Aaron Aby (The MMA Academy) Vs. Chris McDonnell (Sukata MMA)
I really enjoyed this fight because of the level of technical ability displayed by both fighters. Aby has trains with Jason Tan at the MMA Academy and suffers with cystic fibrosis. He has a 3-0-0 record and was fighting in aid of an appropriate charity to help sufferers. McDonnell was coming into his fight with an even record of 1-1-0 and has trained for several years in Muay Thai and BJJ. This - quite rightly - won fight of the night!
The first round set the pace of the fight, and it was all out! Initially, McDonnell hit some sharp leg kicks, but these were ignored by Aby who shot in to take down. McDonnell defended via a strong sprawl and a high octane grapple in the clinch ensued. McDonnell pummelled in for double underhooks and tried to throw Aby to side control, but Aby scrambled well, grabbing the leg for a single leg take down. McDonnell escaped back to standing. But Aby pressed forward, eating some lovely straight punches from McDonnell in the process. It is one of these that opened up Aby's nose across the bridge. Aby persisted despite the cut and managed to take down into full guard. McDonnell immediately secured Aby's posture and put both feet on the hips to create distance, but Aby capitalised when pushed back and hit an overhand right back into full guard. McDonnell continued to create distance, landing an up kick, but Aby had excellent posture on top, pressuring down and keeping McDonnell compacted against the cage. After a short time of inactivity they were stood up and the ref inspected Aby's cut. He judged it fine to continue and the fighters immediately engaged again with some dirty boxing from the clinch, that Aby used to close the distance into a single leg, again forcing the take down against the cage. McDonnell defended well and used a scramble to get to his feet, before hitting a nice knee to the body that was again caught by Aby. Aby forced yet another take down and the round ended with McDonnell establishing butterfly hooks and moving to half guard against the cage. The pace of the round had been relentless!
The 2nd round continued in much the same way. McDonnell landed some crisp striking as Aby closed for the take down, again entering into an explosive wrestling battle. Aby's technical take down ability was fantastic, he kept a straight back at all times and maintained excellent pressure against the cage. McDonnell again defended rigorously, but Aby methodically worked to link his arms and secure the take down. Aby passed straight to half guard, but McDonnell again worked back into butterfly guard and Aby stood McDonnell kicked him back to standing. McDonnell used the space well and again landed some pinpoint punches and a sharp knee. Aby closed to the clnch again, but this time McDonnell managed the double underhooks and took Aby down with a trip straight to side control. McDonnell allowed Aby to scramble up, and Aby seized the opportunity for yet another take down against the cage. McDonnell changed tack and immediately pulled a fast triangle. Aby defended well and postured up to work a pass to side control, but McDonnell regained half guard to see the end of the round out.
The third round saw both come out with diminished cardio, but that was no surprise after the previous two explosive rounds. McDonnell again landed some brilliant shots standing, including some heavy knees. Aby closed again during the shots and managed to retain the clinch against the cage, but this time McDonnell disengaged completely and worked his distance, giving himself some striking range. He utilised this well, again adding some nice shots to the face of Aby who again shot in to take down, this time forcing it again against the cage. McDonnell again used his butterfly to push away and attempted to take Aby's back, but he just managed to re adjust to stop the attempt. Aby maintained top position for a minute or so, peppering the body with punches as McDonnell worked to kick away. After a failed oma plata attempt, McDonnell managed to get back to his feet and instigate another wrestling clinch, which he use to make another attempt to take the back. This was defended well by Aby, bringing a close to the best fight on the card.
It wasn't the best fight because of the pace, or the explosiveness, or the cardio. It wasn't even the best fight because of the drama of the back and forth war. It was the best fight because of the technical ability of both fighters. It wouldn't have been out of place on a pro card in a major promotion. It was simply a quality bout with no loser. Aby took the fight by decision, which I agree with, but had the distance been dictated by McDonnell the fight could have gone very differently. The start of the third round is testament to this. All I can say is that I heartily hope that both fighters are pulled into the next BCFC event to showcase their potential again.
Result - Win for Aby by Judges Decision