Gustavo Falciroli retained his 135-pound title at CFC 19 with an arm-triangle choke. | Photo: Louie Abigail
SYDNEY -- Cage Fighting Championships, Australia's premier mixed martial arts promotion, returned to its usual home ground at Sydney Luna Park's Big Top Arena on Friday night for CFC 19 "Falciroli vs. Honstein." It did not disappoint.
In the main event of the evening, Australian-based Brazilian Gustavo Falciroli (11-3-2) defended his CFC bantamweight title for the first time, defeating Sydney-based Nebraskan "Quick" Nick Honstein (11-5) by arm triangle at 3:14 in the second round.
The scheduled five-round fight started with a furious pace, as both fighters sat down on their punches early on the feet until Honstein shot in for a double-leg takedown that was nicely defended by the Brazilian. The exchanging of heavy shots restarted immediately, and this time Falciroli landed a clean punch that put Honstein down, where the Brazilian followed him to the ground and methodically worked to mount position. Honstein was able to hip escape to side-control momentarily and briefly employed his trademark rubber guard, but the champion again got to mount and then took the American's back to finish the first frame with a body triangle.
The start of the second round mirrored the first, as both fighters traded aggressively. Platinum Extreme's Honstein was the first to land a meaningful strike in the round when he threw a left-hook, straight-right combination. Falciroli then waved him in, and Honstein obliged before shooting for a nice double-leg followed by some heavy punches and elbows to the grounded champion. Falciroli reversed nicely straight into full mount and proceeded to give a little of his own.
Falciroli then locked up an arm-triangle and passed back to side control. Honstein defended bravely but eventually succumbed to the choke, ending the exciting affair.
Following the bout, CFC promoter Luke Pezzutti entered the cage and offered Falciroli the opportunity to represent CFC in a champion versus champion fight in Jakarta, Indonesia, to mark the beginning of a working co-partnership between the CFC and the newly formed OneFC in 2012.
''I'll fight anywhere for CFC," Falciroli replied. "Gustavo Falciroli is back in MMA, I love Australia and I love to fight."
In the co-main event of the night, Pride and UFC veteran Soa "The Hulk" Palelei made short work of his opponent, knocking out Matt "Superman" Walker in just 16 seconds with a left hook befitting of his Marvel Comics namesake. Cornered in the fight by fellow UFC and Pride veteran Mark Hunt, it was just the third strike thrown by the heavyweight, and it was a big one. Walker (3-7) immediately dropped to the canvas, and Palelei followed him to the floor and landed two more shots to finish before referee Steve Perceval stepped in to call the bout. The victory takes Palelei's record to 13-3.
In the welterweight division, Perez MMA-trained prospect Robert Whittaker got back on the winning track, defeating Queensland's Ian Bone by TKO at 3:15
of the second round to improve his overall record to 8-1.
In a hotly contested bout where both fighters showed their skills on the feet and on the ground, Whittaker eventually overwhelmed Bone (9-6) to take the bout by way of a ground-and-pound stoppage from back mount.
New Zealand's Sam Brown (10-4-1) defeated Australian fighter Steve Thomas (6-3-1) by corner stoppage TKO at the completion of round two. The first round was very even, but the Kiwi promptly took over in the next, opening a cut early on Thomas' hairline that bled down into the Australian's eyes. In a last-ditch effort for victory, Thomas threw up an armbar attempt, only to give up his back. Brown punished him with hard shots to the head and body to finish the round, and it was enough for the corner to step in and save their fighter.
In a bloody encounter in the light heavyweight division, Roots BJJ-trained Brazilian Marcelo "The Machine" Altieri (2-0) stopped Double Dragon MMA's Ben
Lewis (1-1) by TKO at 2:47 of the second round.
Lange MMA's Sonny Brown (5-1) defeated Elite Fight Gym-trained Ricky Rea (2-1) by rear-naked choke at 3:41 of the first round of their lightweight bout. The two exchanged on the feet early, but it was Brown who landed the bigger shots, dropping Rea with a straight right then pouncing on his back to finish the choke in quick fashion.
Middleweight Zein Saliba (2-0) remained unbeaten as a professional with a keylock submission victory over Sinosic Perosh Martial Arts fighter Gerhard Voight (2-3) in round two.
In the opening fight of the night, James "Volcano" Vainikolo (3-3) of Team TeHuna took a TKO win from back mount over Tasmanian Connor Murphy (2-1) at 3:49 of the second round.