BAMMA, or British Association of Mixed Martial Arts, has grown to become a leader in British MMA, showcasing talent from around the UK and Ireland, as well as overseas stars, to thousands of fans live at arenas and on national television. Hot on the heels of the UFC’s world domination of the octagon, BAMMA has almost cornered the market domestically, and with the popularity of MMA on the rise, there has never been a more exciting time for the sport.
The latest BAMMA installment, BAMMA 30, takes place on Friday 7th July at the 3 Arena in Dublin. It sees Shay Walsh (1/3) facing Alan ‘The Apprentice’ Philpott (15/8) for the Bantamweight title, which currently lies vacant.
It is the first time BAMMA has returned to Dublin since BAMMA 27, in which Philpott was defeated for the bantamweight crown by France’s Tom Duquesnoy after succumbing to a rear naked choke in the second round. Duquesnoy has since moved onwards and upwards to the UFC, highlighting the kind of opportunities which can present themselves to fighters who are successful under the BAMMA banner.
Walsh, another victim of Duquesnoy, is the bookies’ favourite going into the event, and has fewer blemishes on his BAMMA record than Northern Ireland’s Philpott.
Unsurprisingly, the pair had different views of how the contest would end. A confident Walsh said: “Regaining my BAMMA world title is my number one goal, none of these bantamweights can stop me achieving that. Alan Philpott is standing in my way and he will be dealt with. My momentum and confidence are sky high at the minute, this is the perfect time to remind everyone of the level I’m operating at and be reunited with my belt!”
Philpott countered: “He’s had his time, he’s slowing down, and I’m only getting started. I’m too fast on a bad day, on a good day he doesn’t stand a chance. No one in the division is ready for what’s coming. A new king is rising.”
Elsewhere, promising young gun Ryan ‘Chaos’ Curtis (1/10) will take on Daniel Barez (5/1) for the European flyweight crown. Barez already has form for stopping prospects dead in their tracks, having overcome Jamie Powell.
The two had their own declarations of war ahead of the event, with Curtis warning: “None of them hit like me at this weight. If he thinks he will come to my hometown and beat me in front of my people then he is in for a serious reality check from my fists.”
In response, Barez proclaimed: “Shame Ryan has to face an animal like me at this stage in his career. I will knock Ryan out in his hometown in front of all his fans – FACT.”
Curtis is 4-0 currently, having beaten Shamsul ‘Black Magic’ Haque in his last bout. He has the enviable grounding of training at the famous SBG Charlestown gym with Owen Roddy, and he will be hoping to build on his reputation as a finisher – only one of Curtis’s fights thus far has gone past the first round. And the European Lonsdale belt, which is up for grabs, is sure to be a huge incentive. The title is seen as a desirable stepping stone for prospects from all over the continent, due to the opportunities it can offer, with past holders including the likes of Marc ‘Bonecrusher’ Diakiese, Terry ‘The Dominator’ Brazier, Leon ‘Rocky’ Edwards, Tim Barnett, Jack ‘The Hammer’ Marshman, Terry ‘The Dominator’ Brazier and Stevie ‘Braveheart’ Ray.
In middleweight action, Fabian ‘The Assassin’ Edwards (1/10), known for his punching power, will face Aaron Kennedy (5/1), who could have the best of the support, hailing from north of the border in Northern Ireland. The Edwards family name might be familiar to British MMA fans – he is the younger brother of former Lonsdale Welterweight Champion Leon Edwards, and trains alongside him at the UTC gym. If The Assassin, a Birmingham based fighter, can replicate anything like the flying knee stoppage of Rafal Cerjrowski in his first fight, the fans are in for a treat.
Elsewhere, two fighters renowned for their power – Henry ‘Herculeez’ Fadipe and Ion ‘Bombardierul’ Pascu – collide in the cage, while touted light heavyweight Ben ‘Spider Monkey’ Forsyth will get to grips with a world gold medallist judoka in the form of Matt Clempner.
In welterweight action, Paul Lawrence will take on ‘The Butcher’ McCabe in the latest chapter of a rivalry which stretches back to the men’s amateur backgrounds.
BAMMA 30 Predictions:
Shay Walsh to beat Alan ‘The Apprentice’ Philpott @ 1/3 with BetBright
Ryan ‘Chaos’ Curtis to beat Daniel Barez and Fabian ‘The Assassin’ Edwards to beat Aaron Kennedy @ 2/5 with BetBright
MMA fans in the UK and Ireland won’t have to wait long for the next BAMMA installment after BAMMA 30.
The promotion will move on to London’s Wembley Arena in September for BAMMA 31, with Nathan Jones vs Alex Lohore the headline fight.