Want to impress your mates with your MMA knowledge? Get them to jump on the Jack Della Maddalena bandwagon before all the seats are taken.
The Aussie welterweight fights at UFC 275 in Singapore this weekend and, in just his second fight with the company, will open the pay-per-view portion of the event against Dagestani grappler Ramazan Emeev.
Hailing from Perth, Della Maddalena is on an 11-fight win streak, having earned a UFC contract via the Contender Series last year before blasting through Pete Rodriguez on his company debut back in January.
That performance had the likes of Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier heaping praise on Della Maddalena and tipping him for big things.
Emeev represents the perfect step up for Della Maddalena – a durable grappler in a division dominated by those with strong ground games.
“In this sport, at some point you’re going to fight a strong wrestler and if your style is to try and keep it standing on the feet, then you’ve got to learn to deal with that otherwise that’s going to be the end of the journey for you,” Della Maddalena told Sporting News.
“My plan is to fight the best so to fight a strong grappler is something that I’m looking forward to.
“It’s easy to sort of put people in boxes as strikers or grapplers but I’ve been working this game for a long time and I think if it hits the deck I’m going to present him some problems and try and damage him off my back and then get back to my feet and continue to pepper him.”
Della Maddalena will have plenty of familiar faces with him in Singapore as one of four Australians on the card, alongside Jake Matthews, Jacob Malkoun and Josh Culiboa.
Despite having the least UFC experience of the quartet, it’s Della Maddalena who’s been given the plum spot on the main card and he’s hoping to make the most of it.
“Opening the pay-per-view just means more eyeballs, more people will be in the arena at that time so hopefully it’s all full,” he said.
“Seeing the other Aussies on the card and seeing who they are, to put me on the top of that is something that I’m going to take and bring the Australian power with me.
“I’m happy to lead that charge.”
Singapore shares the same time zone as Perth and the strong contingent of Aussie fans should make Della Maddalena feel right at home.
“I reckon the crowd will be a large percentage Aussies and a lot of my friends and family are making the trip so it does almost feel like a home fight really,” he said.
“Most of the people that come to fights in Perth are probably coming to this one as well.”
Della Maddalena, who recently got married and is due to be a father for the first time in the coming weeks, is hoping an eye-catching performance can shoot him up towards to the 170lb elite.
“He’s had seven UFC fights, all decisions, he’s a strong Russian wrestler, he’s quite well-rounded in the game,” he said of his opponent.
“I don’t think he’s extremely dangerous, his last few fights haven’t been finishes. No one in the UFC has finished him and I’m planning on being the first.
“I feel like a finish of Ramazan Emeev will definitely put me in a spot where I can get closer to that top 15 area.
“I think it’s absolutely possible and that’s the beauty of this sport. I’ve got my future in my fingertips and now it’s time to just perform and make it happen.”
Catch Della Maddalena from midday on Sunday on Main Event or Kayo.