Zealand soars behind crowd’s roars


AN electric crowd has lifted home town hero Dan Zealand to victory in the main event of Saturday's Airlie Fight Night III.

The Whitsunday Martial Arts Club's product was the drawcard at the Whitsunday PCYC, prevailing in his MMA bout with Central Queensland's Hayden Hotz.

Although it was billed as the night's showcase event, Zealand overcame his opponent inside four minutes and 30 seconds - dominating from the word go. "I came out in a good headspace, really charged up from the crowd," he said.

"I went out with the intention to strike and it paid off. He didn't like it. When the time came we went to [the] ground and he gave me his back - letting me secure a choke."

Zealand said overwhelming support lifted him to greater heights.

"When you've got the whole crowd erupting it makes you feel super human," he said.

"Everyone turning up is what makes the night a success. Thanks to everyone who came out."

Zealand's future in the ring is unclear, as he vows to become more family orientated with a second child on the way.

Despite father time whispering in his ear, Zealand said it was likely he would remain involved at the club in a coaching capacity.