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Image credits: ACB
Russian MMA promotion Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB) is returning to Australia for the second time this Saturday.
ACB 88 will be headlined by a light heavyweight bout between Luke Barnatt and Karol Celinski at the Sleeman Sports Complex in Brisbane, Queensland. It was announced Thursday that Thiago Silva had been pulled from the original main event against Chris Camozzi due to visa complications.
ACB is one of Europe’s leading MMA promotions and is distinguished by its aim to prioritise highly competitive fights over show business. As the promotion’s slogan explains, “Less show, more fighting.” It’s more recent expansion to markets outside of Eastern Europe have seen it become the fastest growing MMA organisation. In the last two years, the promotion has ventured to the UK, USA, Brazil and, as of December last year, Australia.
This is great for Australian fighters and fans which aren’t typically visited by global promotions outside of the UFC. Not only does it offer fighters another platform to compete on, but it bolsters their international recognition. For fans, it’s another opportunity to enjoy elite-level MMA.
ACB 88 will showcase a line-up of local Australian talent, including Callan Potter, Jacob Holyman-Tague, Trent Girdham, Michael Mannue, Michael Tobin, Corey Nelson, Steve Kennedy, Charlie Alaniz, Shannon Ross, Gustavo Falciroli, Stewart Nicoll and Darren Habben.
Highly-touted prospect Callan Potter will make his promotional debut against former UFC and Bellator fighter Marcin Held. Potter (16-6) is the current Hex Fight Series and Eternal MMA lightweight champion. “The Rockstar” will look to extend an impressive eight-fight win streak – all of which come by way of stoppage. Held is an accomplished grappler and last competed at the inaugural event of Quintet, where he won two bouts via kneebar. Before his 1-3 UFC run, Held went 11-2 with Bellator; a stint which included a lightweight title shot.
Last December, ACB visited the Gold Coast for ACB 76 which saw stoppages in 10 out of 14 fights. In the main event, Australian Brett Cooper knocked out Russian welterweight prospect Sharaf Davlatmurodov in stunning fashion. Cooper was set to make his return at ACB 88 against Adam Townsend, but withdrew from the bout this week and was replaced by New Zealander Kieran Joblin.
Featherweight Michael Tobin picked up a first-round bicep slicer against Sam Chan at ACB 76 and returns to fight fellow Australia Michael Mannue in his fourth appearance for the promotion. Bantamweight Trent Girdham and flyweight Shannon Ross will also make a reappearance after both stopping their previous opponents.
ACB 88 will be held at the Sleeman Sports Complex, Chandler Arena in Brisbane, Australia this Saturday, June 16. The event will air live and free from 6pm (AEST) on ACB’s Facebook page.
See the complete ACB 88 line-up below:
Karol Celinski vs. Luke Barnatt (205lbs)
Callan Potter vs. Marcin Held (155lbs)
Jacob Holyman-Tague vs. Rodolfo Vieira (185lbs)
Chase Gormley vs. Tanner Boser (265lbs)
Kieran Joblin vs. Adam Townsend (170lbs)
Adrian Diaz vs. Frantz Slioa (145lbs)
Kyle Reyes vs. Trent Girdham (135lbs)
Michael Mannu vs. Michael Tobin (145lbs)
Corey Nelson vs. Mindaugas Verzbickas (170lbs)
Steve Kennedy vs. E.J. Brooks (170lbs)
Andy Young vs. Narek Avagyan (125lbs)
Charlie Alaniz vs. Shannon Ross (125lbs)
Gustavo Falciroli vs. Alan Philpott (135lbs)
Trevin Jones vs. Rodrigo Praia (135lbs)
Stewart Nicoll vs. Darren Habben (125lbs)