BAMMA 23: Night of Champions Preview and Predictions

BAMMA 23: Night of Champions takes place live from the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, England on Nov. 14, the main card is home to four title fights. BAMMA 23 poster BAMMA 23 is one of the best card's in BAMMA's short history as there are four title fights on the main card and an array of talent on the preliminary card. I said that BAMMA 21 could be BAMMA's best card, then I said that BAMMA 22 could be their best card, and now I'm saying BAMMA 23 could top them both; that's how you know BAMMA matchmaker Jude Samuel is getting it right. If this card is to top BAMMA 22, it will need to live up to all expectations. BAMMA 22 was the first event BAMMA had ever held in Ireland, and they entered with a bang. 19 fights took place at BAMMA 22 and only four went to the judges. BAMMA 23: Night of Champions was originally headlined by a Heavyweight Championship fight between current champion Mark Godbeer and BAMMA newcomer Ruben Wolf, but after Godbeer pulled out and was replaced by Thomas Denham, that fight was changed to an interim title tilt and moved to the opening bout on the main card. The new headliner is an explosive Lightweight title bout between Martin Stapleton and Gavin Sterritt. '50 Cal' and 'Warhorse' will fight for three rounds and one man will end up with the lightweight strap which is currently vacant. In the co-main event, 'King' Ed Arthur will attempt to defend his Bantamweight strap against Shay Walsh. The third fight on the main card is between Marcin 'Bane' Lazarz and Paul Craig. Lazarz will attempt to defend his BAMMA Light Heavyweight title. The first official title fight of the night includes Rany Saadeh and Shaj 'Superman' Haque. Saadeh will attempt to defend his BAMMA Flyweight Title. As I mentioned earlier, the opening fight on the main card is an Interim Heavyweight Championship fight between Thomas Denham and Ruben Wolf. Martin Stapleton vs. Gavin Sterritt - BAMMA Lightweight Championship Martin Stapleton is coming off one of the most impressive knockouts of his career which took place at BAMMA 19. Stapleton showed his quick hands and iron chin in his war with Jeremy Petley before landing a vicious head kick in the final round and ending the fight. Stapleton (16-4 MMA, 2-0 BAMMA) has had top level experience, going 0-3 in his stint with Bellator. His opponent, Gavin Sterritt, has also fought for Bellator, but the difference being, Sterritt (6-1 MMA, 0-0 BAMMA) went 2-0 in the promotion. "Warhorse" lost his first ever pro bout via submission before putting together a six fight win streak, most recently submitting Mike Estus at Bellator 114. Although I haven't watched much of Sterritt, I'm pretty confident he likes to get the fight to the ground and submit his opponent. Why do I think this? Because 'Warhorse' has four submissions in six wins. I think this will be a close fight but ultimately I see Gavin Sterritt securing a decision victory and walking away with the BAMMA lightweight championship. Ed Arthur vs. Shay Walsh - BAMMA Bantamweight Championship This fight is undoubtedly my main event, and I'm pretty sure it's everybody else's main event. 'King' Ed Arthur (6-0 MMA, 4-0 BAMMA) has had the majority of his fights in BAMMA, and has finished every opponent he has faced in the promotion. Arthur has finished five of his six wins and is deadly both on the feet and on the ground but I think Shay Walsh is going to take this fight. Walsh (13-3 MMA, 3-0 BAMMA) has more than double the amount of experience of Ed Arthur and has undoubtedly fought more talented opponents. Walsh's only legitimate losses have come to UFC veteran Andy Ogle and team mate of Conor McGregor, Artem Lobov. The other loss Walsh suffered was against Andrew Fisher; the doctor stopped the fight as Walsh had a broken jaw. Another factor in this fight is Arthur's lay off, the Englishman hasn't fought since BAMMA 20 in April whereas Walsh last fought at BAMMA 21 in June. Yes, it's only two moths but time is a huge thing in MMA. As I mentioned earlier, this is my main event, and I think Shay Walsh will walk away with the BAMMA Bantamweight Title after picking up a unanimous decision victory. Marcin Lazarz vs. Paul Craig - BAMMA Light Heavyweight Championship This is probably the fight that I am least excited for on this main card, but that doesn't mean it won't be fun. Both of these men are relatively unexperienced, as Lazarz has a record of 8-1 and Craig has a record of 7-0. Craig last fought at BAMMA 22 and put on an impressive performance, submitting Karl Moore in the second round. The BAMMA Light Heavyweight Champion, Marcin Lazarz last fought at BAMMA 20 when he took home a unanimous decision victory over Brett McDermott. While Lazarz is a decision heavy fighter, he does look for the finish, and that's what I think will be his downfall in this fight. I think Lazarz will get frustrated and go in for the kill, and I believe 'Bearjew' will be smart enough to get him to the ground and pick up a submission victory. Rany Sadeeh vs. Shaj Haque - BAMMA Flyweight Championship  I expect these flyweights to do what flyweights do. I believe this fight should be a fast paced, fun fight. Sadeeh (6-1 MMA, 3-0 BAMMA) is currently the champion and is undefeated in BAMMA but he is definitely not in for an easy fight here. Haque (7-1 MMA, 0-0 BAMMA) is making his BAMMA debut and alreedy has a title shot, that should tell you how good of a fighter he is. 'Superman' has won all seven of his pro bouts but has never finished a fight. Sadeeh has three knockout wins in six victories so we know he has some serious power, and on Saturday night I think he will showcase that power. I expect Haque to go in the and look for a points win, but get tagged early and get put away. Thomas Denham vs. Stuart Austin - Interim Lonsdale Heavyweight Championship This fight was originally supposed to be a Heavyweight Championship fight between Mark Godbeer and Ruben Wolf, but Godbeer pulled out of the fight. He was replaced by Thomas Denham. Denham vs. Wolf looked like it was certain to happen, but just hours ago, on the day on the weigh ins, it was announced that there was a problem with the passport of one of Ruben Wolf's coaches and he pulled out of the fight. The fight was not called off, though, as Stuart Austin saved the day and agreed to fight Thomas Denham on short notice. Austin was supposed to fight Paul Taylor on the preliminary card but Taylor pulled out of the fight due to a stomach bug. This fight should be very fun, but I don't think it will last very long. I can see both guys being tentative early but after a few minutes I expect Stuart Austin to land a few big shots and put Thomas Denham away.

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