HE may have one of the most famous surnames in the world of combat sport but Terry Balboa was no smash hit against Hervey Bay's own star, Greg Atzori.
Less than three months after his second straight loss, Atzori, who is known in the fight game as "The Tarantula", fought his way back into the winners' circle after tapping out Balboa with a kimura early in the third round in Adelaide on Saturday.
Despite taking the fight with only a week's notice, the 30-year-old dominated most parts of the bout, establishing his range early and his vastly improved wrestling game to beat the hometown hero.
"To take it (fight) on short notice and get that win is a great way to start the year," Atzori said.
"It helps build your confidence back up again and even though I thought I never lost it, losing twice in a row, I have never had that feeling before."
Before the lightweight battle, Balboa held an unblemished 3-0 record and was also undefeated in five Muay Thai fights.
Atzori, who has pushed his record to 12-4, said his intent was to dictate the terms - something that he had struggled to do in his past two fights against Spaniard Oriol Gaset and Gold Coast's Jai Bradney.
"I just wanted to get my range going, which is something I have been frustrated with," he said.
"My wrestling was a million times better and being in a dominant position rather than being underneath and going with the flow meant I could control the fight a lot more."