Rising UFC welterweight star Jack Della Maddalena considers himself ready for a main event after claiming the biggest scalp of his career with a split-decision points victory over American Kevin Holland in Las Vegas.
The 27-year-old West Australian, who is ranked 14th, one place below his opponent, had a 29-28 advantage on two cards with the other judge recording a similar score in Holland's favour..
Della Maddalena improved to 6-0 In the UFC and 16-2 in his MMA career having won 16 straight since starting his professional journey with two losses in 2016.
The Australian exhibited a lot of patience and good decision-making, scoring well when he backed up the much taller Holland.
Della Maddalena landed several good right hands during the fight and closed the show with a couple of late flurries in the final round.
He looked to have shaded the first round, while Holland was more active in the second, firing off several accurate kicks .
The American used his kicking to try to keep Della Maddalena at bay, but the Australian didn't get flustered and controlled the exchanges when he closed the distance and got inside the pocket and backed his opponent up.
It was a second straight split decision win for Della Maddalena after he squeezed past Bassil Hafez in July.
"It's another close one, I want to go back and watch and then assess, but my team are pretty confident I won every round, but it was a tight one," Della Maddalena said.
"I thought I was winning, I feel like I was pushing the pace, landing the heavier shots.
"When someone has got the range it's a tricky game to try and get to the inside. I feel like I did pretty good.
"I've got to try and not get my head splattered across the cage, I wanted to be defensively sound and pick my shots."
"I feel good I want to probably get one more in before the end of the year."
Asked if he was ready for his first five-round UFC fight, Della Maddalena said: "I feel like I could have put another two rounds in with Kevin."
Della Maddalena admitted he was distracted by Holland talking to him during the fight.
"I like to go in there and have a bit of a killer instinct but he's talking, he's kinda of a likeable guy," Della Maddalena said.
The fight was the co-main event on the Noche UFC card on Mexican Independence Day.
In an all-action main event, Mexico's Alexa Grasso retained the womens flyweight title with a split draw against Kyrgyzstan's Valentina Shevchenko, the fighter she took the title from last March.