BattleZone 15: Crosbie Conquers McCabe, Fleury Submits Redmond, Maguire Edges Kelly

Kiefer Crosbie exploded from the backstage area of the Trinity Sports and Leisure Centre in Donaghmede for his main event bout with Keith ‘The Butcher’ McCabe on Saturday night.

The kickboxing standout came within a centimeter of smashing SevereMMA’s Dave Fogarty’s camera with a left hand as he bounded to the cage along with Cian Cowley, Lee Hammond and John Kavanagh. Keith McCabe was the picture of composure as he joined him on their stage shorty after.

Despite his muscular, squat frame, Crosbie can look like a goliath when he uses his entire dynamic striking arsenal. McCabe struggled to close the distance as the SBG man’s legs connected on him like baseball bats. Eventually it was a well-timed teep kick that stopped ‘The Butcher’. Following his opponent down to the canvas after the crucial blow, Crosbie landed grounded shots until the fight was called.

A big pro debut for Crosbie, but it’s international challenges he wants next. The welterweight turned a lot of heads with his TKO of McCabe and it will be interesting to see how he does against challenges from outside of the Emerald Isle.

Will Fleury’s wrestling was always going to be a threat to out-of-retirement John ‘Johnny Jitzu’ Redmond. Unfortunately for the beloved Irish veteran, the Tipperary man had him on his back less than a minute into the bout. As soon as he brought him down, Fleury transitioned quickly and deftly worked himself into a head and arm choke position. Redmond fought hard to tough it out, but in the end succumbed to the submission in the first round.

There is something quite interesting about Fleury. As he celebrated with both hands held aloft, shouting a primal war cry to his followers who held up banners at the back of the hall, I couldn’t help but liken the burly Irishman to a Viking or some kind of barbarian from centuries gone by. A sturdy middleweight with a legitimate skillset, you should look forward to seeing Fleury in action soon.

Nathan Kelly and Aaron Maguire’s meeting for the bantamweight amateur title epitomized a will to win and the best of grass roots MMA. With the links between their coaches Liam Beechinor and Barry Oglesby, the two lads have definitely trained together before, but that didn’t stop them leaving it all in the cage.

Kelly’s striking has developed so much, and from the opening bell he was finding Maguire beautifully on the end of his punches. Kelly would fire multiple jab cross combinations and just as you thought he was having his way with the BJJ Cork man, Maguire would jump out from behind his defensive shell and stun Kelly with a single punch.

Evading a guillotine after getting the Kyuzo man down in the first, in the second round Maguire knew he might have dropped the opening stanza and he got his young adversary down quite quickly. Two well established competitors on the Irish jiu-jitsu scene, it was a joy to watch the technical scrambles of the two young men.

The third saw Kelly come out of the gates with a lot of power, but Maguire again managed to take him down. When it all said and done, it was anyone’s guess who won the fight.

Both had spells of dominance and both rallied to get themselves back in the fight after going through rough patches. I scored the first for Kelly, the second for Maguire and I couldn’t pick a victor in the third. It was Maguire’s hand that was raised after the fight, and if they made that fight for next weekend I’d go to see it again. In fact, I’d probably watch it every weekend.

Steven Moore pulled off a rare Von Flue choke on Elliot Levy in the second round of their meeting after some tough grappling exchanges. The Next Generation man buried his shoulder into Levy’s windpipe up against the cage, and the SBG man had to choice but to tap to the Antrim lightweight.

Jordan Wylie poured on the punches in the early going of round one with Richie Smullen, but the technical submission skills of the SBG man won him the fight. Appearing to be knocked down by one of Wylie’s big shots, Smullen swept his counterpart to the canvas before locking up a show-stopping kneebar to end proceedings.

Paul Redmond traded his turntables for a rashguard midway through the night to meet 10th planet proponent Keith Kavanagh in an ADCC rules grappling match. The Team Ryano man ended the contest in the most unorthodox fashion with an inverted shoulder lock that he finished while lying beside his opponent. Since, the technique has been labeled ‘The Spicebag’ or ‘The Redman’, but we’ll leave it up to you to decide what you want to call it.

Diarmuid O Buachalla displayed some powerful hands to claim a decision win over Daniel Malikic in a K1 bout. Malikic’s toughness was one of the main takeaways from the contest as he managed to last the distance despite the clean connections of the Irishman.

Every time I see Alex O’Sullivan compete I’m more and more impressed. Still a kid, O’Sullivan has dedicated his life to martial arts. As a child he trained in boxing, kickboxing, judo and jiu jitsu and as he grows into adulthood he looks like he could be something very special in years to come. His breathtaking composure in top position eventually led him to a triangle choke in his IBJJF no gi meeting with Declan Kenna.

Ciaran MacDonald had one of the most violent games of footsy you’ll ever see when he clashed with Team Ryano’s Paul Browne in another ADCC rules meeting. As they both dived on each other’s legs, it was MacDonald who clutched on to a winning technique first, as he forced the tap from the purple belt with a toehold.

Eric Nolan was in seriously deep waters against ‘The Berimbolo Kid’ Lee Hammond in their world amateur championship qualifier bout. Hammond gracefully looked for a submission in the first round. Cool, calm and collected as he pried at the legs of his opponent, many men would have simply bowed down and given up after feeling the technicality of Hammond’s attacks. However, Nolan came out in the second round like a bull and caught the SBG wonderkid on the end of a few punches when he planted his feet. Pouring on blows as Hammond went to the ground, the referee stopped the fight shortly afterwards.

Flyweight Alex Brophy’s baby face is quite deceiving when you see the young man in action. Michael Clarke couldn’t find and answer to the SBG man’s striking, but things only got worse for him when the fight hit the ground. After coming close with a rear naked choke in the second, Clarke escaped only to be fed unanswered blows until the ref stepped in.

Jack Maguire’s victory to open the night against Darryl Byrne could have been an indicator to how his brother would get on later on in the night in his title fight against Nathan Kelly. Maguire had his hand raised after three tough rounds with Byrne, who took the bantamweight fight despite hitting the scales at the flyweight limit the day before.


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