Category Archives: James Gallagher

James Gallagher headlines Bellator's return to Dublin vs. Jeremiah Labiano

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Bellator is returning to Ireland this fall, and one of the country’s home-grown up-and-comers will headline the card.

James Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), one of Conor McGregor’s training partners, will take on Jeremiah Labiano (11-5 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) in a featherweight main event when Bellator hosts a Nov. 10 show at 3Arena in Dublin. A promotion official today confirmed the news to MMAjunkie following an initial report from RealSport.com.

The main card will air on Spike following prelims on MMAjunkie, though precise broadcast plans have not been announced. (Past Bellator shows in Europe have aired via tape delay in North America.)

Gallagher will have recently turned 21 when he steps in the cage against Labiano. The brash Irishman stayed perfect so far in his young career when he submitted Chinzo Machida in the first round in the Bellator 180 portion of Bellator NYC in June at Madison Square Garden in New York.

That gave him three straight rear-naked choke submission wins after starting his Bellator tenure with a decision over Mike Cutting. That decision was the lone time he’s gone to the judges in seven fights. All six of his other victories have been choke submissions.

California’s Labiano has back-to-back wins since a rough patch that saw him lose three fights in four outings. This past November at Bellator 165, he took a unanimous decisino from Vince Murdock. And in June, he outpointed Stephen Cervantes in regional competition. Of his wins, a 2014 decision over Tyson Nam is the most notable.

For more on Bellator in Dublin, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie

As an Irishman with a new UFC deal, Joseph Duffy is an endangered species

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As is befitting of the man, news that Irish lightweight Joseph Duffy had signed a new seven-fight UFC deal following a brief spell as a free agent was accompanied by minimal fanfare.

There was no bombast, nor were multiple members of the 155-pound division subjected to impromptu challenges on Twitter, in some transparent attempt to hog a little more of the spotlight while his name was in circulation.

That’s just not Duffy’s way, and it never will be. But, if it were, the UFC may not have allowed the Donegal native to fight out his old contract with a routine win over Reza Madadi at UFC Fight Night 107 in March, and then entertain offers from other promotions before finally tabling the sort of deal he felt deserving of.

Timing also played a significant role in the relatively subdued response to the UFC retaining the services of one of Europe’s most potent combatants.

In the hours after Pete Carroll of MMAFighting.com broke the story of Duffy (19-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC) committing his longterm future to the world’s biggest promotion, another Irishman, Conor McGregor, took to the stage of Barclays Center in Brooklyn to trade insults with Floyd Mayweather. There’s just no competing with that.

Had Duffy not signed on the dotted line, McGregor would have been left as the sole Irish-born fighter established on the UFC roster.

Just two years ago, when Duffy announced himself to the wider MMA audience with a first-round TKO of Jake Lindsey on his promotional debut at UFC 185, that scenario would have been unthinkable.

Irish fighters were ubiquitous among the ranks of the UFC as the first generation from the island bounded in behind McGregor. But now, after a slew of retirements and pink slips, they’re an endangered species.

On reflection, Duffy is somewhat taken aback by the brevity of the Celtic culling, but he’s confident the status quo will be temporary. In typically modest fashion, he also doubted whether his absence would have been keenly felt.

“To be honest, it was strange the way it happened, and it all seemed to happen very quick,” Duffy told MMAjunkie. “You had (Cathal Pendred, Paddy Holohan and Aisling Daly) retiring, and it was just so quick how it all thinned out.

“I’m not sure me leaving would have been too much of a loss because there’s always going to be a lot of talent coming through in Ireland. We love our combat sports, so I’m sure the future is going to be bright for the country.”

Veteran flyweight and Irish MMA icon Neil Seery hung up his gloves following a submission loss to Alexandre Pantoja just under a fortnight ago at UFC Fight Night 113, leaving McGregor as the lone survivor from that famous night at Dublin’s 3Arena in 2014 when Ireland was briefly the epicenter of the MMA universe.

Of course, Russian-born featherweight Artem Lobov, who grew up in Ireland, proudly flies the flag of both countries when he competes, while SBG Ireland team member Gunnar Nelson is a beloved adopted son of the Emerald Isle.

Another SBG man, Charlie Ward, has fought and lost twice under the UFC’s banner, but his UFC stint only materialized due to his connection with McGregor.

Given he has not lived in Ireland since childhood, Duffy was always somewhat of an outlier as an Irish fighting entity, but his connection to home has never waned. In fact, he draws strength from it daily.

“From day one, right back to my Cage Warriors days,” Duffy said, “that’s what my inspiration and drive was. I remember hearing about the bars being full at home with people who were watching the Cage Warriors live streams. That spurred me on even more.

“Every training camp, I remember the thoughts of people sitting in the bar watching the fight and everyone who traveled over, and that’s always been one of my inspirations. And that’s not to even mention all the fans from Wales and England who have followed me. It all means a lot to me.”

The son of a fisherman, Duffy was born close to the fishing village of Burtonport on the untamed but beautiful northwest coast of Ireland.

When the fishing industry began to dry up there, his father followed his uncle to work as tunneller in Wales. When Duffy was nine months old, the entire family made the move.

The Duffys returned to Ireland for a time when Joseph was small child, before returning to Wales, while family vacations to Donegal were frequent.

As such, Duffy was, in some people’s eyes, neither quite Irish or Welsh. But he knew exactly who he was.

“Since I was a kid, I was never one to follow the click or the bubble,” Duffy said.” Living in Wales and being Irish, I didn’t fit in there. Then coming home after living in Wales, there were people who wouldn’t consider me Irish.

“But if you let that all bother you, you’ll get nothing done. I was always proud of being Irish, right the way through school, and all my friends knew it very well. I’ve still got all my friends from Donegal, the ones I grew up with.”

In total, beginning with Tom Egan at UFC 93, and concluding with Ward’s loss at the hands of Galore Bofando, also at UFC Fight 133 in Glasgow, a total of 10 Irish-born fighters have fought in the UFC.

And every one of them has been supported with a manic fervor by their compatriots, which is a hallmark of the Irish sports fan; they rarely do half measures. In that respect, Duffy is proud to be native athlete they can rally around.

“No matter what sport it is, the Irish fans have always proved themselves and their support is always incredible,” he said. “The Irish fans will always get behind the likes of Gunnar Nelson and Artem Lobov, so it’s almost like there are more of us.

“You see it when Conor fights, with the amount of them that turn up. It would have been a bit of shame for the Irish fans to have nobody to get behind if Conor did decide to knock it on the head.”

Although McGregor has said he will return to MMA to defend his UFC lightweight title in December, his projected windfall for the boxing match with Mayweather next month is such that might he think otherwise.

Should that be the case, Duffy will be, for the time being at least, the last Irishman standing in the UFC, while over in Bellator, James Gallaghershould continue to make waves.

Training at the Tristar gym under Firas Zahabi and Eric O’Keefe, Duffy has been a resident of Montreal for more than two years. And while his skills are being honed in Canada, it’s Ireland where Duffy finds the fuel to compete.

“Before a camp, I try to get home,” Duffy said. “Because, when I go home and speak to people, and hear how much it means to them, it reminds me of that. That’s the difficult part, because when you’re away from it, sometimes you can forget.

“Some of the things people say to me is such a motivation, and I remember those words all through camp. If you’re having a bad session or things aren’t going your way, it those words you think of to push you on. And they were some of the people who really motivated me to do well.”

After defeating Ivan Gorge via first-round submission in his sophomore promotional appearance at UFC Fight Night 72 in Glasgow, Duffy took a trip back to Donegal to catch up with friends and family. What awaited him was a gesture he’ll never forget.

“I remember going home just after the Glasgow fight, and my cousins surprised me up the town, and lot of people from the town came out to welcome me home,” he said. “Then my best friend organized something for me after a festival that was going on, so home has always meant a great deal to me.”

At 29 and with his professional future secure, Duffy feels a sense of urgency about getting back in the cage and resuming his ascent through arguably the most exacting division in the sport.

And, just on the off-chance a reminder to do was required, he’s had plenty of prompting from the green hoards.

“The Irish fans on social media have been nagging me to get more active, and I haven’t been able to because I’ve been working on my game, but now I want to start putting on shows for those guys,” Duffy said.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 180 winner James Gallagher: 'I've got everything to be the greatest fighter of all time'

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

NEW YORK – James Gallagher continued to live up to the hype on Saturday when he added another win to his undefeated record with a first-round submission of Chinzo Machida at Bellator 180.

Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA), who is just 20, made quick work of Machida (5-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) in their featherweight bout at Bellator 180, which aired on Spike prior to the Bellator NYC pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Irish fighter, who is a teammate of UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, is not short on confidence. He speaks boldly and has backed it up thus far, with the fight against Machida being his most significant.

Gallagher believes he’s the future of the sport, but said not to assign him the tag of being a “new-era” fighter.

“They all know I’m coming,” Gallagher said after his win. “It’s only a matter of time. I’m young. I’m hungry. I’ve got everything. I’ve got the team behind me. I’ve got the family to support me. I’ve got that motivation like no one else. All these guys are on their way out. I’m only getting started.

“I hear everyone say I’m the new era of the young guys coming up, but I’m not. I kind of get offended when I hear that because I’m a break off from that. Everyone in the new era is on (one) path. I’m going this way. I’m different. I’m not the same as anyone in here.”

Despite the near-flawless performance, Gallagher said there’s room for improvement going forward. He dominated a fighter who is double his age, but will still have more to prove as he faces increasingly challenging competition. He has no doubt he will thrive on any stage against any opponent, and said when his career comes to a wrap, he plans to go down as one of the best to ever compete.

“I’m young – I’ve got time, I’ve got everything,” Gallagher said. “I’ve got the mindset, I’ve got the skill set, I’ve got the youth and I’ve got everything to be the greatest fighter of all time, and that’s exactly what I’m going to be.”

Still young in his career, Gallagher has been criticized for trying to mimic the personality traits and brash persona of his teammate McGregor. He said that’s simply not true, but he’s happy to accept the comparisons to the UFC champ, who is scheduled to fight Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match on Aug. 26.

“Conor knocks everyone out with a straight left hand; I take everyone down and choke them with rear-naked chokes,” Gallagher said. “That’s nothing like Conor. But being compared to one of the greatest fighters of all time, the greatest fighter in history, the one that’s going to knock Floyd Mayweather out cold, I’ll take that all day long.”

During his post-fight interview Gallagher called out current Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Freire. “Pitbull” immediately responded on Twitter with a strong message.

Gallagher was asked for a response, and to the surprise of no one, he wasn’t shy in providing one.

“Tell him to come on – try it,” Gallagher said. “Tell him to bring his belt with him, because I’m going to take it.”

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 180 highlights: Ryan Bader edges Phil Davis for title; James Gallagher wrecks Chinzo Machida

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

Check out the highlights from Saturday’s Bellator 180 card, which featured three fights and aired on Spike before the Bellator NYC pay-per-view main card.

In the featured prelim at Madison Square Garden in New York, Phil Davis (17-4 MMA, 4-1 BMMA) dropped the Bellator light-heavyweight title to Ryan Bader (23-5 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) via split decision.

Additionally, brash Irish featherweight James Gallagher (7-0 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) ran through Chinzo Machida (5-3 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) to pick up a first-round submission win, and pro boxer Heather Hardy (1-0 MMA, 1-0 BMMA) made a successful MMA debut after scoring a third-round TKO victory over flyweight Alice Yauger (4-6 MMA, 0-2 BMMA).

Check out the highlights above.

And for complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator 180's James Gallagher eyeing title: 'I'm not here to just be this young, cocky kid'

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Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos

NEW YORK – At just 20 years old, James Gallagher is ready to take the fight world by storm.

Gallagher (6-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), a teammate of UFC champion Conor McGregor, may be somewhat green as a professional, but he has an extensive amateur background and believes he is well beyond his years as a competitor.

He faces Chinzo Machida (5-2 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) on Saturday at Bellator 180, which takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City prior to the Bellator NYC pay-per-view. It’s his biggest fight to date, but Gallagher said he’s been ready for the spotlight since he quit school at 15.

“This is where I belong,” Gallagher told MMAjunkie. “I don’t belong anywhere else. Why shouldn’t I be comfortable here? This is what I do. This is what I love to do and what I strive off. A lot of people think that just because I’m young and on such a big stage that I should be uncomfortable and this kind of thing. This is what I strive for, this is what I love to do. I don’t want to be anywhere else but here.

“When I was 15 years old, that’s when I decided this is what I want to do. I had 10 amateur fights and I was at school and I hated school. I wasn’t good at school and I was getting bad grades. … I just couldn’t do it anymore and wanted to get out and just wanted to train. Then I quit school when I was 15. I told my parents, ‘I can’t do this any more, but I can do (MMA).’ No one in Ireland was in the UFC at the time. There was no set path or anything like this. I told them I would work hard at this.”

Gallagher credits his parents for supporting him when he bailed from school and decided to follow a career in martial arts. Thus far, it’s paid off. “The Strabanimal” has put together six consecutive wins to start his pro career, including three under the Bellator banner.

Machida, the brother of former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, is Gallagher’s most challenging opponent to date. He brings a karate-based style which can be a complicated riddle for many foes to solve. Gallagher said he’s not worried about that, though, because he intends on making Machida figure him out, and not the other way around.

“I have a tough opponent in front of me, but he’s limited,” Gallagher said. “He moves back and forward in straight lines and he’s just got that one style. I’ve got it all. I’ve got the striking, I’ve got the clinch, I’ve got the ground, I’ve got the in-close boxing, and I’ve got the distance fighting. I’ve got that karate style, as well. I can do all that. I started off doing karate. I feel I’ve got it all, where he’s got that one style.”

Gallagher hopes his fight at Bellator 180 will help catapult him up the featherweight pecking order. He is the youngest fighter in the division, but already feels as if he’s the best. Gallagher is ready to be fast tracked into a championship showdown with Patricio Freire as soon as possible, he just hopes that Bellator has the same confidence in him as he has in himself.

“I’ll fight for the belt tonight if they give it to me,” Gallagher said. “I wanted that belt when I first signed with Bellator and I made it clear. That’s what I want. I’m not here to just be this young, cocky kid. I don’t give a (expletive) about all that. I’m coming here to win fights and make statements and that’s what I’m coming here to do and preparing to do. I want the belt. That’s what my goal is.”

For more on Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, Featured Videos, News, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

Bellator NYC pre-event facts: Wanderlei Silva's return backed by strong numbers

The biggest event in Bellator history takes place Saturday when the promotion touches down in New York City for the first time with Bellator NYC and Bellator 180 at Madison Square Garden.

The Bellator NYC lineup, which features two title fights and airs on pay-per-view, is headlined by one of MMA’s most heated grudge matches when Chael Sonnen (28-15-1 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) finally meets former PRIDE champ Wanderlei Silva (35-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) in the light-heavyweight headliner.

Bellator NYC’s PPV lineup follows a four-fight offering on Spike, which is headlined by a light heavyweight title rematch. Current titleholder Phil Davis(17-3 MMA, 4-0 BMMA) puts his belt on the line against Ryan Bader (22-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who edged “Mr. Wonderful” by split decision under the UFC banner in January 2015.

For more on the numbers behind Bellator’s most stacked fight card to date, check out 30 pre-event facts for Bellator NYC and Bellator 180.

* * * *

Main event

Chael Sonnen

Sonnen enters the event with just one victory in his past five fight dating back to July 2012. His lone victory in that stretch came against Mauricio Rua at UFC Fight Night 26 in August 2013.

Sonnen has suffered 14 of his 15 career losses by stoppage.

Silva, 40, is the oldest of the 18 fighters scheduled to compete at Bellator NYC and Bellator 180.

Silva returns to competition for the first time since March 3, 2013. The 1,574-day layoff is the longest of his more than 20-year career.

Silva competes outside the UFC or PRIDE FC organizations for the first time since August 2000.

Silva’s 40 appearances in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce competition are tied with Dan Henderson for most in combined organizational history.

Silva’s 27 victories in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce competition are the most in combined organizational history.

Silva’s 20 stoppage victories in UFC/WEC/PRIDE/Strikeforce competition are second most in combined organizational history behind Mirko Filipovic (21).

Silva has alternated wins and losses over his past six fights. He defeated Brian Stann by knockout in his most recent bout at UFC on FUEL TV 8 in March 2013.

Co-main event

Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Emelianenko (36-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is 2-0 since he returned from retirement in December 2015.

All of Matt Mitrione’s (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) career bouts have come under the Bellator or UFC banner.

Mitrione has earned 10 of his 11 career victories by stoppage.

Mitrione has earned all 10 of his career stoppage victories by knockout.

Remaining main card

Douglas Lima

Douglas Lima (28-6 MMA, 10-2 BMMA) competes in his 12th Bellator welterweight bout, tied with Andrey Koreshkov for the most appearances in divisional history.

Lima’s nine victories in Bellator welterweight competition are tied with ex-champ Ben Askren for second most in divisional history behind Koreshkov (10).

Lima has earned 24 of his 28 career victories by stoppage.

Lima’s seven stoppage victories in Bellator welterweight competition are most in divisional history.

Lima’s eight knockout victories in Bellator competition are most in company history.

Lima’s seven knockout victories in Bellator welterweight competition are most in divisional history.

Lorenz Larkin (18-5 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) is 4-1 since he dropped to the welterweight division in January 2015.

Larkin has earned all three of his welterweight stoppage victories by knockout.

Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler (16-3 MMA, 13-3 BMMA) competes in his 17th Bellator bout, tied for the second most appearances in company history behind David Rickels (18).

Chandler competes in his ninth Bellator title fight, the most in company history.

Chandler’s five Bellator title-fight victories are tied with Eduardo Dantas and Askren for most in company history. His three title-fight loses are most in company history.

Chandler’s 13 victories in Bellator competition are second most in company history behind Patricio Freire (14).

Chandler’s 10 stoppage victories in Bellator competition are tied with Freire for most in company history.

Brent Primus’ (7-0 MMA, 5-0 BMMA) five-fight Bellator winning streak in lightweight competition is tied with Adam Piccolotti for the longest active streak in the division.

Bellator 180 main card

Phil Davis

Davis’ four-fight winning streak in Bellator light-heavyweight competition is the longest active streak in the division.

Bader makes his Bellator debut following a UFC tenure in which he made 20 light-heavyweight appearances, the most in company history.

Bader enters the event with seven victories in his past eight fights. The lone defeat in that stretch came against Anthony Johnson at UFC on FOX 18 in January 2016.

Bader owns a split-decision victory over Davis at UFC on FOX 14 in January 2015.

James Gallagher

James Gallagher (6-0 MMA, 3-0 BMMA), 20, is the youngest of the 18 fighters scheduled to compete at Bellator NYC and Bellator 180.

Heather Hardy (0-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), a professional boxing standout, makes her MMA debut at the event.

For complete coverage of Bellator NYC and Bellator 180, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

Filed under: Bellator, News
Source: MMA Junkie