BRISBANE MMA sensation Isaac Hardman says he is gunning for Rob Hill after securing the AFC lightweight belt in clinical fashion in China.
Just moments after stopping Kiwi James Bishop at AFC 18 in Xian, China, Hardman confirmed his interest in defending his title against the tough Sydneysider.
While initially reluctant to call out Hill, Hardman said he and coach Adrian Pang would discuss the match up, which could be slated back in China in June or July.
“Whoever Adrian puts in front of me … I’ll fight,” Hardman said.
“I know Rob Hill, who was meant to be in this fight before he hurt his knee, is an awesome martial artist and he fought Adrian back in the day, so it could be Rob Hill next.
“He earnt this title shot, so if he gets healthy it will be him. I’m the champ but I’m not calling the shots at the moment.”
With gold around his waist, Hardman conceded he was a touch bitter about being overlooked for the AFC’s lightweight tournament, which was launched last year.
Hill was set to fight Bishop for the belt, before he was forced to withdraw through injury.
“I did come in as a replacement and I don’t doubt there will be people saying it didn’t earn the title shot,” Hardman said.
“But I was fighting on the night that the tournament started and I fought more times than James has to make the fight and I stopped everyone.
“I may not have been in the tournament from day dot but I’m on those guy’s level and I was a bit dirty that I wasn’t in the tournament and I wasn’t fighting in China.
“I felt I deserved it. I beat Kaan (Ofli) who is one of the AFC’s golden boys, so I felt I earnt it and I came in here and proved everyone wrong.”
Hailing from Brisbane’s Intergrated MMA, Hardman believes he is beginning to earn the respect of the lightweight division.
“I’m 7-0 now and I’m only 21 and I’m coming for them,” he said.
“I think it’s only a matter of time before people start taking notice.
“For the rest of 2017, Kieran Joblin has the XFC lightweight title and I’m pretty sure I’m the No. 1 contender.
“Everyone’s on notice now. I’m the hunted, not the hunter.”
In an enthralling main event before a packed house at the AFC MMA Club, Hardman used his precision striking to hurt Bishop late in the second round.
Hardman opened up a nasty cut on the forehead of the New Zealander, who was unable to answer the bell for the third round due to a doctor’s stoppage.
And Hardman knew he had caused significant damage.
“It was push, push, push and I hit that elbow and it felt like I was hitting a pillar and I knew it was massive,” Hardman said
“I saw the blood everywhere and it was all over my chest, so I gave him another one before the bell. I looked over and saw it (cut) was massive and the fight was stopped.
“You never want a fight to be stopped but a win’s a win and I’ll take it. It’s an Australian title.”
GEELONG brawler Peter Davenport has reignited his MMA career with a stunning stoppage of American Harris Norwood.
In the biggest victory of his short career, Davenport forced the 41-year-old to tap out in the second round after unleashing a series of strikes.
The victory keeps Davenport’s career alive, with AFC matchmakers hinting pre-fight that a loss to Norwood would signal the end.
“It’s not the finish, this is just the beginning,” Davenport declared.
“This was a fork in the road, let’s see where it takes us.
“There was never any doubt (about my career). It’s always about how your respond. There were things that weren’t going my way, but I responded in the best possible way.”
Davenport’s size proved too much for Norwood, who stepped into the octagon a staggering 12kg lighter.
It was evident from the outset that Norwood was out of his depth, with Davenport securing an early takedown in the first round and punishing his opponent with elbows and strikes.
“I got him with an overhand right and it knocked his mouth guard out and he was limp, so I just kept punching him and he tapped,” Davenport said.
Norwood, who is a veteran of more than 180 fights, said he would seek another fight with the AFC, but in his weight class.
“I’m used to training with some big guys, but it’s different in a fight,” he said.
“I walk around at 72. He weighed in at 77 and came out of the hotel at 84. It’s a massive difference.”
Norwood revealed he was unable to take anymore punishment, with several blows to the head leaving him vulnerable and hurt on the canvas.
“I just couldn’t keep going,” he said.
“My mouthpiece came out, I got a couple of good shots and I knew what was about to happen right there. If I could taken another four or five shots and been out (cold).”
It was a remarkable turnaround for Davenport, who just 24 hours earlier was laying on the ground suffering from severe dehydration on the back of an arduous weight cut.
“I didn’t think I was going to fight … I was pretty bad,” he said.
“I didn’t eat for three days. My weight was on point and I dropped 3kgs in under an hour and I was going perfect, but the next morning I was struggling. My body shutdown and I got to the stage where I couldn’t stand up.
“Next time I come China I will change things.”
RISING Sydney bantamweight Arlene Blencowe has Cris Cyborg in her sights after a devastating TKO win at AFC China.
Blencowe put the UFC on notice, finishing Tasmanian Rhiannon Thompson in the first-round on Saturday night.
And the fierce striker, who is part of the renowned Lions High Performance Centre stable in Sydney that already boasts UFC stars Tyson Pedro and Tai Tuivasa, wants a battle with the meanest woman on the planet.
“Half the battle for me was to make sure I made the bantamweight division because I’ve got my sights set on making the UFC,” Blencowe said.
“Now that I’ve made the weight and got an impressive win I’m hoping I can get a contract offer from the UFC.
“I know that I’m in their (UFC) sights. I’m waiting to be signed and I know they’re aware of me. I’m hoping I’m pretty close.”
Blencowe’s coach Shaun Sullivan confirmed the 32-year-old was on the cusp of the UFC, having had talks with the promotion in the lead up to the bout.
“She’s fought on Bellator and had some success there and she could fight back over there but she’s got her sights on the UFC,” he said.
“She’s showed in her last few fights that she can mix it with the best in the world, and I don’t just think she can go in there and hold her own, I think she can fight well, so fingers crossed.
“We’ll talk with the right people in the next couple of weeks and then we’ll have an idea of what to do next.”
POSTER boy Jun Zhu had the AFC MMA Club rocking, with his superior striking proving too much for Korean Seonuk Do.
The raucous Chinese crowd was on its feet as Zhu landed devastating blows to the head and body of Do.
Remarkably, Do continued to walk forward and eat punch after punch.
But it eventually became too much for Do, who failed to answer the bell after the second round.
JAPAN’S Tetsuya Seki made a statement in his AFC debut, clinching a strong win over Melbourne’s Nikos Trepca.
In an entertaining fight, Seki displayed his range of skills as he forced a referee stoppage late in the third round.
SYDNEY’S John Mitchell was clinical in his win over China’s Wu Chenglin, securing the third victory of his career.
Mitchell landed a vicious elbow that left a nasty cut on the head of Chenglin, causing an immediate referee stoppage late in Round 1.
“It’s unreal,” Mitchell said of the win post fight.
“I put a lot of effort in to get here.
“I was surprised but happy to see the ref jump in.”
Mitchell, who hails from the renowned Lions High Performance Centre in Sydney, was the aggressor from the bell, hurting Chenglin with a serious of strikes.
He credited the work of coach Shaun Sullivan and UFC star Tyson Pedro, who were in his corner.
“That (aggression stems from the gym,” Mitchell said.
“They force you to be on the front foot and take control and that’s the tip from the gym, so thanks for that.”
Mitchell improved his record to 3-2, and after a long camp, he plans to rest before his next bout.
IRAN’s Mohammad Issa Poursalamati silenced the local crowd early with an armbar submission win over China’s Jiang Kefeng.
Originally published as Hardman claims lightweight belt in style
SOURCE: newsnow sport