OMMAC: Sass remains undefeated and Murrie causes mayhem with title victory

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(OMMAC IV, an event which crowned a new champion and retained an existing one. OMMAC.TV)

Olympia MMA Championships continues to provide solid fight cards that are home to the crème de la crème of UK MMA as well as some of the most promising up and comers in the country. A slew of Kaobon fighters dominated the card but there were representatives from Rough House, Next Generation, EFR Ireland, Manvers Fight Factory and the Knuckledraggers. The scouse crowd was fiercely in support of the local warriors battling it out in the cage and, as always, it made for an electric atmosphere that set the stage perfectly for the welterweight and lightweight title fights.

Heading up the show in the absence of Paul Cahoon vs. Alex Makhonin was Wayne “Mayhem” Murrie vs. Pete Irving. Both men had some impressive wins on their resume and were looking to cement themselves amongst the elite within the domestic welterweight scene.

The battle for the 170lbs crown was an epic one that went back and forth, with both fighters having their share of success. In the stand-up portion of the fight, former commonwealth Muay Thai champion Murrie showed his pedigree by drilling Irving’s lead leg with kicks, visibly causing damage in an attempt to stifle his takedown attempts. Irving’s shoot was timed well though, and often ended with Murrie being hoisted like a sack of coal over the shoulder of his adversary, hitting the ground with a thud and illustrating Irving’s wrestling ability. The Knuckledragger was rarely able to keep Murrie there, however, and the jostling between positions often saw “Mayhem” end on top or attacking for submissions.

Murrie attacked and came close with a rear naked choke, an inverted triangle and a perilous-looking armbar in the third stanza that he admitted “felt fantastic” but, despite the creaking of Irving’s joints, he managed to hold on and see the fight out until the end. Murrie ended on top, ferociously unleashing elbows and punches. When the bell sounded, the reactions of both men were indicative of what the crowd had seen play out in front of them: a tired Irving got to his feet slowly whilst Murrie celebrated what he anticipated would be the biggest victory of his career to date. The judges agreed and he was crowned the OMMAC British welterweight champion; an accolade he looks forward to retaining.

Although it didn’t top the bill, the crowd hit fever pitch when Paul Sass took to the cage to defend his lightweight title and face Jason Young in a North vs. South battle that lived up to the old adage of ‘striker vs. grappler’. Sass’ submission acumen was never in doubt but Young showed some good takedown defence early to try and stifle the attack of the undefeated Kaobon fighter. Several attempted guard pulls saw Young become frustrated and then Sass locked on a heel hook that Young tried, and failed, to escape – leaving him screaming and tapping furiously. Sass maintained his unblemished record and extended it to 10-0, whilst Young’s reaction proved that he was thoroughly disappointed with his performance after training diligently to avoid the ground game with a man that finished fights there with a 90% success ratio.

The big question surrounding Paul Sass is ‘what next?’ after taking on the cream of the UK’s domestic fighters. Sass seemingly needs to make his way out of Liverpool and seek challenges elsewhere in Europe and internationally. The fighters above him at 155lbs in the UK all fight in the UFC’s Octagon, so what is the next step for the quiet Liverpudlian? The big show could come knocking.

Jay McGuinness stretched his record to 7-2 after dominating with top control over a game Declan Williams. Attempting an armlock from the top, McGuinness fell back only for Williams to escape, but a prompt attack from the bottom saw him end the fight in the first round with an armbar.

Jay Gladden came into his welterweight contest heavily favoured and with an undefeated 6-0 record. Ronan McKay’s unimpressive record isn’t indicative of his ability though, and he gave the Kaobon fighter some stiff jabs to think about, whilst working well off his back following Gladden’s takedowns. As the fight progressed into the second round, McKay took the zero from a second consecutive Kaobon fighter as he locked up an armbar from his back. Gladden was distraught but he will learn from his first loss. The “Kaobon Killer’ McKay picked up an impressive win, but is there someone waiting in the wings to settle the score for the Liverpool gym?

Jay Manning stretched to 4-0 with a relatively one-sided victory over Jason Muldoon. A big takedown landed him in top position and from there he worked diligently to North South, sinking in the choke with less than two minutes having elapsed. Richie Downes landed a quick TKO and semi-pros Louis Jenkins and Pietro Menga also scored wins for Kaobon early on and the gym recorded a 6-1 record on the night.

Other good victories came from Chris Fishgold and Danny Sweeney as the debuting Next Generation fighters showed the grappling skills their team is renowned for by eliciting taps from their respective opponents in the first round.

Mike Wilkinson choked out Neil Spiring in the first and Irishman Michael Reid outlasted Neil Dutson, who was insistent on throwing nothing but bombs for fifteen minutes.

OMMAC is one of the front runners on the UK MMA scene and Chris Zorba continues to push his promotion forward with great production values and stacked fight cards. Look out for OMMAC V when the Olympia gets its next fix of professional MMA action.

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