In the final chapter of our Tankō Fighting Championships 2 Rewind Series, we look back at:
Fight 4: Fran Breen vs Tom Melody
57.1kg – Amateur
British star Paddy Pimblett was among the Liverpool Next Generation crew guiding youngster Fran Breen to the ring for the fourth fight of the evening at TFC2, supporting the fledgling fighter in his bid for a first victory in the cage. Standing in the opposite corner was the talented Tom Melody – a fellow debutant and ambitious young athlete from Swinton.
Melody took the time to drink in the atmosphere as he walked down the ramp, evidently thrilled to be performing on such a big stage. That entrance might have been banished from his memory banks by Breen’s relentless swings however, with the contest over pretty much as soon as it had begun.
Both of these young lads had clearly come to compete, engaging in a lively to-and-fro right from the off. But when Melody lost his footing after coming under the cosh, Breen – backed by his Liverpool corner – punctually powered forwards and released a series of brutal strikes that sent the Salford MMA fighter tumbling to the ground. Melody was dazed and confused as he hit the mat, and the referee signalled the end of the fight to award Breen the victory after just 39 seconds of the opening round.
Breen won’t be forgetting his first MMA in a hurry, whilst Melody is tasked with getting up and going again in the hunt for an amateur triumph.
WINNER – BREEN VIA TKO, ROUND 1.
Fight 6: Rob McNee vs Cameron Chamberlain
61.7kg – Amateur
The crowd at Tanko Fighting Championships 2 were treated to several quick finishes during the evening, and fight number six had another – with Rob McNee of MMA Academy in Liverpool completing a hat-trick of amateur victories by outwitting Cameron Chamberlain of OLC Plankration after less than two minutes.
The pair spent a short time eyeing one another up and keeping their shape, exchanging a handful of wicked jabs. Chamberlain then precipitously flung himself at McNee, but his eager attempts to inflict some damage on the Scouse fighter came back to bite him seconds later.
Despite being arched on his back in an awkward position, McNee managed to bind his legs around Chamberlain’s neck, and with just 1 Minute and 51 Seconds on the stopwatch, the fight was stopped with Chamberlain too weak to continue. McNee shot off around the cage with glee written across his face, whilst Chamberlain was left sat on the mat wondering what on earth had just happened.
Chamberlain’s record now reads 1-3-0, whilst McNee is yet to be defeated in the cage.
WINNER – MCNEE VIA TRIANGLE CHOKE, ROUND 1.
Fight 8: Matt Bonner vs Bobby Scott
80kg – Amateur
The final amateur fight on the Tanko Fighting Championships 2 card saw two bull-necked competitors take to the stage: Matt Bonner – a fighter and coach at Supremacy Gym in Warrington – and Bobby Scott – a Gateshead-born fighter with the Sixth Sense MMA gang rallying around him.
Both fighters had experienced a mixed bag of results before heading out onto the TFC2 stage, although Bonner will have been fancying his chances following his impressive knockout win back here in August with over All Powers competitor Loz James.
The pair went to ground very quickly in round one, seemingly super-glued to one another’s torsos. It was a close, gruelling contest that saw both fighters visibly drained by the second horn, and as the third round got underway, each attempted to land some big strikes to pick up precious points on the scorecards. Bonner finished the final few seconds on top, swinging as best he could whilst Scott used his sinewy legs as a shield.
It was left up to the judges in the end, with all three scoring 29-28 in favour of Sixth Sense fighter Scott. Bonner looked unsurprisingly disappointed with the outcome, knowing this tight contest could have easily gone another way on a different night. Still, both had given it their absolute all, and Scott’s hard-earned victory puts him in good stead for the next clash in what is sure to be a promising cage career.
WINNER – SCOTT VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION.
Fight 10: Jamie Lee vs Tomasz Kozminski
70.7kg – Professional
Manchester boy Jamie Lee ended a three-year exile from the pro circuit to compete at Tanko Fighting Championships 2, and he was treated to the rudest re-introduction imaginable after being matched with Polish fighter Tomasz Kozminski at 70.7kg.
Nottingham MMA have one of the scariest-looking competitors in the game in Kozminski, who attempted to shake Lee to his very core as early as the weigh-in, eyeballing the returning Manc with menacing intensity. Lee might have been missing from MMA for some time, but he appeared as cool-headed as a veteran with a triple-figure fight record under their belt as he lined up against Kozminski for the clash, and it was clear the crowd were in for a tasty encounter.
After an even first round where both fighters attempted to feel one another out, the gears shifted higher during the next phase, as the duo traded dump tackles and took it in turns to send one other skidding across the mat.
The last time Lee clocked a victory by rear-naked chokehold was almost half a decade ago, but he sensed a chance to win his contest with Kozminski by this method, and subsequently scampered around the back to execute the submission during the second round. Another win via tap-out for Lee was not to be however, as Kozminski broke free with brute force and began to swing the pendulum of momentum in his favour.
Landing some vicious blows and rolling away from Lee’s flying kicks, Kozminski appeared noticeably fresh in comparison to his tiring opponent, and as the fight moved into round three, the Nottingham MMA competitor mercilessly stuffed Lee into the mat face-first, proceeding to pound the back of Lee’s head like he was frantically digging for gold buried inside.
There was no coming back from that, and Kozminski was awarded the victory via TKO for a third win in seven fights. Lee didn’t manage the dream comeback he’d been hoping for, but his fight record still reads in his favour (3-2-0) and there may be far more to come from him just yet. Kozminski, too, appears to be one to watch out for.
WINNER – KOZMINSKI VIA TKO, ROUND 3
Fight 17: Brendan Loughnane vs Paul “Cookie” Cook
70.7kg – Professional
There’s an air of inevitability about Brendan Loughnane right now. As soon as he strides through the cage door and cartwheels his way across the fight mat, you just get the sense it’s going to be his night. The defeat he suffered at the hands of Tom Duquesnoy in the biggest fight of his life last year might have destroyed him. By all logic, it probably should have. But instead of grimacing at the mental scars inflicted by the judges on that fateful evening, Brendan has used these wounds as inspiration. He stormed onto the TFC2 stage off the back off 2 knockouts in a row, and it’s clear as day he’s never going leave any fight up to the judges ever again if he can help it.
The arena was up in arms for the headliner of Tanko Fighting Championships 2, with spectators rattling the makeshift walls and hollering Loughnane’s name at the top of their lungs. Paul Cook has stood as a respected fighter on the British martial arts scene for as long as anyone can remember, but even he must have felt the force of the fans as he entered Victoria Warehouse for the final contest of the evening.
Both fighters were full of beans during the first round, Loughnane landing some heavy kicks and weaving his body away from Cook’s onslaughts. Midway through the round, a rare sight came into view, as Cook managed to get himself behind Loughnane and put the All Powers fighter in a tricky spot. Normality was restored when Loughnane found a way to burst back out of it, and when the horn sounded for the break, he was throwing his arms up in the air to rile the crowd.
Loughnane looked the more energetic of the pair when round two kicked off, but Cook hasn’t been on the domestic circuit for this length of time by accident. The Tyneside warrior is a canny competitor with a knack for submission moves, and you could almost see the cogs turning as he searched for an opening to bring Loughnane down.
But it wasn’t to be. As the momentum of the fight continued to build, it was evident that everything was against Cook – the crowd, the energy, the tide, the scorecard. Marks began to surface on his skin, and whilst he wasn’t going down without a fight, that air of inevitability that surrounds Loughnane right now grew all the more imposing with every passing second.
Both headliners came flying out of the blocks in the third round, but when Loughnane jammed Cook up in one of the cage corners, it looked for all the world that the fight was coming to a close. A bruising knee strike did the damage, and when Loughnane launched forward to follow up with a combination, the bell was soon ringing. Loughnane paraded the cage and roared in a delight whilst a glazed Cook slowly came to his senses.
It had been another masterclass from the man who puts blood, sweat and tears into his career and the TFC shows, and after the confetti fell and exit doors opened, the crowd turned towards the flyers spread across their tables. These pieces of paper advertised the Absolute Championship Berkut: Supersonic event – which is due to take place in Manchester in March. Pictured on the front were two faces: Loughnane himself, and the only other man in the world other than Duquesnoy who’s defeated him before – Mike Wilkinson. It’s going to be the Tanko man’s biggest fight since he stormed out of BAMMA with emotional bruising, but this isn’t the same Brendan Loughanane as 2012. This is a new man. A man carrying this peculiar aura of “the inevitable victory”. It remains to be seen whether Wilkinson is the man to break the spell.
WINNER – LOUGHNANE VIA TKO, ROUND 3