One champion retained his title and two more were crowned on a big night for Croatian MMA at FNC 12.

The event, which took place at the historic Roman Colosseum at the Pula Arena, saw modern-day gladiators do battle in front of a packed crowd, with two local heroes picking up huge wins in the top two bouts of the night.

The main event featured a battle for the promotion’s heavyweight title, as Pula’s own Ivan Vitasovic successfully defended his belt with a third-round TKO finish of Poland’s former KSW veteran Michal Andryszak.

The big Pole was on top of the action early as he dominated the first two rounds, but he wasn’t able to finish him. Then, in Round 3, Vitasovic turned the tables and finished his man with a barrage of strikes to claim a crowd-pleasing come-from-behind victory.

The local fans were on their feet for the co-main event, too, as Croatian challenger Matej Batinic submitted Gadzhimurad Khebdeev in the fifth round to capture the inaugural FNC light heavyweight title with a dramatic final-round comeback.

Khebdeev looked to be cruising to a decision victory after winning each of the first four rounds, but Batinic, a protege of Croatian heavyweight legend Mirko Cro Cop, dug deep and managed to lock up a rear-naked choke to finish his man inside the first two minutes of the round to claim a stunning win.

The promotion’s vacant welterweight title also found a home, as Nikola Joksovic finished Marko Kisic via second-round TKO to capture the 170-pound strap.

FNC 12: Official results

  • Ivan Vitasovic def. Michal Andryszak via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 3:38 – for heavyweight title
  • Matej Batinic def. Gadzhimurad Khebdeev via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 5, 1:57 – for light heavyweight title
  • Nikola Joksovic def. Marko Kisic via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:40 – for welterweight title
  • Itay Tratner def. Daniel Bazant via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Aleksandar Jankovic def. Bojan Zelva Kosednar via TKO (injury) – Round 2, 0:18
  • Rusi Minev def. David Travnicek via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 2:11
  • Alessandro Capone def. Demahmet Sinani via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:37
  • Andres Ramos def. Roman Hulla via TKO (leg injury) – Round 1, 0:24
  • Fran Luka Duric def. Matej Simic via submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1, 1:00