Sports

‘Strabanimal’ to wow Belfast crowd this weekend

Thursday, 23 February 2017

‘Strabanimal’ to wow Belfast crowd this weekend thumbnailJames 'The Strabanimal' Gallagher will fight on the main card in the Bellator 173 MMA event in the SSE Arena, Belfast, on Friday.

JAMES 'The Strabanimal' Gallagher is ready to wow the home crowd yet again as he takes his place on the main card of the Bellator 173 MMA fight night at Belfast's SSE Arena.

As Bellator makes it's way to Northern Ireland for the first time, Gallagher can expect to be a firm crowd favourite as he takes on Israeli fighter, Kirill Medvedovsky.

The fighter, from Carlton Drive, believes Friday night's event will be even bigger than Bellator 169 in the 3 Arena in Dublin in December when his victory over American Anthony Taylor in December extended his undefeated professional record to five wins.

"It's gonna blow the one in Dublin out of the water," Gallagher told the Strabane Weekly News. "It's going to be the best one yet. Bellator will truly get to see what the Irish fans are about.

"I think the show in Dublin is going to be nothing compared to what this is going to be. It's going to be a completely different show."

Following the Dublin fight, Bellator chief executive, Scott Coker, hinted that Gallagher would be in line for a shot at a title belt this year.

Twenty-year-old Gallagher - who trains with Conor McGregor's coach, John Kavanagh, at SBG Ireland - hinted of future action closer to home and in early January, Bellator announced Northern Ireland would be the next location for the company.

Bellator 173 in Belfast will give Gallagher's growing fan base the chance to see him in action, and he says it's that support that keeps the rising star pushing for bigger and better things.

"It's just unbelievable the support. That's the kind of stuff that drives you on every day. Knowing that all these people want to come along and see you do well. That's the kind of thing that wakes me up in the morning and gets me to the gym.

"There's people that see me and they don't even know my real name. They just know I'm the 'Strabanimal'. It's funny but it also shows how big my name is growing. It's getting huge."

 

Record

Medvedovsky, who holds a 7-3 record, but is coming off the back of two consecutive losses, was previously scheduled to fight Gallagher back in his home country in November. However, Gallagher was moved to compete at the Dublin card, and he believes Bellator did his opponent a huge favour.

“Bellator saved this guy by cancelling the first fight in Israel. Now there's nowhere to hide. He won't get away from me that easily," said Gallagher on the announcement of the fight.

 

Confident

Known for his grappling skills on the mat, ju-jitsu exponent Gallagher is confident that he can submit his opponent at the SSE Arena, despite Medvedovsky boasting a higher belt rank than him.

“If he thinks he has an advantage over me on the ground, I'm going to go straight in there and put him on his back so we can find out. I'll prove who the real jiu-jitsu guy is, mark my words.

“Don't get me wrong I won't be cutting any corners, I'll be ready to fight this guy if he wants to exchange too. It doesn't really matter what he does, I'm going to have my hand raised anyway."

Former Bellator light-heavyweight champion, Liam McGeary, will headline the event in a bout against promotional newcomer Vladimir Filipovic, who has stepped in for the withdrawn Chris Fields.

Also scheduled for the main card is a 140-pound women's catchweight fight between Gallagher's SBG team-mate, Sinead Kavanagh and Iony Razafiarison.

Bellator 173, which is a co-promotion with the BAMMA 28 card, will air via same-day delay on Spike TV.

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