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Fans Leave Dejected After Bellator Dublin With Room For Optimism

Fans Leave Dejected After Bellator Dublin With Room For Optimism
By Jonathan Byrne Updated
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Jonathan Byrne reporting live from Bellator 270 at the 3Arena in Dublin.

Irish MMA fans were left reminiscing on brighter days spent in Dublin's 3Arena after Friday night. Many left the venue with a visible air of disappointment.

Witnessing Brazilian Patricky 'Pitbull' Freire have the Bellator lightweight strapped around his waist was enough to send thousands into the stairwells and hallways.

It was a night of some highs, but mostly lows. When Irish MMA enthusiasts show up to an event such as Bellator 270, the expectations now reach a highpoint.

Tales of the infamous night of 'The Fighting Irish' in July 2014 are there to be replicated. Main event wins for James Gallagher and Leah McCourt follow suit.

But Friday night gone by was meant to be the homecoming of Waterford native Peter Queally. An MMA veteran that many resonated with in his hard graft to the top.

As mentioned above, it was a night of some highs. Rising Irish strawweight Danni Neilan continued her impressive run under the Bellator banner with a finish early on.


Drogheda man Ciaran Clarke overcame an intense grappling affair with Englishman Jordan Barton to finish off the preliminary bouts on the night.

The main card saw SBG trained Pedro Carvalho, originally from Portugal, receive a warm welcome and subsequent celebration as he got the better of veteran Daniel Weichel.

Reaching A Peak

Despite Irish success earlier in the card, the tickets were sold on the basis of two men in the main and co-main event. 'The Strabanimal' James Gallagher, and 'The Show Stopper' Peter Queally.


Gallagher was far removed from the days of padded opponents and nurturing towards the top. American Patchy Mix brought a dangerous skillset to the table.

The crowd were up for it from the get go. What ensued was a technical affair between two well-matched opponents, and fans dipped in and out in support.

Gallagher and Mix went into Round 3 arguably off the back of winning a round each. The third and decisive round was to settle the score once and for all.


It was Mix who'd get to silence the crowd before it could reach a peak, as he succumbed Gallagher to a guillotine choke he couldn't escape from.


With one of the two big guns disposed from an Irish perspective, it was time for the main event. Peter Queally walked out to another hair raising rendition of 'Zombie' by The Cranberries.

At this point, the Irish were desperate for a win in the 3Arena. The veteran challenger, 'Pitbull' Freire, didn't seem phased by the raucous crowd.


The Brazilian would take Round 1, landing the better combinations on the feet with the Waterford man unable to find a rhythm. Round 2 began.

A minute or so into the second round and Freire found his opening. A well placed right hand sent Queally into a tailspin. Something he wasn't able to recover from.

The referee stepped in and that spelled the end of the night for Irish hopes. Peter Queally's crowning night spoilt by a game opponent.

Bellator Questions Loom

So what does this mean for Irish MMA? After all, a lack of representation from a UFC standpoint has left them absent from promoting cards in this country for quite some time.

As far as big, worldwide MMA events are concerned, Bellator are the only show in town. The matchmakers gave MMA in Ireland something to run with, but Bellator 270 didn't deliver.

Many felt the card lacked something. Some of the fights that ensued were definitely a factor, with many closely contested bouts leading to drawn out fights near the top.

The home support could have done with another Irish name or two. How Sinead Kavanagh's upcoming title fight with Cris Cyborg wasn't on this card is beyond most.

Throw in the absent Charlie Ward, originally scheduled for the card, who could have gave the crowd a bit of a lift in a time of need. It's all in hindsight now.

A Silver Lining For Bellator

There are negatives to draw from Bellator 270, but with any largescale MMA event held in Ireland, it's difficult not to point out some of the positives.

Gallagher and Queally were pitted against some of Bellator's top talent. While Queally will be disappointed with his performance, Gallagher did hold his own.

After all, Ireland has endured some rigorous Covid-19 restrictions in the last year and half. That has left many MMA gyms closed for long periods of time.

Bellator 270 was the first major card from the promotion in this country since 2019. Bellator should view this as a rebuilding phase of sorts and not just a door that has closed.

When you think back to just a few years ago, the thoughts of a major MMA promotion bringing top fighters into the country to fight Irish talent on a regular basis was probably beyond most.

While many didn't have their night, MMA is a sport of setbacks. You pick yourself up and learn from your mistakes. There are brighter days ahead for Irish MMA.

See Also: Jason Quigley Enlists Help Of Tyson Fury Ahead Of WBO World Title Fight

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