By Caoilte de Barra
On Friday, September 23, Bellator MMA touchdown in Dublin for a huge night of action in the 3Arena. As usual with the Irish shows, there’s plenty of former IMMAF talent found on the card.
This time around, there are three former IMMAF competitors set to feature on the stacked Bellator 285 card full of high-level talent.
The first of the alumni in action is Asael Adjoudj, who currently trains out of SBG Ireland. The slick striker is highly touted, with John Kavanagh describing him as “one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen” back in 2018. Adjoudj had a glistening amateur career in combat sports, winning national and international titles across multiple sports.
During his IMMAF days, he represented France on two occasions, winning a bronze medal in his second competitive outing. Since going pro, he has been impressive and is currently on a wave of momentum after winning his last three bouts. At Bellator, he will square off with Jordan Barton, his toughest test to date. The bout has fireworks written all over it and is not to be missed.
Kicking off the main card will be fan favourite, Ciaran Clarke. The Drogheda native has competed in Bellator for all of his pro career to date after graduating from the amateur ranks. He was an Irish team mainstay as an amateur and stood out in every competition he entered. After cutting his teeth in the amateur ranks for six years, his hard work is paying off in the pro ranks.
Since going pro, he has not had any easy match-ups and accepted bouts that not a lot of early pros would take. Beating an undefeated Jean N’Doye on the Frenchman’s home turf in only his third outing being a standout. His undefeated record currently sits at 5-0, and a win over Rafael Hudson could earn him a big opportunity as he continues to develop as an athlete.
Last up is Leah McCourt, who faces Dayana Silva two bouts from the top of the card. McCourt went undefeated in the IMMAF ranks, winning gold at the 2015 European Championships, and 2016 World Championships. It was evident from then that she had the potential to thrive as a pro, and she has done just that, defeating the likes of Manon Fiorot and Janay Harding.
McCourt currently sits fifth in the Bellator featherweight rankings and will hope to kickstart a run at the title with a win.
These events never disappoint, and it’s often we see the alumni thriving while the Irish crowd are out in full voice.