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25th Sep 2023

Ciaran Clarke the biggest Irish highlight on tough night at Bellator 299


Ciaran Clarke

Mixed Night for Irish at Bellator 299 as Eblen Defends Title

Bellator 299 would see the middleweight champion Johnny Eblen seek to defend his title versus number one contender Fabian Edwards. There was a lot of Irish interest, on the night, writes Donal Long, with Ciaran Clarke making the biggest impression.

Bellator returned to Dublin following an electric night in February. Once again, Bellator 299 would showcase some of Ireland’s best talent and fan favourites. The 3Arena is well renowned for its amazing atmosphere on fight night, and Saturday night did not disappoint.

Eblen KO’s Edwards to Defend Title

Fabian Edwards, brother of UFC champion Leon Edwards, challenged for the belt as a massive underdog. However, the opening two rounds would show that the fight was shaping up to be a lot closer than it might have appeared.

Edwards displayed excellent wrestling defence and had some good moments of his own in two close rounds to open the fight. However, there would not be another underdog story for the Edwards family.

Eblen put the Englishman down in round three to defend his title in emphatic fashion. There was even some further tension following the fight as Johnny Eblen and Leon Edwards got heated in the cage following the bout. Eblen’s win now sees him move to 14-0 in his second title defence.

Ciaran Clarke

Ciaran Clarke Once Again Overcomes Adversity

Ciaran Clarke has had an impressive career in Bellator thus far. He came into Saturday’s bout at a perfect 7-0, and looked to extend his win streak to 8. However, things were not easy for the Drogheda fighter.

Clarke was hurt with an up-kick from Polish opponent Gorny in round number one. Despite recovering well, Clarke would get caught again with a massive kick in the second round. This time however, the kick was illegal.

Clarke was a downed fighter as the heel of Gorny connected with his chin. Badly hurt, Ciaran was given the chance to recover and potentially stop the fight by the referee. Despite the illegal blow, Clarke decided to keep fighting in what turned out to be the right decision.

Later in the round, he secured a submission victory. In his post fight press conference, Clarke stated, “I was a bit hurt alright, [but] just playing the poker face!”

Ciaran Clarke was only one of two successful Irish fighters at Bellator 299. The second being fellow prospect Darragh Kelly who also won a tough fight. He got a third round TKO over Jelle Zeegers to move him to 5-0.

Kavanagh and Carvalho Dealt Loses on Main Card

The Bellator 299 card would see a Co-main event between Pedro Carvalho and Aaron Pico.

Carvalho, training out of SBG Ireland, looked to bounce back from two losses to become a contender again. However, he faced extremely tough opposition in Aaron Pico. A close to perfect performance saw Pico finish Carvalho in round one via TKO.

Fan favourite Sinead Kavanagh would also feature on the main card. The Dublin fighter came up against undefeated Sara Collins from Australia, with both fighters looking for a win to get back into title contention. The bout would see both fighters stand and exchange for 15 minutes, with Kavanagh looking to land her strong power shots. However, there was good output and kicks on Collins’ side.

In a close fight, the judges would score the contest to Collins in a split decision. She now moves to 5-0 and will climb the women’s featherweight rankings.

Ciaran Clarke

Peter Queally Handed Disappointing Illegal Blow in Opening 30 Seconds

To close out the prelims, Peter Queally got the 3Arena rocking with his famous ‘Zombie’ walk-out. However, that would unfortunately be the highlight of the bout. As Queally was getting back to his feet his opponent Miceili caught him with an illegal kick.

As a downed opponent, the foot of Miceili caught Queally in the eye, leading to swelling and bleeding. A doctor would call the fight off with the result being declared a no-contest as the kick was deemed unintentional.

Charlie Ward and Brian Moore also were unfortunate as they both faced submission losses. While prospect Kenny Mokhonoana would lose via decision. The 3Arena still played host to action packed card that seen some of Bellator’s top talent display their skills.

MMA returns to the venue on December 8th as PFL bring their European Championship finals to Dublin.

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