It’s Saturday, February 20th. In the cold crisp Irish air, the anticipation was building for the show of the year (so far) in Ireland’s answer to Lumpinee Stadium, Neptune Cork. A show headlined by Littewada Sittikul vs. Pakorn and also featuring some of Ireland’s most recognizable names including James E O’Connell, Killian Bushe, Eoin McCarthy, Dylan Vaughan and local crowd pleaser Ryan Sheehan with titles to his name including  ISKA Irish title, SFP junior world title, IMTKA Junior world title, Cage kings CMT Irish title. Ryan was looking to add the ISKA European title to his amazing haul.

The Siam Supershows are the biggest shows on the Irish calendar, drawing talent from all over the world. Saenchai, Paul Daley, Stephen Meleady, Liam Harrison and Aaron o’Callaghan are just a few globally recognised names to have featured on the shows. The shows are the result of the hard work by Ireland’s most successful promoter, Martin Horgan, whom The MMA Corner will catch up with later in the week.

The main event didn’t fail to please the baying Cork City crowd. The reception both fighters got entering the ring drew large smiles to their faces. The action began tentatively. Both fighters showed each other amazing respect acknowledging each connecting shot. From the start, Littewada controlled the distance and the pace just throwing precise teeps and picking off both punches and elbows. The fight went the 5 rounds but though Pakorn was on the back foot for most of the fight, he never really looked to be in too much trouble. In the end, Littewadas hand was raised to his sheer delight in what is a huge win for the popular fighter.

 

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A fight that really captured the attention of the crowd was Shane McConnell (Waterford Muay Thai) v Ladis Plachky (309 Phang). McConnell came heavily tipped and he didn’t fail to impress. Unleashing spinning kicks, elbows and relentless combinations the writing was really on the wall for Plachky. Doing well to finish round 1 Plachky just couldn’t withstand the speed and power of McConnell who seemed to step up a gear when he sensed the end coming. Following two standing 8 counts the ref had seen enough and waved it off sending the thousands in attendance into silence having just seen a prospect that is very special indeed. Take note of the name Shane McConnell, you will hear it again.

IMG_9161A show that started a 5:30 and ran until approx 11:30 was seriously stacked. Fighters picking up wins included Connor Coyle (Courage), Niall Cooke (Cork Thai), Willie Walters (Courage) and Wayne Grant (Fantom) taking the ISKA middleweight strap with an early stoppage over Dave o’Brien (Siam Warriors). Also bringing home notable wins were Killian Bushe (Siam Warriors), Wayne Cambridge (Siam Warriors) and Eoin McCarthy (Siam Warriors) who is quickly becoming one of my favorite fighters to watch. Eoin ground out a huge win over the very talented Robert Ng (Muay Eire Siam) following on from his CMT title win over Dommie Kelly at Cage Kings Cork in front of none other than one Mr McGregor. James E. O’Connell retained his Irish Title with a unanimous decision win over William Murphy (Siam Warriors). O’Connell, also a CMT champion, is back in action on the upcoming Cage Kings card and I hope to chat with him in advance of that bout.

Ryan Mekki (Nasser K France) pulled off a huge career win over Pongsaklex (Sasiprapa). Mekki looked very comfortable in the early exchanges in what was shaping up to be a mouth watering 5 rounder. The Thai didn’t really look under pressure in the first two rounds with both fighters seemed to use feeling each other out with single exchanges back and forth. The third round started fast which seemed to a signal of what was to come, but it never got to materialise. The French fighter landed a thunderous slashing elbow which opened up a 2-inch gash on the crown of the Thai, leaving the ref no choice but to call the bout, much to the dismay of Pongsaklex.

A supershow in Cork just isn’t the same without having Ryan Sheehan on the card. Thankfully, the time had come for “Rashers” to make his entrance. There is always a rise in decibels when its time for Sheehan to put on a show and this time was no different. Draped in a tri-colour, Sheehan looked calm and ready to entertain.

Ryan Sheehan Siam Warriors Cork

Ryan Sheehan Siam Warriors Cork

Facing French powerhouse Tristan Caetano from the world renowned Nasser K Gym France, the fight had war written all over it. Both fighters weighed in on point 24 hours earlier and though a 55kg bout, they both looked much bigger rehydrated. Again a tentative start with a short feeling out process before both fighters collided and for the first time Caetano felt the power of the Corkman much to the enjoyment of the home crowd. With a flawless clinch game Sheehan bullied Caetano for the bulk of the first round landing devastating knees and elbows to the face and body of the frenchman, each blow greeted with a rapturous cheers. Clinical elbows opened a gash over the eye of Caetano which looked like a certain fight stopper when the ref called in the doctor between rounds. The thirsty crowd cheered as the fight was granted a second round which saw more of the same with Sheehan opening up a mirror image cut over the opposite eye. Resorting to distance kicks the noticeably shorter Frenchman was out of ideas. One more look at the eye mid round saw the doctor waving off the bout crowning Ryan Sheehan the new ISKA European Champion.

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Stay tuned for much, much more action coming from Cork and Ireland brought to you here on The MMA Corner.

About The Author

Roger Kennedy
Staff Writer/Photographer

As Cork, Ireland's longest standing martial arts photo journalist, Roger Kennedy (aka Lethal Photography) attends dozens of promotions annually. His photographs have been featured in many media outlets including 'The Evening Echo' and "The Sunday World." Being a fan of MMA for a long time gives him the sharp tools he needs for the high tempo action while his easy going character allows him to put his subjects at ease while shooting outside of the cage