Paul Loga: A Shot At Redemption

A shot at redemption is something that is rarely afforded to combat sports athletes, especially on the pro stage. 

Unlike most typical team sports – whose teams may compete against their opponents several times in a season, mixed martial artists more often than not get a single shot to add a rival scalp to their fight record. Win? You move on to higher ranked opponents. Lose? It’s back in line to face the next run of hungry opponents looking to climb the ladder.

But once in a while, a second chance presents itself to those who are prepared to take their losses in stride, dust themselves off and reconfirm themselves as legitimate contenders in their respective divisions.

For Paul Loga, that chance comes in the form of a rematch with Stephen ‘AstroBoy’ Erceg at Eternal 62 on October 30th in Perth, Western Australia. Only this time, the stakes are even higher. 

Fight fans will recall that the highly talented pair had already faced each other in the main event of Eternal 47 back in September of 2019. On this occasion, it was Erceg who emerged the victor. With Loga pushing the pace early and landing some heavy strikes, it would be a perfectly timed left hand from Erceg in the first that would see Loga’s night waved off by the referee, and consequently see Erceg earn himself a title shot in the process. Loga, meanwhile, would be forced to return to the drawing board and plan a new path back to the upper echelons of Australia’s flyweight rankings.

Loga originally met Erceg in the Main Event of Eternal 47.

For a competitor as ruthless as Paul Loga, this was a prospect he was prepared to face head on. Adversity was something he was more than familiar with, and it was in-part through those adverse experiences that he was able to pick himself up and put himself back on track to the top of the mountain. 

Born in Sudan, Loga followed his uncle to Australia at the age of ten and began to lay the foundations of a man driven to compete. Before he found mixed martial arts, Loga plied his skills on the rugby field. It wasn’t long until injuries began to pile up, resulting in several early surgeries and subsequently causing him to call time on the game he fell in love with as a child. 

While the injuries forced Loga to move on from the rugby field, the competitive fire was something that never waned. A new passion would be found on the Jiu Jitsu mats, which eventually lead to the beginnings of a new career in MMA. It would be the ability to control the outcome, literally with his own hands that would appeal to Loga the most. The pure one-on-one aspect that mixed martial arts provided was something that football could not. 

Loga had his heart set on Rugby, before finding MMA.

 “Footy is sort of the unknown collision.” Said Loga. 

“I find (with) martial arts I can control what happens or what doesn’t happen based on skill. Whereas footy, every time you run, you’re rolling the dice. What’s the other person going to do?”  

The control within the chaos inside the cage was where Loga truly found his calling. A bullish fighter who is known for his elite level cardio, solid grappling skills and sharp hands, Loga embodies a well-rounded and high-paced style that has made him a favourite amongst fight fans. 

It is a style that has seen his results vary, but his popularity never falter. Currently with a professional record of 7-5-0, Loga’s “sword and shield” approach to fighting has seen him on the end of both highlight level wins as well as some devastating losses. Though it must be said, the majority of Loga’s losses have come at the hands of the very best that the Australian MMA scene has to offer. But for Loga, it’s an approach that he sees himself always taking with him whenever he steps inside cage. 

“That’s always been my style. I can’t change it. Even if my coaches try and get it out of me a little bit, it comes out. We are in a fist fight at the end of the day. People call it a fight, but at the end of the day it’s a fist fight.”  

It’s Loga’s relentless style however, that has earned him the right to call himself one of the best flyweights in Australia. When you are consistently fighting the best of the best, an individuals fight record only paints a part of the bigger picture. A fighter’s mentality and how they rebound from adversity contributes an arguably even larger portion.

Loga brings his fan-friendly fight style to every outing.

As Loga is aware, he has earned his place amongst the elite with his never say die attitude. It’s that mentality that has brought him back full circle to face an old foe in Stephen Erceg, but this time with a championship belt on the line.

Asked of his recent run of form back in the win column on the way to his upcoming title match, Loga offered an insightful disposition when it comes to the confidence he gains from his recent performances inside the cage:

“I get more confidence out of my losses. Most of my losses have come to the number ones in the country. I’ve fought three number ones now and I’ve lost to all three.”

“I’d like to knock one over in the name of Erceg, but that’s where my confidence comes from.”

“You remember the wins, the wins are nice, but sometimes you don’t really see where you can improve with the win. You sort of get caught up in the win. So that’s what I’ve been trying to do a lot lately, even with the wins, trying to break down the wins to what I did badly instead of what I did well.”

This will be of course Loga’s second crack at the Eternal flyweight championship. A previous shot at silverware didn’t go his way after an absolute firefight with former champion, Shannon Ross. One of the best fights we have seen on the Australian MMA scene in recent memory regardless of weight class, Loga left it all in the cage and further cemented his reputation among fight fans as a fighter who is willing to go out on his shield in search of glory. 

This will be Loga’s second chance at capturing the Flyweight title.

Since then and his following loss to Erceg, Loga has put himself back on pace with a twofight win streak. A complete, three-round performance over Bulgaria native, Sotir Kichukov proceeded a suffocating first round TKO victory over Australian veteran, Ryan Robertson.

The hard-earned win against the former in Kichukov would reveal the true depths of the adversity that Loga faced in the lead up to the fight. A short time prior to the event, Loga would suffer the loss of a dear friend who he considered a brother. It was within the love of his brother that he would find this strength to overcome his next challenge, dedicating the win to him in the process. 

“That was a tough time.” Loga confessed.  

“He was a very good mate, very close to my family so, to me he is a brother. Same as all my training partners, they’re all my brothers. I bleed for them.”

Loga went on to describe the character of his fallen comrade. 

“He was a good man, he was a very good man, like sort of brightened up the room when he walked into it no matter what mood anyone was in. He always joked about the fighting.

“Before my last fight, before he passed away, he did say ‘I want his head on a platter’ and I told him I’d bring it back. And then the next thing you know he’s in a coma and things are going badly.

“So, I did dedicate it to him (the win), he was definitely in there with me for that one. It was a tough time, but he definitely gave me motivation to keep pushing through.”

With the hardest part of that chapter in his life behind him, the Sassom MMA product was buoyed by his recent success and ready to forge ahead. The momentum was back, the skills were on full display and the local MMA scene was reminded once again that Loga belongs at the top of the food chain with the divisions best. 

It was a reminder that Loga himself needed. 

The win over Kichukov re-solidified Loga as a top contender at Flyweight.

“The one (fight) with Shannon Ross, coming in with him I sort of didn’t feel like I belonged. Where as now, I feel like I belong.

“I should be number one in this country. I believe I’m the best flyweight in Australia and I’m going to prove it come October 30.”

That date of course marks the return of Eternal MMA to Perth – home to current flyweight champion, Stephen ‘AstroBoy’ Erceg, where the two will face off yet again to see who the true king of the flyweights in Australia really is. 

The rematch was meant to happen earlier in 2021, but injury would see Loga sidelined for the time being, while Erceg went on to face and win against young up and comer, Cody Haddon. 

While on the shelf, Loga kept a close eye on proceedings, all the while knowing he would get the chance to avenge the loss to his rival in the near future. While Loga admits that defeating Erceg will always be one of the toughest he will face in his career, he sees a completely different outcome when they square off for a second time in Erceg’s home city.  

While the first meeting of the two contenders went down as a loss for Loga, he believes he was able to identify firsthand exactly where Erceg’s strengths are, and what he can take advantage of when they finally meet again.

“Erceg obviously is an animal, and you need everything to be going right to beat him, even have a chance to beat him. I watched the (first) fight back and really, he landed a good shot. If we look back at the fight, if that fight went on, I think I would have got the better of him, but obviously I didn’t.

“He landed the shot and all credit to him.”

“Of course, he’s evolving. His wrestling was awesome in his last fight, and I think that’s what won it for him. Haddon was really beating him up on the feet and that’s grappling sort of got him out of it and you don’t normally see the grappling out of Erceg.

“He’s an accurate striker. I can’t fault him. He just does some things that I see, and my coaches have seen that we can take advantage of. But overall, he’s top notch.”

“Win or lose this fight, I think he will keep going and he’ll go far.”

If the championship rounds become a factor, and in turn the cardio required to go the distance, Loga believes that is a definitive area where he sees himself having the advantage.

Loga sees a definitive advantage in the later rounds.

“If it gets the fourth or fifth (round) I think I’ll definitely take over that fight, and I’ll take over pretty convincingly. Especially after watching his last fight.

“Obviously he’s going to get tired. Watching that fight (vs Haddon), if we do get into the fourth or the fifth, I think it’s going to be my advantage.”

Loga is also actually aware of what he needs to change for himself in order to get his hand raised on this occasion. While he was the fighter pushing the pace in the opening minutes of the first meeting between the pair, there were some key aspects that Loga knows he needs to adjust in order to finally become champion.

And he knows exactly how he wants to get the job done…

“That (first) fight, I was throwing and hoping instead of aiming and firing, as some say.”

“I take a lot of confidence out of that fight. Everyone knows rematches don’t go the same (way). It’s going to be a much tougher fight for him, so I hope he knows this sort of fight he’s going to be in, because I’m coming to take no prisoners.”

“I want to finish it brutally and I want to get back that knockout.”  

On October 30th, one combatant will leave the HBF stadium as the Eternal flyweight champion and with that, the right to call themselves the best flyweight in Australia. 

ETERNAL 62: The Rematch Is Set

Australia’s premier mixed martial arts organisation, Eternal MMA, is making its way back to Perth this month with Eternal MMA 62, featuring a card full of high octane mixed martial arts action.

Live from Perth’s HBF Stadium on October 30, Eternal MMA 62 will be headlined by a rematch between flyweight champion, Steve Erceg (7-1), and challenger, Paul Loga (7-5).

Their first meeting at Eternal MMA 47 saw Erceg stop Loga via strikes in the very first round, but the stakes have risen this time with the Eternal MMA flyweight championship on the line.

Erceg and Loga initially met back at Eternal 46.

Erceg will hope to make a third successful defence of his flyweight championship, whilst Loga is looking to stretch his two-fight winning streak into a title berth with a victory over Erceg at Eternal MMA 62.

Eternal MMA’s co-promoter Ben Vickers can’t wait for the main event.

“This is an amazing fight. Erceg did what very few, if any, do and got Loga out there early.

“Loga wants revenge and is a tough and gritty old-school fighter, and Erceg always brings top notch skills everywhere and pushes a hell of a pace. This fight will be fireworks.”

Other fights on the card include a lightweight attraction between a veteran on his last stand, Nicko Flessas (2-7), and Quillan Salkilld (0-1), who’s looking to bounce back from the loss in his professional debut.

Both fighters are hungry to get back in the win column.

“Flessas versus Salkilld is an absolute banger. It’s a must win fight for Flessas in his mid-thirties – he’s an amazing fighter and his record doesn’t do him justice – and the young prospect, Salkilld, is looking to bounce back from the loss in his professional debut.” said Vickers.

Looking forward to the event, Vickers says, “It’s very exciting to have Eternal back in WA. Eternal was instrumental in the growth of MMA in the state so it’s always very special; HBF Stadium is spectacular as well.”

The atmosphere inside the HBF Stadium is always electric!

Events are always sold out prior to doors, so get your tickets now to ensure you don’t miss out!

If you are unable to attend, viewers are able to stream the main card portion of Eternal MMA 62 live on the home of combat sports, UFC Fight Pass.

The preliminary card will be available for streaming live on Eternal MMA’s very own YouTube channel.


For further media enquiries contact Cam O’Neill: [email protected]

Diego Pereira: The Rise Of El Pantera Negra

Diego Pereira (6-4) is a natural performer. Need proof? Just watch any of his past fights. The Brazilian fighter who now calls Australia home holds the record for the fastest knockout in Eternal MMA history, finishing Nix Agulto nine seconds into their bout with a vicious kick to the head. His last performance in the cage – a spirited loss to Jack Jenkins for the Eternal featherweight championship – was voted Eternal’s best fight of the year and the first fight in the promotion’s history to see a fourth round.

But in a year halted by the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent fight cancellations, ‘El Pantera Negra’ (The Black Panther) makes his return to the cage this weekend when he fights Abdalla Eltigani (2-0) at Eternal MMA 61, a fight which he hopes will put his MMA career back on track.

Conventional wisdom would assume that Pereira has an easy task ahead of him on Saturday night – a consequence of his opponent’s relative inexperience – but there are dangers to fighting untried opponents. For one, tape on Eltigani is scarce, making him an unknown quantity to a degree. This is also the biggest fight of Eltigani’s young career, a prospect which makes him a dangerous opponent.

But Pereira understands this conundrum better than most and is preparing diligently for Eltigani by formulating a game plan based on the little tape available.

“We’re solid. There’s a few fights on Fight Pass, a few on YouTube. And though I haven’t fought any one as a professional with his physicality – being tall, lanky, a kickboxer – but as an amateur I have. And I feel like my IQ is on another level right now.”

Pereira also expects to finish Eltigani. “I think I’ll finish it inside two rounds, but I’m ready for everything. I’ll be ready if the fight goes the distance, but I have too many weapons, too many ways with which to win the fight, and though he’s a very talented young man, he’s never faced the high-level guys that I have, and he doesn’t have the experience that I have.”

This will also be the first time that Pereira has fought in over a year. In his last outing – the loss to Jenkins – Pereira suffered both a broken jaw and a hairline fracture in his right fibula, with both occurring early in the fight.

“We went to war in that fight; we made history; it was the first time that an Eternal fight had seen the fourth round.

“I suffered some pretty gnarly injuries, but I wanted it so bad. I had trained so hard, but it got to a point where my jaw was so loose that any touch to it hurt… I wanted to keep going but it was an instinct of survival where the body took over and shut down.”

However, the injuries sustained during the fight became a blessing in disguise, allowing Pereira to reset and evaluate the shortcomings in his past performances. He believes a major factor in his past defeats was how he approached the sport. Until now, he had neglected the mental aspect of combat and instead focused on the physical and technical aspects.

“The mind is like a computer: it runs everything, so if you know how to manipulate that feeling before you get to the event through breathing and visualization, it’s going to help the performance a lot more. Technically I was already at a high level, but it’s been about understanding things which help when it comes to situations where it feels like you’re about to jump off a cliff. It’s risky. You have that cold feeling in your stomach like you’re on a roller coaster.”

Growing up in Guararapes, São Paulo, Pereira lived with his mother, grandmother, and siblings. Throughout his childhood, money was always scarce. “Where I grew up in Brazil was a rough area. I come from poverty; we had enough to get by, but it was always a tight situation – we were always living cheque to cheque.”

School wasn’t a priority in Pereira’s life either, instead he left school to work odd jobs to support his family. “At 16 I dropped out of school and my mother told me that if I wasn’t going to go to school, then I would have to work and help around the house which was fine by me.”

Diego (far right – in the glasses) with his older brother and cousin on a rare BBQ day in Brazil.

Pereira’s first job was working part-time delivering food on a bicycle throughout his hometown, a job his mother had sorted for him. “I thought it was amazing. The restaurant had amazing food and they would feed us too, and at the end of each week I would have some money. Some went to my mother, and some went to myself so I could play video games and eat food we usually couldn’t afford like biscuits and candy.” 

As a teenager, Pereira didn’t care for MMA. In fact, he knew nothing about it. He hadn’t heard of jiu-jitsu, nor the Brazilian icon, Royce Gracie. “To me it didn’t exist. I didn’t seek it; I didn’t have friends who did it. I’m sure it was popular, but to me it didn’t exist. I wasn’t watching any TV; I was oblivious to it.”

Pereira was introduced to combat sports through capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art dating back to the sixteenth century, first practiced by slaves during Portuguese rule in Brazil.

The martial art is distinguished by its acrobatic play, its extensive use of groundwork, as well as sweeps, kicks, and headbutts. Though unlike most martial arts, capoeira is more akin to a dance than a fight. As such, music is an integral feature and functions as its soundtrack, to culturally guide its participants through lyrics which acknowledge slavery, spirituality, and the sport itself.

Later, through a government initiative which aimed to keep Brazilian youth off the streets, Pereira was introduced to kung-fu and ballet. “At the time I was only interested in doing kung fu, but to do kung fu I also had to do ballet and as a kid I didn’t want to do ballet. And as a kid you have all these misconceptions about it, but it was amazing.”

Diego after winning his first kung-fu medal.

Pereira’s journey to Australia began around this time too, a move which irreversibly altered his life. “My uncle was here in Australia already. He moved to work in the meatworks, because at the time Australia needed skilled workers in the area, so they had to outsource guys to come over here and work, and my uncle was one of those people.”

Realising how much the move would benefit Pereira and his siblings as it had for him, Pereira’s uncle planned for Pereira and his siblings to settle in the country. “My uncle was supporting us a lot at the time and figured that we could come to Australia as his dependents. To do so he had to prove that we depended upon him financially, and at first my older brother was able to leave and joined my uncle working in the meatworks.”

Two years later, his uncle offered Pereira the same opportunity as his brother, but it was dependent on Pereira returning to school. “At the time I quit my jobs and went to night school to finish my high school degree. So, I went back, started studying more; I went to a different city and started living with my aunt, and before I could complete my studies, my uncle called me and said I was good to go.”

In Australia, Pereira joined his uncle and elder brother and began working at the meatworks. This is where Pereira first became aware of mixed martial arts. “A guy I was working with told me about Anderson Silva, who was the champion at the time, and whether I was familiar and I wasn’t, and that’s how I got interested in MMA. Then when I got home I started researching and digging, finding out about Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, and I thought maybe I should do that.”

Once discovering MMA, Pereira began searching for a gym and trained around Queensland for the next few years.

With the support of his uncle, Pereira was able to quit his job and dedicated himself to mixed martial arts full time. He ventured back to Brazil to train at the legendary Rio De Janeiro gym, Nova União. Home to some of Brazil’s greatest mixed martial arts talent, including Jose Aldo and Renan Barao.

But having adjusted to life in Australia, Pereira found it difficult to live in Brazil. “I really loved the training, but I didn’t like the environment. I wasn’t living in the slums of Rio, but there was too much traffic, too many people and I began feeling lonely, so I started thinking back to life in Australia and decided I didn’t want to be here anymore.”

Afterwards, Pereira returned to Queensland and became an Australian citizen. This allowed him to begin searching for gyms in the United States to continue developing his craft, something that wasn’t possible in Queensland.

“After looking around, I came across Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They had dorm rooms which I thought sounded perfect because I could sleep upstairs, go downstairs and train. So, I figured out how much it would cost, and I contacted them and got accepted because you had to be invited.”

When Pereira arrived at Jackson-Wink, he understood how different his life would be for the next few months. “Every time you go down the stairs you see guys like Andrei Arlovski, Jon Jones, Alistair Overeem, Holly Holm, all of these stars. And then to see Greg Jackson, Mike Winkeljohn, all these guys you’d see coaching in the UFC, it was like wow I’ve made it. I’m actually here.

“Living in that environment was extremely new and extremely outside of my comfort zone. For the first month I hated it, sometimes I felt unsafe, there were some weird dudes there, some crazy motherfuckers, but it was a good growth period for me personally. I figured out that I was my own man and that I could handle my shit there.”

In Queensland, the gym Pereira has called home for the past decade is Southside MMA. He credits his coaches Paul Stolyar and Damage Maea – affectionately called ‘Uncle Dez’ – for his development in the sport.

“They’ve influenced me so much, Paul’s such a passionate coach and such a selfless being and we’ve done so much growth together. Those two are the heart of Southside MMA, if not for them the team would have fallen apart. They’ve influenced me so much, not just as an athlete but also a person through how they carry themselves in and out of the gym.

“And Uncle Dez was so supportive. When I was overseas, he would help me out financially whenever I needed it and he always believed. And when I got back he was the first to stick his hand out and help me and start doing pads.”

L to R: Uncle Dez, Diego, Paul Stoyler

All these experiences have led Pereira to Eternal MMA 61 this Saturday.

“I’m now reaching my prime, I’m 29 so right now I have everything coming full circle: the mental, the physical; I’m comfortable in my own body. Everything is coherent now.

“I’m constantly running scenarios in my brain: everything from the walk out; the music; the taste; my heartbeat; can I feel those emotions? Can I hear the people screaming my name?”

‘Will there be any signs of rust?’ I ask. “No rust.” Pereira tells me.

Stream the Eternal 61 main card live on UFC Fight Pass – Saturday Sep 11.

SPOTLIGHT: Kepu vs James

It hasn’t been without its challenges, but Eternal 61 is finally upon us. And with that comes a slew of tantalising matchups that promise to have the mouths of fight fans watering.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen some unfortunate cancelations and postponements to several fights, including the push back to a later date for the upcoming event itself.

But with the card now firmly locked into place, one matchup that is sure to produce fireworks is Nick Kepu vs Jack James.

The two exciting middleweight prospects have been tasked with kicking off the main card this Saturday, and both are looking to make a big impression in front of a packed crowd at Southport Sharks.

With Kepu having already made his pro debut against Sam Dobb at Eternal 57 – an absolute showstopper in which he emerged victorious by way of split decision, the hard hitting Muay Thai Mulisha stalwart will be looking to capitalise on his momentum with a big win against Jack James.

‘Slick’ Nick Kepu is coming off a crowd-pleasing performance at Eternal 57.

“I just don’t see enough power in his striking to take me out” – Kepu told Eternal MMA when questioned about his upcoming opponent. “I just feel like I’m going to walk him down, stalk him, and pretty much take him out in either the first or the second (round). That’s just my honest opinion.”

On his goals with Eternal MMA, Kepu was measured in his approach to the future.

“The goal with Eternal is obviously to fight the champ whenever Cam (Eternal MMA promotor – Cam O’Neill) gives me that opportunity. But I don’t look past my next opponent. My job this weekend is Jack James. I just need to get the job done and then after that we can start talking from there. But until then, I don’t really look too far.”

Making his pro debut on the other side of the cage, Jack James is looking at making his own waves within the Eternal MMA organisation. The young up and comer is ready for the challenge that lies ahead.

Jack James is confident he’ll get his hand raised at Eternal 61. Source: @bangjackjits

When asked of his impressions on his upcoming opponent, James had the following to say, “We’ve got a game plan sorted for him.”

“I just think once I start picking up the volume and (implement) heaps of movement and get a takedown or two, he won’t be able to keep up.”

When asked if he had a prediction on how he see’s his hand being raised, James gave a confident, matter of fact answer,

“Ground and pound.”

James has lofty goals of his own when it comes to his Eternal MMA career, mirroring the sentiments of his Eternal 61 adversary,

“I want to keep fighting pro, I want to win the belt.” Said James.

“Middleweight 84 kilo champion.”

With both athletes full of confidence and their sights firmly set on each other, as well as a successful run against Eternal MMA’s middleweight elites, this is a fight that simply cannot be missed.

Stream the Eternal 61 main card live on UFC Fight Pass – Saturday Sep 11.

A True Contender: Jack Della

When Jack Della (9-2) lost his second fight in a row to begin his career – a submission loss to Australian middleweight Darcy Vendy – he trudged back to the locker room defeated, ruing the errors which ultimately cost him the fight. 

After hearing the news, his trainer Ben Vickers, who couldn’t make the journey to Queensland to be in his corner, called Della to remind him he wasn’t an 0-2 fighter. Instead, Vickers told a then 19-year-old Della that he’d win his next 10 fights. 

And here we are: nine wins later, with a tenth to potentially secure a UFC contract on Dana White’s Contender Series.

Jack Della and his team, after extending his win streak at Eternal 48.

The fight, scheduled for 14th of September, will see Della fight Ange Loosa (7-1), another highly touted prospect who has made his name throughout America’s regional MMA scene. 

Speaking about his opponent, Della believes Loosa matches up well with his skillset. 

“I think his style matches up well to mine,” said Della, “he’s the type of guy to pressure and come forward which is what I want. 

“I want to try land counter shots and damage him as he comes in” 

It’s no surprise Jack is receiving this opportunity with the UFC now. In his professional career, all eleven fights have ended in stoppages, something which has not only endeared him to Australian MMA fans, but evidently to the UFC as well. 

“I’ve never gone into a fight to win a decision. I can last a whole fight and keep doing what I’m doing, but my style creates finishes. I want to get clean finishes, that’s what I’m chasing,” said Della.

Jack has a fan-friendly style, with all his wins coming by KO.

This opportunity has been a long time coming too. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant fewer opportunities for international prospects such as Della. He was first touted to make his UFC debut in June of last year, as part of UFC 251 – the pay-per-view scheduled to take place in Perth, Della’s hometown – only for it to be cancelled. 

After receiving his call up to Dana White’s Contender Series, Della has committed to training full-time, something that wasn’t possible in the past. Previously, Della had juggled his fledgling MMA career with a job in finance, a far cry from his life as a mixed martial artist.

But despite juggling two occupations, Della has always been an astute student of mixed martial arts, a fighter who takes his preparation very seriously. His trainer believes this is what separates his student from the rest.

“I’ve never met an athlete like him before. I’ve got guys who are probably just as talented as him, but they don’t work as hard as Jack. He lives it, breathes it, and sleeps it.”

“I wish I could say ‘I’m the world’s best coach’ but I don’t think it’s true. I just think he’s really good.” said Vickers.

In the cage, Della is a no-nonsense pressure fighter with the ability to finish fights wherever they end up. He’s able to overwhelm his opponents by relentlessly coming forward; not allowing his opponents to catch a breath. Most importantly, he’s able to sense blood in the water too. 

“I know when to pull the trigger, I don’t pull it too early, I don’t pull it too late. I have a good idea of when I need to step on the gas and take my opponent out.” said Della.

Della has consistently improved throughout his young career.

In Della’s first professional fight he fought local rival Aldin Bates in a competitive affair which was ultimately decided in the final round when Bates overwhelmed Della, finishing him with ground and pound strikes. 

In his last outing, Della was able to avenge that loss by emphatically knocking Bates out early in the first round, ending any doubt of who was the better fighter between the two. 

Della avenged his first pro loss in a rematch at Eternal 53.

I asked Della whether he felt like giving up after beginning his career with two straight losses. 

“To be honest, no. I really enjoy competing and I knew I was better than those performances 

“Losing is part of this sport and you’ve got to be able to swallow the pill and move on. We put the losses on the back burner and figured out how to win so it was a good learning curve,” said Della. 

It’s not unusual for great fighters to lose in their professional debut. Legendary fighters including Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva and Amanda Nunes all lost in their professional debuts, but losing your first two fights is unusual. It’s a beginning that would make most reconsider their career and call it a day, but instead Della persisted. 

A 9-fight win streak, and now on the cusp of a UFC contract.

Della’s nine-fight win streak is a testament to his approach to mixed martial arts. He’s a calming presence, someone who relishes in the opportunity of competing without feeling the weight of the world on his shoulders.

This attitude has made the longest reigning welterweight champion in Eternal MMA history, and one of Australia’s best MMA fighters as well.  

Della’s next fight represents the biggest fight in his young career, a life changing opportunity to pursue his dream on the biggest stage but speaking to him you wouldn’t realise it. Instead, Della’s treating it like any other fight.

WATCH Dana White’s Contender Series on ESPN/Kayo Sports or UFC Fight Pass on September 15th to see Eternal MMA alumni Jack Della fight for a UFC contract.


It’s a new opponent, but the same goal for Eternal lightweight champion Dan Hill (5-0).

Due to COVID-19 interstate travel restrictions, Hill will now defend his Eternal MMA lightweight title against Jack Becker (8-2) at Eternal MMA 61.

Originally scheduled to fight veteran lightweight Brentin Mumford, Hill will test his skills against another of Australia’s top lightweights when he steps in the cage with the internationally recognised Becker.

Jack Becker brings a wealth of experience into this title fight.

It’s a huge opportunity for Becker who told Eternal MMA,

“I believe I’m the toughest test of his career so far. He’s been tested before by Josh Togo who’s solid but not as solid everywhere as I am.”

On how he sees the fight playing out, Becker expects to finish the undefeated champion.

“I think the fight’s going to be a mixture of everything: grappling, striking. I don’t think it needs to stay anywhere for anyone but I do think there’ll be a finish.”

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Hill accepted the late replacement without hesitation, telling Eternal MMA,

“I accepted the fight straight away. I told them I’d fight anyone.”

The challenge of fighting Becker also excites Hill.

“I think this is a better fight for me. I think it’s a fight that will progress my career a lot more than the fight with Brentin  [Mumford] would and it’s something that makes me a lot more excited to get up and train for.”

Dan Hill is happy to take on all challengers in the Eternal Lightweight division.

It’s a huge blow for Mumford whose opportunity will have to wait for now, but promoter Cam O’Neill is hopeful about rescheduling a fight as soon as possible.

“Eternal MMA is committed to ensuring that our athletes get every opportunity to perform as we continue to adapt to the constantly challenging travel restrictions in Australia.”

“Unfortunately for Brentin, these restrictions have ruled him out of this fight but he will get the chance to challenge the winner for the title later this year.”

When asked about the replacement, O’Neill couldn’t be happier.

“We were lucky to be able to secure such an exciting replacement that is definitely worthy of the challenge.

“The Eternal lightweight division is the most exciting division in Australia and Dan Hill sits at the very top. His opponent, Jack Becker, comes into this fight hungry with a huge pedigree and is coming off an exciting win himself. What an exciting fight.”

Buy tickets to Eternal MMA 61 at Southport Sharks RSL club on September 11th (5pm start) OR stream the main card live on UFC Fight Pass.

SPOTLIGHT: Dimps VS Martinez

It’ll be grappler versus striker when former Eternal lightweight champion David Martinez (6-3) meets Dimps Gillies (4-3) at Eternal MMA 61. 

Both men will be looking to get back into the lightweight title picture and Eternal MMA co-promoter, Cam O’Neill, believes a victory would do just that.

“The Eternal lightweight division is on fire. It’s the best division in Australia right now and this fight features two of the very top lightweights with very contrasting styles. 

“One thing’s for sure: this fight is going to be fun, and the winner will most likely move forward to fight for that number one contender spot in their next fight.” said O’Neill. 

With both fighters desperately chasing a victory, this has the potential to be fight of the night. The key to victory for each fighter will be to impose their skillset by keeping the fight in their domain.

As an accomplished striker, the key to victory for Gillies will be to keep the fight standing. Throughout his career, Gillies has shown the ability to make any fight a dog fight by coming forward and throwing strikes indiscriminately. 

Dimps Gillies not shy to throw down in the middle of the arena.

Former Eternal MMA lightweight champion Martinez will hope to get back into the win column using his patented wrestling skills. Martinez’s wrestling has laid the foundations for the victories in his career thus far, and he’ll hope to mitigate Gillies advantages on the feet by keeping him on the ground. 

Eternal MMA co-promoter Ben Vickers expects the fight to be fireworks. 

Former Eternal champion, David “The Smiling Assassin” Martinez eager to put himself back into title contention.

“This is the archetypal grappler versus striker matchup. Dimps is one of the most complete strikers in Australian MMA and David is one of the premiere grapplers. 

“It’s one of those fights where each man has a clear route to victory, so the excitement is who can impose their game. I love these old school MMA fights; I can’t wait for this scrap!” said Vickers. 

Eternal 2020-2021 Financial Year Review

With Australia’s COVID-19 situation under tight policies and travel control, Eternal MMA proves that it is Australia’s number one MMA organisation by delivering eight events to live audiences in the 2020-2021 Financial Year.

Eternal director Cam O’Neill says, “It’s very exciting to see the growth that Eternal MMA has made as a company in the last financial year, a year that saw a pandemic decimate sports leagues worldwide. Eternal again delivered eight nationwide shows to live audiences as well provided opportunities in a difficult time for athletes.”

The last twelve months were unprecedented for the company with challenges to overcome, but with these challenges, Eternal has gone from strength to strength. With eight events over three major cities, fight fans in Perth, Melbourne and Gold Coast (Brisbane) were able to attend and watch live the best Australia MMA fights to date.

“We are still in uncertain times with travel and attendance at events uncertain as Australia slips back into a series of lockdowns and increased travel restrictions. The company will continue to deliver, as we’re constantly working to react, adapt and overcome” stated Cam.

Along with record attending audiences nationwide, new records were set from financial payouts to the athletes, numbers on worldwide audiences viewership and a numerous athletes on the Eternal roster making it to the international fight scene.

“One of our goals when establishing Eternal MMA was to build Oceania’s number one MMA promotion and provide a pathway to the world’s number one organisation, the UFC. It’s been satisfying to sit here, nine years later after setting these goals to see more athletes that have plied their trade and carried out their apprenticeship on Eternal graduate to UFC and debut in the last financial year.” – Cam O’Neill, Eternal MMA Director

“It has been a great year for the Eternal team; actions speak louder than words. These numbers to me are a testament to the work we put in, raising the bar for Australian MMA. Personally all I’m concerned about is rolling my sleeves up, getting back in the trenches and making these numbers look silly in twelve months time. None of this is possible without the support of fighters, coaches, family, fans and the Eternal team. I cant wait to put on some amazing fights for our fans in the 21/22 FY.” – Ben Vickers, Eternal MMA Director

With that goal checked, Eternal MMA also set a new one for the books with “King” Casey O’Neill (2-0 UFC) being the first fighter to go through the pathway from debuting as an amateur on Eternal, progress through to as a professional and win an Eternal MMA championship title and now begin the journey to define her legacy on the world’s biggest stage.

LIVE Eternal, REIGN Supreme.