CAGE RAGE: Riley Payne faces off with Jamie Ireson. Photo: JUSTIN WHITE

By Mitch Rodd

MILDURA Martial Arts went three from three last weekend at the MMA Rising Stars 2 event in Adelaide, a product of the Diamondback Fighting Championship.

In their second bouts in the cage, young guns Riley Payne and John Loughhead came up with hard-fought wins, while in his debut at age 38, Michael Burton overcame an opponent 14 years his junior.

Payne, one of Mildura Weekly’s own, had to drop a massive 19.4kg in 30 days to reach Welterweight division and face first-timer Jamie Ireson of Adelaide’s M16 gym.

The weight drop was a massive ask of Payne, but he turned it into a victory after lasting the full three rounds and winning via unanimous decision.

“Jamie and I are both blue belts and of similar age, so I knew it was going to be tough,” Payne said.

“There is always a lot of unknown when it comes to an opponent’s striking abilities but we were expecting he would do pretty well.

“I decided to try and take him to the mat and see who would come out on top. It’s definitely satisfying to win that one.”

Thanks to surgery on a facial fracture suffered earlier this year, Payne was not allowed to train under Mick Moloney at Mildura Martial Arts for 12 weeks, and his weight in that time increased to 97kg.

“When you have a fight coming up you put in the extra hours anyway, but because I had to come from so far back I had to work that bit harder. I had to incorporate a lot more cardio elements into my training this time around to lose those extra kilos,” Payne said.

“For my first fight I was at about 85kg so the weight loss I needed was nowhere near as dramatic. It was a lot of eggs for breakfast, steamed veggies with no salt, all that disciplined stuff to get the weight I needed.

“I still had to lose a little over a kilo before the weigh-in so I resorted to the hot showers and really just tried to sweat it all out. I made the cut but as soon as I went to talk after the weigh-in I realised I lost my voice and was getting sick.

“It’s definitely feels good that all that effort was worth it.”

While Payne had been in control of his fight, the same could not be said for Loughhead, who had been well beaten inside his first two rounds by featherweight Julian Wyithe of Trinity MMA.

While the match looked to be going the distance, and become a points victory for the South Australian, Loughhead turned the tables late with a perfectly executed arm bar to win via submission.

Burton ticked off a bucket list item when he made his MMA debut against 24-year-old Jayden Broadstock of Matrix MMA in the Welterweight division.

His toughness and tenacity was on show when he took a kick to the face from Broadstock that UFC fighter Alex Volkanovski, who was the special guest at the event, labelled as one of the hardest shots he had ever seen. Burton, however, just shrugged it off and continued on, eventually winning the fight by unanimous decision.