This Weekend’s Warriors: Binder, Bannon and Garry

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

What’s the craic, everyone? Another weekend on the horizon, which means another edition of “This Weekend’s Warriors.” It’s been a successful number of weeks for Irish MMA, most recently bolstered by a clean sweep of finishes on Cage Warriors 135 for the Shelley brothers, Caolan Loughran and James “Jimbo Slice” Sheehan.

We’ve three Irish pros in action this weekend on three different promotions, in three different countries. Let’s get down to brass tacks!

First up is SBG Charlestown’s Andreeas Binder (4-1,1 NC). “Judoka” is fighting over at Cage Fight Series in Austria on Saturday evening. Binder, under the tutelage of Owen Roddy, went undefeated in 2021, notching a trio of consecutive finishes over Vadim Kolesnikov (0-0), Michail Gusakov (0-2), and Jeanderson Castro (6-4) on the Irish domestic scene. His fight this weekend is important for two reasons: 1) He’s taking on former UFC fighter Rostem Akman (6-3). Akman will be the most accomplished opponent Binder has faced in his young career. This is a necessary step for the Romanian Galwegian to validate his skill set against benchmarked competition. 2) It’s on UFC Fight Pass, which provides the opportunity to score a highlight-reel finish and get blasted all over the internet by the MMA broadcasting juggernaut. Binder has showcased a well-rounded arsenal thus far, and this matchup is a very adequate litmus test for the next step in his pro career.

Binder fights on the main card of Cage Fight Series 10, which kicks off on UFC Fight Pass at 8pm Irish time. Also, check out our interview with Andreeas Binder on this week’s episode of The Auld Triangle.

Next up is Holohan Martial Arts’ Shauna Bannon (0-0). The 2021 Severe MMA Irish Amateur Fighter of the Year is set to make her professional debut in the main event of Cage Legacy 15, where Bannon will take on Kerry Isom (1-1) in front of a hometown crowd in Tallaght. In what was a remarkable feat, “Mama B” returned after giving birth to compose an undefeated 5-0 streak in 2021, collecting an IMMAF World Cup gold medal along the way. Most recently, Bannon executed arguably a career-best performance against a talented Shanelle Dyer, in what was the Dubliner’s swansong amateur contest. As the Paddy Holohan trained fighter makes her first walk as a pro, there are a number of factors to keep an eye on: 1) Bannon is dropping to 115lbs for the first time, so it will be interesting to see how she looks at strawweight, and if the weight cut will affect her on fight night. 2) No more amateur ruleset for Bannon! Expect the 28-year-old to have added elbows to her striking arsenal. 3) Similarly, because she is now a pro, Bannon will be fighting five-minute rounds for the first time.

A promising prospect, this fight vs. Isom will serve as a first glimpse of what we can expect from the accomplished amateur talent as Bannon announces herself on the pro circuit.

Bannon fights in the main event of Cage Legacy 15. Fans can watch the event via the following link to the main card, which kicks off at 8pm. Also, check out our interview with Shauna Bannon on this week’s episode of The Auld Triangle.

Capping off the weekend’s Irish pro action is the most exciting fighter to emerge out of Ireland in recent years, Ian Garry (8-0). The 2021 Severe MMA Irish Pro Fighter of the Year is set to make his sophomore UFC outing on a highly-anticipated UFC 273 PPV. Poised at the top of the prelims portion of the card, “The Future” takes on Darian Weeks (5-1). Weeks is an experienced fighter with an extensive amateur MMA career under his belt. The American made his UFC debut on short notice and managed to go the full 15 minutes with Bryan Barberena. For me, this fight is the continuation of a slow build for Ian Garry. We already know that he’s a promising prospect, but for the first time in his career, we saw nerves in his UFC debut. The Portmarnock native is now settled into his new home at Sanford MMA in Florida, and I’d expect those Octagon jitters to subside this time out. I’m interested to learn what new wrinkles Garry has added to his game under Henri Hooft. Weeks is by no means a world beater, and this isn’t a huge jump in competition for Garry, but it’s an important next step in his UFC career. Despite delivering a 1st-round KO over Jordan Williams, the former Cage Warriors welterweight champion sustained more damage in that one fight than the rest of his pro career. An emphatic finish here over Weeks would go a long way to proving that his tentative opening UFC minutes can be attributed to nerves, in addition to backing up his overt confidence with undeniable actions.

Garry will be the final fight of the UFC 273 prelims, likely to fight at approx. 2.30am on BT Sport. Also, check out our guy Seán Sheehan’s interview with Garry for Sherdog.

Andy is a multimedia reporter, interviewer, writer, with a strong focus on Irish MMA. Co-host of The Auld Triangle podcast. You can find Andy's work on SevereMMA.com and MyMMANews.com. Follow Andy on Twitter (@andyste123) and Instagram (@andystevensonMMA).