Euro Fight Night: Event Review


Saturday evening’s Euro Fight Night in the Red Cow Pavilion not only provided John Kavanagh with a successful resumption to his career as a promoter, but also further emphasised the importance of indigenous MMA events as vehicle to kick start young fighter’s careers.

There were a total of ten fights, consisting of three professional and seven amateur bouts, and aside from a lack luster main event, everyone in attendance and those watching on live television in Iceland were treated to a top quality and memorable card.

From the moment doors opened to punters at 6 30pm, the entire night went off without a hitch, which is testament to the professional manner with which it was ran. But, as we all know, for any night of fights to go well, the fans and the fighters have to play their part, and both parties came up trumps.

Although it conjured the most excitement in terms of crowd participation, the main event between SBG’s Johnny Dargan and Parisian Anthony Burger failed to cap off what had been, up to that point, a thoroughly engaging spectacle. The heavyweight match up between the two pro debutants was a drawn out contest that despite Dargan’s vocal female contingent roaring him on, never really got going. Burger would take a majority decision; most likely earned by Dargan being deducted a point in the first round for holding onto the cage. Most of the fight consisted of a series of posturing, stance-changes and accidental low blows.

The co-main event between middleweights Diego Bjorn Valencia of Iceland and Lithuania’s Julius Ziurauskis could not have been more different and, was arguably the fight of the night. Valencia picked up a second round submission victory via armbar after Ziurauskis had completed dominated in the opening five minutes. Ziurauskis will be kicking himself after twice flooring Valencia in the first round with flurries of punches, but in each case he stopped his barrage before the referee stepped in, assuming he done enough to win the fight. Valencia somehow recovered between rounds and when Ziurauskis took him down early in the second, he managed to lock up a tight armbar to get his hand raised.

In the only female fight on the card, Ireland’s Amanda English, through her impressive boxing and superior grappling, won by unanimous decision after a back and forth brawl with Iceland’s Sunna Davisdottir.

In the featherweight division the very talented and promising 18-year-old Bjarki Omarsson also won by unanimous decision against Denis Stanik from Shootfighters. The baby-faced Omarsson bore a striking resemblance to Conor McGregor in the manner in which he fought, and displayed a full arsenal of skills, including a couple of spinning back kicks. He ended the fight on top of Stanik, reigning down punches, and had it gone ten seconds longer, he would have got the finish.

Thor Palsson took on Team Ryano’s Chris Boujard at 155lbs and he, too, won by unanimous decision, in what was a much closer fight. The opening two rounds saw little between the two, as they grappled against the cage and on the mat for supremacy. Palsson was able finish the fight on top with ground and pound, with Boujard in the turtle position, after the Frenchman had taken his back, which most likely left the judges in no doubt.

In the first of the amateur fights to be televised in Iceland, welterweight Egill Oydvin Hjordisarason gave his homeland something to cheer about, as he easily dispatched of KBA’s Josh Mahoney with a first round submission win via triangle.

Also at 170lbs, SBG’s Kieran Davern secured the first finish of the night with a first round rear naked choke against Martin Begley of Heat MMA, in the second of two professional fights early in the night. In the first, Konrad Iwanowski from Team Ryano outworked Allen Gus Nolte of SBG Montana, to take a unanimous decision in an entreating middleweight match-up.

The second bout saw amateur featherweights Tommy Martin and James McErlean do battle. In the early exchanges Martin twice found a home for a superman jab, while McErlean tried to decapitate him with every shot. In the second round Martin took McErlean down, without subsequently inflicting much damage, he would do likewise in the third and the SBG prospect took a well-earned unanimous decision.

The first fight of the evening between MMA debutants Alex Swan and Michael Sheridan provided a perfect start for fans as they continued to take their seats. Sheridan from had trained for four months with Owen Roddy leading up to the fight as a challenge to compete in Mixed Martial Arts that he had chronicled with the website. Swan, with a background in Taekwondo, almost finished Sheridan in the first minute after flooring him with a volley of punches he had set up with leg-kicks. Sheridan, however, did not yield, and bravely came back to run Swan close in the final two rounds, before losing a unanimous decision.

A great night, more of the same, please.

By Tom Rooney – @oldmanrooney

Photo by Ciarán Maher

Owner/Editor of Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.

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