Australian Fighting Championship – AFC 16 Preview
Article by Josh Warner – AFC
The Australian Fighting Championship is back with its 16th installment coming to you live from the Melbourne Pavilion on Saturday, June 18. AFC 16 is set to be headlined by a massive heavyweight title fight between champion Brandon Sosoli and challenger Tai Tuivasa.
You can check out a full preview of the card below:
Brandon Sosoli (c) vs. Tai Tuivasa – AFC Heavyweight Championship
Everyone loves a good heavyweight scrap, and that’s exactly what AFC fans will get on June 18. Brandon Sosoli won the heavyweight title in impressive fashion when he pounded out Andre Meunier at AFC 13. On that occasion, he showcased his solid wrestling and brutal ground and n pound, which was far too much for ‘The Giant’ resulting in a historic first round win for ‘Zilla’. While that was impressive, Sosoli has yet to demonstrate his impressive striking repertoire in the AFC so on June 18 we may get to see all this exciting fighter has to offer.
Tai Tuivasa is nothing short of a genuine knock out machine. Undefeated, yet to see the second round, and having left a raft of heavyweights lying face down behind him, he is an extremely dangerous heavyweight. With power like this, ‘Bam Bam’ knows he is only one clean shot away from capturing AFC Gold and continuing his path of destruction!
Rob Hill vs. Ben Wall – AFC Lightweight Tournament Semi Final
Coming off a dominant victory over Steve Maxwell at AFC 15, Rob Hill will enter the Lightweight Tournament Semi Final full of confidence particularly after a sublime striking display that lead to a first round victory. Rob’s movement was excellent, and the body kicks he landed on Maxwell echoed through the Melbourne Pavilion; and to underpin the diversity in his game, when the opportunity arose he took the fight to the ground and finished Maxwell with a Rear Naked Choke. Should Hill be able to implement a similar game plan at AFC 16, a spot in the tournament final no doubt awaits.
Ben Wall’s first round victory over Matiu Thoms was quite different to that of his counterpart in the upcoming semi final, however his dominant victory was no less impressive. Wall’s ground control and ground n’ pound was masterful; he grinded and battered Thoms over 3 dominant rounds and finished the fight via rear naked choke late in round 3. Wall’s ‘Wrestle-Jitsu’ is solid, however mix this in with his ever unique, high output striking style, a very interesting contest awaits on June 18.
Gokhan Turkyilmaz vs. James Bishop – AFC Lightweight Tournament Semi Final
Gokhan Turkyilmaz entered AFC 15 with a broken rib, and fought a talented opponent who unfortunately missed weight, and was still able to out wrestle and out strike his opponent on route to a unanimous decision victory. Gokhan is renowned for his devastating striking and ability to ‘chin-check’ his opponents at will, however faced with an injury, he perfectly adapted his style to control Mikey in the clinch and on the ground. But in true ‘Pitbull’ style, a few wild exchanges where initiated leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that a fit Turkyilamz has the ability to win this whole tournament.
James Bishop entered AFC 15 with one thing on his mind; that was to make a statement and ensure he stamped his authority on this tournament. Safe to say, after the systematic beat down of James McGlashan, that statement was made! Bishop was faultless; his striking was crisp and accurate; his wrestling was technically perfect and his ground control was nothing short of smothering. Aftertwo and a half rounds of dominance, Bishop eventually earned the TKO victory and also earned the respect of the other three warriors in the tournament semi finals.
Nikos Trepca vs. Tim Zosh
At AFC 15, Nikos Trepca fought Kaan Ofli in what was pitched as both fighters toughest test to date; and history will show that pitch was 100% accurate. Nikos is rightfully considered one of the best wrestlers in the Country, however at AFC 15, he abandoned his wrestling roots and instead traded punches with Ofli for 15 of the most action packed minutes in recent memory. After it was all said and done, the judges scored the fight a Draw, so now Nikos will look to make an example of Tim Zosh and re-establish himself as the number 1 contender to Alex Volkanovski’s Featherweight Title.
Coming off a TKO victory in August last year, Tim Zosh will return to the AFC and look to well and truly turn the Featherweight Division on its head with a victory over Nikos Trepca. Zosh, a well credentialed grappler and ‘scrapper’, has all the tools to make it a very difficult night for Trepca, and given Nikos’s status in the division, a big victory at AFC 16 could immediately push him in to title contention.
Kaan Ofli vs. Issac Hardman
Kaan Ofli fought Nikos Trepca in an instant classic at AFC 15, and although a Draw was a less than pleasing result for Ofli, his performance on the night had several significant positives. Kaan’s ever improving wrestling forced Nikos to abandon his historically successful game plan, and his striking posed issues for Nikos on regular occasions. Now, Kaan will look to recommence his climb to Featherweight glory and it starts with Issac Hardman at AFC 16. Issac will present a very different challenge to that of Nikos, however with such a diversity of offensive tools, Kaan is confident he can get the job done and move one step closer to AFC Gold.
Issac Hardman made his AFC debut against Jamie Mullarkey at AFC 13, and although coming up short on that occasion, he has since notched up two impressive TKO victories and put the Australian MMA fraternity on notice. Hardman is incredibly well rounded for a young martial artist, and has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he has genuine one punch KO power and a killer instinct to boot. So in summary, wherever this fight goes, Issac has all the tools to ensure he walks away with a big victory and continue to establish himself as one of the brightest young starts in Australian MMA.
Tony Dib vs. Dave Fowler
You’ll struggle to find a more impressive debut victory than that of Tony Dib at AFC 15. Appropriately termed the ‘BJJ Beast’, Tony wasted little time in getting his debut fight against Chad Price to the ground, and once there, the AFC public learned just why Dib is one of the most feared BJJ practitioners in this Country. Dib seamlessly transitioned between submissions before almost tearing Chad’s arm off and earning a first round Arm Bar victory. However at AFC 16, Dib will come up against a fellow renowned grappler in the form of Dave Fowler, so a genuine BJJ master class awaits.
Just 21 years of age, the 6’ 1 Dave Fowler is quickly making a name for himself in the Welterweight Division in Australian MMA. Although comprising a solid BJJ base, Dave has proven that he can also finish fights with effective striking and in this contest that may be the route that will result in AFC success for Fowler. Often, when to great BJJ fighters lock horns, their grappling abilities can almost negate each other, so some clean punches could well be the difference in this one.
Nick Davis vs. Josh Tummers
‘The Disciple’ Nick Davis will make his long awaited return to the AFC when he takes on promotional newcomer Josh Tummers at AFC 16. Davis entered the AFC in impressive fashion when he dismantled Chris Lindner at AFC 10. However his momentum slowed with two straight loses which resulted in Nick taking some time away from the sport to clear his head and fill some of the gaps in his game. But the time is now right for Nick to make his triumphant return and re-establish himself as one of the most feared fighters in the Welterweight division.
Josh Tummers will make his AFC debut at AFC 16, and he plans on making an immediate and devastating impact. Tummers last outing lasted only 24 seconds at which time he finished his opponent with a barrage of punches. His striking is pinpoint accurate and incredibly powerful so in the back of his mind he knows the end of the fight is only one punch away.
Mikey Vaotuua vs. James McGlashan
Mikey Vaotuua is becoming somewhat of an AFC cornerstone, as this will be his 4th straight AFC appearance. Given his warrior spirit and aggressive style fans are always excited to see his name on the card. Coming off a disappointing loss to Gokhan Turkyilmaz at AFC 15 Mikey is desperate to get back in the win column and he’ll get his opportunity when he faces fellow brawler James McGlashan on June 18. Perfectly matched, Mikey will have the opportunity to return to his roots and land some big shots on McGlashan on route to a highlight reel finish.
McGlashan may not of won his fight at AFC 15, but he did win plenty of fans with his huge heart and genuine will to keep fighting. During his battle with James Bishop, McGlashan showed he has dangerous striking having landed some clean shots and effective combinations. In previous fights he has shown he has KO power and also devastating leg kicks, so if this one stays standing, absolute fireworks and guaranteed!
Joshua Riley vs. Steve Cronin
The ‘Pretty Boy’ Joshua Riley delivered the shock of the night at AFC 15 when he turned Jason Petropoulous’s light off with a picture perfect hook that landed right on the button. That KO has earned him another call up to the AFC where he’ll face dangerous striker Steve Cronin. Joshua has indicated that this is the beginning of something very special, so AFC fans are excited to see what he has in store come June 18.
Steve Cronin will make his MMA debut at AFC 16 after an accomplished boxing career. Steve has huge power in his hands but has also been training all facets of MMA so he is way more versatile then his background may suggest. Desperate to show just how good a fighter he is, Steve will get his chance on the biggest platform in Australian MMA so AFC fans are very excited to see what he can produce.
With a couple more fights still to be confirmed, AFC 16 is not to be missed.
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