As 2015 winds down, and we look to what the future might hold in 2016 for BAMMA, we now need to look back throughout the year and select fighters who take home an MMA Mad award in a specific category. BAMMA had the busiest schedule in their existence, putting on a total of six fight cards in four different cities.
The awards on offer are as follows:
- Event of the Year
- Submission of the Year
- KO of the Year
- Breakthrough fighter of the Year
- Fighter of the Year
Event of the Year
Winner : BAMMA 22
It’s no secret that the MMA scene in Ireland has exploded, as of late. With the likes of Conor McGregor leading the way for the John Kavanagh coached SBG Ireland and many other gyms producing young, exciting, up and coming talent, it was no surprise that BAMMA made its first foray into the Emerald Isle in 2015. With 15 finishes in 19 fights on the night, the young talented MMA fighters in Ireland delivered on every level. Star winners of the night included Mark Andrew, Patrick Wixted, Paul Craig, Dylan Tuke, Rhys McKee, Jack McGann, Frans Mlambo, Sinead Kavanagh and Paul Byrne.
Notable mentions: BAMMA 23: Night of Champions
Submission of the Year
Winner: Harry Marple submits Chris Astley at BAMMA 20.
There were a number of quality submission victories this year, however, Marple’s stood out from the pack due to his precision and how swiftly he synced up the rare Japanese neck tie to earn the win. In only his second pro-fight, ‘Dirty’ Harry Marple looked like a seasoned veteran on the mat, finishing Astley at 1:41 of round 2. Watch the full fight below.
Ed Arthur’s submission win over Alan Philpott at BAMMA 21
Damien Lapilus submits Jack McGann at BAMMA 23
Dylan Tuke rear-naked chokes Adam Caffrey at BAMMA 22
Rhys McKee submits John Redmond at BAMMA 22
KO of the Year
Winner – Marc ‘Bonecrusher’ Diakiese KO’s Rick Selvarajah at BAMMA 22
At BAMMA 22 in Dublin, Ireland, Marc Diakese looked to defend his BAMMA Lonsdale Lightweight title for the first time following his win over Jack McGann at BAMMA 19.
His opponent was the gritty Rick Selvarajah.
Many people thought this would be a tough test for ‘Bonecrusher’, however, it took Diakese just 24 seconds to put Selvarajah to sleep with a huge overhand right. Watch the KO below.
Jack McGann knocks out Jack Grant at BAMMA 22
Cheick Kone knocks out Andy DeVent at BAMMA 21
Sinead Kavanagh KO’s Hatice Ozyurt at BAMMA 22
Chris Miah KO’s Mick Gerrard at BAMMA 18
Breakthrough fighter of the Year
Winner: Paul Craig
Entering the BAMMA cage for the first time at BAMMA 22 on September 19, 2015 as a 6-0 prospect, Paul Craig has put European Light Heavyweights on notice in the latter part of 2015. Craig was matched with Karl Moore for his BAMMA debut in Ireland and was considered an underdog by many going into the fight. However, following a solid first round from the ‘Bearjew’, Craig rolled Moore beautifully and synced up a rear-naked choke at 48 seconds of the second round to earn an impressive stoppage victory in his BAMMA debut.
Following the fight, Craig stated that he wanted to get back into the cage as soon as possible. BAMMA then booked Craig to face LHW champion Marcin Lazarz at the next event, BAMMA 23 in Birmingham. Fighting for a world title in only your second fight with a promotion could seem like a daunting task for many, but not for Craig. Following a slow start to the first round, Lazarz secured a takedown on Craig in the center of the cage. Not deterred by this, though, Craig caught Lazarz in a deep triangle to force the tap and become the new BAMMA Light Heavyweight Champion.
Cheick Kone & Tobias Reid
Fighter of the Year
Winner: Shay Walsh and Cheick Kone
I was going back and forth on this one for over a week, so I decided to split the award in half and give it to the two fighters who went 2/2 in huge fights, both winning world titles at the end of the year.
Shay Walsh was coming into 2015 off the back of two unanimous decision wins over James Saville and Paul Reed at BAMMA Fight Night: Liverpool at BAMMA 16, respectively. BAMMA booked Walsh to take on Gaz Pilot at BAMMA 21, the result earned Walsh a world title shot. Dominating the bout from the opening bell, Walsh would earn a TKO victory in the third to set up a title fight with current champion Ed Arthur at BAMMA 23 in Birmingham.
Many people considered this fight a toss-up before the contest began. Walsh, however, put on a grappling clinic with constant pressure which overwhelmed Arthur. Walsh would go onto earn a unanimous decision to become the new BAMMA bantamweight champion.
Cheick Kone entered the BAMMA cage in 2015 as a relative unknown, but by the end of 2015 he is possibly one of the most feared fighters at at middleweight in Europe after two dominant displays.
Kone’s debut came at BAMMA 18 in Wolverhampton, taking on Irish vet and former Cage Warriors middleweight champion Chris Fields. The debut could not have gone any smoother for the Frenchman, as he brutally knocked out Fields in just 23 seconds with an over hand right and followed up with punches, putting the middleweight division on notice.
The win at BAMMA 18 earned Kone a title shot against Andy DeVent for the vacant BAMMA middleweight title. Kone once again put on a dominant and vicious striking clinic. He would earn another first round TKO win to earn the BAMMA middleweight title.
Mark Godbeer, Stuart Austin, Martin Stapleton & Tom Duquesnoy
Are there any fighters that you feel should have been awarded an MMA Mad end of year award? If so, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
*These are the MMA Mad awards, not official BAMMA Awards.