This is a city I am almost desperately looking forward to visiting. It’s looking like Spring of 2020 for me right now. I’ll have to check the Bellator and UFC calendars because I would love to catch an event while I’m out there.
Irish MMA fans are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate in the world.
When you speak about Dublin or Irish mixed martial arts, the loud left-handed elephant in the room cannot be ignored.
Every time he fights in Vegas, the Irish make the trip not only across the pond but the plains and Rockies as well to see their countryman Conor McGregor fight in “Las Dublin”.
I’m not certain on the number of Celtic fans that make the trek but it’s in the thousands.
Even if I didn’t have tickets to the show, I loved to go down to The Strip, join in on the green parade while doing my best Patty’s Day impression. We all have a little Irish in us, right?
Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world. Living there and attending the events was some of the most fun I’ve had in my life but down-deep in my gut, I know an event in Dublin, Ireland would be better.
Just have a look at this. C-Mac had but two fights inside the Octagon but his star was bright in the Irish sky long before he became an icon worldwide.
Sinéad O'Connor x The Notorious B.I.G 🔥
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) September 28, 2018
In my experience with the Irish fans, you get a rare hybrid of passion and acceptance.
I can think of another “green” fan base from the city of “Brotherly Love” that isn’t so inclusive to the enemy.
This week, we, of course, won’t be seeing “The Notorious” Conor McGregor in action but a couple of his teammates will be featured on the main card.
If you’re familiar with Mac’s Instagram, though, you’ll recognize Peter Queally who’s coming in as a 2 to 1 underdog opposite England’s Ryan Scope.
In the co-main event is another member of Straight Blast Gym under the tutelage of John Kavanaugh will be a heavy favorite against Roman Salazar.
Also on the main card is a man by the name of Michael “Venom” Page. If you have never seen this man fight, you’re in for a treat. If you’re the man who will be standing across the Bellator cage from him this weekend, be ready for some tricks.
The main event features a long time UFC veteran Benson Henderson taking on gym warrior Myles Jury who has still yet to live up to expectations.
Friday night should be a load of fun, yeah?
5:05 Eastern is the standard time.
BetOnline has the odds for us this week.
Ryan Scope (-275) vs Peter Queally (+215)
As much as my emotions would like to ride this Irish wagon I’ve painted for you guys thus far, betting against Ryan Scope in this situation may be rather ill-advised.
He fought Patricky “Pitbull” Friere less than a year ago in just his first time inside the Bellator cage. It was in front of his home country which added even more pressure for the 27-year-old.
It was a close fight where we saw Scope hurt “Pitbull” early with calf kicks and finish the fight while in the process of mounting his opponent.
Ryan showed great all-around skills and excellent scrambling ability in the matchup. I expect to see an even better Englishman in his second fight under the Bellator banner.
I love Scope’s style. Maybe, it’s because I like some of the same techniques myself but the difference is, he is much more effective.
“Big Baby” throws a nice lead right hand. It did get him in trouble a couple of fights ago against a tough Frenchman for the BAMMA Lightweight Title when he was countered with a looping left hook. He showed his conditioning, toughness, and composure, though, as he had his opponent in an armbar, less than a minute later.
His lead left body and high kick is another one of his favorite weapons I love. We all can’t be Edson Barboza and switch our feet faster than a buttered bullet leaving the chamber.
I don’t mind the sacrifice of power here. It is much easier to time someone throwing it from the lead position and it is your closest and longest weapon.
Shoutout to Bruce Lee!
Whenever a boxer blades his stance, he is a sucker for this one. You can go to the head or the body. Sometimes, the liver isn’t there because of the sideways stance but it thwacks across the breadbasket which is just as effective at times.
What about Mr. Queally? Is he another Conor McGregor Karate/boxing stylist?
He is just that. Watching him fight is quite like watching “Notorious” thrown down, albeit not at that level but still impressive.
Peter also like a quick lead leg kick to the head. He will be the fighter circling on the outside, straddling that black line or warning track as I like to call it, and using various angles to attack Scope.
Expect stance switches and spinning heel kicks. Quealy is the bigger man with the longer reach.
I just took a break from typing to watch the weigh-ins and these two just had a gentleman’s agreement to “not cut weight” and fight at 170 pounds instead of at lightweight.
In my opinion, this is a mistake from the Englishman who is a natural lightweight and Peter is more of a 165er.
This evens the fight up a bit. I like Scope’s game but he plods while the Irishman uses a great amount of movement, angles, and stances.
This fight will likely be closer than the odds suggest and I can’t lay (-275) on a guy who will mostly be relying on a jab and a cross against a fighter that will have the edge in range and footwork.
If he liked to stalk and/or stay in the pocket, he would be a sucker for Scope’s excellent jab and lead right hand. Queally could still get caught but he’s a live dog in this one.
Michael Page (-1000) vs Richard Kiely (+625)
Here’s a look at some of “Venom’s” KO’s. He literally cracked the skull of Cyborg Santos with a flying knee. His timing and speed are second to none.
I have to say, though, that this line might be a little off. I was skeptical to even cover this fight but after watching some tape on Kiely, this is a very interesting stylistic matchup for Page.
Kiely’s style is quite similar to Page if that’s even possible.
He likes to bounce around almost taekwondo-style and fire fast hands when he steps in, when his opponent steps to him or better yet, when both happen simultaneously.
Kiely has very heavy hands and Page does nothing to the effect of ever keeping his hands up.
When you have two men, though, who have the same style and one is better, it usually spells trouble for the “lesser” fighter because there isn’t much of a plan B.
Kiely hasn’t shown he is a strong grappler but I promise you, this will be a standup battle.
Page comes from a family of kickboxers. His father was a legend as well as two of his sisters.
Michael had better hope his game works on the Irishman because he doesn’t have a plan B either.
If you want to throw a few dollars down on the dog here just for kicks, go ahead. He has heavy heavy hands with good speed as well.
He’s an experienced kickboxer who is not short on words or confidence and Michael couldn’t care less about exposing his chin.
The most important thing is DO NOT MISS THIS FIGHT. Somebody is going to sleep.
James Gallagher (-450) vs Roman Salazar (+350)
Galagher is our third SBG product we’re covering today trained by John Cavanaugh.
He is different, though, in that he loves to submit his opponents as opposed to the cat and mouse game of Conor or Queally.
Gallagher has been getting a major push from the organization for a while now.
Salazar, it should be noted, is a very late replacement and has a record of 13-9.
He’s lost 3 out of his last 4 fights.
Take his last 5 wins- his opponents have a combined record of 47-38.
That’s not high level at all.
It’s not a matter of will James get the W here but when and how.
I wish those odds were available but no dice.
Benson Henderson (-280) vs Myles Jury (+220)
What a skill set on this guy and he had some real hype amongst the hardcores when he hit The Ultimate Fighter house.
His resume isn’t that bad, though. I just think he’s mostly a gym warrior. If you guys aren’t familiar with that title, it’s someone who performs much better in the gym than they do in fights.
If you’re a martial artist first and secondly a pro fighter, there’s nothing wrong with that.
After losing a split decision to Al Iaquinta on the show, Myles went on to win 5 straight in the UFC including victories over Diego Sanchez and Michael Johnson.
Then he ran into Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
That didn’t go well but at least he went the distance with the dangerous striker.
My Muay Thai coach at the time in Las Vegas was paid by Jury to help him prepare for this fight with Cowboy. I was surprised to hear this because I had seen Cowboy in our gym countless times sparring on Saturdays or just coming in after-hours if he had a fight in town that week.
After Cowboy schooled him on the feet, I witnessed an exchange with him and my coach the next time he was in the gym. Cerrone just laughed and said “You like that?” and coach responded with “Once I started moving around with him, I knew what was going to happen.”
There’s a UFC video of this on YouTube so I’m not telling any secrets here.
They both know business is business.
After that fight, Jury lost to three studs and beat a couple of journeymen.
He is coming off of a 7-month break and this is his first fight for Bellator.
His opponent has been there and done that. You name the organization, the fighters, the belts.
“Bendo” has nothing left to prove to anybody but I’m sure something still to himself.
Has Benson seen his best days, though?
He immediately jumped into the Bellator fire when he fought Andrey Koreshkev, Patricio Pitbull, Michael Chandler, and Patricky Pitbull. He won one of those fights against Patricio by leg injury from a checked kick.
Some fans don’t consider that a legit victory but some fans don’t know spit about fighting.
We are playing a game of bone into soft tissue and at times it’s big bone versus little bone.
I hate to see it but a leg kick to the sciatic nerve can actually lay you down momentarily. You can’t blame Ben for defending it well.
Henderson went on to win three straight, albeit with a giant step back in competition.
- Henderson’s losses in Bellator were against men stronger than him and he’s no slouch.
- Jury is not that guy. He is long and lean but still not skinny.
- Myles is good all-around but excels on the mat with his BJJ blackbelt.
- Sticky note-Jury has been fighting down at featherweight lately and this contest will be back up at ‘55.
(-280) is pushing it, Ben gets it done with his takedown defense. Jury just isn’t a strong striker with notable power and his wrestling game is, eh.
That usually leaves him on an MMA island where he will likely get out-pointed by the high fight IQ veteran.
Benson is the smarter fighter and has more heart but age, skill, and length will not be on his side.
Dublin will be live Friday night!
The atmosphere inside the 3Arena is going to be absolutely electric!
Conor McGregor will probably be in attendance watching several of his teammates throw down.
We previewed three of them today, two of which are underdogs but all dangerous.
Normally, heavy Bellator favorites are easy money but I don’t know about this card.
Venom Page’s opponent is different than any guy we’ve seen him fight. Kiely doesn’t look the part but he puts guys to sleep with one shot.
Michael will need to be careful here but that’s just not who he is.
Maybe he learned something from his KO loss to Lima but we will see.
Gallagher should be money and I like the SBG product Queally’s variance in his striking against primarily a plodding smaller boxer.
Enjoy the show, team!
Let’s hope that your neighborhood pub has a nice satellite and you can enjoy the fireworks with a happy hour at 5 PM Eastern.