BAMMA 24 at the 3 Arena in Dublin beckons and this weekend, 36 fighters will look to put on a show for the raucous Irish crowd in attendance. There are plenty of interesting matchups for fans to get excited for none more so than the evenings co-main event that sees rising French star Tom “Firekid” Duquesnoy takes on Damien “The Rage” Rooney. The bout sees former featherweight champ Duquesnoy finally making the cut ten pounds south to the 135-pound division while Rooney, who competed in the flyweight division in Cage Warriors in his most recent bout, makes the return to bantamweight in what is being billed as a super fight at 135.
Irish fans will be familiar with Duquesnoy although they did not witness his best performance by any stretch of the imagination. The Frenchman headlined BAMMA 22 in Dublin in September and narrowly edged Brendan Loughnane to retain his featherweight strap. It was certainly a questionable decision as Loughnane managed to frustrate Duquesnoy throughout the affair using his height and reach advantage. Clearly undersized for the featherweight division his lacklustre performance last time out may have prompted him to make the drop to 135. Here he will meet one of Ireland’s most experienced competitors in Rooney.
A mainstay in the pro ranks at both bantamweight and flyweight Rooney has a wealth of experience to draw on coming into the contest. Having previously shared the cage with both the UFC’s Paddy “The Hooligan” Holohan and Neil “2 Tap” Seery Rooney has faced very stiff competition from the beginning of his pro career. Although he came out on the losing side in both of these contests he will use the experience of competing against such talented opposition to his advantage. Duquesnoy has been widely touted as the next prospect from Europe to make the switch to the UFC. There is no doubt that Damien would love to steal the hype surrounding the talented 22-year-old and use it to build momentum for 2016.
Duquesnoy made his BAMMA debut in 2013 and it did not take him long to capture the 145-pound title. With a strong record of 11 wins with only 1 loss (via submission to a young Makwan Amirkhani) the Frenchman is extremely well rounded and fights at a ferocious pace. Predominantly employing a strong Muay Thai base expect to see the younger fighter look to move in and out finishing punching combinations with chopping low kicks to the thigh. His striking base is complemented by a combat Sambo background and he is a sound grappler in the clinch. He will look to throw sneaky elbows and knees from this position while trapping his opponents against the fence. Add to that his fantastic ability to scramble you can see why it is difficult to put Duquesnoy in any sort of disadvantageous position.
Tom possesses a killer instinct and has only been taken to a decision on three occasions. That finishing touch has manifested itself in both submission victories and brutal stoppages as was the case when he took out Krysztof Klackzek. Having hurt his opponent with a beautiful counter knee to the sternum, Duquesnoy smelling blood launched a brutal left round kick to his opponent’s midsection that ended the fight. Having spent time training at Jackson-Wink MMA most recently with renowned striking coach Brandon “Six Gun” Gibson he will have no doubt added depth to his already excellent shot selection.
Duquesnoy has also proven to be lightning fast in transition and showcased this with a triangle choke finish of Teddy Violet that won him the vacant BAMMA featherweight title. As Violet landed a takedown Duquesnoy defended expertly and managed to reverse the position. Finding himself in mount he immediately worked for the mounted triangle before rolling to his back and locking in the choke. Rooney will need to be extremely cautious in all areas as Duquesnoy has the ability to end the fight at a moments notice.
For Rooney, there is a clear game plan to learn from going into the fight. He only has to look back to September to find chinks in the Frenchman’s armour. Being the taller fighter Rooney should employ a strategy similar to the one used by Loughnane to take Duquesnoy out of his comfort zone.
“The Rage” will need to establish his jab early and land it often. Duquesnoy favours counter punching with a check left hook being his preferred weapon. Damien will need to work his right cross or overhand and immediately evade any strikes that come in retaliation. Kicks to the body and legs should all be available to Rooney. As he is the larger fighter these kicks will keep Tom at the end of his range while simultaneously reducing his ability to stick and move. Loughnane used the spinning back kick to great effect against Duquesnoy and this as well as the teep could prevent Tom from settling into any sort of rhythm.
As well rounded as Rooney is it is on the mat where he is most comfortable and usually where he makes opponents pay. Damien actively hunts submissions and six of his wins have come by tap out. A variety of armbars, triangles and a solitary guillotine choke throughout his career make him a fearsome prospect once the fight hits the floor. He showed patience and excellent technique in his most recent victory against Bryan Creighton at Cage Warriors 65. As Creighton secured a takedown Rooney immediately went on the offensive tying up his opponents left hand with an overhook. From here he began to work a high guard and eventually latched onto a triangle which he used to finish Creighton in the third round. Although Duquesnoy has plenty of submission victories of his own Rooney will definitely look to test him in this department. Damien should vary up his attacks between striking and well-timed takedown attempts. If he can do this he may wear on the younger man opening up a finish on the mat.
Coming into BAMMA this weekend Rooney will have a chip on his shoulder as there has been plenty of discussion surrounding Duquesnoy possibly making the transition to the UFC in the near future. A perceived lack of respect on Tom’s part may have lit a fire under the man from Newry who would love to get a huge win on home soil. Rooney has not fought in over a year due to circumstances outside of his own control. Taking on a motivated “Firekid” who is looking toward a future in the UFC is a tough ask for anyone who has had such a long layoff. However Rooney, buoyed on by a boisterous support has the tools to derail the hype train and set a high standard for a big year ahead.
The co-main event of BAMMA 24 has the ingredients to set the 3 Arena ablaze this weekend. Expect a fast paced affair with both competitors looking to make a statement on Saturday evening by finishing the fight.
Exclusive: Alex Lohore “Didn’t Know” Who Richard Kiely Was Before BAMMA 32 Booking
We spoke to the recently crowned BAMMA welterweight champion Alex Lohore, as he prepares to defend his title against Richard Kiely at BAMMA 32 in Dublin.
Lohore (13-1) won the vacant BAMMA welterweight title last month at BAMMA 31 in London. Fighting his longtime rival Nathan Jones on the night, Lohore knocked out “Mr Bag & Tag” with a knee in the first round.
Q: Obviously the rivalry between you and Jones had been going on for years, but you finished it in brutal fashion. Did you to speak to him after the fight?
Yeah I did have a chat with him. I was telling him that it was a great fight and we should train together sometime, but he was he wasn’t really keen on it. I guess he was still a bit sore about the defeat.
Q: In the cage after your win, you called out Richard Kiely, now you’re fighting him. Are you happy you got the opponent you asked for?
Everyone keeps saying I called him out, I didn’t call him out, he called me out! I didn’t even address his name, I said ‘this Irish kid has been running his mouth we’re going to go out there and shut him up.’ I didn’t even know who he was. He’s been mentioning my name and talking a lot of rubbish on my social media disturbing me and my fans.
Q: The finish against Jones was picture perfect. From the elbow, to the right hand, to the knee, was it the best of your career?
Yeah I think it is, by far! It was perfect technique. I knew as he was going he back he would try to duck in for the takedown. Because I was throwing the head kick anyway all I needed to do was just switch it to a knee. I couldn’t ask for any better.
— BAMMA (@BAMMA) September 15, 2017
Q: Given it’s in Dublin and Richard is Irish, How do you feel about going into enemy territory at BAMMA 32?
That’s great, that’s why I’m doing it! I need to be comfortable in every environment, so going out there will test. I wanted to be on the Dublin card, now I can teach him a little lesson too, I can’t wait.
Q: As you know the Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers has brought a lot of attention to BAMMA recently, what are your thoughts on him?
He’s good man. For someone who doesn’t come from a fighting background and does reality TV stuff, he’s doing good. How can people say he should fight someone more experienced, because he is taking guys that are on his level and he’s doing good.
He’s helping MMA fighters because he has got a big following so more people are going to be watching MMA and learning about MMA so it’s a good thing having him on board.
Opponent announced in the next few weeks
The team has asked Bamma for an opponent with pro wins
— Aaron Chalmers (@AaronCGShore) October 6, 2017
BAMMA32 will take place at the 3Arena in Dublin on November 10th. Tickets are now on sale at ticketmaster.ie. The card will air live on both UNILAD’s Facebook page, and Dave.
BAMMA 31: Alex Lohore Knocks Out Nathan Jones with a Knee
In the main event of BAMMA 31, Alex Lohore knocked out Nathan Jones with a vicious knee to become the new BAMMA welterweight champion.
Jones (11-6) returned to BAMMA after fighting at Bellator 179 in May, where he submitted Umer Kayani in the first round. It was his first title fight under the promotion, as he stepped into the BAMMA cage for the sixth time in his professional career.
The self-proclaimed “future of French MMA” Lohore (13-1) was riding a 9-fight winning streak as he made his BAMMA debut on the night. Like Jones, “Da Kid” last fought at Bellator 179 stopping Dan Vinni, who was scheduled to face Walter Gahadza tonight, but the fight was cancelled.
Lohore backed up Jones to the fence and landed some good knees to the midsection. It was evident pre-fight animosity was carried into the cage as both men swung with bad intentions in the first. Jones secured a takedown and looked to wrap up a guillotine choke but Lohore defended well.
After Jones and Lohore broke from a clinching position, Lohore landed a beautiful step-in knee and sent Jones crashing to the canvas unconscious.
— MMA Latest (@MMALatestNws) September 15, 2017
Official Result: Alex Lohore def. Nathan Jones via KO (Knee) Round One 4:13
BAMMA 31: Aaron Chalmers Wins by Knockout in 30 Seconds
In the second fight of his career, Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers knocked out Alex Thompson in just 30-seconds at BAMMA 31.
Chalmers (2-0) made his pro debut back in April at BAMMA 29, when he submitted Greg Jenkins in the first round. “The Joker” had spent his training camp at UTC in Birmingham for this fight, alongside the likes of Yannick Bahati and UFC welterweight Leon Edwards.
Thompson (0-1) had previously fought at BAMMA before facing Chalmers, but on the amateur circuit. Making his pro MMA debut on the night, “The Iron Born” was riding a 4-fight losing streak coming into BAMMA 31, and had taken almost a full year away from the cage.
As the round opened up, Chalmers and Thompson began to exchange on the feet. A left uppercut from “The Joker” had already knocked Thompson out on the feet, and as he was falling to the canvas Chalmers landed a right hand to finish the job.
— MMA Latest (@MMALatestNws) September 15, 2017
Official Result: Aaron Chalmers def. Alex Thompson via KO (Uppercut) Round One: 0:30
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