Ireland’s Straight Blast Gym clinched the inaugural Reign MMA Championship in Dubai over the weekend.
The team, headed up by world renowned coach, John Kavanagh, got the better of MMA Association Poland.
The unique format saw the main card made up of matches pitting fighters from the two teams against each other.
Reign MMA Championship is the brainchild of Core, a production company who brought the World’s Ultimate Strongman event to Dubai last year.
The event was contested by amateurs, but the quality of both the fights and event as a whole was anything but.
Along with hundreds ringside at the Sky Bubble at The Meydan Hotel, more than 10,000 people watched the event through a dedicated livestream.
The main event saw a heavyweight clash between Bartosz Zaczeniuk and Irish prospect Ryan Spillane.
The Corkman looked confident on his feet early on, but then found himself on his back for much of the round as the Polish fighter looked to impose his will on the floor.
After defending well from the bottom position, Spillane was able to sink in a heel hook late in the round and secure an impressive win – topping off a great night for the Irish gym.
Earlier in the night, the promotion broke new ground in holding their first women’s MMA bout – a highly competitive battle between SBG’s Dee Begley and MMA Association Poland’s Barbara Grabowska.
A tough stand-up match ensued, with the Corkwoman taking a unanimous decision – and helping her team on the way to overall victory.
Don Idrees, Owner/CEO at Core Worldwide, was satisfied with the first hosting of the event and is looking forward to what the future holds for the promotion.
“We had a fantastic night of quality fights,” he said.
“The matches were competitive, and entertaining and a huge amount of credit must go to the fighters and their respective teams. John Kavanagh and Martin
Lewandowski brought really strong teams over here, and we very much thank them for that.
“We wanted to show there was an appetite for MMA in Dubai and the reaction to this inaugural event proves there certainly is.”
He is now excited about what the future holds for the fledgling organisation.
“We will unquestionably be holding more events,” he said. “Even before this weekend’s event we have had fighters, coaches, gyms and organisations from all over the world get in touch to discuss future opportunities.
“The professional level of this sport is dominated by a few companies, so we will continue down the amateur route, and with this team versus team format.
“This is an exciting time for sport and entertainment in Dubai and Reign MMA is another part of this.”
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