Bellator 270 is on the horizon, with the promotion returning to the 3Arena in Dublin for the first time since February 2020. The main event will see Irishman Peter Queally and Patricky Pitbull go head-to-head in a rematch for the vacant lightweight championship.
The event is filled with Irish talent, and one of those fighters is the undefeated Ciaran Clarke, who makes his fourth appearance in the promotion against Jordan Barton.
Clarke’s First Fight of the Year
Clarke has finally been given the opportunity to compete again, as it’s been 13 months since fans last saw him in the cage. The long wait has given him the chance to improve his game and be ready for the first fight on his new contract.
He told MMASucka: “I re-signed a new deal with Bellator after my last win in October last year, so this is my first fight on the newly signed contract. I’m feeling good man, just glad to be back here for fight week. It’s been 13 months since the last one, mad to get back in there now and ready to show the improvements over the last 13 months.”
Clarke trains with SBG Ireland, and with the help of head coach John Kavanagh and other fighters, he feels he is more prepared than ever for with the help he has had ahead of Friday night.
“It’s been great. I’ve had the help of Peter Queally, Pedro Carvalho, Richie Smullen, all these guys preparing for their fights that had visas or we’re able to fight during the pandemic, so I’ve been helping all these guys,l. Really looking forward to showing my improvements over the last 13 months, I really genuinely feel I have more in the bag now. I’m a complete different fighter, new tools coming into this one and I’m looking to show them.”
It is not just Queally and Clarke who compete on Friday night, but their teammate Pedro Carvalho also. He faces MMA veteran Daniel Weichel in a featherweight showdown.
The Irishman had a long amateur career, with 24 fights across six and a half years. When Bellator came knocking, there was no doubt in his mind he was ready to turn professional. “I was at amateur for a long time, 24 amateur fights, represented Ireland a few times at IMMAFs. I fought everywhere all over different countries, fought IMMAF medalists/world champions, you know. I’ve done my rounds of amateur, I knew it was time to make the switch.
Bellator were interested in certain fighters from our gym. John put me forward, that’s how it came about and I jumped at the chance. There was a lot of pressure at the time, definitely, making my pro debut for Bellator, but all my amateur experience, it really did stand to me when it came to that, it was just another day.”
Clarke made his pro debut at Bellator 227, and after a hard-fought two rounds, he found the rear-naked choke to submit George Courtney in the final round. His other two victories over Jamie Faulding and Jean N’Doye went the distance, but this time around he believes he can get the finish.
“3-0 now, I just want to keep it going, obviously the three wins I have, one finish, two decisions. In the three fight’s, I’ve had 10-8 rounds, I was fairly dominant, I’m just glad to keep it going, yeah love to get 4-0, looking to come for the finish this time, I know I definitely can, but we’ll see what happens.”
Competing At Home
It’s another encounter in front of his home fans for Clarke, with the Irishman competing in Dublin for the third time with the promotion. “The second one in the 3arena probably stood out to me the most, came through a bit of adversity in the first round, caught in tricky position, in his best position with the armbar, Jamie Faulding, he’s a prospect, so yeah it was good to get that win over him, it was a bit of a bloodbath as you know most of the fans love seeing that, so it was good to give them what they want, it was a great night.
It’s some buzz I have to say, we always bring good support, we’re always selling 300 tickets easily, probably sold more this time, I’m very excited to get back in there in front of my friends and family, and everyone who has supported me and stuck by me, I know it’s been a tough year for everyone with Covid, glad to get in there and do myself proud, my town and my gym.”
Clarke has a tough task ahead, and he is not taking his opponent lightly ahead of Friday night. “Jordan is a solid opponent. He’s 6-1, he can strike, he can grapple, he’s good, he’s going to be a solid opponent. Obviously I think I can beat him, where he’s weak I’m better. That’s the way it goes, and I’m sure he thinks that about me. We’ll have to see who’s the better man on the night, but I’m very confident going into this one.
I know I can definitely get the finish in probably later rounds, second or third round, but Jordan’s tough, and I’ll prepare for three rounds as always, hard three rounds, we’ll see on the night, looking forward to it.”
Featured Image courtesy of Bellator MMA.