THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It took a while, and there were apparently a few hiccups along the way, but the British Association of Mixed Martial Arts returned for their second show, broadcast on Bravo this past Sunday, with Christian O’Connell, Bret Freeman and Graham Little handling commentary duties.
The broadcast began with lightweight action as A.J. Wenn faced Ali McClean. An interesting fight to begin the show with, with the majority of the action on the ground. McClean showed some good ground work here, although he came up short with his submission attempts. Wenn did okay, but with the fight going the distance the judges rendered a decision, and they couldn’t separate them, scoring it as a draw. A slightly surprising decision. I thought McClean just edged it with his better work rate.
It was up to the middleweight division for the next fight as Mike Ling took on Russell Smith. This fight grabbed my attention straight away, mainly because I’ve never seen a six-foot-seven middleweight before! Ling had a massive eight inch height advantage, but that didn’t stop Smith from coming forward from the outset, rocking Ling with a series of blows. From there we got an outstanding back and forth battle with Ling synching in a rear naked choke for the submission win just as the first round was coming to an end. Ling is definitely a fighter I’ll be looking out for in the future, and given his size it won’t be hard to miss him!
More lightweight action followed, with Peter Duncan and Xandinho. A very technical battle saw the Brazilian start strongly, with the purple haired Irishman always mounting a comeback after Xandinho’s submission attempts. By the time the third round started Xandinho looked shattered, and Duncan controlled the majority of the round. It was enough to earn him the decision. A very enjoyable fight here.
Then it was on to the first title fight of the evening as Rob Sinclair faced Nathan Beer for the vacant Lightweight title. Scheduled for five rounds, this didn’t make it past the first as both men put on a good striking display until Sinclair caught Beer with a right that sent him staggering back towards the cage. A big left dropped Beer, and it wasn’t long before the referee stopped the fight, giving the impressive Sinclair the title winning knockout.
It was up to the welterweight division for the next fight, as Sam Elsdon went up against Gunnar Nelson. The Icelander came into this one with a big reputation, and he lived up to that reputation with some excellent ground work, scoring with a big take down before transitioning to Elsdon’s back, where he could apply a rear naked choke for the submission win. I have to admit that I’d never heard of Nelson before this fight, but this kid has a bright future ahead of him.
The main event saw Alan Omer take on Paul Reed for the vacant Featherweight title. This was a fight definitely worthy of it’s place on the card. The first three rounds saw Reed put on a tremendous performance on the ground as he dominated the German. Omer was only able to connect with a few shots. Then, as the fight entered the fourth round things changed dramatically as Omer went to work on the ground, and it wasn’t long before he synched in a triangle choke for the submission win in what was definitely the fight of the night.
In conclusion – well, we had to wait nearly ten months, but BAMMA certainly delivered with their second show. The quality of the fights was good, with performances ranging from good to outstanding. Production-wise it had a different feel to their counterparts over at Ultimate Challenge. While Dave O’Donnell is often seen getting very excited during his shows, BAMMA could really be described as having a decidedly understated British feel about it, and that’s a good thing, because the MMA scene here in Britain would look dull if everyone tried to copy each other. Let’s hope that they don’t go too over the top for their next show in May, which sees Tom “Kong” Watson taking on the over-publicised Mr. Katie Price himself, Alex Reid. My money’s on Watson for that one.