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Belfast kids fight it out with UFC stars

By Finn Purdy

Published 19/11/2016

Getting to grips: UFC fighters with kids from Belfast’s Redhog Wrestling Club
Getting to grips: UFC fighters with kids from Belfast’s Redhog Wrestling Club

Top UFC fighters took time out from tonight's Belfast SSE Arena bill to get to grips with young wrestlers in a Mixed Martial Arts masterclass.

Guided by USA's Paul Felder, Canada's Elias Theodorou, England's Brad Pickett and UFC commentator Dan Hardy, the youngsters from Redhog Wrestling Club, on Belfast's York Road, were given a taster of boxing, judo and jiu-jitsu as well as tips on developing their already established wrestling skills.

Organised by UFC in partnership with the Northern Ireland Wrestling Association, it was one of a number of promotional events to mark UFC's return to Belfast with tonight's headline fight, Gegard Mousasi v Uriah Hall, supported by an array of European fighters including Scotland's Stevie Ray, England's Ross Pearson and Welsh fighters Jack Marshman and Brett Johns.

John O'Rawle, head coach at the Redhog club, said: "To have the UFC fighters here was incredible and I just hope that it inspires our young members and gives them the determination to compete at the highest level and become future stars in their sport."

UFC's Brad Pickett added: "It's great to be here in Belfast and to be able to meet young people from all over the country who have an interest in martial arts."

The youngsters were given an opportunity to watch demonstrations by the UFC stars, and then perform techniques and sequences themselves, receiving guidance from the fighters as they worked.

At the end of the session, the young wrestlers put their questions to the fighters, followed by autographs and photo opportunities.

James Elliott, Vice President and General Manager of UFC in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: "Not only are events like this great fun, but they are also a great opportunity for our athletes to demonstrate the hard work and dedication that's required to train and compete at the highest level."

Meanwhile, two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor says he is serious about sealing a fight with boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

"He wants it under boxing rules. He wants a boxing match. He doesn't want a fight," McGregor said. "Tell Floyd and Showtime, I'm coming. Tell him to go to the Showtime offices. I want $100million cash to fight you under boxing rules cause he's afraid of a real fight."

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