This past Saturday, Fife Ice Arena played host to one of Scotland’s top Mixed Martial Arts promotions; On Top.
With the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently announcing an event in Glasgow, MMA in the country is booming and it was a perfect time for On Top to return and put on their first show in Fife.
The local fans were treated to an exciting night of MMA action, with top prospects from around the country showcasing their skills.
All three Scottish fighters who have made it to the UFC fought at On Top early in their career, earning the show a reputation as a place to see the future of Scottish MMA.
No fight better represented that than the all Fife clash between Kirkcaldy’s Ross Cleave, 17, fighting out of Underdog Combat Centre, and Andrew Wilkie, 21, from Kennoway, fighting out of TEI MMA.
The two local fighters put on a fine display of Mixed Martial Arts, demonstrating skill in all areas of the sport; striking, wrestling and ground grappling.
Cleave opened the fight landing some powerful leg kicks, which made Wilkie want to take the fight to the ground. Wilkie did just that, executing a well timed double leg takedown.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a key element of Mixed Martial Arts and is the art of grappling on the ground; Cleave is known for his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu acumen and as soon as he was taken down he immediately locked on a triangle choke.
Wilkie resisted the submission manoeuvre for some time, but Cleave expertly switched from a Triangle choke to an Armbar submission and although Wilkie showed amazing heart to hold on as long as he did, he eventually was forced to submit, giving Cleave the victory at 1.23 of round one.
Cleave’s submission was also named by Fight Talk Scotland as the “Submission of the night”.
Cleave advanced his Amateur record to 2-0 and also cemented the reputation of Underdog Combat Centre as Fife’s top MMA gym.
At only 17 years old, Cleave’s grappling skill and composure highlight him as a definite prospect and one to watch in Scottish MMA.
Cleave’s coach Steven Clark believes Cleave can follow in the footsteps of home town UFC hero Steven Ray and definitely sees him as one of the future stars of the gym; due to his “hard working, dedicated attitude and the support of his team mates behind him”.
Elsewhere on the card, the main event between Higher Level’s Craig McIntosh and Heat MMA’s Niall Smith was the only professional bout on the card and it did not disappoint, securing the Fight of the Night award.
Whitburn man McIntosh dominated the first two rounds, but his Belfast opponent came out hard in the third and landed some hard punches en route to a TKO victory at 1.00 of round three.
Other impressive performers were Aberdeen’s Dawid Kostecki who secured the KO of the night award with a Head Kick knockout of seasoned campaigner Jack Demarco just 17 seconds into round three, Steven McIntosh who submitted Steven Kelly with a guillotine at 1.11 of round one and Lee Johnstone who obliterated John Ross of Forza MMA in just 29 seconds.