Karol Celinski must have been surprised that UFC veteran Luke Barnatt made it to the final bell of their main event clash at ACB 88 in Brisbane on Saturday.
The towering Englishman did well to rally after an uncomfortable five minutes in the opening round, but the judges felt it was “Cebula” who did enough to secure a light-heavyweight title shot after 15 minutes.
Barnatt was rocked badly by a series of shots in the final two minutes of the first round. Celinski chased him down and landed power shot after power shot, but a break in the action to replace the Pole’s gum shield bought the Brit some valuable time.
After being on the receiving end of Celinski’s crisp boxing over the first two minutes of the second round, “The Big Slow” exploded into action towards the end of the round, connecting with a energy sapping knee to the body before stunning his counterpart with a clean straight. The final exchange before the bell likely won him the round.
Both men enjoyed passages of success in the third, but the majority of the judges went in favor of the Celinski, who likely landed the more damaging blows during the contest.
Marcin Held got off to a flying start with ACB, submitting native Australian Callan Potter with a signature heel hook in the first round of the co-main event. The entire exchange last just 69 seconds.
ACB announced the signing of Held back in March, taking fans and media surprise given that the Pole had just banked his first win in the Octagon at UFC Gdansk. Having seen off fellow newcomer, Potter, in his debut, the submission ace will likely try to climb the ladder now in the hopes of getting a date with lightweight champion, Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Rodolfo Vieira improved to 4-0 in MMA when he submitted Australia, Jacob Holyman-Tague, in the first round of their middleweight tussle.
"The Black Belt Hunter" Rodolfo Vieira submits Jacob Holyman-Tague as expected, an RNC pushing his record to 4-0. Regarded by many as his generation's greatest heavyweight gi grappler, he is a four-time IBJJF world champion and one-time ADCC winner. #ACB88 pic.twitter.com/6knvC1E2eh— Kyle Johnson (@Maldobabo) June 16, 2018
Holyman-Tague landed a crisp knee in the first thirty seconds, but in doing so he allowed the grappling supremo to get a hold of him. The Brazilian stuck to him like glue and landed multiple takedowns before transitioning to the Aussie’s back and submitting him with a rear-naked choke. “The Black Belt Hunter” has now finished all four of his MMA bouts by way of submission.
Earlier in the day, former UFC and Bellator fighter, Chase Gormley, took his third consecutive loss when he was bested over three rounds by Canadian, Tanner Boser. The victory gave Boser a winning record under the ACB banner for this first time. He lost his first two fights with the Russian promotion, but has bounced back by winning three straight fights over the last eight months.
Karol Celinski def. Luke Barnatt via majority decision
Marcin Held def. Callan Potter via submission (heel hook) at 1:09 of R1
Rodolfo Vieira def. Jacob Holyman-Tague via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:51 of R1
Adam Townsend def. Kieran Joblin via unanimous decision
Frantz Slioa def. Adrian Diaz via unanimous decision
Kyle Reyes def. Trent Girdham via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:13 of R2
Michael Tobin def. Michael Mannue via submission (armbar) at 2:04 of R1
Mindaugas Verzbickas def. Corey Nelson via submission (D’arce choke)
EJ Brooks def. Steven Kennedy via unanimous decision
Narek Avagyan def. Andy Young via TKO (strikes) at 2:19 of R1
Shannon McClellan def. Charlie Alaniz via unanimous decision
Alan Philpott def. Gustavo Falciroli via unanimous decision
Rodrigo Praia def. Trevin Jones via unanimous decision
Stewart Nicoll def. Darren Habben via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:29 of R1