Know Your Fighter: Ryan Cooper

Full Name:

Ryan Cooper

Age:

31

Where were you born:

Mount gambier

Where do you live:

Adelaide South Australia

Which gym do you train out of:

M16

Who are your coaches:

Myles Simpson

What belts or rankings do you currently posses as a martial artist:

Purple belt BJJ

What sports or activities did you participate in growing up:

Soccer

When did you begin to take MMA seriously as a hobby and then as a potential profession:

Approximately 25-26

Favourite aspect of training or favourite session of the week, and why:

Wrestling or sparring due to the high intensity of those classes

What are your greatest strengths as an athlete or a fighter:

Constantly in shape and ability to dig deep.

How would you describe your fighting style:

Pressure fighter mixing mainly between boxing and wrestling.

What is your favourite sport and why:

Mixed martial arts as it’s the ultimate combat sport.

Who is your favourite athlete:

Max Holloway

Who is your favourite combat sports athlete:

Max Holloway

What are your immediate and long term goals:

To put myself in position through winning fights to test my self against the best fighters in my division.

When fans see your name on a fight poster, what should they expect:

An entertaining scrap

How do you see your upcoming fight playing out:

Hard fought fight likely to go to the distance with possibilities for a finish in the third.

A final message to any friends, family and supporters:

Thanks for the support.

Where will any fans or supporters be able to find you socials:

Instagram:

@ryancoopermma

@that_cookieguy

Know Your Fighter: Frank Jankowski

Full Name:

Frank Jankowski

Age:

25

Where were you born:

Darwin

Where do you live:

Perth

Which gym do you train out of:

Wolves den

Who are your coaches:

Stephen Walton

What belts or rankings do you currently posses as a martial artist:

Blue belt BJJ

What sports or activities did you participate in growing up:

Judo Kickboxing

When did you begin to take MMA seriously as a hoby and then as a potential profession:

Started doing mma 10 years ago and started fighting 6 years ago

Favourite aspect of training or favourite session of the week, and why:

Favourite part of training is working on my crafts. And socialising with everyone at the gym. My best session of the week is fighters training on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Always a hard push to get better as a athlete

What are your greatest strengths as an athlete or a fighter:

Agility and creativity. Kickboxing and wrestling.

How would you describe your fighting style:

Creative striking and pressure grappling.

What is your favourite sport and why:

MMA because it’s all aspects of martial arts

Who is your favourite athlete:

Alex volkanoski

Who is your favourite combat sports athlete:

Robert Whittaker

What are your immediate and long term goals:

To be fighting as long as possible .

When fans see your name on a fight poster, what should they expect:

A fast and explosive fight to be excited for

How do you see your upcoming fight playing out:

Long hard tough fight with my hand getting raised at the end of it

A final message to any friends, family and supporters:

To be ready for a 5 round war

Where will any fans or supporters be able to find you socials:

Instagram- frank_j53 Facebook – Frank Jankowski

Know Your Fighter: Quillan Salkilld

Eternal MMA sits down with lightweight challenger Quillan Salkilld for a Q&A ahead of his championship fight against Blake Donnelly at Eternal 76.

Age:

23

Where were you born:

I was born in Perth. I spent my most of my childhood in Broome.

Where are you based now:

I am now based in Perth.

Which gym to you train out of:

I train at Luistro Combat Academy.

Who are your coaches:

My main coach in Romel Luistro.

What belts or rankings do you currently possess as a martial artist:

I have received my brown-belt in jiu-jitsu.

What sports or activities did you participate in growing up:

When I was growing up, I got in to skating a lot. That was one of my first dreams – I wanted to be a professional skater. I also got into Aussie Rules footy as well, that was my second dream before MMA – I wanted to be an AFL player.

When did you first decide to dedicate yourself to the sport of MMA:

I first went all in on the sport when I got my first win. After I got my first win, that’s when I decided that this is what I want to do full-time, I want to keep chasing that feeling.

Favourite aspect of training:

Seeing myself and my team build. We have been working together for years, seeing everyone steadily improve, seeing where we have come from and where we are at now – we see the trajectory of where we are going to go.

What do you consider to be your greatest strengths as a mixed martial artist:

My greatest strength is my ability to absorb information. My ability to learn anything and get better.

Can you compare your fighting style to any high level mixed martial artist:

I’m not sure, but I’d like to be like Zabit Magomedsharipov. He’s such a complete fighter and he has a really cool style. He’s someone who I guess I aim to be like.

Who would you consider to be some of your favourite combat sports athletes:

Nothing really comes to mind as a “favourite”. I like a lot of people. Guys like Zabit and Conor McGregor – one of the guys who got me in to training. Before I even started training, I was hearing about him and kind of became a fan beforehand.

Which fight do you consider to be your standout performance so far:

I’d say my last fight in February of this year. I found my mindset and everything going into that fight was bulletproof. I felt invincible in there. I think I really showcased my skills that night.

What are your goals for both the immediate and long-term future:

Immediate goal is to win the Eternal lightweight belt. My long-term goal is to win the UFC lightweight belt.

What can fans expect to see from you when you step foot inside the cage:

They can expect to see a complete martial artist. They’re not going to find any holes in my game, they’re going to find out that I’m good at everything.

How do you see yourself getting your hand raised at Eternal 76:

The perfect way would just be a finish inside of five-rounds.

A final message to your fans and supporters.

I just want to say thankyou to everyone. Especially my close friends, family, teammates, coaches – everyone that’s been looking out for me for the last four or five years. I just want to say thankyou and one day I will pay it back.

Know Your Fighter: Peter Templer

Eternal MMA sits down with Peter Templer for a Q&A ahead of his co-main event bout at Eternal 75 against Lachlan Stitt.

Age:

25.

Where were you born:

I was born in Adelaide, but I’ve been in Mackay most of my life.

Where are you based now:

Mackay

Which gym to you train out of:

Mackay MMA

Who are your coaches:

It’s changed a little bit recently, but David Garnham’s always sort of my head coach. I’ve got Dan Moulder – he’s more of a striking coach. I do a bit of work with some other guys – Clint McLachlan, Danny Borg… Ash Clein’s been holding pads for me. So, I’ve got a few guys to work with.

What belts or rankings do you currently possess as a martial artist:

I got my black-belt six months ago in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What sports or activities did you participate in growing up:

Always played soccer from a young age. I was pretty serious about soccer until I got to about fifteen, then I stared training MMA. That sort of took over, I still played (soccer) for a couple of years but it’s all MMA now.

When did you first decide to dedicate yourself to the sport of MMA:

I started when I was fifteen, but the gym was only (operating) two or three times a week (back) then. As we’ve grown, we train five or six days a week for the last eight years or so.

Favourite aspect of training:

Definitely just those hard, long rounds rolling or wrestling where we can just go hard. Striking, you have to be obviously a bit more controlled.

What do you consider to be your greatest strengths as a mixed martial artist:

I took naturally to jiu-jitsu – I had a pretty natural grasp on that nice and early. Also, I think I can be coached pretty well. I don’t get stuck in my ways and I can adapt quickly to new information.

Can you compare your fighting style to any high level mixed martial artist:

Not so much in recent years, but I used to really like to emulate Rory MacDonald – he was just one of those earlier than guys that was straight MMA, he didn’t have a super specific specialty. Just MMA from the start.

Who would you consider to be some of your favourite combat sports athletes:

Not so much one favourite, I’ll pretty much just support the Aussie’s. If they’re Australian, even Kiwi, that’ll do – I’ll back them guys.

Which fight do you consider to be your standout performance so far:

The last one against (Michael) Tepou was definitely a great fight for me. We stuck to the game plan; another heavy striker similar to Lachlan in that regards (albeit) a very different body. The game plan worked perfectly, stuck to it and came away nice win.

What are your goals for both the immediate and long-term future:

Short-term obviously (is to) win this one this weekend and perform. Long term – even out the record, get a couple more wins and then start looking for that Eternal title.

What can fans expect to see from you when you step foot inside the cage:

Most of my wins have definitely come from jiu-jitsu, but I think my striking has definitely caught up in recent years doing a lot of work with Dan Moulder. They can expect a different fight from the usual this time around.

How do you see yourself getting your hand raised at Eternal 75:

I don’t like to have anything set in stone so I’m ready for anything. But I think it might be a KO/TKO this time around.

A final message to your fans and supporters.

Big thanks to all my coaches, all the people coming to watch – it’s a long way to travel from Mackay to “Goldy”. I’ve got a decent crew coming to support. (Also), all of the other people and training partners that have helped me in this training camp and along the way.

Clash of military veterans at Eternal 74 set to raise awareness for Veterans MMA charity organisation

Eternal 74 is set to play host to a matchup that is poised to draw attention to a very important issue surrounding military veterans and life after discontinuing their service.

Ex Australian military serviceman and co-founder of ‘Veterans MMA’ Ash Pendergast will make his competitive mixed martial arts debut when he faces off against a fellow military veteran in New Zealand native, Cole Smith.

With boxing & Thai boxing experience prior to his military service, Pendergast came to understand just how valuable a gym-based community can be for those seeking purpose and camaraderie once they return to civilian life.

For a large number of ex-servicemen, the prospect of reassimilating back into society after spending years of their lives seeing and experiencing the ravages of war can often be a challenge too difficult to face, especially as an individual.

For Pendergast, MMA provided the perfect opportunity for him to help fellow combat veterans to find a place amongst like-minded people, with a goal of supporting one another in finding another meaning in life beyond the military.

Speaking with Eternal MMA, Pendergast provided some insight into the challenges facing military veterans and how he is helping change the lives of those he has worked with.

“The issue with leaving service is you go from this (situation) where you’ve got a hundred mates and you’ve done and seen a lot of intense things. All of a sudden, you’re back in a civilian population, you’re quite desensitised and it’s a struggle to blend back in. A lot of vets isolate after that – being so desensitised with their personalities.”

“A lot of guys do isolate and on the Sunshine Coast here, it is a big issue. We do have a lot of veterans here, but they don’t seem to get out and do much.”

Teaming up with industry professionals, Pendergast and fellow founding members James Osborne and Rob Giuffrida sought to create an environment that would provide other veterans with a sanctuary that would allow them to meet and train exclusively with others that have shared the same experiences.

“The purpose was to create something that was exciting enough to get veterans out of the house,” said Pendergast.

“We wanted to create a veterans-only environment, so they didn’t have to worry about what they said around people, they could let their desensitised humour fly around, they didn’t have to watch what they say, they could literally be themselves and not worry.”

Through the ‘Integrated MMA’ gym on the Sunshine Coast, the founding members and coaches created a training and social program that would cater to any and all veterans – regardless of any impairment or disability.

Along with the ability to be able to train and experience martial arts with other veterans, Pendergast insists that the community aspect is just as vital, with no requirement for any attendees to join in the training aspect in order to be a part of the community.

“Rob Giuffrida and Jordan Southern are our two head MMA coaches: they created an amazing package. Rob’s the type of guy that really knows that even if we get a guy that comes in with one arm and one leg, (he’s) going to find a guy for that guy to wrestle – his knowledge of biomechanics and anatomy is amazing.”

“The training itself is veterans only (but) you don’t even really have to train to go in there. The idea is to get them in there, get a little community going where they just have a bit of banter and talk a bit of crap to each other.

“Generally, we have about forty-five minutes of drilling; whether it’s jiu-jitsu, wrestling, striking or maybe just some MMA drills. We usually have about thirty minutes for live activities, where they can be sparring, rolling or wrestling.”

“After that, we usually give them about an hour, maybe even more where it’s just allocated for socialising, we promote it too; we give them a bit of banter. When the guys are injured or even the guys that don’t necessarily want to come in and fight and throw down, they just want to be a part of the community – we get them to come in, they sit to the side and just talk shit to the other guys.

“It’s great, it’s had an amazing response so far.”

Starting in September of 2022, the program has steadily grown from having three or four attendee’s the first day of opening, to having a consistent list of returning community members who have found a location where they can turn up and feel free to be themselves, regardless of skill set or willingness to participate in the physical aspect.

For those who harbour ambitions to compete in MMA, the gym and its coaches have the tools ready to provide those who would like to pursue that opportunity.

Beyond the martial arts, Pendergast says that the Veterans MMA organisation is also active in the wider veteran’s community, often collaborating with other veteran charities at events in order to raise awareness for those who need it.

For the Veterans MMA charity itself, November saw their first fundraiser as an organisation go down with great success, providing a solid platform for regular events in the community for the future.

For Pendergast himself, martial arts and the team at Integrated MMA have played a vital part in putting him back on his own path to a better life after his military service.

Originally a Muay Thai and boxing practitioner from the age of sixteen, Pendergast gave it all up some years later in order to join the army. After completing his service, Pendergast found himself in need of direction after struggling mentally upon his return to civilian life.

“When I got out of the army, I came back and I actually had a lot of issues,” he said.

“I wasn’t fighting any more, I was doing a lot of other sports and trying to get my head right. But I was really struggling mentally.

“It wasn’t until I found this gym ‘Integrated’ that things actually started to go really well for me again. I started getting my confidence back, my head was good, everything just started to line up. I felt like a confident person again where for a while there, I was really struggling.

“I was talking to Rob one day and we came up with the idea that maybe this (Veterans MMA) might be a good thing. There was three or four ways that doing MMA really helped my head – especially the community that’s there. It just happened to be that the gym I went to was full of really cool, non-judgemental people.

“It’s turned out really well.”

Once the Veteran’s MMA charity was established, Pendergast took up a prominent role as the veteran program facilitator and continued his own training as a mixed martial artist. With the program advancing quickly and some participants showing eagerness to compete, Pendergast saw it fitting to enter into his own training camp and sign up for his first MMA fight, leading by example for the veterans he helps train.

“This fight (came about) because some of the guys do want to compete,” he said.

“I’ve done a lot of fight camps for boxing, but I’ve never done one for MMA. I don’t want to be the guy that’s coaching guys and telling them to do something that I’ve never done. So, it was kind of just a ‘lead from the front’ thing and go through a good fight camp.”

With a lot of buzz around the fight, the matchup itself against another veteran in Cole Smith has provided Pendergast with the perfect opportunity for anybody hoping to contribute to the Veterans MMA charity.

“Anyone that uses my fighter’s code, any money that I get through that for tickets will one-hundred percent go to the charity,” he said.

For anyone not attending Eternal 74, but still looking to contribute, you can make donations via the Veterans MMA website as well as navigate to any of the Veterans MMA social media platforms and contacts below to learn more.

Eternal 74 starts at 5:00pm AEST on March 11th, live from Southport Sharks on the Gold Coast. Tickets can be purchased at www.eternalmma.com for those wishing to attend the event.

Know Your Fighter: Tasar Malone

Eternal MMA sits down with Tasar Malone for a Q&A ahead of his professional debut at Eternal 74 against Tom Pratt.

Age:

26.

Where were you born:

I was born on the Gold Coast and grew up in Beechmont up in the sticks.

Where are you based now:

Bit of a tricky answer… but in my car! I saved up all my pennies and bought myself a van to live in out the front of the gym on the Gold Coast.

What gym do you train out of:

CMBT.

Who are your coaches:

The one’s leading from the front would be Miles Muecke, Jesse Yada, Glen Sparv, Brentin Mumford, James (Powell) and Darcy Vendy.

What belts or rankings do you currently possess as a martial artist

I was lucky enough recently to be awarded my purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What sports or activities did you participate in growing up:

I started off playing soccer as a young boy. I transitioned to AFL in my late teens and got close to getting drafted. That didn’t happen, but I believe everything happens for a reason. Now, I’ve found MMA.

When did you first decide to dedicate yourself to the sport of MMA:

When I was younger, even from five years old I was running around telling my parents that I was going to be a professional athlete and a great one at that. I always chased that belief because that was one of the first things that popped in to my mind and body as something that I wanted. As I said, I got close to the AFL, I was getting paid at a certain stage playing senior footy for a few weeks. I got lost a little bit for a couple months (before) I got introduced to mixed martial arts by a friend. After doing literally the first training session, I fell in love with the sport.

Favourite aspect of training:

I love it all. I look at it (like) there’s always something to learn – a never ending pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement. 

What do you consider to be your greatest strengths as a mixed martial artist:

Two things: No ego – but I’m very coachable and a quick leaner. I love being told and taught things. Second thing would be my adaptability to situations and my mindset to always find a way out or find a way to get it done. “Self-determination”, I would say.

What can fans expect to see from you when you step foot inside the cage:

I tend to be a bit of a wild man! Whether it’s things like climbing cages, doing back flips, throwing everything into all my shots, takedowns – you name it. I used to be a bit all over the place; I’m trying to work on being a lot more structured and methodical with my approach. But I guess if I’m being me, I love being a wild untamed beast! (ha-ha) if that’s a way of putting it.

Can you compare your fighting style to any high level mixed martial artist:

My mindset on martial arts has always been that everybody is unique. Without having ego, I feel like I am my own (fighter), but the person I have always looked up to and wanted to (emulate) the most has always been George St-Pierre. Just the way he carries himself inside and outside the octagon; how he fights. I’d say he’s the person I’ve always wanted to follow in the footsteps of. But as I said, I want to be me and bring my own style and flavour.

Who would you consider to be some of your favourite combat sports athletes:

George St-Pierre.

Which fight do you consider to be your standout performance so far:

I’m not sure if I could pick one, but going off my last performance I believe I didn’t even get hit with a strike. I’ve had ten fights now and ‘touch wood’ – I haven’t even blead inside the (cage).

What are your goals for both the immediate and long-term future:

Short term is obviously this weekend. I’m very much someone who lives in the present moment. Tomorrow is never promised, so I just focus on what’s in front of me. We’ve put a lot of work into this coming weekend so I’m just focusing on that. Long term: I’m the type of person that will always aim for the stars and reach as high as I possibly can with the team that’s around me. If I continue showing up, putting in the work, dedicating myself and sacrificing for this, I believe that the Australian championship belt will be wrapped around my waist (before moving) on to bigger and better things.

How do you see yourself getting your hand raised at Eternal 74:

I am very much in the belief that it’s a fight at the end of the day and there are so many variables. I like to see everything in front of me in the rawness of the moment. If you give me a sniff of an opportunity, I’m willing to go one-hundred and ten percent to jump on that opportunity. Whether it’s on the feet with a shot, whether it’s ground and pound, TKO, or a submission.

A final message to your fans and supporters:

I used to be in the mindset that this is an individual sport, but it’s really not. I’m super blessed and grateful for not only my team that help support me to actually get in there and be on the playing field, but also all the messages of love and support from all the people like my friends, my family, my supporters and fans. I see it all, I feed off it. I’ve received a lot in this last week and it’s something that really reminds me of how many people are behind me. That spirit, that energy – I just carry that in there and I just feel untouchable. I love you all, I appreciate every single one of you. I’m super excited for this weekend and to go to battle with the entire army that’s behind me.

Follow Tasar on Instagram

Watch Tasar on YouTube

Eternal 74 main card can be viewed live and exclusive March 18th on UFC Fight Pass. Tickets can be purchased at www.eternalmma.com for anyone wishing to attend the event.

Stephen Erceg, Australia’s number one flyweight, signs a multi-fight deal with the world’s number one fight promotion.

Microsoft Word – Stephen Erceg X UFC PR.docx

Australia’s No.1 flyweight (125 lbs) fighter, Stephen “Astroboy” Erceg (9-1 MMA) has signed

an exclusive multi-fight agreement with the UFC.

Last year Stephen was scheduled to have his audition for the UFC on the globally televised Dana White’s Contender Series, but due to visa issues he was unable to perform on the big stage and he headed back to Australia.

The resilience shown during this time is a testament to Erceg’s character, a man who is not only capable and confident inside the cage but continues to put in the work outside it and leaves little to chance in chasing his goals.

Over the weekend at Eternal MMA 73, Stephen added another victory to his resume with a slick first-round submission of Japanese fighter Soichiro Hirai (4-2 MMA). In what was expected to be a close contest “Astroboy” showed his ability to dominate on the ground and stop the fight early.

As he headed backstage, filled with adrenaline and heart pumping off a quick stoppage victory he did not expect the following events. Mick Maynard and Hunter Campbell, two of the senior executives at the UFC were waiting for him and he was offered a contract on the spot.

Courtney Hard Day, Rival Sports Management: Steve had to overcome quite a few setbacks last year including well documented visa issues which kept him out of his Contender Series bout. The team at Rival Sports are thrilled that Steve is now where he deserves to be, fighting the best athletes in the biggest MMA promotion in the world.”

Cam O’Neill, Eternal MMA: There is excitement in the air across Australian MMA and the future looks bright for Eternal MMA fighters. We are looking forward to more athletes following in the footsteps of Stephen Erceg and being given the opportunity to compete against the best in the world.

Eternal 74 will be held at Southport Sharks, Gold Coast on March 18 with the two title fights. The welterweight strap is on the line with champion Kaleb Rideout(7-2) defending against Joseph Luciano (7-1). In the co-main, the Lightweight champion David Martinez (9-4) will be fighting Blake Donnelly (6-1). You can catch the main card action on UFC Fight Pass and the prelims free on the Eternal MMA YouTube.

Know your fighter: Abdalla Biayda

Eternal MMA sits down with Abdalla Biayda for a quick-fire Q&A ahead of his eighth professional fight at Eternal 73 against Alan Philpott.

Age:

27.

Where were you born:

I was born in a city in Sudan called Khartoum.

Where are you based now:

I live in Perth, Western Australia – in Bassendean near Morley

What gym do you train out of:

I train out of Kickass MMA in Morley.

Who are your coaches/main training partners.

The main team is (made up of) Steve Kennedy – the head coach. I also have a boxing coach – Bon. Also, my Muay Thai coach which is Oliver Olson. My strength and conditioning coach, that would be Luke Johnstone. Also, my Jiu Jitsu coach Scotty and my wrestling coach Tom Barnes.

Abdalla most recently picked up an impressive stoppage victory over Josh Kuhne at Eternal 72.

What belts or rankings do you currently possess as a martial artist:

I’m a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue-belt – that happened after my recent bout when I submitted Josh Kuhne. Because I’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu for two or three years, I never thought I was going to get the blue-belt. But after that fight that were like “hey, you’re kind of ready”. So, I got it.

What sports or activities did you participate in growing up:

Believe it or not, I was terrible at all sports. I was no good at any sport. I am surprised that right now I am in a sport for a career. I was just terrible! I was just terrible at every single sport, so, I never tried. I did like basketball, but I was terrible at it. Now I’m in (MMA) as a career – life is weird.

When did you first decide to dedicate yourself to the sport of MMA:

After I won my first (professional) lightweight belt. I was just cruising with this career, to be honest. The reason why I stuck with it was because it really calmed my mind. When I started having a couple of bouts, started winning, started understanding myself, starting character building and started understanding about respect and discipline, it really worked for my mind. So, I just continued doing it. After I won my belt, I thought “I’m going to take this as far as I can”.

Favourite aspect of training:

I like doing ‘teeps’ in training. I do a lot of pad work with my Muay Thai coach. I realised it could be my ultimate weapon because of how long my legs are – they’re like spider legs!

Abdalla’s strengths lie in his cardio, and his length.

What do you consider to be your greatest strengths as a mixed martial artist:

I would say cardio. That helps me. I would say it’s my biggest strength.

What can fans expect to see from you when you step inside the cage:

I like throwing everything. I like being an artist. I like painting a painting. I like mixing it up, doing different things. But, in this fight, if he wants to grapple then you will see me grapple. But nobody has ever wanted to just grapple with me. They (usually) like to try and stand up with me, then they turn in to grapplers.

Can you compare your style to any high level mixed martial artist:

I would say Jon Jones and Rafael Fiziev. Also, Terrance Crawford’s boxing and switches. Put all three together, you got me.

Who would you consider to be some of your favourite combat sports athletes:

Rafael Fiziev and also Jonathan Haggerty from One Championship, I love his Muay Thai. I love that dude. (Also) DJ – Demetrious Johnson.

Which fight do you consider to be your standout performance so far:

I would say when I had my first (professional) lightweight fight. I was spot on with my striking, my movement, everything was just on point.

What are your goals for both the immediate and long-term future with mixed martial arts:

For my immediate future, my goal is to try a three-division champion in one promotion. It doesn’t matter what promotion it is; I don’t care. My long-term goal is to get into a big promotion like the UFC or any other promotions and try to be a three-division champion there as well.

Abdalla sees Triple Champ status in his future – no matter where he is.

How do you see yourself getting your hand raised at Eternal 73:

I don’t really envision those kinds of things. I don’t make predictions. I just go out there and give it my all and whatever happens, happens. If I fight hard, I know that good things will happen. But if I have to predict I’d say first round stoppage or knockout.

A message to the fans and your supporters:

All love, to be honest. My fans, people who have been supporting me, my friends, my family, the ones who have been with me from the start – I appreciate all of you. It’s just love. They have no idea how much I appreciate it.

  • Abdalla Biayda vs Alan Philpott for Eternal 73 can be viewed Saturday, February 11th live and exclusive on UFC Fight Pass. Fans can visit eternalmma.com to purchase tickets for Eternal 73.

Eternal MMA 2022: A Year in Review

As Australian combat sports primes itself for a highly promising 2023, Eternal MMA reflects on a year gone by in which so many positives came to fruition for the country’s leading mixed martial arts entity.

2022 was certainly a banner year for the Gold Coast based promotion. A year that saw incredible match-making lead to even better fights, highlight-reel finishes, new champions in several weight classes and former local stars find success on the international stage.

In total, Eternal MMA produced nine fight cards across the states of Queensland and Western Australia, visiting three different venues in the process including four shows at Eternals spiritual home – Southport Sharks.

During this run, Eternal MMA saw a total number of one hundred and fifteen fights take place across seven different weight classes for both professional and amateur athletes.

Of those fights, six new champions were crowned against one successful title defence across five divisions, with the lightweight belt changing hands to the challenger twice in the same year.

It would be in the very first event for 2022, however, that would see the championship-level cream rise to the top and prove their pedigree once again. In what would ultimately be his final fight inside the Eternal MMA cage, Jack Jenkins put on a five-round masterclass to retain his featherweight crown against the now Eternal MMA bantamweight champion – Rod Costa.

Jenkins put on a masterclass performance at Eternal 63.

A striking display of considerable virtuosity from Jenkins in the main event at Eternal 64 earned him not only his second title defence, but also a shot at a UFC contract as a contender on Dana White’s Contender Series; an opportunity that he would make good on with a decision win against his opponent.

The following event in May would see the Eternal 65 main event go down in history as one of, if not the greatest fights in Australian MMA history. With no belt on the line, Dimps Gillies and Josh Kuhne took centre stage in a three-round main event showdown that saw neither fighter concede ground until the final bell.

An onslaught of striking from both combatants left each of them battered and bruised at the fight’s conclusion, with Gillies ultimately getting his hand raised via decision.

While there could only be one winner, there were no losers as both fighters stock rose astronomically in the aftermath of the bloody war, earning themselves ‘Fight of the year’ honours for Eternal MMA.

Dimps VS Kuhne deservingly won the UFC Fight Pass AND the Eternal MMA Fight of the Year for 2022.

More impressively, the bout would also earn fight of the year accolades at the UFC Fight Pass awards show – a fine recognition for both athletes on the world stage and a further testament to the Eternal MMA match-making prowess.

Ahead at Eternal 66, a devastating injury to Jack Becker would see him lose his lightweight title to challenger Aidan Aguilera in the opening seconds of the first round. A broken leg suffered by Becker as the result of a checked kick by Aguilera saw the title change hands in jarring scenes, with Aguilera himself left feeling unsatisfied to win in such unfortunate circumstances.

It was a bitter blow for Becker. Seemingly on the verge of his own call-up to the UFC with another win on home soil, the former champion instead left to pick up the pieces during a lengthy rehab stint – A challenge he immediately faced head on with typically positive mindset.

Jarring scenes in the Main Event of Eternal 66.

Eternal 67 was staged as the scene to crown the successor to now UFC prospect Jack Della Maddalena’s vacated welterweight championship. Kaleb Rideout would emerge victorious in a five-round thriller against City-Kickboxing’s Kevin Jousset; a performance that would see Rideout establish himself as one of the country’s most exciting talents.

Punctuated by some highly unorthodox – yet highly effective techniques, Rideout orchestrated a high-octane striking performance to outlast a highly dangerous Judoka in Jousset in one of the most entertaining fights of the year, earning himself his first professional title win in the process.

The fans were on the edge of their seats at Eternal 67.

Rod Costa would use Eternal 68 as the table-setter for his eventual championship win at Eternal 71. Up-and-coming Victorian prospect Michael Mannu would face off against Costa in the main-event for what was viewed as a number-one contender match for the Eternal MMA bantamweight title.

Riding out the on-display kickboxing talents of Mannu for the first round and a half, Costa would eventually drag Mannu to the bottom of the lake to secure a second-round submission win – a signature guillotine finish for the former IBJJF worlds medallist.

The result would see Costa move on to challenge returning former Eternal MMA bantamweight champion Shaun Etchell for the title at Eternal 71. Doing what he does best, Costa weathered an early storm from Etchell and claimed an impressive comeback victory via rear naked choke submission in the second round. The victory would be a just reward for Costa’s decision to move down in weight class after an unsuccessful bid to capture the belt in his usual featherweight domain.

Costa finally realised his Championship aspirations at Eternal 71.

Sandwiched between the two aforementioned events, Eternal 69 would play host to Aidan Aguilera’s first title defence since capturing the belt at Eternal 66. Unfortunately for Aguilera, it would be a short-lived title reign.

Known for his superior grappling, the challenging David Martinez overwhelmed his fellow BJJ black-belt opponent to win via rear naked choke submission in the second round – his second reign as Eternal MMA lightweight champion now in full swing.

Martinez re-captured his Lightweight belt at Eternal 69.

The final event for 2022 would see the Australian leader play host to a pair of rematches in both the middleweight and featherweight divisions at Eternal 72.

In a rare circumstance, the two fighters in the middleweight title fight main event would square off again immediately after previously fighting each other at Eternal 69.

With their previous matchup a late notice catchweight bout, the rematch would see John Martin Fraser put his middleweight championship on the line in the main event against Mat Myers after besting him in their previous outing via decision.

This time around, however, Myers would square the ledger with a first round TKO– a devastating spinning back kick to the liver of Fraser ended the championship fight in the first round. For Myers, it would be his first title win in his first attempt at silver wear.

A first round TKO would secure the belt for Mat Myers.

The co-main event would also see a rematch with a championship belt on the line, though in contrast, this particular rematch was more than five years in the making.

Having previously been finished by Diego Pereira at Eternal 27 in 2017, Justin Van Heerden would also get revenge on his rival and former teammate to claim the featherweight championship left vacant by the departing Jack Jenkins – winning a hard-fought contest via decision at the bout’s conclusion.

The title belt around Justin Van Heerden’s waste would punctuate a stellar 2022 for the South African native – four wins in four fights would also earn him ‘fighter of the year’ honours under the Eternal MMA banner.

It was a run that saw Van Heerden finish all three of his opponents in 2022 in the lead up to his first title fight, with submission wins over Joshua Riley, Alan Philpott and Mohammad Alavi showcasing a level of growth as impressive as anybody can claim fighting in Australia today.

Van Heerden capped off an incredible 2022 with the Featherweight belt around his waist.

In conclusion, 2022 would see the following fighters end the year as a champion:

  • Bantamweight: Rod Costa.
  • Featherweight: Justin Van Heerden.
  • Lightweight: David Martinez.
  • Welterweight: Kaleb Rideout
  • Middleweight: Mat Myers.
New champions were crowned all throughout 2022.

It wasn’t just on home soil that major accomplishments were achieved. In a testament to the platform that Eternal MMA provides its athletes, several of its former fighters also found varying rates of success at an international level.

Certainly, from a competitive standpoint, it is no secret that Eternal MMA has consistently provided Australian MMA with the highest level of competition to its participants – giving each fighter who chooses to complete their fighting apprenticeship under its banner the best chance of preparing themselves for the big stage.

Former Eternal flyweight champion, Shannon Ross would earn himself a contract in the UFC via the route of Dana White’s Contender Series. In a fight that Ross would lose by decision, he still showcased more than enough for the UFC boss to award both himself and the winner a contact.

Ross would eventually be slated to make his debut at UFC 284 in Perth alongside fellow Australian DWCS contract winner – Jack Jenkins.

Staying with Australian DWCS alumni, former Eternal MMA middleweight champion Jack Della Maddalena put together a historic 2022 to remember. A three-fight winning streak to start his UFC career cherry-topped by three first-round finishes was enough to earn him both UFC and ESPN rookie of the year honours.

A true rising star of the sport, Della Maddalena burst on to the scene and captured the imagination of MMA fans all around the world, with many circles touting him as future contender for a UFC championship.

Former Eternal Welterweight Champion Jack Della had an incredible 2022 in the UFC.

Fans will also recall 2021 as the year that former Eternal MMA strawweight champion Casey O’Neill would break through and claim for herself the UFC rookie of the year title.

With Della Maddalena following O’Neill’s lead, it would make it two years in a row that two former Eternal MMA stars simultaneously went 3-0 to begin their UFC careers and go on to claim the award for rookie of the year – again making it hard to deny that Eternal MMA creates the best opportunities for Australian fighters to turn themselves into international success stories.

UFC Senior Vice President of Content, David Shaw, states the importance of having a ‘pathways of excellence’ to the UFC – Eternal MMA leading the way in the ANZ region.

With a monumentally impressive year in the rear-view mirror, Eternal MMA turns its attention to what promises to be an even better 2023, starting with a stacked line-up at Eternal 73.

Adding some flair to the occasion, the card will take place the day before the UFC makes its return to Perth for UFC 284 – a spectacular double-header for fans looking to take in a full weekend of MMA littered with both present and potential future local stars of the UFC.

No doubt each fighter on the Eternal 73 card will be looking to make a big impression as the biggest combat sports show on wheels rolls into town.

It will be a weekend not to be missed.

John Fraser vs Mat Myers 2: A rematch for the middleweight crown.

The title fight main event for Eternal 72 will play host to a rare circumstance.

Not only have the two men involved already faced each other but did so in the very last fight they competed in prior to the middleweight title fight they will square off in this coming Friday.

Eternal 69 saw Middleweight champion John Martin Fraser step in on weeks’ notice to face New Zealand native – Mat Myers, who needed a new dance partner after his original fight was scrapped due his opponent sustaining an injury.

According to Eternal MMA promoter Cam O’Neill, there was absolutely zero hesitation from either camp when it came to accepting the late notice catchweight bout.

On paper, it was a risky proposition for Fraser to accept. A year and a half removed from his last fight and with no training camp to sharpen his blade, the Welsh export put all but is championship belt on the line to save the fight and get himself back inside the cage.

John Fraser is a fighter’s fighter.

Speaking with Eternal MMA, Fraser shared his sentiments on stepping up to plate and facing Myers for what would ultimately be the table-setter for a future, higher stakes fight between the pair.

“I one hundred percent wanted to take that fight,” said Fraser.

“I’d had eighteen months off after the Kitt Campbell fight; that was the last time I fought. I’d had two training camps that were wasted. When I went back to the UK, I was training to fight on Cage Warriors, that (fight) fell through because the guy had a sickness. The second one, I had an injury. Three months later I ended up having hand surgery.

“I wasn’t planning on fighting until December because of my hand and I hadn’t had the (training) camp. But as soon opportunity was offered to me, I just thought that this was a sign that I need to take this. I’d be daft not to.”

“I just want to fight. You get sports fighters, and you get ‘fighters’ fighters – I think I’m a fighter’s fighter.”

A fighter’s fighter no doubt John Martin Fraser is. After a battle of attrition with Kitt Campbell at Eternal 58, Fraser ground and pounded his way to a stoppage victory in the fourth round that subsequently earned him his first Eternal MMA title.

What proceeded the championship winning fight would be a sixteen-month stint back at home in Wales. Training at Shore MMA, Fraser rounded out his skillset to become a more complete fighter.

No longer just a striker, Fraser worked hard on his grappling game. Levelling up in all facets of MMA in order to better prepare himself for the challenges that lay ahead – both abroad and at home.

Now back in Australia, Fraser feels he is as prepared as ever to meet his first title defence head on.

“You’re just going to see a different fighter,” he said.

“Watching that last fight; I don’t like watching it in terms of seeing my performance on the feet. I was fat and slow.

“It was literally the Monday after that last fight that I was back in the gym, back hitting pads and just getting prepared for this next fight. I’m the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been at the moment, so, you are going to see the better version of myself.”

John Fraser was straight back into the gym on Monday.

Anyone who has spent five minutes talking to John Fraser about mixed martial arts know that he is about as real as it gets.

A straight shooter with no presumptive notions about his recent victory over Myers, Fraser is taking no extra confidence outside of him own improved abilities into their title fight on December 2nd.

“I think this one is just a brand new fight,” he said.

“A few people have said (to me) that I must be going in there full of confidence because I’ve beaten him before, so it must be an easy fight? Not at all. At the end of the day, fighting is fighting. We’ve both got a chin, we’ve both got a pair of arms and legs and a neck to choke each other.

“You just never know what’s going to happen. That for me is the most exciting thing about fighting. You can do everything right, you can have the best camp, you can go in with a hundred and ten percent belief and confidence in yourself. But you could make slip and you end up getting put to sleep.”

“I have helped my own confidence, but that’s the reality of fighting. That’s why fighting is exciting to me. The way I have prepared for Mat this time; it’s like a completely new fight.”

The time between fights has been not only beneficial to Fraser’s skillset, but also his mental approach to the game. Months on the sidelines grinding in the gym while simultaneously missing fights due to injury, the fire inside Fraser continued to burn as he marched towards a return date.

Now with a first title defence in his sights, the 6-2-0 champion has clarity on what a win against his familiar foe could mean for his long-term career.

“I think it’s undeniable that I’m the best in Australia and I think there’s a pretty good argument to be made that I hold my place in the UFC. I don’t think I’d look out of place there at all. That’s going to happen, whether it’s after this fight or the fight after that.

“Whenever it is, I’m going to end up there.”

Not one to look past an upcoming opponent, Fraser assures Eternal MMA fans that they will be without doubt getting their money’s worth for the high-level main event that will close the show for Eternal 72.

“You are going to see a high-level performance, it’s going to be an exciting fight,” he said.

“It’s just not one to missed. We both come to bring the fight. Mat’s a game opponent, I’m a game opponent. I’m going out to finish him and he’s definitely coming out to finish me. So, it would be a mad one to miss.”

“I’ve prepared for everything. I’m ready to go five rounds but I definitely see it in my head that I’m going to knock him out in the first round.”

The champ’s confident he’ll get Myers out of there in the 1st Round, but ready for 5.

Meeting him across the other side of the cage in the blue corner will be the man who would argue to the contrary.

A native of Whangaparaoa, New Zealand now residing in Victoria, Australia – Mat Myers has been forging his own path in mixed martial arts on route to his first fight for a title.

After moving to Australia with his parents at the age of seventeen, Myers was seeking a fresh start in a new country that would put him on a better path than he was heading down back at home.

It would be in Australia that he would meet his now head coach at Adrenaline MMA – Cris Brown.

For Myers, it would be a major turning point in his life and the biggest contributing factor in becoming the man who is is today.

Fast forward ten years later after attending the gym every day since, Myers is slated to headline an Eternal MMA card against a man that he was more than familiar with prior to their first meeting.

“I’ve been watching John for a while,” said Myers.

“I was a welterweight before this last fight that we had, and I had planned on moving up (to middleweight) for a while. But I didn’t expect to be fighting guys like John straight away.

“I remember watching John multiple times with my mates at barbecues, getting on the piss and watching Eternal fights. My best mate: John was his favourite guy to watch.

A fan himself of Fraser’s work inside the cage, Myers concedes that being in awe of the Welshman’s performances in the past resulted in him needing to overcome some mental hurdles when he was eventually tasked with becoming his next opponent.

“It was the unknown monster,” he said.

“You watch him knock all these people out and he’s this scary Welsh guy. Standing toe to toe with Kitt Campbell – someone I’ve trained with before and beating him at his own fight. That’s Kitt’s bread and butter; stand in front of people and trade. John beat him at that.

“He was this guy that I’d watched for a long time and rated highly – I still do. Just to get in there with him, be me and not have that fear was what I took away from it (the first fight) most. He’s a human being. He’s just a man.”

“I’ve probably watched the fight five or six times. That fights done, he got me, I’ll hold myself accountable for that. We’ve made adjustments to the mistakes that I made in that fight that ultimately got John the win, I think.

“It’s just another fight. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same guy or not. That’s the way we are taking it.”

Mat Myers takes confidence from his recent outing against John Fraser.

It’s hard not to make comparisons to the two men involved in the main event for Eternal 72, especially when it comes to a fighter’s mentality. As has been stated on record many times in the lead up to the contest, both men were willing to face each other on a moments notice with zero questions asked.

It’s the same way that each have carried themselves from the start of their career up until their scheduled title fight.

While the concept is not foreign to Myers, he believes that the region has an issue of fighters being too selective with their potential opponents.

“Fighters fight. I’ll fight anyone,” he said.

“I think that in Australian MMA we have a really bad culture of ducking people and picking and choosing our fights. I understand that this is a business, and you need to build your way up. But at the end of the day, if you’re good enough to be in the UFC – you’re good enough.”

“That’s just the way I live. I’d rather be that guy in thirty years knowing that I gave it a good crack. I didn’t just pick and choose. I’d rather know that I gave it everything I could. I tried my best to be the best and put myself out there.”

It’s a refreshing attitude not often seen at this level in mixed martial arts. This is a cutthroat business. A split-second lapse in judgement can alter a fighter’s career trajectory without warning. The reverberating effects of wins and losses are the lifeblood of a combat sports athlete.

It’s what makes the mentality of fighters like John Fraser and Mat Myers that much more special. It’s a part of the reason why the two will get to square off again at Eternal 72 immediately after their first fight. A middleweight championship bout on the biggest stage of Australian MMA is just reward for two fighters willing to put it all on the line when the opportunities come knocking.

A huge opportunity awaits Mat Myers on Friday night.

For Myers, it’s an opportunity to not only win his first championship, but also a chance to repay the faith that he has been given by his coaches and training partners since he first arrived at the gym.

“As fighters, we make a lot of sacrifice,” he said.

“For me, (the title) would mean a lot. But even more so for my coach and the people at the gym – it would mean everything. I came into our gym as just some skinny little Kiwi fresh off the boat; a tough kid that liked to punch-on.

“Ten years later, I’m fighting for the most prestigious belt in the country.”

In order to claim the belt, Myers knows that he will need to summon the best performance of his career. Having already faced the hard-nosed Welshman, Myers feels that he is ready to showcase the necessary improvements made when the lights are at their brightest.

“Knowing John; he’s a tough customer,” he said

“I was hitting him with a lot of big elbows underneath. Even on the cage, I felt like I hurt him once or twice in that (first) fight. He just doesn’t stop. He’ll keep going, he doesn’t care, nothing fazes him. He’s just really tough.

“I don’t see one certain way (to win), but I do see myself rocking him at some point and that being the decider. I can’t sit here and say I’m going to put him away flat out, because many have tried, and many have failed. But I know I’m going to win.

“That’s the only thing that I know for certain. I’ll be getting my hand raised at the end of it. Whether he’s got his consciousness or not, I’ll be getting my hand raised.”

“To my friends and family; I’ll apologise is in advance because I’m ready for a war, I’m ready for violence.”

  • Eternal 72 can be be viewed on Friday, December 2nd live and exclusive on UFC Fight Pass. Fans can visit eternalmma.com to purchase tickets for this event.