing cards. I thought we really needed a world class
show in Sydney to help support the sport and gain a lot more main stream
interest in it rather than have messy low grade shows, with heavy mismatches,
to the point that people aren’t interested and just think they don’t know what
they’re doing. So we’re trying to put on shows with talented fighters to really
showcase the sport.”


With the market progression in MMA, Australia is starting to
get more exposure to programs like the UFC. “We’re trying to get people at home
to realize that there are shows here in Australia that are on par with those in
the U.S. So we want to put on world class fights so people don’t have to depend
on Fox Sports to watch something overseas, they can watch it live here in
Australia,” Pezzutti said.


“The government are talking about laws to regulate MMA. At
the moment we are self regulating to the point of risk assessments and medical
practitioners on site at events. We’re doing as much as we can.” Pezzutti adds,
“We’d just like the government to recognize this and help to regulate the

With the CFC taking every professional step possible to help
the sport of mixed martial arts grow and become recognised in Australia, it is
a sign that the growth of MMA is still strong and continues to grow on a global
scale, and that there is still an open market for the next stars of MMA to come
through to the bigger stages of MMA.


The Sept. 12 Cage Fighting Championship event will be
headlined by 2000 Olympic Judo contender Hector “Shango” Lombard (16-2-1, 1NC)
who has fought in several Asian promotions such as DEEP, Spirit MC and Pride.
This will mark Lombard’s fifth appearance for CFC as he takes on tough veteran
Brian Ebersole (36-14, 1NC), looking to continue to five wins straight and
continue his success on Australian soil. Lombard will be looking to keep his
record on a winning path, as he recently signed a contract with EliteXC.

Along with this will be Kyle “The Aussie” Noke versus Carlo La Torre, as well
as other up and coming fighters such as Rob Hill, Denis Kelly, Matt Cain,
Jessie Landry and Priscus Fogagnolo and more will be some of the prospects
competing to put on an explosive show to help push their own star along with
the rest of Australia’s MMA scene.


MMAWeekly.com will be in Sydney for the first time to cover
all the action for you, so stay tuned for full results.


Full the full card visit: http://cfcworld.com.au/events.php