September 13, 2008

by Clinton MacDonald for MMAWeekly.com (Photos by John O’Neill)
(Photos by John O’Neill)

SYDNEY, Australia – In front of a packed house at Sydney’s Luna Park, Australia’s Cage Fighting Championship staged its fifth event. The diverse and respectful crowd of MMA enthusiasts was eager to see Australia’s best up and coming mixed martial artists alongside some international talent.

The card did not disappoint with every bout being action packed, drawing the crowd’s interest and excitement with a demonstration of what Australia has to offer to the world of mixed martial arts. Clinton MacDonald reports from Sydney exclusively for MMAWeekly.com

Hector Lombard v Brian Ebersole – 84kg Middleweight Title Bout
Crowd favorite Hector Lombard returned to defend his crown against Brian Ebersole. Lombard was able to beat Ebersole to the punch standing and land several Judo-style throws to get the better of his opponent the entire fight. Lombard was content to strike for the most part of the fight, managing to open a large cut over Ebersole’s left eye that had to be tended to by the doctor in the fourth round. The doctor cleared Ebersole to continue and the fight resumed. Shortly after continuing the round, Lombard landed a takedown and started to work ground and pound. He landed a big right hand on the cut of Ebersole, which was all that Ebersole could take, verbally submitting after taking the blow. Lombard retains his CFC middleweight belt, but Ebersole clearly had got under his skin, with Lombard landing an illegal knee to his opponent’s ribs after Ebersole submitted and the referee had called the fight. Lombard apologized, but he needs to maintain his composure if he’s to compete at an international level again.

Gordon Graf v Carlo La Torre – 84kg Middleweight
Penrith Elite-trained Gordon Graf, although brought in on short notice to replace Kyle Noke, was able to totally dominate Carlo La Torre. Graf was able to lift and slam La Torre several times during the short fight, showing great strength. After slamming La Torre for a final time, Graf landed a heavy right hand whilst standing over La Torre, knocking him out with one punch, forcing the referee to step in to stop the fight and leaving La Torre out cold for a number of minutes while treated by the professional medical staff cage-side.

Matt Cain v Brad Thompson – 77kg Welterweight
After surviving in the early moments of the fight, Queensland’s Matt Cain was able to take his opponent Brad Thompson down and move into side control. He worked hard to secure an Americana arm lock and after two attempts at the submission was able to submit his opponent in the first round.

Jesse Landry v Jon Leven – 77kg Welterweight
After a very close first two rounds, Elvis Sinosic student Jesse Landry was able to outlast his opponent, Jon Leven, in a battle that had a bit of everything as they exchanged strikes, battled in the clinch and worked hard on the ground. Both fighters had chances to finish but showed heart as they fought off the others efforts to finish.

Michael Van der Vlist v Priscus Fogagnolo – 93kg Light heavyweight
In a dominant performance, Tasmania’s Priscus Fogagnolo outclassed his opponent, Michael Van der Vlist, on the ground to gain a rear naked choke victory in the first round. After a nice double leg takedown and moving to mount quickly, Fogagnolo bloodied Van der Vlist up before eventually taking his back with the choke applied soon after to force Van der Vlist to tap out.

Matt Wilkin v Mark O’Callaghan – 62kg Featherweight
In a back and forth bout between two very evenly matched and explosive fighters it was Matt Wilkin who prevailed via split decision. Both Wilkin and O’Callaghan showed very slick jiu-jitsu skills, swapping many submission attempts, and a display of solid stand up in one of the more technical bouts on the card. The fan interest in the ground skills displayed in this fight was very positive, with the crowd cheering every transition made by both fighters.

Rob Hill v Denis Kelly – 70kg Lightweight
In an impressive performance Rob Hill – fighting out of Lange’s Northside MMA – came out aggressive early. Landing a takedown and ground and pound he gave his opponent Denis Kelly little time to do anything more than scramble back to his feet before he landed a heavy flurry that floored Kelly. Hill finished with strikes on the ground soon after.

Clint Joyce v James Vainikolo – 93kg Light heavyweight
In a great display of heart from both fighters, West Australian Clint Joyce came out on top of his opponent by unanimous decision. After surviving an early takedown and ground and pound from Vainikolo, Joyce was able to gain composure and bring the fight back to the feet, working takedowns of his own for almost the entirety of the fight, and landing good aggressive ground and pound to gain the decision. Joyce, a highly regarded kickboxer, showed that he is continuing to improve at a fast rate in the ground game.