The curtain has finally come down on BAMMA’s return to Birmingham four new champions were crowned in England’s second city on Saturday night.
BAMMA 23 : Night of Champions was held on 14 November 2015, at the Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham.
With the event now officially in the books, we take a look back at the standout performances on the night.
Austin survives to take home Lonsdale Heavyweight title belt
In the first title bout of the night, Thomas Denham took on Stuart Austin for the vacant BAMMA Lonsdale Heavyweight title. Originally scheduled to face local fighter Paul Taylor on the card, Austin was bumped up the card when pullouts to Taylor and Ruben Wolf saw him matched with Thomas Denham on a days notice to fight for the Lonsdale belt.
The first four minutes of the fight were all Thomas Denham, who landed a huge shot early in the fight which floored Austin and had him turtling on the ground trying to avoid brutal ground and pound from the Durham born fighter. Trying to find a way off the bottom, Denham almost found himself getting a submission victory via a one armed guillotine choke from mount but Austin dug deep and managed to find a way out.
At the end of the first round the tide began to change, as Austin secured a big takedown against the cage and landed some nasty ground and pound which may have ended the fight had the bell not rang to end the round.
The second round started more tentitivly as both fighters felt one an others power in the first, however at 1:55 of the second round, Austin landed a huge right hand which floored Denham forcing Marc Goddard to end the bout after a few follow up shots had landed for Austin. Austin becomes BAMMA’s first ever BAMMA Lonsdale champion.
Shay Walsh dominates Ed Arthur to become the new BAMMA World Bantamweight Champion
Shay Walsh put on the performance of his career, dominating Ed Arthur with constant pressure to earn a unanimous decision victory and become the new BAMMA bantamweight champion.
Early on the pace was set by Arthur who once again was showing improvements in his striking game, rocking Walsh with a nice combination however Walsh set the precedent from midway through the first round, securing a takedown and controlling the position of Arthur for the rest of the fight whilst landing a couple of nice strikes from top position as Arthur looked to regain his footing in the fight.
The second round begain in a similar way to the first with Arthur rushing forward again looking to be the aggressor and looking to be the more confident fighter when the fight is on the feet however Walsh would not give him an inch, working the clinch against the cage and landed huge elbows, hurting and almost had the referee stepping in but Arthur showed his grit and determination to keep fighting. Walsh continued controlling the champion as the fight entered the third and final frame.
The third was a mirror image to the second, with Walsh earning a takedown early. Wish Arthur tiring, Walsh set up a head-in-arm choke which looked tight, however Arthur against showed spirit to turn into the choke and force the escape. Watching the fight unfold from press row, it was incredible to cardio that Walsh produced from bell to bell. When the final bell sounded MMA Mad had the fight 30-27 to Walsh and the judges agreed crowning Walsh the new champion with a unanimous decision (30-27, 20-27, 30-27) victory.
Saadeh returns from long lay off to dominate late replacement Haque.
On October 12th BAMMA announced that flyweight title bout between champion Rany Saadeh and Chris Miah was off as Miah had suffered an undisclocsed injury. Shajidul Haque was selected as Miah’s replacement for a chance at the returning Saadeh’s world title.
This was the second time that Saadeh vs. Miah has been scheduled and called off due to injury. The first time they were meant to face-off at BAMMA 21, Saadeh suffered staph infection as was pulled from the card.
The first started slowly however Saadeh started taking control of the fight midway through the first round using his superior grappling to control Haque for most of the first round. More of the same in the second from Saadeh. Saadeh picked up Haque in one side of the cage and carried the Bangladeshi fighter over to his own corner before slamming him. The action slowed down on the ground for the rest of the round however Saadeh maintained top position, not allowed referee Marc Goddard to stand the fight up.
With two rounds in the books for Saadeh he came out visably more relaxed and had a willingness to trade with Haque on the feet which was not the case in the first two frames. Haque went for a takedown of his own however Saadeh countered with a nice knee and kick to the body. Haque then successfully took Saadeh down with a minute to work but Saadeh gains top position with a nice sweep. With Haque needing a finsh to win the fight, he locked up a guillotine, and its tight. Saadeh just escapes the choke and ends up in top postition to end the round and win the fight via unanimous decision and retain his 125lb strap.
Paul Craig submits Marcin Lazarz to become the new BAMMA Light Heavyweight champion.
The co-main event brought one of the performances of the night as Paul Craig dominated the 205lb champion Marcin Lazarz to become the third ever BAMMA Light Heavyweight champion. Lazarz came out of the blocks with a nice double jab and then a counter left to the body off a leg kick from Craig. ‘Bearjew’ then worked for the takedown against the cage and gets it to the delight of his supporters in the arena. From there Lazarz got back to his feet, trippd Craig for a takedown of his own but Craig reversed the position and locked up a slick triangle forcing the Pole Lazarz to tap at 3:51 of the first round.
Martin Stapleton submits Gavin Sterritt on route to earning the BAMMA lightweight title
What is there to say about Martin Stapleton’s performance at BAMMA 23 other than ‘Perfection’? Stapleton started the contest with a huge uppercut into a takedown to kick things off. From there Stapleton got the back of Sterritt and forces the tap via rear naked choke at 1:18 of the first round to become the new BAMMA lightweight champion.
Elsewhere on the card there were wins for Damien Lapilus, Nad Narimani, Brett McDermott, Shane Gunfield, Billy Beaumont, Tobias Reid, Cameron Else, Jai Herbert and Nathaniel Wood.