The city of Adelaide in Australia will see its very first Ultimate Fighting Championship event, with a heavyweight main event featuring fan-favorite and elite slugger Mark Hunt, and the man who gave Junior dos Santos a heady run for his money in his last fight, Stipe Miocic.
Coming off a noble performance versus Fabricio Werdum at UFC 181 in which both men fought for the heavyweight interim belt following an injury to Cain Velasquez that forced him out of the original contest, the New Zealander and one of Australia’s adopted MMA heroes Mark Hunt will be getting back to the swing of taking on intimidating opponents. Ranked fifth in the UFC heavyweight rankings, Miocic, whose loss to Junior dos Santos was preceded with three consecutive wins over Roy Nelson, Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabio Maldonado, is one of the top rising prospects in the heavyweight division. With eight KO/TKO wins in his record, this formidable striker is sure to give Hunt a difficult run in the Octagon.
Another exciting contest will feature Hawaii’s first lady of mixed martial arts, Kailin Curran, versus Australian favorite, the Astrogirl herself, Alex Chambers. Kailin’s UFC debut in Austin last year was a great effort, but she ultimately fell short to the UFC’s newest darling, Paige VanZant.
Alex Chambers, a black-belt karateka and a blue belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu, is also coming off a loss—a submission by armbar to Conor McGregor compatriot and Straight Blast Gym teammate Aisling Daly. The lightest fighter in UFC history and an astrophysicist, she was a member of the latest cast of The Ultimate Fighter, the season that inaugurated the all-new women’s strawweight division in the UFC, under the tutelage of coach Anthony Pettis.
Hopefully this card will push for the further advancement of a lifting of the ban enforced on cage fighting in the state of Victoria. As it stands, this will be the seventh UFC event in the country,. The previous six events were split over one in Brisbane, one in the Gold Coast, and four in Sydney. Recently, Australia saw Luke Rockhold take down Michael Bisping on Fight Night in Sydney—widely regarded as the best night of mixed martial arts of the year—which had a modest attendance of almost 10,000 people.
The state of Victoria—which seats the second most populated city in Australia, Melbourne—has enforced a ban over the use of cages in combat sports since 2008, keeping the UFC away from one of its most enticing landmarks: Docklands Stadium, also known since 2009 as Etihad Stadium. If this mammoth building could be host to a UFC event, it could certainly match the numbers that UFC 129 in Toronto racked up. That night sold out over 55,000 tickets, with a gate of over 12 million dollars.
According to opponents of the sanctioned mixed martial arts in Victoria, fighting in cages encourages street violence. To us, that argument is akin to forcing a football game of taking place on a tennis court. Last year, the Labor Party stated that they would lift the ban if they were voted into government. It still hasn’t happened, but supposedly it will once Australia’s Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board advises the government that fence enclosures indeed make things safer for the fighters.
Let’s get it going, Victoria!
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