Nemeses MMA 2: Lawrence stops Flanagan in two rounds

Rush Fight Academy’s Paul Lawrence capped off a great night of amateur action at the second installment of Nemeses MMA on Sunday night, which took place in the Palace nightclub in Navan, Co. Meath.

The accomplished amateur showed fantastic composure as he overcame a tough test in Henry Flanagan. Connecting with a big shot in the second round, Lawrence pursued his grounded opponent and landed cleanly to signal the end of the welterweight bout via TKO.

Having taken a loss to Ayo Daly at Ryoshin Fighting Championships 4 several weeks ago, the clinical performance puts the top ranked welterweight back in the win column and will give him a lot of momentum heading into 2014.

Chris Looman took a decision win over powerful middleweight, Kacper Kulas, showcasing some powerful control in top position where he held the Swords fighter for the majority of the contest. Looman may have finished another opponent on the night, but the fight lasting all three rounds is a credit to the toughness and durability of Kulas.

The nightclub setting seemed to fire up both the fighters and spectators on the night. The cage, located on the premises’ dance floor, was surrounded by onlookers on the ground level as well as fans perched over on a balcony.

Being so close to the crowd dragged the best of out of some competitors and it was evident during the fight of the night performance that saw a heavily supported Anto Cutajar face off against Paul O’Brien. Making his debut, C-MAC’s O’Brien entered the cage already talking to Cutajar turning the venue into a cauldron of hisses and roars from the heavily Swords Fight Club affiliated audience.

The opening round saw both fighters come out aggressively with Cutajar tying up O’Brien to stifle his reach advantage. Every time the Coolmine fighter looked to be finding his range, the Swords man closed the distance and looked for the takedown, which he achieved on two occasions.

The second round was a different story with O’Brien using a lot more footwork to prevent Cutajar from cutting off the cage. Getting his shots off well, the towering welterweight landed a big left hand that dropped his counterpart toward the end of the round, but Cutajar recovered well to see the bout through to the third round.

Looking the more tired of the two initially, Cutajar came out strong in the thirds and took O’Brien down, but the Blanchardstown man managed to get to his feet. However, after taking him to the canvas again, Cutajar finished the fight landing big shots after transitioning to the mount forcing the referee to stop the fight. Once the bout came to an end, the two competitors embraced in the cage ending any notions of bad blood perceived by the crowd.

Callum Wallace took another win for Rush Fight Academy in the second MMA bout of the night, overcoming some big pressure from Swords scrapper Deimantus Luksas.

Representing Swords, Luksas looked to have gotten the better of the two over the three rounds, imposing a grappling centred game plan on Wallace, who looked to use his height advantage to get off some shots early on.

With Luksas focusing on keeping the RFA man glued to the ground in the third round, Wallace showed great determination and focus as he capitalised on a small gap, tying up a triangle to take the win in his second outing in MMA competition.

There were fire works after the opening bout of the night that saw Evolution MMA’s Adam Tahraoui take on Ciaran Clarke of No Fear MMA. Tahraoui exchanged words with Clarke as he entered the cage and was the aggressor of the two when the action got under way.

Tahraoui charged forward and constantly connected with a big left hand as Clarke looked to make space and land body kicks. The intensity was maintained throughout the contest until the action was stopped in the third round when the Evolution man was deemed to have up kicked twice from the guard.

Having his hand raised after the decision, Clarke refused the hand that Tahraoui offered prompting the Evolution man to declare his intention to meet Clarke in the cage again. The No Fear corner then appeared to try and get into the cage but security personal managed to stop the situation from escalating.

Two ten minute submission only grappling matches started off the night’s action with Stephen Daly of Royal Grappling Academy/Marcelo Garcia Ireland showcasing impressive guard passing on his way to victory over Evolution’s Dean Molloy.

Molloy looked to take Daly into his guard, and after initially being passed he found his way back and threatened with a foot lock. Daly fended off the attack blocking his opponent’s second grip and eventually submitted Molloy with a tight guillotine choke.

Evolution Mike Davern displayed a heavy passing game in his match with Damien Dowling of the Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood. Davern forced the action to the ground early on controlled Dowling well.

Showing some deft movement to take Dowling’s back, Davern took the win via rear naked choke.

Speaking after the event, Nemeses MMA founder Keith Cooper spoke about the selection of venue, the inclusion of grappling matches and the future of the amateur promotion.

“We had the cage built specifically to fit the dance floor and I think it really helps the atmosphere,” said Cooper. “Kevin Booth came up with the idea of having it in the nightclub and it really gives the fighters a unique environment to compete in.

“It seems like a very enclosed space in there and with the audience all standing, I think they’re more concentrated on the action. It’s right in your face once you’re in the venue and I think the fans and fighters enjoy it.”

Cooper revealed that the concept of including grappling contests came from watching the Metamoris grappling events.

“I really enjoyed the Metamoris cards and I loved the idea of submission only. Grappling competitions can be hard to watch when some guys get points early and just try to ride out the clock, this way makes them go on the attack.

“The matches worked really well and the all of the fighters were fantastic, you could hear them listening to their corners and making adjustments –great stuff. I got some nice feedback from people who had never seen a grappling match before and it’s something we’ll look to do more of in the future.”

The Swords Fight Club man also outlined his intentions for the promotion next year.

“We started this not only to give our own guys a platform to perform on, but we wanted to put on a card that would specifically cater for the novice fighter.

“Competing for the first time on a ‘Rumble in Rush’ or ‘Clan Wars’ card can be intimidating for some of the guys, so this gives them a chance to start against fellow novices and get used to competition.

“Next year we’ll be looking to put on three shows, continue to focus on novice fights and grappling matches and we really would like to see more women competing at the events.

“I think everyone has seen how great WMMA has been in the octagon and I know we’ve got some talented female grapplers and fighters in Ireland, so that would be one of my goals for the next shows,” he finished.

 By Peter Carroll – @PetesyCarroll

Owner/Editor of Writer, Podcaster, Producer of 'Notorious: Conor McGregor' film, 'Conor McGregor: Notorious' TV series, 'Ten Thousand Hours', 'The Fighting Irish' and more documentary films.

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