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By: Tom Strong, MMATorch UK Contributor
BAMMA returned for their first event of the year on Saturday night at the Copper Box Arena, London. For the first time, BAMMA broadcast the card live on Facebook. This could turn out to be a very good decision to attract more fans to the sport and, more importantly, BAMMA.
With an action packed card full of great fights, stoppages, and a couple questionable decisions, it was the lack of attendance that was disappointing. The crowd that did attend certainly made up for it, being very passionate and supportive towards the fighters and creating a very good atmosphere inside the arena.
Headlining BAMMA 15 was a clash of two heavyweights. At just 19-years-old, Albanian Gzim Selmani weighed in at 257lbs, standing 6ft 3in tall, with a 3-1 record entering the fight. Gzim was taking on the vastly more experienced ex-UFC fighter Oli Thompson (12-5). Despite the experience disparity, it was Gzim who wasted little time - eighteen seconds to be precise - to submit Thompson.
Gzim charged out from the buzzer, landed a huge knee to catch Thompson off guard, then took full advantage by locking in a tight guillotine choke and forcing Marc Goddard to call a halt with Thompson looking unconscious. Gzim showed everyone why he's called "The Albanian Psycho."
Gzim now moves on to 4-1, and is now on a three fight winning streak with all of those victories coming inside the first round. Thompson drops to 13-6. He denied being out when Goddard stopped the fight, though replays would show things differently.
The co-main event saw Leon Edwards (7-1) become the new BAMMA Lonsdale Welterweight Champion, defeating the defending champion Wayne "Caveman" Murrie (17-6) inside the first round.
Edwards showed great calmness and composure when he took Murrie's back, taking his time, and remaining patient before finding the opening he needed that forced Murrie to tap out with only 3:13 gone inside the first round. The rear naked choke hands Edwards the Championship.
Fan favourite on the night, Colin "Freakshow" Fletcher, was anxious to put on a show for all the fans, and he certainly delivered on that from his flamboyant entrance into the cage to his eagerness to entertain the paying public. Up against the very hard hitting and granite chinned Tony Hervey, I was surprised with Fletcher's game plan. Fletcher, a fighter who excels in submissions, taking on a fighter whom has six defeats via submission, decided to keep the fight standing, and made no attempt to try to take Hervey down.
In a very entertaining back and forth battle, it was Hervey who was landing with the cleaner harder punches in the second round, stunning Fletcher for a few moments only for the buzzer to come to his aide. With rounds one and three very close, the decision could've gone either way, though it was the "Freakshow" who took it on a split decision. (29-28,28-29,29-28)
In the post fight interview, Fletcher said:
"I'm my own worst enemy sometimes, though I'm decent on the ground I just like having a fight. To be honest, win, lose, or draw, if I'm putting on entertaining fights and people still want to watch them, I'll still have them."
A fight that went under the radar was the BAMMA Featherweight World Title. This saw two highly talented fighters in Tom DuQuesnoy (9-1) taking on (then-undefeated) Teddy Violet (8-1).
In a fast paced fight from the buzzer, it was DuQuesnoy who came out the stronger and quicker fighter. He landed brutal leg kicks and stunning combinations, leaving Violet bewildered. Even when Violet had success getting the fight to the mat where he wanted it, it was DuQuesnoy showing the superior strength, reversing any mounts and going for the submissions. With a dominating first round behind him, DuQuesnoy didn't let up in the second round, landing heavy uppercuts at will. Violet went for another take down only for DuQuesnoy to lock in a triangle choke, Violet tried his best to get out but was left with little choice but to tap out at 1:23 into round two.
It was one of the most impressive wins of the night, and Tom DuQuesnoy who continues his impressive winning streak and looks like a future star in the making!
A late addition to BAMMA 15, Andy De-Vent (10-9) vs. Harry McLeman (7-2) competed for the BAMMA British Middleweight Title. In a hard fought three round battle, both fighters left everything they had inside the cage in a fight that nobody deserved to lose. That said, it was Harry McLeman who took the unanimous decision on all three score cards to take home the belt.
McLeman had to weather the storm in the third round, exhausted from the first two rounds, and it was De-Vent piling on the pressure looking to get the finish. McLeman did just enough to hold on and hear the buzzer, and it allowed him to become the new BAMMA British Middleweight Champion!
Earlier in the night, Ryan Scope defeated Ali Arish via unanimous decision despite breaking his foot in the second round. Rany Saadeh out-pointed Mahmood Besharate to win (30-27) on all three score cards. A very controversial decision saw Jefferson George def. Jack Grant over three rounds earning a split decision victory (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) to a chorus of boos inside the arena.
Full BAMMA 15 Results:
Gzim Selamin def. Oil Thompson - RD1 Sub.
Leon Edwards def. Wayne Murrie - RD1 Sub. British Welterweight Title.
Colin Flether def. Tony Hervey - Decision (Split. 29-28,28-29,29-28)
Tom DuQuesnoy def. Teddy Violet - RD2 Sub. Featherweight World Title.
Harry McLeman def. Andy De-Vent - UD - British Middleweight Title.
Ryan Scope def. Ali Arish - Decision (Unanimous)
Rany Saadeh def. Mahmood Bezaerate - Decision (Unanimous)
Jefferson George def. Jack Grant - Decision (Split. 29-28,28-29,29-28)
Alex Montagnani def. Nathan Jones - RD1 Sub.
Andy Craven def. Richard Edwards RD1 Sub.
Ed Arthur def. Nathaniel Wood - RD3 Sub.
Jacek Toczydlowski def. Benny Carr - RD1 Sub
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