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BAMMA 24 Prospect to watch



BAMMA returns on February 27th to the 3 Arena in Dublin following a hugely successful show in September of last year and has once again delivered with an exciting card full of brilliant match-ups. The card has the ability to steal some eyes away from a blockbuster UFC event in London on the same evening and the BAMMA matchmakers must be commended for putting together a great show. The card is filled with seasoned pros such as Chris Fields and Damien Rooney as well as providing a platform for some of Europe’s best up and coming fighters.

As was the case with BAMMA 22 in September, there is a vested interest in a number of fighters for the Irish crowd in attendance as some of the countries hottest prospects take to the cage to show off their skills. Fighters such as Sinead Kavanagh, Mark Andrews and Rhys McKee return and are joined on the card by Ireland’s standout performers outside of the UFC.

Ireland’s surging MMA scene has not looked back since Conor McGregor opened the doors for the rest of his countrymen, who have responded by putting on some of the best performances of 2014 and 2015. Neil Seery, Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan and Aisling Daly all had memorable highlights last year that culminated in UFC Fight Night Dublin last October.

McGregor who ripped the featherweight title from Jose Aldo in December recently stated in an interview with his intention to get the new age of Irish talent onto the big show in the coming months. The spotlight has been placed on the next wave of fighters and they have the opportunity to impress on the 27th of February in Dublin.

As this card is stacked with so many of Ireland’s promising fighters, it was difficult to pinpoint who was the prospect to watch on this card. James Gallagher deserves a special mention. He accumulated a large following on the local scene and recently signed a deal to represent KHK MMA in Bahrain has developed huge hype around himself in recent months after winning his pro debut in October and he followed that up with another submission victory in December to cap a wonderful 2015 was hard to ignore. However, after his standout performance on BAMMA 22 the nod goes to Dylan “The Nuke” Tuke another product of John Kavanagh and SBG Ireland.

Dylan who made his pro debut in on the big stage last September stood out immediately as one to watch. As he made his way to the ring it struck everyone in attendance that the bright lights had not fazed him in the slightest as he made his way to the cage dancing and smiling. He described his positive demeanour in the post-fight media scrum:

“I feel like I am in my truest form when I’m coming out to fight.”

What followed was utter destruction as he disposed of fellow debuting Irish pro, Adam Caffrey, with apparent ease in the very first round.

Tuke’s fighting style is reminiscent of his SBG team-mate Conor McGregor. He is tall and creative with his striking and fully understands how to employ his favourable size and stature. In the fight, Dylan switched from orthodox to southpaw effortlessly staying in kickboxing range. It was from here he showed off his wide array of shots that included spinning back kicks and round kicks to the body, question mark kicks to the head and stabbing front kicks to the solar plexus. He showed his ability to fight on the back foot launching his right cross as Caffrey moved in using his footwork to stick and move while maintaining his range. Tuke with his large frame is also ideally suited to lead the dance and stuck a stiff jab followed by his straight right hand repeatedly into Caffrey’s face.

A common theme in MMA that is becoming apparent in recent years is a long rangy fighter who understands the mechanics of distance and range being a difficult puzzle to solve. Just look at the success of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor and Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. With the problems they pose for opponents, one can see the difficulty of fighting a taller, skilled opponent at range. Tuke has shown he has the ability to do this throughout his amateur career and in his only pro fight so far however he is much more than just a range striker he is also a very skilled grappler.

The SBG Ireland man trains with exceptional grapplers such as Paddy Holohan and Aisling Daly on a daily basis and blends his striking prowess  into the clinch and to the floor seamlessly. Against Caffrey “The Nuke” peppered him with shots on the feet before initiating a tie up against the fence. From here he showed his fight intelligence mixing his clinch fighting with a well-timed takedown as he landed a knee and proceeded to drag his opponent to the floor. Decision making is a strong attribute of the Dubliner and he showed this again landing a punch and then attempting to improve position with a cross face. Each time Caffrey readjusted so did Tuke maintaining top position. He threw a knee strike to the body and spun to take the back something he has a knack for doing in fights.

Just as his length is an obvious advantage in the striking department, it also works well for Tuke on the mat. As he took Caffrey’s back he immediately used his long limbs to snap on the body triangle. As soon as this happened the fight never looked like it would make it out of the first round. Dylan peppered his opponent with shots drawing blood and softening him up. Once again his fight IQ was on display as he worked the body and head with elbows and punches to open up the neck, something teammate Gunnar Nelson is famous for. This eventually allowed Tuke to get under the chin and finish the fight with a rear-naked choke.

Despite only having one pro fight under his belt, Tuke’s confidence is infectious as he has boldly declared on a number of occasions that he would only need five or six fights until the UFC came calling. That confidence is a direct result of his relationship with head coach John Kavanagh. After his win in September at the media scrum Dylan alluded to this by saying of Kavanagh:

“I’ve never felt more comfortable with one person in my life.”

Kavanagh instils an unshakeable belief in his fighters and Tuke is no different and that belief will play a huge part in his prospective career.

After such a stellar performance last time out it will certainly be interesting to see what Dylan has worked on in between then and now. He will have added to his game no doubt and will need to bring his whole repertoire to the fore as he faces a stern test from Next Generation Northern Ireland Fighter Mark Andrew who also came away from BAMMA 22  with a big win over an experienced opponent in Trial’s MMA’s Sean Tobin. Andrews showed in that fight that he is dangerous on the feet and can deal with an opponent trying to grind him out with wrestling as Tobin attempted to do. He submitted Tobin in the third with a guillotine choke after two closely contested rounds.

This fight was due to take place at Akuma Fighting Championships while both were amateur fighters contesting as bantamweights. Unfortunately, this never materialised as both turned pro late last year and both have since made the move to the featherweight division. It is up to Andrew’s to figure out the unusual rhythm and timing of the enigma that is Dylan Tuke. It should be a cracking encounter and has the potential to be one of the most exciting fights on the undercard.

Tuke’s natural ability combined with a brash and confident persona allows him to stand out from the crowd. His continued work with his SBG teammates and coaching staff indicate that the potential for his growth is exponential. It would not be at all surprising to see him make a statement this Saturday and use it as a springboard for 2016. We should expect to see “The Nuke” in some big fights for BAMMA and beyond this year.

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Rany Saadeh pleased with the opportunities ACB brings, promises a finish in his debut on Saturday



The BAMMA Flyweight belt was ruled for years by none other than Rany Saadeh, During his reign as champion he successfully defended the belt on two occasions. His dominance over the division saw him go undefeated in BAMMA and without a loss since 2012. Following the expiration of his contract, Rany vacated his BAMMA belt to explore new challenges.

He has now signed with ACB and is set to make his debut in only a matter of days at ACB 74 in Austria where he will take on Darren Mima. In a recent catch up with Rany, he explained his reasoning behind joining ACB and his goals in the promotion.

“ACB is the fastest growing organization in MMA. They’ve promised me an active career with events all over the world and a tempting bonus structure. It was just what I was looking for. I’ve looked into the competition and I can honestly say that the competition at flyweight is just as good, if not even better than in the UFC. Being the ACB title holder would make me a legit world champion.”

Ahead of his bout with Mima, we are set to see some new stuff from Saadeh as he claims to have changed up his style after a solid camp for this fight, guaranteeing us a surprise.

“I didn’t need to change anything for him but my style changed in general since my last fight. I’ve had an excellent camp with high-level training partners and coaches. I’m very grateful for my coaches who have put hours of private work into me this year. Especially with my new boxing coach Luciano Robledo, I can guarantee a surprise.”

The confidence is evident as he tells me how he sees the fight going. Promising his well-rounded arsenal of both strikes and grappling are worthy of bonuses, something he’d be very keen on considering the set-up in ACB.

“I will not just completely dominate but also finish.” He began, “I can imagine this fight being a wild brawl and dropping my opponent. Also on the ground, I have some slick submissions that are bonus-worthy.”

Having been successful in BAMMA, Rany is striving for more glory as plans on taking home the ACB title becoming the first Western European to do so.

“Of course!” he says with determination in his voice, “I’m coming into ACB as a world champion and the #1 ranked flyweight in Western Europe. After winning this fight, the title fight is right there”

It’s now been over a year since we’ve seen, “Prince” enter the cage. A decision voluntarily made by the German as he adjusted his game.

“It was mid last year when I had started to adjust my game. These changes take time and as the wished competition wasn’t there, I decided to take some time off fighting to prepare for a bigger challenge.”

Now having departed ways with BAMMA, the British promotion now has a new champion in Daniel Barez. Unfortunately for Rany, his reasons for leaving was the lack of competition has beaten everyone put in front of him with money being an issue that stepped in the way too. Despite any negativity derived from his departure, he does not rule out a return to the promotion where he was once Flyweight king.

“The competition in Europe just got very thin. With five fights in BAMMA, I somehow wasn’t very impressed with the opportunities left. Neither I got the fights, nor the purse that I needed to take my career further. After two title defenses, it felt like I was standing still which isn’t just BAMMA’s fault. Altogether, they are a great promotion and I wouldn’t exclude a return.”

When the UFC announced they would have the best flyweights from around the world enter the TUF house with a shot at the belt going to the winner. Many would have thought Rany Saadeh would have been up there. The season had champions from all over the world but no one from BAMMA, something strange considering the number of champions they signed in the past year from the promotion.

In an unfortunate circumstance for Saadeh, it was not his fault he wasn’t in the house as the UFC did come knocking but BAMMA just weren’t letting their champ go. Despite this situation, there is no bad blood anymore as Saadeh has moved on with things now.

“The UFC was definitely interested in putting me on the show and it is not true that BAMMA wasn’t asked. They were asked but didn’t want to be part of it. Without their permission, I wasn’t able to take part in the TUF. But I’m not mad at that anymore, I feel like it will make better opportunities possible.”

Having missed out on a possible UFC opportunity before, it isn’t on his mind anymore as he remains pleased with his life and is mainly looking to support his family in the future.

“I really don’t care, I’m set for the next few fights. All I want now is a decent living from fighting and provide for my family in the near future. ACB is not just giving me the chance to reach that goal but also giving me the challenges that I need. So far, I’m a very happy person”

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Today’s MMA news round-up



Today has been a pretty busy day when it comes to MMA news. We’ve had it all today from new champions to commissioners being slapped to fighters being flagged by USADA. It’s been hectic to say the least so here are the highlights of today’s news.

1. Conor McGregor causes havoc at Bellator 187

Yes, that’s correct, Conor McGregor at Bellator. Following the win of his teammate and friend Charlie Ward at Bellator 187 the UFC Lightweight Champion entered the cage to celebrate with Ward, however, their celebrations did not go to plan. Referee Marc Goddard wasn’t pleased with this in the slightest and tried get McGregor out. This didn’t go down too well as McGregor confronted the referee who initially pushed him. See the video here:

This unfortunately was not the only incident as Conor appeared to slap an official who tried to get him off the top of the cage.
Credit to @BryanLaceyMMA for this one

2. Bellator to hold 8 Man Grand Prix for Vacant Heavyweight Championship

Earlier today it was confirmed by MMA Fighting that Bellator would crown a new Heavyweight champions following a report from MMA Junkie. There is no official dates yet, however, they do hope to start on January 20th and crown a new champion by the end of the year. There are some big names bidding to become the new champion, they are:

Fedor Emleianenko
Frank Mir
Matt Mitrione
Roy Nelson
Ryan Bader
Rampage Jackson
King Mo Lawal
Chael Sonnen

3. Anderson Silva flagged by USADA for potential doping violation, out of UFC Shanghai Main Event

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva failed a USADA doping test and was pulled from the UFC Shanghai Main Event. The sample was collected from an out of competition test on October 26th. This is now his second time failing a doping test. Last time he was hit with a one year suspension and a heavy fine. No more information on the matter has been made available yet in relation to suspension.

4. UFC newcomer Grant Dawson also flagged by USADA for potential doping violation

USADA had a field day today in terms of fighters testing positive for doping. Grant Dawson, who has yet to even get a date for his debut was flagged for a sample collected on October 18th. The 23 year old was signed after impressing on Dana White’s contender series where he scored a second round submission on Adrian Diaz.

5. Martin Nguyen becomes ONE Championship’s first ever two division champion

Featherweight Champion Martin Nguyen stepped up to Lightweight to clash with title holder Eduard Folayang in effort of making history. Many ruled Nguyen out but he silenced all critics when viciously knocked out Folayang to take home another title. See the knockout here:
Credit to @Jolassanda for the video.

 6. All but one fighter make-weight for UFC Norfolk

Things were running smoothly today at the UFC Norfolk weigh ins until Matthew Lopez stepped up to the scales for his bout with Rafael Assuncao. He weighed in 2.5lbs over for his bout. The fight will go ahead, however, Lopez will lose 20% of his purse. Both Pettis and Poirier successfully made weight for their Main Event fight tomorrow night.

7. One new BAMMA champion while Lahore defends his belt in style

Despite some streaming troubles for the first two fights, BAMMA finally got one up in time for fans to see the final 3 fights. In the World Flyweight Title fight, Andy “Taz” Young fell lost his belt to Spaniard Daniel Barez via Majority Decision, After being docked a point in the opening round Barez came back strong to take home the World Title.

In the Main Event of the evening then, the anticipated match up between Alex Lahore and Richard Kiely went down. There was a lot of hype surrounding this one in the build up to the fight but it went as planned for Lahore. The champion pressured for a takedown in the first until finally succeeding, following some work on the mat it looked as if Kiely was about to gain some advantage on top. Only for Lahore to lock in a Kneebar and finish off the fight retaining his belt.

8. Cage Warriors 89 gets a shake up

The Cage Warriors Belgium card had an incredible addition today as they announced via newsletter that Karl Amoussou will defend his belt against Dominique Steele in the Main Event. The fight for the Vacant Heavyweight Championship was then demoted to co-main with a change in opponents for Mauro Cerilli. Dutchman Nills van Noord stepped up to face the Italian after Light Heavyweight Champion Karl Moore was forced off the card due to injury. This dampened his hopes of becoming the first Cage Warriors two division champion since Conor McGregor.

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BAMMA 32: Official Results and Live Stream



BAMMA and Bellator returned to the Irish capital of Dublin to host BAMMA 32: Lohore vs Kiely, and Bellator 187: McKee vs Moore.

The BAMMA card will be shown live on UNILAD’s Facebook page, MMA Latest will share the live stream when the link is available. Unfortunately for UK fans, the Bellator 187 card, which takes place prior to BAMMA 32, is not being televised.

BAMMA 32 Official Results:


  • Alex Lohore (13-1) vs. Richard Kiely (2-0) – For BAMMA Welterweight Title
    • Result: Alex Lahore def. Richard Kiely via 1st-round Submission(Kneebar)
  • Andy Young (11-8) vs. Daniel Barez (8-4) – For BAMMA Flyweight Title
    • Result: Daniel Barez def. Andy Young via Majority Decision
  • David Khalsa (2-0) vs. Dylan Tuke (3-1) –  Featherweight Bout
    • Result: Dylan Tuke def. David Khalsa via second-round TKO (1:09)  
  • Blaine O’Driscoll (5-1) vs. Dominique Wooding (3-1) – Bantamweight Bout
    • Result: Dominic Wooding def. Blaine O’Driscoll via Third-round KO(1:47)
  • Ion Pascu (16-7) vs. Omar Santana (13-4) – Welterweight Bout
    • Result: Ion Pascu def. Omar Santana via Unanimous Decision

Bellator 187 Official Results:


  • A.J. McKee (9-0) vs. Brian Moore (10-5) – Featherweight Bout
    • Result: A.J. McKee def. Brian Moore via submission (rear-naked choke) Round 3 – 4:14
  • Sinead Kavanagh (4-2) vs. Maria Casanova (2-4-1) – Catchweight Bout (140lbs)
    • Result: Sinead Kavanagh def. Maria Casanova via TKO (strikes) Round One
  • Kevin Ferguson Jr. (1-1) vs. Fred Freeman (1-0) – Catchweight Bout (165lbs)
    • Result: Kevin Ferguson Jr. def. Fred Freeman via SUB  (rear-naked choke) Round One – 1:57
  • Charlie Ward (3-3) vs. John Redmond (7-12) – Middleweight Bout
    • Result: Charlie Ward def. John Redmond via KO Round One – 4:59


  • Sergio de Jesus Santos (4-6) vs. Paul Redmond (13-7) – Lightweight Bout
    • Result: Paul Redmond def. Sergio de Jesus Santos via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
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