By: Kyro Pack
Two undefeated records: one championship. The first ever featherweight champion in SFC history takes the stage once again on May 27, 2017 at Wild Bob’s Bar in Sydney, Australia. Taulua Fautanua will attempt to defend his title against the submission machine Ricardo "Black Dahlia" Almeida.
Meanwhile, top heavyweights Mark Hunter and Richard Kuklinski seek to battle it out for an opportunity at contention for the upcoming heavyweight title.
Let’s take a closer look at the fights with an analysis and keys to the fight.
SFC Flyweight Championship - Taulua “The Volcano” Fautanua (4-0-0) vs Ricardo "Black Dahlia" Almeida (3-0-0)
Fresh off a controversial decision against Edgy Brah, “The Volcano” seeks to prove himself worthy of being called the greatest featherweight in SFC to date. He called the promotion out on giving him a big fight, worthy of proving himself to the hardcore SFC fans. There’s a saying, “if you keep knocking on the devils door…eventually he will answer.” Almeida answered the call, and is proving more than confident. Blowing up the buzzfeed of “The Volcano,” Almeida has warned the champion that he is coming for the belt. Fautanua, overly confident in his brown belt faces his toughest test yet, as “Black Dahlia” has finished all of his opponents via submission…in the first round.
Fautanua is no stranger to adversity however. Growing up with two folk dancing parents, he naturally felt at home when he began practicing the martial art of Capoeira. As he begin to learn discipline, he felt it was time to further his training leading to the art of Brazilian jiu jitsu. Trained from a young age of how to fight under a disadvantage, most believe “The Volcano” will feel right at home grappling with Almeida.
That’s where it all may come crashing down. Grapple, grapple, grapple. Both the champion and the challenger have put on grappling clinics in all of their previous fights. The fans, the media, the entire world expects to see an absolute grappling spectacle on Saturday night. But what hasn’t been talked about is that the challenger “Black Dahlia” has an extensive boxing background. His wrestling and submissions have been so dominant, that the casual fans simply don’t have a clue. Almeida knows the spotlight is on the grapple match. Will he keep it standing? Will he look for his first knockout in his professional MMA career? So many questions leading into this fight, it’s truly the championship bout the fans deserve.
KEYS TO THE FIGHT:
Almeida will likely come into this fight aggressive, strong, and confident in every area. He’s cocky and he’s voiced that. But, and that’s a but with a capital “B,” Taulua is the champion for a reason. He’s the GOAT featherweight for a reason. His opponents have thrown everything AND the kitchen sink at him, yet “The Volcano” is our champion. This fight is as close on paper as it gets, it comes down to heart in this, and “The Volcano” has proved his time and time again. Keys for Almeida: Keep it on the feet, land the jab, win a decision. Keys for Fautanua: Put Almeida on his back, ground and pound, win via submission.
Heavyweights – Mark “Angry Tongan” Hunter (4-2-0) vs Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski (3-0-0)
Well, here you have it folks. The heavyweight fight the fans have been asking for. The angriest man in the sport taking on the most interesting man in the sport. Mark “Angry Tongan” Hunter comes into this fight off a win, but in the words of his opponent “not so impressively.” Scrutinized for taking what most fans are calling “the easy fight” against Borque Seriaoski with a record formerly of 0-1-0 after losing a tough decision against Somoa Joe, Hunter seeks to prove to his fans once again that he is the baddest man on the planet. His opponent, “The Iceman” will be entering the cage undefeated in three flawless victories.
Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski, also known by his fans as “the most interesting man in the world” earned his nicknames the hard way. Son of infamous mob hitman Richard Kuklinski Sr., “The Iceman” was said to have been conceived in a prison, begin balding at the age of 12, and is engaged to none other than Chelsea Clinton herself. There’s the interesting part, now “The Iceman” nickname is what has Mark Hunter concerned about this fight. Kuklinski earned the nickname “The Iceman” after earning three consecutive TKO victories in his first three professional fights. He’s considered cold as ice, after having mauled the faces of all three opponents after each of them were badly cut due to the strikes of Kuklinski.
“Angry Tongan” is not to be taken lightly either. He’s angry, and he’s proved it. Becoming the first and only man in SFC history to knockout two consecutive opponents via slam, he’s a nightmare matchup for anyone in the heavyweight division. This will be the third time Hunter enters the ring under Sydney FC.
The vacant heavyweight championship is soon to be crowned, many believe they deserve the shot. This fight could decide who deserves a shot at being crowned SFC heavyweight champion.
KEYS TO THE FIGHT:
Hunter has been a powerhouse in the heavyweight division. Look for him to come into the fight ready for a war. “Angry Tongan” can swing hard on the feet, he can throw a 265 lb man across a cage, and he can break a limb in a submission, but none of that can contest with the viscous punches and elbows of “The Iceman.” Kuklinski likely comes in with a clinch, and as soon as he gets Hunter to the ground, which he will, eventually…it’s only a matter of time before the blood pours as “The Iceman” flings elbows for dinner. Keys for Hunter: Clinch often, land big takedowns, drain opponents gas tank. Keys for Kuklinski: Pick apart opponent with accurate strikes on feet, get the fight to the ground, cut opponent.
Light Heavyweights – Kevin “The Monstar” Handleman (3-0-0) vs Chuck Lesnar (2-0-0)
Another set of undefeated fighters, one will leave with their first defeat. Both young in their MMA careers “The Monstar” and Chuck Lesnar come into this bout as what most would call a classic striker vs grappler matchup. Handleman, having recently defeated Kanodia in a 3 round war, had a rough turn of events when he came out of the fight injured. Lesnar, believing he is the man with the plan to end “Monstars” streak took to the message boards telling Handleman “Heal up and get back to training so I can whoop you and take your #1 contender spot.” Handleman is healed, the paperwork is signed, and talk is cheap. We are going to find out Saturday night if Lesnar can keep it standing and get the knockout, or if “The Monstar” will claim another victim to his wrestling assault for a contender matchup for the light heavyweight title fight.
KEYS TO THE FIGHT:
“The Monstar” has a game plan, and if he can stick with that game plan, the fight is over. Lesnar coming in as the underdog and talking trash has to prove he can back it up. Too many swings should eventually lead to the takedown. The takedown will lead to a bad night for Lesnar. Lesnar will be coming with a chip on his shoulder. Keys for Handleman: Get the fight to the ground, control opponent on ground, win via decision. Keys for Lesnar: Keep fight standing at all costs, land heavy blows, control gas tank.
Middleweights – Joe Guerrero (2-0-0) vs Skeeter “The Zapper” McGillicutty (2-1-0)
Warley Alvez made one huge mistake leading up to SFC 4: claiming he would smash Joe Guerrero. One of the most one-sided fights in SFC history took place as Guerrero landed 35 punch combos in a unanimous decision victory over Alvez. The hyped up Guerrero looks to defend his #1 contender spot against unranked Skeeter “The Zapper” McGillicutty. Skeeter comes into this fight for the first time under contract with SFC, and truly his first test in the big leagues. “The Zapper” won his last fight via decision. He holds a well-rounded skill set having come up in a mixed martial arts background, never claiming a specific martial art. Some would say Skeeter is being thrown to the wolves against Guerrero, will McGillicutty be able to prove his critics wrong?
KEYS TO THE FIGHT:
“The Zapper” has one plan in mind, and that’s to get this fight on the ground. Guerrero hits like a truck and threw more combos in his last fight than any of his opponents combined fights. Keys for McGillicutty: Land a quick takedown, advance position, win via submission. Keys for Guerrero: Stay patient, defend the takedown, pick opponent apart on the feet.
Middleweights: Cletus “The Barnyard Mutt” McDonald (2-0-0) vs Jake “The” Dog (1-0-0)
With a last name like the dog, it’s only fitting that Jake Dog will fight “The Barnyard Mutt” on Saturday night. Both of these guys are young, and new to the fight game. Neither has tasted defeat yet, but “The Barnyard Mutt” looks to secure a victory with a background in Greco-Roman wrestling. McDonald, only 18 years old seeks his second victory in the cage but faces his toughest opponent yet in Jake “The” Dog. Dog, knocked his first and only opponent out cold only 1 minute into the fight. McDonald comes into this fight working full time at an auto mechanic and hopes that with a big win Saturday night, he will be able to train full time at LOD: Ground zero MMA gym.
KEYS TO THE FIGHT:
Though both 18 years old, both fighters come into this fight with two forms of martial arts. For McDonald, it’s Greco-Roman wrestling and BJJ. For Dog, it’s Muay Thai and wrestling. The standup will be in Dogs favor, the ground game likely in McDonalds. Keys for McDonald: Control the clinch, if fight goes to the ground control top position, submission defense. Keys for Dog: Aggressive strikes in the clinch, stay out of opponents guard, win via TKO.