'Hulk' proves MMA class

ILLAWARRA-BASED mixed martial arts champion Alex ‘The Hulk’ Volkanovski smashed his way to another victory recently.

He represented Windang’s Freestyle Fighting Gym on the nation’s premier show, the Australian Fighting Championships, in Melbourne.

Making the cut from 77 kilograms to 70kg, Shellharbour resident Volkanovski proved weight was not a problem, coming in at 69kg, and making a drop to 66kg a possibility.

“Alex came up against a game and ready opponent,’’ AFC promoter and match-maker Adam Milenkovic said.

‘‘Alex showed he has the skills and power to outclass his opponent on the night.’’

Volkanovski proved to have too much class, dominating all aspects of the match and taking his MMA record to an impressive eight wins and one loss.

He suffered a large gash to his left cheek at the start of the second round after an accidental headbutt, which later required seven stitches.

He finished off his opponent four-and-a-half minutes into the third round when the referee stopped the fight due to strikes.

The event, streamed live worldwide on Epicentre.TV, had regional exposure for sponsor Warilla Hotel, which hosted a packed house for the event.

The card featured former Ultimate Fighting Championship stars and fighters from countries including Australia, United States and Brazil.

Volkanovski battled a tough fighter from the Philippines, who is aligned with one of the top Australian MMA gyms and a feared striker.

“I fought a very dangerous fighter,’’ Volkanovski said.

‘‘I knew I was in for a tough fight, but I felt stronger than I ever have.

‘‘ ... [I] have a great support network of training partners, sponsors and fans which helps me fight at my peak every time.’’

A former first grade rugby league player for the Warilla-Lake South Gorillas, Volkanovski attributed a smooth transition to the MMA arena to his head coach and Freestyle Fight Gym Windang trainer, Joe Lopez.

“Alex really stuck to the game plan,’’ Lopez said.

‘‘He fought a really dangerous striker.

‘‘It is unbelievable how far he has come in such a short time.

‘‘You have to remember he has only been training for two years,’’ he said.

‘‘He has two pro titles and fighting for another one next month and this win has put him right in title contention with the AFC as well,’’ Lopez said.

This performance caps off a stellar year for The Freestyle Fight team.

Its 2013 scoresheet includes three professional mixed martial arts titles, more than 30 mixed martial arts wins and more than 100 grappling wins.

The Freestyle Fighting Gym will be conducting an open try-out on January 25 from 10am.

It will be open to anyone who wants to apply, even from those who do not have a martial arts background.

Contact Joe Lopez on 0410 556 313.

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