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Ais Daly gets added to UFC Dublin and farewell to Johnny Lyons


Aisling Daly. Picture credit: Esther Lin/Zuffa LLC

Aisling Daly. Picture credit: Esther Lin/Zuffa LLC

Aisling Daly. Picture credit: Esther Lin/Zuffa LLC

This weeks MMA column talk Aisling Daly and her opponent at UFC Dublin. BAMMA 22 is coming to Dublin in September. We take a look at the recent UFC Fight Night 74 and saw a fond farewell to comrade Johnny Lyons.

In our preview of UFC Dublin we speculated whether any more Irish fighters would join Joe Duffy, Norman Parke, Paddy Holohan and Cathal Pendred on the October 24th card.

Yesterday the UFC officially announced that Aisling Daly will fight at the event.

She’ll take on 26-year-old Brazilian submission specialist Ericka Almeida. Almeida made her UFC debut in May dropping a unanimous decision to Juliana De Lima Carneiro for her first career loss. The Brazilian boasts six submission wins and a KO on her pro record.

A brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Daly is no stranger to the submission game herself. With eight of her fifteen wins coming by submission, she’ll have no issue with the fight taking place on the floor.

At one point in her career Ais was ranked number three in the ladies flyweight division and held the NAAFS world title at that weight. However, a bout of depression hampered her career progress and forced her to take some to time off to regroup.

After a returning with a win at Cage Warriors, ‘Ais the Bash’ entered The Ultimate Fighter as a title hopeful. A so-so showing on the show was quickly forgotten after a debut win in the UFC proper. A loss in her last fight has taken her to 1-1 and down to #14 in the UFC’s straw-weight division. After eight years of competing and still only 27, this fight in front of a passionate home crowd might be a shot in the arm required to propel her back towards title contention.

More MMA for 3Arena

English promotion BAMMA are looking to capitalise on the feel good factor surrounding Irish MMA at the moment by holding the 22nd show in the 3Arena on the 19th of September. Wisely they have stacked the card with fighters from around this island.

The professional card currently boasts 20 fights with a number of high profile amateur fights being added to the undercard as well.

SBGi will have at least nine fighters on the card with Team Ryano, Next Generation NI, Trials MMA and Rush Fight Academy among the other clubs contributing fighters.

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In the co-main event former Cage Warriors world champion, Chris Fields will look to bounce back from a devastating first round KO in his last outing. Catherine Costigan will also look to get back to winning ways after her first career loss at InvictaFC in July.

Names to look out for are light-heavyweight Karl Moore, who possesses lethal KO power and a slick ground game to back up his striking. Sinead Kavanagh and Frans Malambo are fighting for the first time since their successful sojourn to the IMMAF amateur world championships.  Kavanagh picked up silver while Malambo became Ireland’s first IMMAF world champion, collecting gold.

The fight between Adam Caffrey and Dylan Tuke represents the best of the next generation of Irish MMA. Both have been stand-outs in their amateur careers collecting titles all around the country. Both have huge potential in the sport and this fight has a great shot at claiming any ‘Fight of the Night’ honours on offer.

With other notables like Myles Price, Philip Mulpeter, John Redmond, Stephen Coll and more prospects like Patrick Wixtead, James Gallagher and Alan Philpott on offer, you’ll be getting a lot of MMA for the price of the admission.

The BAMMA 22 card at present is -

• BAMMA FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE - Tom DuQuesnoy (c) Vs. Brendan Loughnane

• MIDDLEWEIGHT - Chris Fields (SBGi) Vs. Christopher Jacquelin

• LONSDALE BANTAMWEIGHT TITLE - Alan Philpott (Next Generation NI) Vs. Regis Sugden

• LONSDALE LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE - Marc Diakiese (c) Vs. Rick Selvarajah

• LIGHTWEIGHT - Jack McGann Vs. Jack Grant

• CATCHWEIGHT - Damien Rooney (Team Torres MMA) Vs. Manel Kape

• ATOMWEIGHT - Catherine Costigan (Pankration Kickboxing) Vs. Simona Soukupova

• LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT- Karl Moore (Fight Academy of Ireland) Vs. Paul Craig

• LIGHTWEIGHT - Tim Wilde Vs. Philip Mulpeter (SBGi)

• LIGHTWEIGHT - Kane Mousah Vs. Myles Price (Team Ryano)

• MIDDLEWEIGHT - Conor Cooke (Next Generation NI) Vs. Paul Byrne (SBGi)

• BANTAMWEIGHT - Sean Tobin (Trials MMA) Vs. Gavin Kelly (Evolve/Next Generation NI)

• WELTERWEIGHT - John 'Johnny Jitzu' Redmond (Team Ryano) Vs. Kieran Davern (Evoluition/SBGi)

• HEAVYWEIGHT - Ricky King Vs. Jonathan Dargan (SBGi)

• BANTAMWEIGHT - Sinead Kavanagh (SBGi) Vs. Hatice Ozyurt

• FEATHERWEIGHT - Stephen Coll (Rillion Gracie Ireland) Vs. Alexandre Liete

• BANTAMWEIGHT - Adam Caffrey (Rush Fight Academy) Vs. Dylan Tuke (SBGi)

• FEATHERWEIGHT - Gerard Gilmore (Chum Sut MMA) Vs. James Gallagher (SBGi)

• FLYWEIGHT - Fabio Viti (Ryoshin MMA) Vs. Keith Coady (SBGi)

• BANTAMWEIGHT - Patrick Wixted (Team Ryano) Vs. Connor Dillon (Rush Fight Academy)

Holloway looking to Conor McGregor rematch; but maybe not just yet

Though Max Holloway’s win at UFC Fight Night 74 was a little hollow, there’s no doubting the young Hawaiian is on a crash course with the UFC featherweight title. He has now won seven straight since his defeat to Conor McGregor in August 2013. In addition to beating decent opposition, Cub Swanson being the best scalp, he’s looked good doing it.



In the immediate post-fight interview Holloway called out #2 ranked featherweight Frankie Edgar. He is hoping the UFC would make a trip to his homeland of Hawaii with this match-up serving as the main event.

While this would make a fine fight, its curious he didn’t go looking for a rematch with the last man to beat him. In the post event press conference he dialled it back somewhat saying he’d love to fight Conor any day of the week. Its curious as to why he didn’t call out the Dubliner?

The UFC also might look for him to step in against Charles Oliveira again before fighting anyone else. Oliveira folded to the floor clutching his neck after only a minute of the first round had elapsed without having taken any apparent damage to the area. He was stretched from the Octagon in a neck brace as a precaution and the reports from the hospital after examination were positive but unclear as to the nature of the problem.

Regardless, Holloway is a talent on the rise and it’s highly likely he will fight McGregor again at some point in the future.

Farewell Johnny, gone but impossible to forget

I was lucky enough to have been on 98fm’s Sunday morning show ‘Now That’s What I Call Sport’ with Johnny Lyons a number of times and had the pleasure of meeting the man in studio for a few of these.

Everyone has spoken about how kind hearted and familiar Johnny was with everyone, whether you were a chance meeting or a long-time acquaintance. And I can certainly back this up. Though the MMA slot on his Sunday show might have lasted only minutes, our phone conversation on the previous Wednesday or Thursday could have lasted an hour and we didn’t just talk about MMA.


Johnny Lyons

Johnny Lyons

Johnny Lyons


The first time I met Johnny in the flesh was at a local MMA event I’d invited him to. I had been covering MMA for his show at this stage, doing phone-ins and it was clear from the initial conversations he wasn’t a fan of the sport.

To his credit though, he was willing to give it a chance so I asked him to come and sit cageside with me at BattleZoneFC 13.

First thing he said when he arrived at the venue was he couldn’t stay for the whole event – ‘I’ll be gone by 9.00pm, if that’s OK?’… Cut to 10.30pm and there’s Johnny standing and applauding as the main event concluded. He sent a string of texts about how much he enjoyed the event and wondering how long he’d have to wait for the next one. He was hooked!

Nobody knew who he was when he walked into the hotel conference room that night but everyone wanted to say goodbye to him when he was leaving.

His brother spoke at his funeral yesterday about how he liked being underestimated. Maybe the whacky dress sense was to lure people into doing exactly that. By spending even the briefest length in his company you would have realised he was a consummate professional in search of perfection.

I’m thankful I got a chance to work with the man and, so profound was the effect of meeting him, I’m just gutted I won’t get the chance to do it ever again.

Thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends and work colleagues.

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