This past weekend I attended my first show of 2014. It took place in Belfast, Ireland and I will admit that I was going in with the lowest of expectations.
Firstly, this was the promotions second show and after holding the first one in a small local hall they decided to go big, the ‘Odyssey Arena’ . The Odyssey was the UFC’s choice when they visited Northern Ireland years ago. Secondly, the main event got switched from an MMA bout to a K1 fight just days before the event, a sign of things to come perhaps?
I have been attending shows around Ireland for over two years now and I have never been to one that had such a large attendance and a great atmosphere. The experience a show like that provided for amateur fighters that kicked off the card, to walk out and fight in a venue and infront of such a large crowd must be an invaluable experience and can only add to their growth in being mixed martial artists.
The fights were very well matched and were exciting from a fan standpoint. UFC referee Neil Hall and his crew were the officials on the night, it is always nice to have that piece of mind having such good ref’s at a show. The sound and lighting were top quality.
Very hard to fault the show on anything, apart from the main event. I still maintain that a new opponent could have been found or even the fight scrapped after it was proposed to change it to a K1 bout. That move hurt the promotion’s credibility but they got that back after putting on such a great show.
The pressure will be on the promotion’s staff to replicate that success, which is no easy task. As time has shown us, promotions that put on such large events run a massive risk of failure.
K1- Rodney Moore def. Alex Reid via unanimous decision.
James Thompson def. Colin Robinson via arm triangle in round 2.
Conor Cooke def. Liam Shannon via TKO in round 1.
Alan Philpott def. Steven McCombe via triangle choke in round 3.
Paul Craig def Antonio Braga via triangle choke in round 1.
Mark Palmer def. Chris McDonald via armbar in round 1.
James McErlean def. Andy Young via unanimous decision.
Luke O’Neill def Patrick Blight via armbar in round 1.
Fearghal Brown def. Paul Kelly via triangle choke in round 1.
Paul Hughes def Gavin O’Neill via mounted triangle in round 1.
Ryan Porter def Ross McCorristan via split decision.
Daragh Kennedy def. Michael Rainer via armbar in round 2.
Cianan Toland def. Owen Kinney via rear-naked choke in round 1.
Rowan Prendiville def. Conor White via split decision