Cage Legacy 3: Zembala and Kelly defeated; Five new amateur champions crowned
Cage Legacy Fighting Championship made its first journey to the south of Ireland on Saturday night.
The iconic Neptune Stadium in Cork City, with previous Irish MMA history, played host to Cage Legacy 3.
The venue is known as the place where Joseph Duffy famously defeated Conor McGregor via submission at Cage Warriors 39 in 2010.
It proved to be a career defining loss for McGregor as he went on a 15-fight win streak after it and became the UFC featherweight champion in the process.
Both Marcin Zembala (Team Torres) and Nathan Kelly (Kyuzo), who made his professional debut, suffered defeat to their respective Swedish opponents at Cage Legacy 3. Like McGregor, those losses may prove to be pivotal moments in their careers.
Zembala (0-2) can be proud of his performance against Alejandro Toutparfait (Allstars).
Against a strong grappler, Zembala conveyed promising signs and produced a strong final round of striking that generated problems for Toutparfait.
The Swedish fighter was dominant in their grappling exchanges. He acquired top position in both the first and second-rounds to control their fight.
Zembala worked hard to attack off his back and look for submissions but it was Toutparfait’s work rate from the top that sealed a unanimous decision victory for him.
In the co-main event Nathan Kelly (0-1) showed excellent heart but he was not given an opportunity to express his talent.
From the beginning, Ivan Zidar (Allstars) threw a vicious spinning back elbow which landed flush against Kelly’s head. The Kyuzo fighter was rocked but reacted quickly. He held Zidar against the fence enabling him time to recover.
He wrestled with the Swedish fighter before executing a leg sweep to take Zidar’s back. He looked to sink in a rear-naked choke but Zidar’s defence stood firm.
They stood back up and Zidar’s striking rocked Kelly again with pin point accuracy. He landed a number of unanswered elbows before finishing with strikes on the feet. The referee called a stoppage in the fourth minute.
Also in action, Tom Moore (Sharkbait MMA) defeated Christofer Darre (Sarpsborg Chi) via third-round TKO to claim a debut victory.
Mitchell defends welterweight title and five new amateur champions are crowned
John Mitchell (BJJ Cork) successfully defended his Cage Legacy welterweight title with a commanding unanimous decision victory over Ivan Blanita (Team RYANO).
The local man had a huge amount of support in Neptune Stadium and didn’t disappoint. Well-known for his high-level striking, Mitchell utilised his Muay Thai experience to secure an advantage in the fight, scoring regularly in rounds one and two. Blanita sought to take the fight to the ground but Mitchell’s takedown defence stood firm.
Although Blanita enjoyed a strong final round in top position, Mitchell had done enough to defend his belt on home soil.
Stuart Mulpeter (SBG Port) stunned the home crowd with a heroic victory to lift the middleweight title. Defending champion, Dillon Manning (Muskerry) was controlling the action and put Mulpeter under a huge amount of pressure on the ground in round one. In the second-round he looked to trouble from top position again but got caught out by a triangle choke from Mulpeter. Manning was left speechless; Mulpeter’s never say die attitude produced one of the biggest shocks on the night.
Matiss Zaharovs (Ryoshin) became the new interim bantamweight title holder with a unanimous decision triumph over Darren O’Brien (SANDA MMA).
Jack Maguire (BJJ Cork) went to war with Leon Hill (Full Power Gym) for the featherweight title. Hill called for the fight and he stood up the challenge of Maguire. However, Maguire’s experience was evident as the fight progressed. He sent the home crowd wild with a second-round TKO victory to claim the belt.
Rosa Walsh (FMBJJ) became the first-ever women’s champion when she sunk in a first-round arm bar to defeat Dee Begley (BJJ Cork). The new bantamweight title holder pounced on an early mistake by Begley to finish the fight.
Patrick Mc Nally (Belfast MA) became the new flyweight champion in stunning fashion. His fast-hands, and clean striking hurt Barry Hanna (Malahide MA) early. It went to the ground and he acted quickly to sink in a modified guillotine which ended the contest.