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17th Dec 2016

Three homegrown prospects who shone at BAMMA 27

The future is bright

Darragh Murphy

The Bellator portion of Friday night didn’t get off to the greatest start for Irish fighters as Dylan Tuke and Brian Moore were both finished but more than a couple of positive takeaways emerged from the BAMMA half of proceedings.

On the co-produced festive show at the 3Arena, plenty of homegrown talent took the opportunity to showcase their skills in the cage and three in particular stood out as potential future stars.

Rhys McKee

In what was a big step-up in terms of spotlight, rangy striker Rhys McKee scored one of the cleanest knockouts you’re ever going to see as he folded up Jai Herbert late in round one to claim the vacant Lonsdale lightweight title.

A stunning four punch combination ended with a flush left hand to Herbert’s chin and Ballymena’s McKee sprinted to the fence and vaulted atop it to celebrate.

The significance of the achievement hit him all at once as he dropped to his knees in the centre of the cage before the man who previously held the belt, UFC star Marc Diakiese, awarded him his hard-earned title.

McKee dedicated the win to his father, who passed away recently, and proved that he belongs on the big stage as he resisted the early Herbert pressure and planted his precise power on his opponent, to the applause of a man who knows a thing or two about knockouts, Wanderlei Silva, who was stood admiring the outcome just feet away.

Kiefer Crosbie

Against a tricky grappling specialist, SBG welterweight Kiefer Crosbie proved himself more than capable as he secured a stunning victory on the banks of the Liffey.

On numerous occasions Crosbie found his leg in danger but he coped admirably, listening to every word from his corner and the roaring James Gallagher who showed himself for the opening bell and threw every shot in unison with his teammate.

It was clear from the outset that opponent Conor Riordan was going to avoid the striking exchanges and he executed a gorgeous hip toss and remained committed to a knee bar attempt until the first frame drew to a close.

Kiefer Crosbie 13/12/2016

Crosbie found himself in a similar position in the second round but remained a vision of composure and, in the blink of an eye, transitioned into a slick triangle.

“Elbows! Elbows! Elbows!” was the cry from Gallagher, who enjoyed a submission of his own in the co-main event of the Bellator portion of the card later that evening, and Crosbie duly obliged.

After tasting a few slicing shots from the bottom, Riordan’s defence was breached and Crosbie forced the tap at the midway point of the second.

Richard Kiely

Richard Kiely doesn’t mess about, simple as.

The debutant needed just over two minutes to get Team Ryano’s Keith McCabe out of there and showed similar timeliness in his no nonsense post-fight call-out.

Richard Kiely lands a punch on Keith McCabe 16/12/2016

As per his gameplan, Kiely timed the early tentative shots from ‘The Butcher’ and took advantage of his opponent’s level change as he slammed a knee into his body, sending McCabe to the mat clutching his midsection.

And the SBG product didn’t miss out on his chance to capitalise with the microphone at his lips as he issued ambitious challenges to the undefeated Michael Page and the veteran Paul Daley.

Maybe he’s not quite there yet but if he carries on the way he did on Friday night, who knows what Kiely’s capable of.