Taylor grapples way to grudge match crown

Dave
Dave "Machete" Johnson (left) eats a knee from Dave "The Animal" Vergers

Taylor (24-9), with one UFC fight to his name, was facing 12-UFC fight veteran Kendall Grove (17-12) in what Dianella-based promoter Grady Stewart billed as the ultimate grudge match.

Grove was the winner of the season three of the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter, while Taylor was controversially-ejected from the show after making his way to the grand final.

There was nothing controversial about their main event at Bragging Rights 5, with Taylor using his wrestling skills to keep Grove, a highly talented jiu jitsu fighter, on the mat for the majority of the five rounds in what was WA’s last fight inside a fenced enclosure.

Grove gave Taylor a run for his money early, nearly submitting the defending champion with an armbar submission halfway through the first round, but from there it was all Taylor, who took Grove down almost at will.

After five five-minute rounds, the judges scored the contest 50-48, 48-47 and 49-47, awarding Taylor the unanimous points victory.

In the co-main event of the evening, Dave Vergers (11-2) dismantled the offence of Dave Johnson (6-2) to move a step closer to a fight with welterweight champion David Hulet.

Vergers was simply too technical for Johnson, a muay thai veteran, landing kicks and knees at will.

It was a vicious knee to the body that dropped Johnson, with Vergers landing several stiff punches before the referee stepped in.

Earlier in the night, youngster Mitch O’Dowd made short work of John Darch, landing a head kick with the opening move of the fight before slamming Darch to the ground and submitting him with an arm-bar in the first round.

Steve Kennedy managed to recover from an early barrage from the much bigger Dean Roberts thanks to some smart refereeing.

With Roberts exhausted by the second round Kennedy was able to take the advantage and finish the fight from the back mount.