This Weekend’s Warriors: The Irish Abroad

This Weekend’s Warriors is a weekly column brought to you by SevereMMA that previews the upcoming Irish MMA action, shining a light on Ireland-based pro MMA fighters competing around the globe on any given week.

Friday 10th September:

SBG Cork City’s Pa Lehane (2-0) is first up for the Irish this weekend when he takes on Isaac Ruelas (4-2) at Combate Global in Miami, Florida. “The Leech” got off to a blistering start in his pro career with two victorious performances in one night, over Sebas Santana Guedes (8-3-1) and Maxime Giacalone (5-5), last month. The Corkman has the opportunity to go 3-0 in less than two months on Friday night. The event will air at 3.30am Irish time on Univision in the US, but it is unclear as of yet if there will be a stream for Irish fans.

Saturday 11th September:

Taka “The Cat” Mhandu (0-0) is first up for the Irish on Saturday, as he ventures to Johannesberg, South Africa to make his professional debut at EFC 89. The undefeated Team KF bantamweight tore on to the Irish MMA scene, racking up a 6-0 amateur record that saw him win SevereMMA’s Amateur Fighter of the Year award in 2019. The Zimbabwean-born Dubliner hasn’t fought since then, and he will be looking to make up for lost time when he takes on South African Asiashu Tshitamba (4-3) in the first of Mhandu’s 6-fight deal with EFC. Chris Fields and Cathal Pendred will be in the 23-year old’s corner as he returns to a region close to his heart. Fans can purchase the PPV at https://efcworldwide.tv/, and Mhandu will be the second fight on the main card, which kicks off at 4pm Irish time.

A trio of Irish-based fighters will ply their trade at EFM Show 2 in Sofia, Bulgaria on Saturday. Dawid Wisniosz (1-0) of Fantom MMA takes on Poland’s Arkadiusz Kaszuba (2-0) in a welterweight contest. After a lacklustre amateur career, Wisniosz made the most of the new clean slate when he turned professional late last year, stopping Paul Saier (1-0) via elbows in the 2nd round of their EFM 4 matchup. Someone’s 0 has to go here when the two undefeated pros collide

Will “Fuckin” Fleury (8-3) is in middleweight action on the same card as he squares off against Iranian Hojat Khajevand (4-2). Rumour has it that the Tipperary native was left in limbo over who his confirmed opponent would be as late as yesterday, with the SBG Ireland man earmarked to potentially step in and face former KSW champion Michal Materla had the headliner’s opponent been forced to withdraw. Fleury will be looking to build off the momentum he gained in his dominant win over Kent Kauppinen in Bellator, as he enters a new chapter in his career.

“Stormin” Norman Parke (28-7-1) is back in combat sports action too! You never know what to expect with the former TUF winner these days. Will it be MMA? Will it be boxing? Well, this time it’s both…ish! The Northern Irishman is scheduled to face Poland’s Maciej “IROKEZ” Jewtuszko (12-5) in a boxing match with MMA gloves. The contest will be 3 x 3-minute rounds between the former KSW lightweight champions.

Irish fans can watch all of the European Fight Masters action by purchasing the PPV for EFM Show 2 at https://efmshow.tv/#/. The card kicks off at 6pm Irish time.

John Byrne (0-0) will make his long-awaited professional debut at Celtic Gladiator 30 against Farukh Aligadzhiev (0-0). The SBG Ireland fighter began his 19-fight career all the way back in 2011, and today marks the 10th anniversary to the day of his first MMA fight. Byrne captured 6 amateur titles in his 11-8 run before turning pro. Byrne is expected to make his walk to the cage at 7.45pm, and the PPV can be purchased here.

Last but not least, Team KF’s Konrad Iwanowski (7-4) travels to Żyrardów, Poland where he’ll face Łukasz Siwiec in a welterweight* bout. However, Siwiec weighed in 3.3kg heavier than the contracted weight limit, and thus he will forfeit 50% of his purse. “Moto Moto” has lacked consistency thus far in his career, trading off wins and losses since 2014. The grizzled veteran will be looking to bounce back to winning ways once again as he returns to the cage for the first time since 2019. Fans can watch via the IPLA app (hat tip to our Polish correspondent Seán Denny for that one).

Andy is a writer, interviewer, and occasional podcaster. Andy's work features on SevereMMA.com, The Severe MMA Podcast, and EuroMMAHub.com. Andy heavily focuses on the Irish MMA scene. Feel free to reach out to Andy on Twitter @andyste123