Northern Ireland is quickly becoming the a new hotbed for European talent. Here, Brad Dalrymple of MMA Motion tells us why you should be keeping your eye on one of NI’s top prospects during the Cage Warriors Academy Grand Prix.
Digging deep into the amateur and semi-pro MMA circuits, it is easy to find a multitude of young fighters eager to kick-start their careers by grinding their way up the local ranks – none more so than Ciaran “The Dark Horse” Mulholland.
Mulholland is currently fighting under the Cage Warriors Academy banner and holds the Cage Warriors South East 125lb championship. The Academy develops young, talented fighters through the ranks of amateur, and then feeds them into the main Cage Warriors promotion and on to greener pastures. Top notch UK and Northern Irish talents such as Cory McKenna and Cage Warriors’ new signing Liam Gittins and all have paid their dues in the development program.
Mulholland, currently at the ripe age of 22, already has 13 amateur fights under his belt. Predominantly fighting at flyweight and bantamweight, he has shown skills that could propel him into the professional circuit. In the last year, he has finished three fights by submission. He snatched a perfect first-round armbar finish against Jack Eglin to cement him as the Cage Warriors South East 125lb champion, notched another beautifully taken first-round armbar on Jack Temple and a second-round guillotine choke against a dangerous SBG Ireland prospect, Dylan Ó Donovan.
In fact, not one of his seven wins has ended in a decision. All but one have been high-level submissions, confirming grappling is his predominant game (the other, his debut, was a first-round KO/TKO). Mulholland’s tricky bottom game was never so apparent as against Mike McCoy in Akuma Fighting Championship X after he ended up on his back. From the bottom, he caught his opponent with a beautiful triangle choke, earning him another submission finish.
Look out for Ciaran “The Dark Horse” Mulholland at this weekend’s 2nd leg of the CWA Grand Prix semi final, when he takes on Francis Breen in Belfast.
All words by Brad Dalrymple. For a full interview with Mulholland by Dalrymple, see here.