Willetton-trained rising UFC star Jack Della Maddalena plans to put on a masterclass this weekend when he takes on Randy Brown at UFC 284 at RAC Arena on Sunday morning.
The 26-year-old has taken the UFC by storm, with three straight first-round TKO victories after he was signed by the biggest Mixed Martial Arts promotion in the world on the back of victory in UFC boss Dana White’s contender series to bring his record to 13-2.
On a card headlined by fellow Australian Alexander Voilkanovski’s bid to take the lightweight title and become Australia’s first double-champ, Della Maddalena is under the spotlight as the only truly local fighter on the card.
It’s clearly a role he is relishing.
“I’m feeling good, I’m focused, I’m in my hometown so it feels like just another day but I’m focused, I’m ready to fight, I’m ready to put on a good fight for the crowd,” he said.
“It’s been nice to be able to go home and spend time with the family and then not have to go upstairs to a hotel room. It feels a little bit different but I’m in the zone now, it feels like there’s a fight on the horizon.
“It’s something I always thought would happen, to fight at home in front of a big crowd.
“It’s a dream come true.”
Brown is a towering welterweight with a significant height and reach advantage but it’s not something worrying Della Maddalena, who plans to put on a striking masterclass.
“He’s a tall guy. I spent years training with my brother and he’s a similar frame to Randy, it’s a style I’m used to fighting and I think I’ve got the tools and the team to make it happen.
“He’s pretty well rounded, his range is one of his most dangerous weapons.
“My plan is to put on a masterclass, go in there, not get hit and damage Randy from the get go.”
He said the birth of his son, Franco, in August 2022 has brought balance to his life, but his focus right now is on putting on the perfect performance.
“I want to go down as one of the smoothest movers in the game. I just want to look nice fighting. I’m gunning for the perfect performance. I think there were things I can improve on from those first three fights.
“I’m ready to go three rounds, if I get him out of there early it’s a bonus.
“Pressure is an important thing; it will make the win feel better and I’m embracing that pressure.”
His opponent, 32-year-old Brown (16-4, 10-4 UFC), has nothing but respect for Della Maddalena, even though he feels like he’s being overlooked, and he believes the fight will be a war of attrition.
“All the hype is well deserved, he’s really good,” he said.
“I am being overlooked but I’ve been overlooked my entire career, that’s just the nature of my story, I guess.
“I don’t really look into it too much I just take it as it is, another guy that I need to get out of there.
“You gotta go and get it if you want it…. I didn’t have to take this fight, but I didn’t want to sit around, I wanted to go out there and make a statement and what better way to do it than to come into someone’s hometown and beat a young prospect like this.
“If you know what you’re looking at you know this isn’t an easy fight for anyone.
“I think he’s talented but I do think he has the skill set to beat me and I have the skill set to beat him.
“It’s a matter of who can endure the longest and who can persevere and who can execute their gameplan for the longest. It’s going to be a battle of attrition and discipline.”
He’s also acutely aware he could be the most hated fighter on the crowd, taking on a home-town hero in front of an extremely parochial crowd.
It’s not something that he’s concerned about.
“They can’t fight for him. “
“Them not liking me doesn’t matter to me, you can not like me all you want, but you’re going to love me after my performance. I understand it but at the end of the day it’s just boos. The fight is the fight.
“I think he’s a great fighter, I think he’s never faced anyone on my level. He’s a tremendous athlete, I think he’s really good and has a tonne of potential but we’re catching him at the right time.