OKTAGON MMA cage fighter Jacinta Austin believes she can become the next fan favourite from Australia, following in the footsteps of her old sparring partner and boxing world champion Ebanie Bridges.
28-year-old Austin challenges for OKTAGON MMA’s strawweight world title on Saturday in Frankfurt, Germany – a long way from where Austin and Bridges’ paths first crossed.
Austin said: “I’ve known Ebanie Bridges for a long time, I knew her before she was a big superstar. We used to train together in a dingy little gym out in western Sydney together.
“The first ever boxing gym I went to – Ebanie was there. She’d just gotten started herself [in combat], she was about six months to a year ahead of me, so she was another girl there at a time when there were no other girls that I could train with and we would motivate each other.
“She was the first girl I ever got to spar with and I’m really happy about what she’s done and I think that’s probably why she’s so supportive of me, we were kind of good friends in there for eachother before she was a big star.”
28-year-old Austin heads into hostile territory on Saturday to face hometime hero Katharina Dalisda at Frankfurt’s iconic FestHalle – and with a win, Austin says, she can begin to reach a bigger fan base.
“I think I could [become a big name like Bridges],” Austin said. “Our main similarity is that we’re tough guns. Aussies’ are tough – you’ve seen Ebanie fight and you’ve seen me fight – we get in people’s faces and we’re happy to bleed if we can make other people bleed, and we just have a lot of heart when we fight. I think the biggest parallels between me and Ebanie is just our aggression and the heart that we bring into combat.”
“I’ve had some great support sent to me so far, especially after my last fight, and if I stay and fight in Europe, I could definitely become a bit of a fan favourite.”
Austin plans to showcase her front foot style this weekend when she challenges number one ranked strawweight Dalisda in Germany – and Austin is relishing her role as the away fighter going into the lion’s den.
Austin said: “I love it [going into the opponent’s backyard]. I feed off it. And off people’s comments saying that I don’t have a chance, or I’m not going to be the champion, or I’m not good enough for what Dalisda has to offer. I feed off it. I’ve only had one fight in my professional career where I remember being the betting favourite and I didn’t like the way that made me feel as much as when I’m the underdog.”
Austin continued: “I’m very aggressive, I like to get up in people’s faces and pressure them and force the fight. Wherever my opponent takes me – cage wrestling or if she’s going to take me down or if we’re gonna strike – I’m strong in all those positions. I have the upper hand over Dalisda in all aspects of MMA. Wherever she takes me I’m gonna have answers.”
“You take that one thing they’re good at, and you shut it down, and you don’t allow them to use it. If they can’t use it, their whole plan will fall apart. I think as soon as she can’t land the striking that she’d like to land, the left hand, I think pretty quickly. She’s gonna turn to wrestling.
This will be Austin’s second fight under the OKTAGON MMA banner and speaking of her new promotion, she said:
“OKTAGON MMA are awesome, they’ve taken really good care of me. Even before we signed with them, they were so good to deal with. The media team has been amazing. People look after us when we travel, like at the hotel. The people that got here for us are amazing. Yeah, they’re an amazing brand.
“I feel like I’ve kind of opened maybe a little door for other Australians, because we’re not too familiar with European MMA. I really hope it opens a little door for more Australians to get into this kind of thing. Back home we all struggle getting matched. A lot of the girls. fight each other two or three times, or you go fight two or three divisions above your weight because there’s not many girls. But you come to Europe and you’ve got the pick of the litter.
OKTAGON MMA has proven itself on the European MMA scene, with high-level production value combined with competitive and engaging match-making helping them become one of the leading MMA promotions in the world. They recently made the 5-promotion shortlist for MMA promotion of the year.
Fans can watch OKTAGON 46 and the Austin in action on OKTAGON.TV
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.