A ten-fight win streak has seen local Mixed Martial Arts fighter Jack Della Maddalena punch, kick and elbow his ticket to the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
Following a knockout performance over Aldin Bates at Eternal MMA 53 at HBF Stadium, avenging one of the two losses on his professional record, Della Maddalena – who trains out of Scrappy MMA in Willetton – was invited to fight on UFC boss Dana White’s Contender Series In Las Vegas.
The Contender Series is seen as an express ticket to the UFC if you can impress White with your performance and Della Maddalena’s opponent, hulking Swiss fighter Ange Loosa, is no pushover.
With Scrappy MMA head coach Ben Vickers in his corner, Della Maddalena put on a dominant performance to take a unanimous decision win, with White predicting big things for the 25-year-old welterweight, handing him a contract almost immediately after the fight.
His journey into the big leagues came after he took an interest in martial arts at the age of 13.
“I always liked boxing and combat sports, I loved watching boxing and I just googled my closest gym,” he said.
“When I was 14 or 15 I wanted to start getting into MMA and I joined Scrappy MMA.”
Despite losing the first two fights of his career, Della Maddalena made a pact with coach Vickers that set him on the road to the UFC.
“That second straight loss, I was really disappointed, I didn’t lose my passion for the sport but there some self-doubt.
“Ben wasn’t in my corner for that fight, but we spoke on the phone straight after and made a goal to win 10 fights in a row, and now my record is 10-2 so I achieved that goal.
“I remember looking up who were the best MMA fighters and my goal was to get up there, and I achieved that in Australia and as I got up there, I realised I could make it in the UFC.
“I’m super excited about the opportunity to perform on the world stage and now I’m just waiting for my first fight which I hope will be later this year.”
Following two weeks of hotel quarantine in New South Wales, Della Maddalena is now in self-isolation in Leeming for yet another two weeks and while this isn’t ideal, he said it was all worth the effort.
“I’m much more comfortable now that I’m home and I’m keen to get back in the gym and keep improving, I’m only 25 which is relatively young in the sport so I’ve got plenty of room to grow.”