“CLAN WARS to reignite the Irish MMA scene with this Sunday’s PPV event” – Bloody Shamrock


Written by Stephen Towers // Bloody Shamrock                               

The first MMA card on the Island of Ireland since March is set to take place behind closed doors in the Belfast area this coming weekend. Clan Wars MMA, held in high regard as the longest-running promotion in the country, will be presenting us with an event unlike any other after the promotion put drastic measures in place to continue running during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The Clan Wars team have been clear to point out talks with the local council and other relevant bodies have been ongoing at every step of the process to ensure everything is above board. It has since been confirmed by promoter Paul McLoughlin that on-site Covid-19 testing facilities have been arranged in conjunction with the health service in Northern Ireland.

In the absence of live show tickets, fans can purchase online tickets to access a pay-per-view stream. We would encourage everyone from the extended MMA community to support the show by purchasing the PPV. If this event goes ahead safely and successfully we could have many more to follow.

Of the fight announcements that have been drip-fed to us over the past few weeks there are some great contests to look forward to, both amateur and pro. 

Here are some of my ones to watch –

MATTHEW FRIEL (7-3) vs GER HARRIS (7-2) – Amateur Flyweight

We have been championing the skills of Kombat Jiu Jitsu’s Matthew Friel for quite a while now and have gone as far as to call him the top flyweight in Ireland on numerous occasions.

The main issue with that statement is the same can also be said for Ger Harris, a former IMMAF World Champion at Flyweight, under the coaching of Owen Roddy at SBG Charlestown.

Matthew Friel after his last victory on AKUMA FC

Harris has not fought on Irish soil since September 2018. Back then he was a relatively unheralded prospect but a few months later took down the very prestigious IMMAF title. He was last seen winning via sub on a Celtic Gladiators PPV event in August.

A young Ger Harris enters the cage at Cage Warriors Academy Ireland 2018. His last fight on home soil.

Cutting a contrasting path to that of Harris is Friel, who has been dominating all corners of the domestic circuit the last 2 years at flyweight which prompted him to step up to bantamweight to face some fresh competition and hoovered up a number of belts in both weight classes in the process. Style-wise, Friel is a very slick grappler and generally does his best work on the ground. His transition to the triangle choke to submit The Dark Horse Ciaran Mullholland at AKUMA FC13 was highlight reel stuff (look it up!).

ALEX O’SULLIVAN (20-9) vs SEAN MCCONNELL (3-1) – Amateur Lightweight Title

Just looking at the record of CMAC’s Alex O’Sullivan would suggest a well-journeyed MMA career at a young age, but this man’s record is no trick. He fought both on Irish soil and further afield in IMMAF tournaments as early as 2014. This could possibly be be his final amateur contest before making the transition to pro. He won his last fight in Ireland with a slick second-round Submission defeating Alex Yankov at AKUMA FC in August 2019. A few months later he went on to take a silver medal at IMMAF European championships.

Sean McConnell of SBG Charlestown will be a good test for O’Sullivan before he makes the jump to pro. With heralded MMA coach Owen Roddy in his corner, McConnell has shown great leaps in progress each time he has stepped into the cage; his record now standing at 3-1.

Sean McConnell after a TKO victory in May 2019 with coach Owen Roddy.

Gary Rooney after his winning MMA debut in 2019 with coaches John Kavanagh and Richie Smullen, Neptune Stadium, Cork.

KARL MCCONWAY vs GARY ROONEY – Amateur Bantamweight Title

Karl McConway, representing Shaolin MMA Galway, has fought a who’s who of top bantamweights and flyweights over the last 3 years. His progression in that time showed in his last performance at Clan Wars 37 where he picked up the Bantamweight title with a decision over Matthew Friel after Friel drew him into a stand up battle.

Karl McConway in action at Clan Wars 37

Facing McConway in the cage this Sunday is SBG’s Gary Rooney – a name known by many for his accomplishments in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Despite his young age and diminutive stature, Rooney has made a successful transition into MMA over the last 18 months, picking up a decision win on his debut in Cork in May of 2019. He went on to have a further four fights on the IMMAF tournament series going 2-2 in those over international opposition. He now returns to the cage in his homeland for just the second time, to have a tilt at the Clan Wars bantamweight title against McConway in what will be an intriguing contest between two experienced fighters. 

Written by Stephen Towers // Bloody Shamrock          

Re-posted with Permission from the author

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