Local MMA fighters rock the SSE
Newtownards fighter Andy Young stole the show to become a new BAMMA world champion
It was certainly a case of "Friday night's alright for fighting" last night as local MMA fans flocked to the SSE Arena for a night of fistic action
The joint BAMMA / Bellator event did not disappoint as it proved to be arguably the best card held here in the last decade.
Whilst the partisan crowd cheered on a host of local up and comers it was Newtownards man Andy Young who stole the show with a career defining performance.
Young entered his world flyweight title fight as an underdog, such was the hype surrounding his 20 year old opponent Englishman Dominique Wooding.
Wooding displayed crisp striking and no shortage of confidence as he took the fight to the IMMA Ballymena man early in the opening stanza. Young however, weathered some early flourishes and repeatedly ground down the unbeaten Wooding throughout the fight.
Whilst Wooding is tipped as a future UFC star it was Young who displayed cardio, heart and an evident edge in experience as the fight entered the final frame.
With the clock ticking down Young secured a neat takedown, locking in an unstoppable rear naked choke finish shortly thereafter.
Speaking exclusively to Belfast Telegraph immediately after his world title win he emphasised that the Belfast crowd contributed considerably to his marquee win:
"There was no way anyone was going to come here and beat me in Belfast. I really enjoyed the fight. He is a good young fighter but he was no match for me. It's fantastic to be the true BAMMA world champion."
Young's stablemate, UFC veteran Norman Parke also got the win in the BAMMA main event.
"Stormin' Norman got the judges decision following a three round war of attrition with Dublin's Paul Redmond. It proved to be a bittersweet win for Parke as he missed out on the BAMMA world lightweight title as a result of missing weight by less than one pound.
The bout between Parke and Redmond had long been mooted and the Bushmills battler settled the debate as to who was the better 155lb'er by virtue of a smothering top game. The judo black belt was able to secure takedowns on multiple occasions, whilst simultaneously stifling Redmond's dangerous jujitsu. The promotion will have bigger plans for Parke in the months ahead.
The card had kicked off with the middleweight meeting of Kesh 185lb'er Glen Irvine and Team Ryano's Keith McCabe. McCabe proved too slick on the mat for the IMMA Ballymena product with a quick submission win. Midway through the evening one of the biggest roars of the night greeted Belfast brawler Decky "The Diamond" Dalton as he made his way to the cage.
Dalton brought the fight to his experienced American aopponent Jonathan Brookins throughout their three round slugfest but didn't receive what many in attendance viewed as a deserved decision.
in one of the stand out performances of the night EFR Antrim's Paul Hughes belied his 19 years with a scintillating professional debut. Hughes looked every bit the baby faced assassin as he displayed razor sharp clinch work en route to a ferocious first round stoppage win. The Castledawson lad really is one to watch. His fighting future, like that of Ulster MMA looks very bright indeed.