UFC Glasgow – Finally a 2017 Card that packed a Punch

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Guest Blogger – Logan Winger

UFC Glasgow was not without surprise, thanks to a couple of fights that took everyone by surprise and not just the fighters on the receiving end. Sunday’s event marked the second visit for the UFC to Glasgow, Scotland and thankfully this time there was some action for the fans to remember. The Preliminary card was packed with exciting fights from veterans as well as rising stars.

The Women’s Bantamweight division saw Leslie Smith bring her winning streak to two fights since her loss to Cris “Cyborg” in 2016. In this bout against a very hard hitting Amanda Lemos, Smith just simply kept the pressure on until Lemos had nothing left in the tank. Up to the fight ending flurry from Smith that resulted in a TKO victory, the fight would have been difficult to call. Both Women showed tremendous heart and scary power. I love the growth of the Women’s divisions in the UFC and cannot wait to see both of these women back in the Octagon.

After a pair of unanimous victories for Brett Johns and Danny Henry(Winner of the Fight of the Night bonus), the fans were witness to an odd, yet incredible KO victory.

Galore Bofando and Charlie Ward had barely even had a chance to get a feel for one another, when a botched throw by Ward and an aggressive shoulder shuck from Bofando ended with Ward getting knocked out by the canvas.

Literally. If you have not seen the highlight yet, let me tell you, it is worth seeing just for the “what the ….” factor. Bofando took no chances on whether Ward was going to stand back up by diving in for a few solid punches before the referee slipped between the two fighters. Of all the ways to lose a fight, that has to be among the most disappointing ways.

 

The last two fights of the Preliminary card managed to shine pretty bright too, ending in a rear-naked choke from Pantoja midway through the 3rd and final round, and a spectacular left hook from Danny Roberts that put Bobby Nash to sleep.

All-in-all, the Prelims were as exciting and eventful to watch as most Main Card fights have been in recent months, and in my opinion, they may have even trumped the Main Card for 113 as well.

The Main Card was an oddly consistent series of fights with 3 decision victories and 3 KO victories playing leapfrog. It all started with a dominating unanimous decision win for Justin Willis over James Mulheron that took me by surprise. Not that I didn’t feel like Willis won, but rather that I didn’t think he would win.

Following that Heavyweight bout, Khalil Rountree and Paul Craig faced off. Thankfully this fight ended in the 1st round because neither of these fighters showed any form of captivating aggression or pressure until the final seconds before the fight was stopped. Rountree essentially mocked Craig and stayed out of his range for the first four and a half minutes, only landing and absorbing a handful of punches and even fewer kicks.

Finally Craig got backed against the cage and Rountree cut off his exit with a vicious right cross that looked to temporarily shut out the lights for Craig. A few nasty hammer fists from Khalil later and the fight was over with just 4 seconds left in the round. Rountree absorbed a fair amount of boos from the crowd for standing over his beaten opponent, post KO, but it was certainly an exciting end to the fight.

At Middleweight, we got to see a very back and forth fight between Jack Marshman and Ryan Jones. Both fighters had the chance to put the other fighter away in this on, but somehow neither fighter got knocked out and a very swollen faced Marshman took the win via Unanimous Decision.

That is a fight I would love to see a rematch of at some point in the future. Next up was a lightweight bout between Paul Felder and Stevie Ray. This fight gave Felder a share of the Performance of the Night bonus, and for good reason. After a very closely contested first 3 minutes, where both fighters were digging for control in the clinch, Felder struck gold with a knee to Ray’s chin that buckled him. Felder immediately tried to finish but Ray was able to pull guard. Unfortunately for Ray, his return to the Octagon in Glasgow would not end in a victory like his first. Instead, Felder planted a couple strikes and then a pair of well placed elbows to end Ray’s night.

Sundays Co-Main Event was a Catchweight fight at 118lbs between Cynthia Calvillo and Joanne Calderwood(missed weight). There is something to be said about how entertaining Calvillo’s fights turn out to be.

It seems like every fight I have seen in and outside of the UFC has been a roller coaster of a fight. This fight was no different. As sometimes happens, the Judges were watching a different fight than 99% of us out there, scoring the fight 30-27 x2 and 29-28. Anyone who actually watched the fight knows that at best the fight should have been scored 29-28 x3 and the first round could have arguably been considered a draw. Both fighters pressed each other, Calvillo with furious hooks and snappy jabs, and Calderwood with long range kicks to the body and legs and well timed hooks when Calvillo would close the distance.

Calvillo landed a pair of takedowns in the fight, which undoubtedly contributed to her final score with the Judges. Unfortunately for Calderwood, if there was any doubt about who the winner should be, the second takedown and the following rear-naked choke sealed the deal. Calvillo’s win bringing her young career to a 6-0 start.

The Main Event of the evening pitted MMA Veterans Santiago Ponzinibbio and Gunnar Nelson against each other in a Welterweight matchup. Coming into this fight, it was hard to gauge which fighter would walk away victorious.

Ponzinibbio is a very heavy handed Welterweight, winning 14 out of 25 fights via KO or TKO. On the other hand, Nelson is equally as successful at submitting his opponents. Once the fight got started it appeared as though Nelson quickly figured out his range as he fired off a few combinations with decent success in the first minute. It looked like Ponzinibbio was just circling, biding his time to throw one of his bombs. Fortunately for all of us fight fans, we didn’t have to wait long. Ponzinibbio swung for the fences and landed an hard right cross that nearly brought Nelson down but he somehow recovered. His recovery was just long enough to give Ponzinibbio a nice square target against the cage to tee off on, which he did, landing a handful of punches one of which shut out the lights on Nelson. Another impressive KO victory to end the evening in Glasgow.

The UFC has had some struggles lately. Trouble retaining fighters, keeping fighters healthy, and just simply providing you and I with entertaining fights consistently.  I have high hopes that this Fight Night helps turn that around. The match-makers nailed it on this one, whether they realized it or not. Maybe this will show them that trying to revive older and more legendary fight careers should not take their focus far off of grooming next years class of Champions. We can but hope.

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The Big Winners from BAMMA30

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The only let down with BAMMA30 last night in the 3 Arena was the main event – Philpott Vs Walsh. It brought a somewhat anti-climactic finish to what was an otherwise excellent card. If you haven’t already heard, the bout was ruled a no contest due to Philpott’s Illegal kick to Shay Walsh’s head while he was still on the ground trying to get up.

Philpott has only himself to blame for this one as with a little patience I believe he would have finished the fight inside the next 30 seconds. He was absolutely killing Walsh in that torrid 1st round. The two have been engaged in a war of words since the controversial finish as it has subsequently turned out that Walsh has suffered a broken jaw from the illegal blow and will be no doubt out of action for a long time to come.

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Paul ‘Redser’ Redmond defeated C4 Sinclair in the other Co-main event slot and I have to say that Redser looked very, very good in this one. C4 is a BAMMA legend but the Knee Bar finish by Redmond in the 2nd showed his ability to recognise an opportunity and implement the appropriate finish quickly. He has to be in line for a title shot after that and C4 after announcing his retirement in the ring by throwing his gloves on the floor said as much in his interview afterwards

Fabian Edwards for me was the most impressive fighter on show last night. In fact i’d congratulate Aaron Kennedy for actually making it into the second round. Fabian has a combination of speed and power that looked just different class here last night. He also showed his repertoire of skills by getting the submission finish.

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Interviewed afterwards ‘The Assassin’ sounded a little downbeat. He was I think miffed that he made a few mistakes that meant he didn’t get that first round finish he predicted. This is a kid in a hurry , maybe a little too much so, and the only word of caution i’d issue here is possibly skip that September BAMMA card and go again in the November Bellator/BAMMA offering. This is a minor quibble and I would be very surprised if Fabian Edwards isn’t in the UFC inside of 12 months. He’s that good.

Other Big winners on the night for me were Blaine O’Driscoll and Richard Kiely. Blaine has an all action style and got the submission in the second round. It took a little bit of work to get that rear naked choke but he worked the position and and eventually the finish. He is a work in progress but progressing definitely in the Right direction. It was Interesting to note, that as far as i could tell, his fight had the highest viewing figures on the Unilad Stream so it would seem he also has a quite a fan base. Definitely the streaming figures dropped by 2,500 to 3,500 in the subsequent fights.

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There was a war of words and feet between Daniel Olejniczak and Richard Kiely in the run up to their bout that even managed to seep out into the mainstream press. Richie is not shy about saying that he is the Face of BAMMA and the people’s main event. So it is fair to say that he had lumped a fair amount of pressure on himself in the lead up to this Welterweight bout but boy did he deliver in style with a clinical finish in the second round. The combination of Patience and devastating speed to set up the finish will I am sure have pleased his coach John Kavanagh.

In the 1st round both fighters were feeling each other out with not a huge amount in the way of action however Richie set up the finish with a beautiful straight left which knocked his opponent to the ground and hammer-fisted away until the Referee could jump and save Daniel from further punishment. That means Kiely is now 2-0 in his BAMMA career and he will be definitely looking for a shot at the Welterweight title very soon if not his next fight.

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Meet Judy Fitzgerald – The BAMMA BELLE who packs quite the punch

Have you ever wondered where the UFC , Bellator and BAMMA source the beautiful women who work the ring ? Is it a full-time gig ? At what stage of an event do they get called in ?

These are the things that keep me up at night folks so i thought i’d go investigate and was lucky enough to find Judy Fitzgerald BAMMA 26 Ring girl who I am sure will also fill our screens and the 3 Arena during the July 7 BAMMA 30 event.

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A Short Bio of Judy’s modelling career is called for at this point. Her career was kick started when she won the Miss Bikini Ireland contest in 2014. This brought her to prominence in newspapers, magazines, brand photo calls and modelling work has flowed ever since. She is currently signed with Assets modelling agency.

This would keep a mere mortal busy enough but Judy is also a qualified nurse and still works in this area part-time. To our overseas friends to get into a degree nursing course in Ireland requires a high level of academic achievement due to the demand outstripping the supply. So with this Limerick lady it is a case of brains meeting beauty.

At the moment Judy is commuting between her home in Limerick on the west coast and her modelling work in Dublin on the east coast but she is hoping shortly to move permanently to Dublin.

She tells a fascinating tale of what goes on behind the scene’s at a big event like BAMMA 26 and it certainly involves more than parading around the ring at the interval between rounds

First up she is on call for all events in the lead up to the actual fight itself. In this case that could involve the Fight Announcement, Weigh-ins or pre-fight press conferences.

BAMMA being one of the bigger MMA promotions in the world have huge social media output in the run up to fight’s and the Ring girls would also be involved in promoting the event through their own social media channels when there might be Interviews released or social media content released promoting the event.

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From talking to Judy she loves this type of event work and has recently hosted at Conor Mcgregor Events thrown by BAMMA before his Title fight against Eddie Alvarez in the Red Cow and Green Isle Hotels. She loves the buzz around MMA and is a huge Conor Mcgregor fan herself.

Her work with BAMMA has seen her appear on TV as a BAMMA BELLE (Spike TV, MMA TV and Channel 5 not mention streaming on numerous YouTube channels.

Photography by Thomas Moore and Ricardo Guglieminotti

Biography:

Judy Fitzgerald is an Irish model who became nationally recognised after winning the Miss Bikini Ireland model search. She went on to represent Ireland in the world finals of Miss Swimsuit International, in Cancun, which is renowned for being the world’s largest bikini model search. She competed against contestants from 80 other countries. Judy is a high profile model who has worked with the world’s leading photographers and featured in many national and international publications. She has attended many many high profile events including New York Fashion Week, the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix and Wimbledon to name but a few. Judy is also an actress who has worked on a variety of TV ventures, TV shows and commercials. She has also worked as a judge and host at various beauty pageants and social events. She is part of one of the biggest MMA companies in the world BAMMA, appearing on national television as a BAMMA Belle.

Meet Judy Fitzgerald – The BAMMA BELLE who packs quite the punch

Have you ever wondered where the UFC , Bellator and BAMMA source the beautiful women who work the ring ? Is it a full-time gig ? At what stage of an event do they get called in ?

These are the things that keep me up at night folks so i thought i’d go investigate and was lucky enough to find Judy Fitzgerald BAMMA 26 Ring girl who I am sure will also fill our screens and the 3 Arena during the July 7 BAMMA 30 event.

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A Short Bio of Judy’s modelling career is called for at this point. Her career was kick started when she won the Miss Bikini Ireland contest in 2014. This brought her to prominence in newspapers, magazines, brand photo calls and modelling work has flowed ever since. She is currently signed with Assets modelling agency.

This would keep a mere mortal busy enough but Judy is also a qualified nurse and still works in this area part-time. To our overseas friends to get into a degree nursing course in Ireland requires a high level of academic achievement due to the demand outstripping the supply. So with this Limerick lady it is a case of brains meeting beauty.

At the moment Judy is commuting between her home in Limerick on the west coast and her modelling work in Dublin on the east coast but she is hoping shortly to move permanently to Dublin.

She tells a fascinating tale of what goes on behind the scene’s at a big event like BAMMA 26 and it certainly involves more than parading around the ring at the interval between rounds

First up she is on call for all events in the lead up to the actual fight itself. In this case that could involve the Fight Announcement, Weigh-ins or pre-fight press conferences.

BAMMA being one of the bigger MMA promotions in the world have huge social media output in the run up to fight’s and the Ring girls would also be involved in promoting the event through their own social media channels when there might be Interviews released or social media content released promoting the event.

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From talking to Judy she loves this type of event work and has recently hosted at Conor Mcgregor Events thrown by BAMMA before his Title fight against Eddie Alvarez in the Red Cow and Green Isle Hotels. She loves the buzz around MMA and is a huge Conor Mcgregor fan herself.

Her work with BAMMA has seen her appear on TV as a BAMMA BELLE (Spike TV, MMA TV and Channel 5 not mention streaming on numerous YouTube channels.

Photography by Thomas Moore and Ricardo Guglieminotti

Biography:

Judy Fitzgerald is an Irish model who became nationally recognised after winning the Miss Bikini Ireland model search. She went on to represent Ireland in the world finals of Miss Swimsuit International, in Cancun, which is renowned for being the world’s largest bikini model search. She competed against contestants from 80 other countries. Judy is a high profile model who has worked with the world’s leading photographers and featured in many national and international publications. She has attended many many high profile events including New York Fashion Week, the Cannes Film Festival, the Monaco Grand Prix and Wimbledon to name but a few. Judy is also an actress who has worked on a variety of TV ventures, TV shows and commercials. She has also worked as a judge and host at various beauty pageants and social events. She is part of one of the biggest MMA companies in the world BAMMA, appearing on national television as a BAMMA Belle.

Meet James Gallagher – The Next Big Thing at Bellator 180

” If it was any other 20 year old i would probably hold him back” Coach John Kavanagh

John Kavanagh of SBG Gym and Conor Mcgregor fame isn’t given to hyperbole but with rising Bellator star James Gallagher it’s hard not to be impressed. As the old baseball scouts used to say ‘ He’s a kid you can dream on’.

If your an Irish MMA fan you’ll probably already know that James has been added to the big Bellator 180 card in Madison Square garden on Saturday June 24th 2017.  Bellator are hoping this will be their biggest ever event and the card is stacked. It show’s how highly Scott Coker and the organisation think of him that he’s been added at this early stage.

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Also, seasoned MMA fans will be familiar with Gallagher’s record as a professional – it’s 6-0 with 5 out 6 wins coming inside the distance via submission. When you consider that he is still only 20 years old it is quite phenomenal.

Not being funny but Conor Mcgregor was nowhere near this state of maturity and preparedness as a 20 year old. Not even fucking close. His performance in his last fight in Belfast on the Bellator 173 card was very impressive. Especially given the added pressure of performing in front of his hometown fans in a packed SSE Arena. He basically whooped Medvedovsky inside the 1st half of the first round. Take a look at his fight record record below and note how he turned professional as an 18 year old !!

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While his fight record is impressive we will add a note of caution as we tend to with any beast of a Grappler. What will happen when he meets a standout puncher with good grappling defence?

Well we won’t have to wait much longer to wait find out folks – as i think we’ll get a couple of these questions answered in Madison Square Garden on the 24th of June.

Chinzo Machido comes from a famed MMA family and will be by far the best striker that Gallagher will have come up against. Judging by the reaction on twitter and social media this is a fight that fans are excited about. While the main card here is stacked it is relying on the drawing power of Hall of Famer’s whose best days in all fairness are probably in the rear-view mirror. This fight gives Bellator 180 a great taste of the young talent in the organisation and is a great shop window to what will be hopefully a large and engaged American audience.

Gallagher is a good-looking kid and shares that Conor Mcgregor sense of style and swagger outside the Octagon (although polar opposites inside it) and he will be used heavily in the promotional side of things  and i have already seen plenty of Retweeted photos of himself and Scott Coker since the announcement. It’s a big next step for the 20 year old from Strabane but one i expect him to take comfortably in his stride

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Artem Lobov – A Russian Hammer forged in Ireland

‘ I’m also just glad i don’t have to be sparring with that motherfucker anymore’ – Artem on Owen Roddy

‘ I left Russia when i was 13. I learned to fight in Ireland’ – Artem Lobov

#UFCNashville is fast approaching and for UFC Featherweight Artem Lobov, it his one and only opportunity to steal the limelight and star in his very own main event with Cub Swanson. In the home of the Grand Ole Opry it’s time for Artem to bring the house down or exit stage left through the paupers exit. Unfortunately that can be the brutality of the UFC.

Artem Lobov fights out of the John Kavanagh – Straight Blast Gym – and he is one of the old schoolers of the Kavanagh regime. In fact , Kavanagh in late 2016 , said he has travelled more with Artem than any other fighter under his tutelege.

Inevitably any conversation about Artem involves talking about Conor Mcgregor. Artem has sparred more rounds with Conor than anyone on the planet. As the Russian Hammer put’s it himself

‘ I am training with the best guy on the planet on a daily basis’

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More than that the two are very close. In fact in an interview last year John Kavanagh revealed that so brutal were the sparring sessions between the two that he had to put an end to them, much earlier in Mcgregor Training Camps for fear of injury or leaving his best stuff on the training mat.

One of the side effects of the massive explosion in Mixed Martial Arts in Ireland due to Mcgregor is that Straight Blast Gym has expanded beyond all recognition and has affiliates all around the country. This has led to Kavanagh expanding his team of trainers and to this end Artem is being coached , for this fight, by none other than Owen Roddy who would be one of the real pioneers in Irish MMA.

Artem is delighted with the set up and revealed as much in an interview with MAC Life productions. He considers Roddy that rare beast a former fighter with natural coaching ability and a talent for breaking down complex movements and sequences simply. The other side of it is

‘ I’m also just glad i don’t have to be sparring with that motherfucker anymore’ – Artem on Owen Roddy

Artem’s professional record is a mixed bag as you can see below. However he was guilty of taking fights everywhere and anywhere earlier in his career. He is currently on a 2 fight win streak in the UFC and this is most definitely his shot. He is Ranked 37 versus Cub Swanson’s 5. If he loses – a top 10 fight could be a long time coming around again.

Artem Fight Record

Due to the fact he and Cub are headlining this event it puts near the top of pay scale for the event as a whole – this means he has been able to plan to head out to Nashville a whole two weeks before the event to acclimatize and also he is in a position to bring 2 sparring partners with one of whom is the highly in demand Peter Queally.

Artem has spent a lot of his career in the Peter Queally sparring position – for Conor Mcgregor. On Saturday April 22nd 2017 we’ll find out , as he emerges from the shadows, into the Octagon,   if he can handle ‘The Ring Fire’ as well as his illustrious friend.

 

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The Insider’s case for Mackenzie Dern

 

“We’ve been checking her out. She’s a little bad ass,” – Dana White on Mackenzie Dern

I caught this little snippet Dana gave to reporters while frantically researching interviews and fight footage in the run up to #UFCLondon. I noted and filed it away under the heading ‘Investigate further’ when the dust settles on the #UFC fight week in London.

When Dana White comments publicly like this on an a relative unknown (unknown outside of BJJ circles at least) it got me thinking of Conor McGregor’s  start to UFC life 4 and a bit years ago. Mackenzie has a definite buzz around her as my research of the past couple of days has found out.

Yet the bare facts of her life as a purely MMA fighter are not exactly overwhelming, Mackenzie has a 3-0 record as a professional MMA fighter. Yes Folks that’s 3 …..not 13 or 30….3 professional fights. She has won all three fights one via submission and 2 via decision. Oh yeah AND in two of these three fights she has fought at a catch-weight due to difficulties making the specified weight.

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However here is where a little deep diving helps to understand the hype and why Dana dropped that quote at the beginning of this article. As a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner Mackenzie Dern is a fucking Thoroughbred Racehorse. If she was Royalty…we’re talking the British Royal family not some fucking queen of a tribe of muck savages. Simply put her Dad is Wellington ‘Megaton’ Dias and her Stepmom is Luciana Tavares. Dias is BJJ gold. Simple as that and he has been training her more or less from the age of 3. Rather than fumbling any further trying to explain this just take a look at her biography below and pay particular attention to the lineage.

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On careful examination of her issues with weight cuts in her last two fights it should be noted from above she is comfortable at 125-130 lbs. However in her last fight she was trying to hit 115. Now you can take it as given this girl does not suffer form a work ethic problem or dietary one either probably – however at 5’3″ she probably rightly concludes that as a possible MMA and ultimately UFC fighter she’s going to need to make that 115 cut. Why? – Well simple ….you start going up to the next weight class your coming against taller girls with longer reaches and punching power. At this point i am not exactly sure as to the nature of this aspect of her game as i haven’t seen enough of it – but you can be sure that getting punched in the faced takes getting used of – and if it was me i’d want to be getting my striking game developed in that 115 StrawWeight division while at the same time having the rockstar grappling to fall back on.

Just a quick note on the social media / Media side of things. The girl is really attractive and has an Instagram following that currently stands at 376,000. Based on a quick review of her social media i’d say she is a sponsor’s wet dream. Conor Mcgregor came into the UFC as double world champion and so does Mackenzie Dern and for some reason, as the future unfolds,  i don’t think that comparisons between them will end there

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stats taken from the great BJJ Heroes Website