Hector Lombard submitted Jesse Taylor in the second round Saturday. | Photo: Matt Smith

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Hot on the heels of UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro, the second installment of the fledgling Australian Fighting Championships, held in a ring at the Sports and Aquatic Centre, had relevance to the wider middleweight MMA picture.

The evening’s main event featured the current Bellator and CFC middleweight champion Hector Lombard against infamous “The Ultimate Fighter 7” alum Jesse Taylor.

Early in the contest, Taylor took Lombard to the floor following an errant punch by the Cuban-born Aussie. In the scramble, Lombard used his superior strength to end up on top of his opponent where he would remain for the majority of the round.

When the fight did get back to the feet, Taylor’s keenness to shoot was parried by Lombard’s effective sprawl. The Bellator ace worked dominantly from half guard and side control to deliver an assortment of brutal, short left elbows and forearms throughout the frame. Taylor’s hips enabled him to achieve full guard at times but he was unable to create any significant offense from his back.

The ending came at 1:26 of round two when Lombard, reversing an attempt by Taylor to attack his leg, secured a heel hook which resulted in Taylor promptly tapping out.

One of the main narratives leading out of last weekend’s mega UFC card in Brazil was the dearth of bankable challengers to Anderson Silva’s middleweight crown. When asked about how he would fare against arguably the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, the judo Olympic silver medalist didn’t hold back.

“I wouldn’t be frightened of him,” said Lombard (30-2, 1 NC). “I would go in there to take the head off.”

M. Smith

Held bounced back in style.

The card also saw the return of 19-year-old Polish prospect Marcin Held against Hawaiian Kaleo Kwan. In his first fight since his submission loss to Michael Chandler, Held needed only 55 seconds to dispatch of his game opponent.

After lighting Kwan up on the feet, held made a rapid transition from a standing position to a spinning-inside heel hook to secure the tap.

Another featured middleweight bout pitted New Zealand born Dylan Andrews against hometown favorite Ross Dallow. The tone of the fight was set early on when a punch combination by the composed Andrews dropped Dallow to a knee.

Dallow tried gamely to get back into the fight with several left low kicks but never fully recovered.

Andrews dropped Dallow once again with a left uppercut and a right hook before swarming with rapid fire punches to secure an impressive win in just 57 seconds.

M. Smith

Palelei scored a quick knockout.

UFC and Pride veteran Soa Palelei demolished a much smaller Son Hai Suk with punches in 28 seconds of round one to take a one-sided TKO victory.

A slimmed down Palelei told Sherdog.com that he is looking to build on the win by training at American Top Team in the U.S. as he continues his quest to earn another shot in a big Stateside promotion.

Melbourne’s own Nick Patterson defeated Gracie Barra Sydney’s James Fairman by TKO (punches) at 4:47 of the first. Patterson used effective dirty boxing against the ropes before dropping Fairman with a left-handed superman punch and raining down strikes for the finish.

In one of the more impressive undercard displays, Melburnian Rusty McBride of Dominance MMA delivered six consecutive knee strikes to the torso of the downed Richard Burhman en route to a TKO stoppage via heavy punches at the 1:11 mark.

New Zealand’s Daniel Hooker won a unanimous decision over Japan’s Yuma Ishizuka, who raised the ire of the crowd with his Thales Leites-esque willingness to lay on the floor and invite Hooker into his guard.

Perth’s Jack Becker upset Sydney’s Ben Hansen by kneebar in a lightweight bout at 1:57 mins of round one.

In the curtain opener, Troy Williams of Team Weapon defeated Queensland’s Sam Summers by armbar at 2:25 mins of the first period.

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