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FCC17 took place on the 24th September 2016 at Event City in Manchester, and what an event it was! Over 20 bouts of exhilarating mixed martial arts action took place in front of a roaring, North West crowd who served up a tremendous atmosphere throughout.

Top of the evening’s bill was a mouthwatering Lightweight Title fight between FCC champion Charlie Leary and longtime UKMMA standout Rob Sinclair.

The contest marked Leary’s first appearance since the Team Crossface fighter demolished Mick Bowman to seize control of the belt back at FCC16, whilst Sinclair was making his return to the cage after a 15-month hiatus.

The bout began in frantic fashion, with Leary immediately landing a big right hand that momentarily dropped his opponent, before Sinclair managed to survive and eventually gain top control.

The back-and-forth nature of the first opening seconds set the tempo for the rest of the contest, with both fighters enjoying spells of success before finding themselves on the back foot.

Heading into the final round, the fight was anybody’s for the taking, but it was Leary who gradually began to take control, forcing the initiative on the ground and stealing the all-important final frame.

In the end, all three judges gave the champion the nod, and the man from Harrow retained his grip on the title and with it took home the biggest scalp of his career. This win firmly cements his position in the upper echelons of the British lightweight standings.

For Sinclair the return didn’t go quite to plan, but the 36-year-old veteran can be pleased with this respectable performance after pushing rising prospect Leary all the way.

The co-main event saw Brett McDermott square off against Dan Konecke, in what turned out to be a stern test for ‘the Spartan.’

Heading into the bout McDermott was highly fancied, but after making a good start to the bout, the man from Barrow-in-Furness found himself in some early trouble as Konecke forced his way into full mount and landed some good shots from the top.

In the second round, however, McDermott decided to step it up a notch and from the moment the bell rang the former rugby league player swarmed Konecke before getting the takedown. From the moment the fight went south ‘the Spartan’ rained down continuous ground and pound, and around midway through the round the referee had seen enough and waved the contest off.

The result means the Flex MMA product records back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014, whilst for Konecke the loss snaps a two fight win streak.

The stacked card also featured a rematch between heavyweights Karl Etherington and Kamil Bazelak, with Etherington on a quest for revenge after his opponent upset the odds by scoring a KO victory in their first encounter.

After a wild opening minute where both fighters looked capable of finishing the contest, Etherington connected with a punch and dropped his man before unleashing a barrage of blows from top position that forced the referee to intervene.

Excellent stuff from Etherington, and the win takes the Blackpool man’s record to an impressive 12-2.

In the welterweight division, Ashley Reece continued his ascent up the 170lbs standings after a bloody battle against a tough and durable Ant Davies.

The undefeated HAMMA fighter had to overcome some hairy moments in the first round, and was made to work for his victory; but eventually the class told and the ‘Beast’ was able to end the fight with a guillotine choke, taking his professional record to 4-0.

In the middleweight division, Shaun Hampton and Mitchell Richards reignited a five-year-long rivalry with arguably the best the fight of the night.

The first time these two warriors went at it was back at FCC1, and on that night Richards got the win with an early submission. This time around, however, the Radcliffe powerhouse was made to work for his prize as Hampton was in no mood for gifts.

For the best part of two rounds, both men stood toe to toe and unloaded bombs on each other, but as the fight progressed Richards began to shade it, and all three judges scored the bout in his favour (29-28).

The result takes the score to 2-0 in Richards’ favour, but absolutely nobody in the attendance would object to a third fight in this budding rivalry.

Rising star Sam Spencer maintained his undefeated record after defeating late replacement Ionut Radancu via first round submission. After a back and forth opening few minutes, Raducanu submitted due to a hand injury.

Not much of a chance for Spencer to showcase his skills here, but a win nonetheless, and one that takes tally to 4-0 and only enhances his reputation as a red hot prospect at 135lbs.

Elsewhere on the professional portion of the card, Vahid Hoseinpoor put on an outstanding display as he slammed his opponent into oblivion en route to a brutal ground and pound win, sending a warning to the rest of the UKMMA heavyweights.

Also on the card was Hoseinpoor’s teammate, Moein Noorbakshs, who put his name firmly on the map after getting the best of the much more experienced Marcin Protcho (4-2). The Manchester Predators representative looked extremely impressive, although the decision by the referee to call off the fight after checking a submission looked slightly premature.

Moving away from the professional bouts, there were also some excellent performances in our amateur contests.

Jenaid Ebanks took home the Amateur Middleweight Title after overcoming a gallant Brent Tierney in a five round war, and John Hughes bested Kiru Singh in an entertaining battle to take home the Amateur Bantamweight Title.

In the night’s other amateur title bouts, Mark Kinsella overcame a grueling test against GPUK champion James Reedman to retain his amateur welterweight strap, and TJ Nelson scored an impressive knockout victory over Bobby Pallet to secure the interim Lightweight Title and set up a unification meeting with Champion Antonio Sheldon.

In the evening’s preliminary bouts, there were stand out performances from Matt Rodriguez, who earned his second victory with an outstanding ground and pound win. And Junior Morgan, defeated Danny Williams to score the third win of his amateur career.

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