Celtic Gladiator: Dwayne Mallon 84kg Champion

Mallon has his hand raised after securing victory.

Mallon has his hand raised after securing victory.

Saturday night saw the latest instalment of Celtic Gladiator, taking place in the City West Hotel, Dublin.
The event saw fighters from across Europe take to the cage to show off their skills. Special guest on the night was top European MMA fighter Mamed Khalidov.
The under card failed to live up to expectations with strange refereeing decisions and match ups failing to get the crowd going.
However, after the intermission one of only two Irish fighters on the card took to the cage and the action began.
Dwayne Mallon took on Piotr Zurawski for the vacant 84kg Celtic Gladiator title.
The fight started well with Zurawski attacking the undefeated Mallon unleashing a flurry of punches before stuffing a takedown attempt and taking control against the cage.
However, Mallon soon established control in the fight using the cage to pin his opponent before starting to land knees to the leg of Zurawski.
The fight soon went to the ground, Mallon using a nice trip to then secure a half mount on his opponent landing some solid ground and pound strikes before a failed escape attempt lead to Zurawski giving up his back before managing to escape, only to find the impressive Mallon inside his guard.
Mallon continued to land some solid strikes from the top position but ran out of time before the end of the round.
The second round started just as brightly with Zurawski landing some good strikes until he threw a kick which was caught by Mallon, leading to a massive slam in the centre of the cage. dwayne3[
Mallon transitioned from side control to full mount and again managed to reign down strikes before Zurawski managed to scramble to his feet.
An ambitious spinning heel kick from Zurawski missed but was followed up well with an impressive leg kick to the thigh of Mallon.
Zurawski then gave up his back which lead to Mallon putting hooks in and ending the fight with a rear naked choke to secure the title and move to 5-0.
This completes an incredible journey for Mallon who also boasts the EFR middle weight and ISKA 84kg titles.
“I first became involved in MMA about four years ago or so, I worked at the weekends in a bar and the guys I worked with all competed. I was badly overweight and started it purely for the fitness end of things, I was hooked after the first few months, when I started I told my mum I was at self-defence classes. I never ever thought I’d actually be competing at any stage.
“I know it’s a cliché but I put my success down to hard work, anyone close to me will know my work ethic. I train hard, simple as. All those hours before a fight, running round forests, out on the roads, in the gym and the pool etc. That’s what it all boils down too, hard work and determination. Dedication is doing what you know needs to be done, even though you don’t want too. I work hard on my cardio and I like getting in to the cage knowing I’ve trained harder than my opponent.”
Mallon trains with the prestigious IFS club who base themselves between Cookstown and Antrim and credits his success to those in the club who train hard together and enjoy each other’s victories.
“To get your hand raised makes everything worthwhile, especially when I was the only one from my club fighting on the show. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. The fight went how I thought it would, he came at me strong at the start and really let me know I was in a fight. He hit me harder than I’ve ever been hit before but I stayed calm and weathered the storm and secured a take down and then some GNP, I knew at the end of the first his cardio wasn’t on the same level as mine so I came out strong in the second and pushed the pace on him and secured another take down and some GNP before I took his back and sunk in the choke. He was very, very strong but I managed to put him away thankfully.
“Every fight is important to me, this one definitely ranks up near the top, I trained harder for this one than ever before and was so happy to get a win, when I fought for the ISKA title at the last Clan Wars I was the seventh and last IFS fighter on the card and all the guys had won so I was really feeling the pressure that day. I’m always happy to get a win though.”
With these belts comes a lot of pressure to defend them. Having been offered several fights since his victory at the weekend Mallon has no idea what will come next.
“At the minute nothing could be further from my mind than fighting again, I’m going to rest up for a week and get back to the grindstone next week training. There are still holes in my game that I want to fix and work hard on over the next few months and we’ll go from there. I’m happy to do whatever my coaches want me to do.”
Pictured with coaches Gary & Graham Western.

Pictured with coaches Gary & Graham Western.

“I need to thank my coaches, Graham Western, Gary Western and Paul McLaughlin, I couldn’t have done it without their help and guidance. My wrestling coach Norik, all my training partners who have knocked lumps out of me this past few months. Marty Kelly who helped with my weight cut and weight training, Merv Mullholland who helped with training advice. Everyone who came to Dublin to support me, including those who traveled from as England to watch me. My girlfriend Natasha for putting up with me this past few weeks, because I am cranky when I’m cutting weight. My sponsors Gary Higgins at Sportsworld Magherafelt and Darren, Colin, Derek and Trudy at Performance Nutrition Plus in Cookstown, and Stephen Nixon Eventsafe NI for giving me time off work to train.
“I hope I can keep repaying you guys by getting victories in the cage.”


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