BAMMA 28: Parke prevails on a mixed night for Northern Irish fighters
MMA expert Fergus Ryan reviews the action from BAMMA event in Belfast this evening
Lightweight: Norman Parke vs. Paul Redmond BAMMA World Lightweight Championship
The meeting of Paul Redmond and Norman Parke was billed as the best Irish MMA fight ever to be matched. The BAMMA 28 main event served up and instant classic that justified the lofty billing.
While Parke had been making his name in the UFC, Redmond had been ploughing a furrow through the Cage Warriors lightweight division. Redmond would progress to the UFC but both men have since parted company with the world’s largest MMA promotion. Winning the BAMMA lightweight belt would be a huge step back in the direction of the big show.
Parke started the stronger on the night landing decisive takedowns in the first round. Though Redmond never stopped attacking off his back, Parke controlled the round. Redmond came out firing in the second but succumbed to some more takedowns. He attempted a number of submissions from the bottom but judges tend to score takedowns and position to greater effect.
Redmond poured it on in the third looking crisp in the striking and winning the takedown scrambles. One judge gave this round to Redmond 10-8.
In the end, an incredibly close fight, Parke prevailed – 29-28, 29-28, 28-28.
There was a twist; Parke failed to make the contracted weight limit of 70kgs/155lbs meaning he was unable to take the title.
Here’s a run-down of the rest of the card as it happened.
Welterweight: Glenn Irvine vs. Keith McCabe
This one was over before it began. After a brief feeling out process McCabe cracked Irvine with a left and seemed to stumble as he changed level for the takedown, landing underneath Irvine. A skilled purple belt in BJJ, McCabe created an opportunity out of adversity, sank a deep heel hook to coax the quick tap from Irvine. Good win for the Team Ryano fighter.
Featherweight: Andrew Murphy vs. Stephen Kilifin
Another first round finish but this was a fight of two halves. Kiflin started the stronger and dropped Murphy with two minutes left to the bell. Murphy rallied to do his best work landing hard punches and kicks in abundance as the road drew to a close. His corner called for a body shot as the 10-second clapper sounded: Murphy delivered and Kiflin fell. Murphy followed up with some nice ground and pound to get the referee stoppage seconds before the bell.
Welterweight: Will Fleury vs. Kyle McClurkin
Third fight and third first round finish. Fleury started slow but landed the first meaningful shot midway through the round to drop McClurkin. Fleury moves to 2-0 as a pro.
Featherweight: Paul Hughes vs. Adam Gustab
The first round finishes kept coming with Derryman, Paul Hughes looking awesome in his pro debut. Once Hughes rocked Gustab he threw everything with fury looking for the finish. Remember the name, Paul Hughes has a very bright future ahead of him.
Featherweight: Niall Smith vs. Daniel Rutkowski
The main difference in this fight was Rutkowski’s takedowns. Smith defended well from the bottom and managed to get to guard on occasion. Smith managed to drop Rutkowski in the first. Rutkowski dominated the second. The third saw Rukowki land another takedown and force a stoppage from the referee midway through the third.
Featherweight: Daniel Olejniczak vs. Jonathan Reid
Olejniczak was on debut in his adopted home of Belfast and he didn’t disappoint with a first round stoppage.
Welterweight: Declan Dalton vs. Jonathan Brookins
The former Ultimate Fighter winner, Brookins had his work cut out for him in the form of prospect Decky Dalton. Dalton seemed faster and better on the feet in the first round. He stuffed most of Brookins takedown attempts and landed some hard shots. Brookins rallied in the second and third, finishing the takedowns and keeping the fight on the mat. Though Dalton defended well, Brookins was always in control and took a well-deserved decision win. Best fight of the card to this point and certainly got the best reaction for the crowd.
Lightweight: Rhys McKee (c) vs. Tim Barnett BAMMA Lonsdale British Lightweight Championship
Rhys McKee is one of the hottest prospects in in European MMA… but nobody told Tim Barnett. A late replacement, Barnett came out swinging, landing hard and often. Though McKee was probably winning the first round, he took one hard shot too many against the fence. Barnett followed with a body shot that dropped the Ballymena man. With the end of the round just seconds away the referee stepped in to make a justified stoppage. Barnett will be a force with a full training camp. McKee will no doubt rise again.
Featherweight: Ronnie Mann vs. Damien Lapilus BAMMA World Featherweight Championship
Mann seemed a little outclassed for the get-go. Lapilus clearly won the first 10-9, probably won the second round 10-8 and was coasting in the third, which the judges gave to Mann. A comfortable win for Lapilus, the new featherweight world champion.
Flyweight: Andy Young vs. Dominique Wooding Interim BAMMA World Flyweight Championship
From the moment these two stepped into the cage you could feel the tension between them. What Wooding brought in speed, Northern Ireland fighter Young matched with style. An incredibly close fight, the first two rounds were hard to separate on the scorecards. There’s a good chance both men entered the third round needed it to win. Young started the final stanza faster and with more intention. Something suggested he wasn’t going to leave it in the hands of the judges. As we entered the final minute, Young cornered Wooding against the fence and a furious exchange of punches ensued. After a brief separation, Young pulled Wooding to the mat and pounced on his back. After a little hand fighting a deep, rear naked choke was under the chin of Wooding forcing him to tap. Young is a very deserving interim world flyweight champion.