On Top Promotions debut MMA event was a resounding success, with several outstanding fights and performances for fans to behold. Victors Robert Whiteford and Ryan Scope produced particularly praiseworthy showings.
In a much-anticipated fight rescheduled from SFC 2, Whiteford fought Gladitorial Combat’s Davie Galbraith, winning via a brutal knockout in the second round. After a fairly even first round that Whiteford edged, his strategy came to fruition with stunning effects in the second round, when he landed a takedown and several unanswered blows straight to Galbraith’s temple to end the fight.
Whiteford was quick to praise his new team (he recently moved from Highland Territory to the Dinky Ninjas Fight Team), saying: “Everything I showed out there was stuff they taught me, I couldn’t ask for a better team. I had a game-plan coming into the fight and I stuck to it. I’m surprised I managed to get the stoppage, I had prepared for a 15-minute war.”
18-year-old Ryan Scope of Spartans MMA also looked fantastic in victory, gaining a 2nd round TKO victory over talented Dinky Ninja fighter Scott Ward. The young 170-pounder Scope moved his professional record to 4-0 with the victory, which he gained through some outstanding groundwork against the bigger Ward.
The first round was an exciting battle with Scope attempting multiple armbars, omoplatas and triangles. After a second-round takedown Scope was able to force the stoppage by reigning a barrage of shots down on Ward.
The undefeated prospect commented: “That’s the hardest opponent I’ve fought so far. My strategy was to keep the fight standing, but once I got in there I had some problems with his reach and had to take it to ground. I’m delighted to get the win.”
The main event of On Top, from the Kerrydale Suite at Celtic Park, saw two of Europe’s top ten Bantamweights go back-and-forth to a split draw decision, with judges scoring the fight 29-29, 29-28 Hamrsmid and 30-27 Doolan.
Hamrsmid was able to take Doolan down in every round, where a stalemate ensued as Hamrsmid couldn’t progress beyond Doolan’s guard, and Doolan couldn’t return to his feet. The Czech, with 20 wins to his name, controlled the fight from top position throughout, save for the second round when Doolan was able to take his back at the mid-way point.
Both fighters struggled to land any serious blows on the ground, although Doolan was able to open a cut on Hamrsmid, likely from one of countless elbows he threw from the bottom.
The scoring of the fight has been the subject of controversy, with cases being made for both fighters as victors dependant on what criteria you judge by. Hamrsmid was certainly able to control where the fight took place and stayed busy on top, without ever threatening to finish the fight.
Amidst throwing elbows, Doolan attempted many submissions, although also never seriously looked like ending the fight. In retrospect most would probably agree a draw was a fair result, although the scoring of the bout 30-27 to Doolan by one judge was perplexing by whatever criteria you judge by.
Other fights on the card saw Middleweight Dinky Ninja Allan Love defeat John Gillies of Body Fuel by submission. Love said: “You’ve got to be happy any time you win inside two minutes. That’s how I expected the fight to go, I did what I had to do and got the win.”
Love accepted the fight despite his opponent missing weight, and made quick work of his inexperienced opponent, who had just one pro fight before this outing.
The superior experience and ground-skills of Love were abundantly evident as he outclassed his opponent with relative ease before locking in an armbar from an unusual angle. Love also outclassed his opponent post-fight, as Gillies left the cage immediately and threw his mouthguard at a nearby table.
A far more even fight was Graham Armstrong against Gary Ward. In his pro debut, Ward looked excellent in the first round, dropping his opponent first with a powerful leg kick then a straight right later on. He won the first round, but when he followed his opponent to the ground, it was clear Armstrong was the more impressive grappler.
That became more evident in the next two rounds, where Armstrong gained trip and throw takedowns and controlled Ward throughout, exhibiting great posture to retain control and prevent Ward attempting a submission. Although the unanimous decision went to Armstrong, Ward showed great potential and the fight was one of the best of the night.
Sadly the same cannot be said for Marcos Nardini’s Featherweight fight with Oliver Pastor. Nardini (1-0 pre-fight), an adopted Scot of Brazilian heritage, took the far more experienced Pastor (10-5 pre-fight) to the ground with ease, but struggled to pass the very effective half-guard of the Frenchman.
Pastor showed why he doesn’t have a submission loss on his record, as Nardini wasn’t able to finish even once in side and back control in the later rounds. Despite not entertaining the fans, Nardini should be pleased with a dominating display where he never looked like being challenged.
The English duo of Scott Jansen and Nathan Thompson were more entertaining as expected, with Jansen gaining the first-round victory via tapout to strikes. None of Thompson’s fights have gone to the second-round, and his record now stands at 2-14.
The first two fights of the evening were relatively short affairs. Sean Wright, a very accomplished Muay Thai fighter, defeated Kyle Cassidy by TKO to ground and pound in round one. Cassidy took the fight on one day’s notice, and should be credited with putting up a valiant effort until Wright took the fight to the ground and started landing elbows.
Fighters Hive fighter Darren Gilchrist’s match had barely started when he guillotined choked his opponent, Peter Smith of South Shields MMA, who looked remarkably young to be fighting professionally.
For On Top’s debut event, this was an exceptional Scottish MMA card with entertaining fights aplenty. Also, notable Scottish fighters John Cullen and John Quinn were both forced off the card at late notice, showing how great it potentially could have been. Quinn was particularly disappointed given that his opponent Colin Fletcher was forced to withdraw on the day of the fight, citing severe sickness.
8-1 Quinn said: “It’s indescribable how gutted I am, but Fletcher is a legitimate guy, he’s not faking it. This was my first scheduled fight in 7 months, after my first loss and knee surgery, and I was looking forward to getting back in there.”
Quinn is now expected to fight sometime in April, possibly on a Cage Warriors show.
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