Backstage at BAMMA 26

We attended BAMMA's latest show in Dublin, Ireland to witness some of the best rising talents in Europe.

by Peter Carroll
Sep 13 2016, 6:34pm

The majority of the people on press row thought that Andy 'Taz' Young did enough to topple top rated European flyweight Rany Saadeh after their three round main event in Dublin at the weekend.

Saadeh had claimed he was "the best flyweight Ireland has ever seen" at Thursday's press conference and despite Neil Seery claiming that the German was "very good," laughter rang around the 3 Arena when the 23-year-old insisted he was ready for a meeting with Demetrious Johnson following the win.

Following his lopsided win over Aaron Blackwell in the co-main event, a meeting for the Lonsdale bantamweight title, Alan Philpott had his mind on taking his belt home after his victory. As matchmaker Jude Samuel made his way though the hall with the strap after the fight, Philpott exited the medical room and took the belt from under his arm in one fluid movement.

"I got it," he said raising the title that he had defended twice, but had yet to take home.

Paul Redmond hadn't fought for 14 months after his exodus from UFC before the event at the 3 Arena. The noise that greeted him as he took to the platform to make his entrance confirmed him as one of the most anticipated fights on the card, despite him denying that he was one of the draws before the event.

So many fighters see their careers unravel after the UFC, but Redmond's dogged display underlined the work he had put in and the passion that he clearly has for the sport.

'Redser' had a rare, emotional, moment leaving the stage after his unanimous decision win. It only lasted seconds, but it showed how much the win meant for the Team Ryano man.

"I heard there is man in here that's looking to spoil a lot accumulators (parlays) in here," I said as I entered Joe McColgan's changing room before his meeting with Peter Queally.

It had been made clear to all that Queally would earn himself a spot on the UFC's roster if he took a win over the 1-0 professional.

At the event's press conference on Thursday, Kavanagh and Queally convinced media members that McColgan was far more experienced than his record would suggest, and his slick performance to win a unanimous decision proved that on Saturday night.

Only a wall separated the two after the fight. McColgan petitioned for taking Queally's spot in the UFC ranks in the media room, as 'The Showstopper' reflected on the pivotal bout in the SBG warm-up room next door.

Officials used Paddy Holohan's head as a guide when showing Sinead Kavanagh where she could connect against her opponent Kataryzna Sadura before their bantamweight clash. A sign of things to come, Kavanagh was in and out of the cage in one round after taking her third professional win, this time via TKO.

Like McColgan, Kavanagh also called for a fight at UFC Belfast in November, but her inability to make weight for her bout on Saturday night might work against her.

Rhys McKee, Ryan Curtis, Blaine O'Driscoll and Richie Smullen marked themselves out as three of the most promising young professionals on the island on the night. Although many debated the stoppage backstage, McKee buckled top rated striker Tommy McCafferty in the first exchange before finishing him with grounded strikes.

Ryan Curtis elicited emotion from his hometown crowd in a similar way to Conor McGregor before he soared to the UFC ranks.

"T-K-T-K-O," they chanted, exploding on every connection that the inner city Dubliner made.

Curtis didn't look uncomfortable for a second of the contest. In his corner, Owen Roddy beamed from ear to ear in between commands. Given the impact Curtis had on the crowd, he will be the first name on promoters' minds if they are looking to book an event in Dublin in the future.

O'Driscoll's mature showing against fellow top rated prospect Mark Andrew impressed the masses. The SBG man dictated the pace of the fight and coped well with Andrew's unorthodox attacks.

Richie Smullen reminded everyone of how slick he is on the ground with a first round submission of Andrew Murphy. The writing was on the wall as soon as the SBG man took hold of Murphy's limb, and the tap came quickly after Smullen applied a heel hook.

Kickboxing standout Aidan Brooks reminded a lot of people why you simply can't walk into an MMA bout and be successful. Keith McCabe took hold of him, put him on the ground and applied an armbar to gain a quick tap. McCabe showed no signs of being in action after the contest, with Brooks unable to land any significant attacks on him.

Asked what happened in the fight between the kickboxer and McCabe, John Kavanagh gave his verdict.

"Reality," he said in the SBG warm up room.

Irish cult hero John Redmond banked his second knockout win on the bounce against debuting pro Glenn Irvine. After engaging in an epic war of words in the lead up to the contest, the duo let it all hang out in the second round to the delight of the fans in attendance.

"Let's see who's a journeyman now," Redmond remarked as he walked by some media members after the fight.

"I'll be going to China in two weeks and that's gonna be another knockout," he promised.

Despite suffering a pretty gnarly broken nose at the end of Gary Morris's ground and pound, Darren O'Gorman took a submission win in the third round of his meeting with the Irish veteran.

Ben Forsyth took his second win in as many pro outings against Pelu Adetola. His African opponent gave him plenty to think about over the three rounds, but 'Big Ben' didn't let it get to him and saw out the win.

Dave 'Yogurty' Fogarty had a good crowd in the arena for the curtain raiser. Barry Hanna proved to be a game opponent and rattled the jiu jitsu ace with a flurry at the end of the first round. Fogarty rallied in the striking exchanges in the final rounds and took the win before he changed, got his camera and began another shift for