BattleZone Fighting Championship 15: Crosbie and Fleury debut in style
It was a tale of two debutants as Kiefer Crosbie (SBGi) and Will Fleury (Samson Martial Arts) both won in convincing fashion to mark their arrival in the pro MMA ranks.
BattleZone 15 was a predominantly amateur card but nonetheless it produced some exciting contests which captivated the crowd that packed into the Trinity Sports Centre in Donaghmede.
The main event saw two rising stars make their pro debuts against each other. Kiefer Crosbie (SBGi), fresh from his welterweight title win at Ryoshin FC 9, faced Keith ‘The Butcher’ McCabe (Team Ryano), an excellent striker himself.
It would be Crosbie who emerged victorious adding another first round TKO to his record. He looked composed inside the octagon; light on his feet and used quick combinations to attack.
McCabe found it difficult working from the back foot as Crosbie changed up his stance and kept mixing up his shots. He got caught by a strong front kick to the liver which dropped him in pain. Crosbie began his ground and pound and walked away with his first victory as a professional.
In the co-main event Will Fleury (Samson M.A.) recorded a huge first round win over the experienced John Redmond (Team Ryano).
He shot for a takedown early in the round and worked hard from top position but Redmond’s defence seemed to be preventing any progress. His striking had more success and he landed some nice shots from the top before capitalising on a mistake from Redmond.
Redmond left his neck open and Fleury looked for an arm triangle choke. There was little Redmond could do to defend against it and he tapped out giving Fleury a debut victory.
The BattleZone amateur bantamweight title changed hands as Arann Maguire (BJJ Cork) defeated former champ Nathan Kelly (Kyuzo MMA).
Kelly looked dangerous on the feet and connected with some nice combinations over the three rounds but Maguire knew in the first round that he would get the better of their grappling exchanges. He avoided Kelly’s striking by shooting for takedowns and had great success on the ground.
It was a hard fought victory against a tough opponent and Maguire will be happy with the grappling he displayed.
The vacant BattleZone amateur lightweight title was also up for grabs. Steven Moore (EFR M.A.) submitted Elliot Levy (SBGi) in the second round to take the title back to Antrim.
Levy started brightly with a dominant first round display. He spent the majority of the round in top control and looked comfortable on the mat.
In the second round he again shot for a takedown but this time Moore rolled out of his guard and found himself on top in side control. He sunk in a von flue choke and Levy tapped under the pressure.
Other highlights from the night included Richie Smullen’s (SBGi) 44 second knee bar submission win over Jordan Wylie (Next Gen) and Eric Nolan’s (Team Ryano) third round TKO victory over Lee Hammond (SBGi).
It was memorable night which also saw Paul ‘Redser’ Redmond (Team Ryano) return to competition. He faced Keith Kavanagh (Full Power) in an ADCC Rules NoGi bout and secured the win via arm lock submission.
BattleZone 15 may not have been a stacked card of pro fights but it succeeded in giving Ireland’s next generation of fighters a platform to test themselves against each other. Crosbie and Fleury stole the show and we will be hearing a lot about them in the years to come.