Bellator 217: James Gallagher back to winning ways in Dublin

James Gallagher
Gallagher controlled his fight before forcing a first round submission

Strabane bantamweight James Gallagher made an impressive return to winning ways at Bellator 217 with a first round victory over Steven Graham in Dublin.

The 8-1 fighter secured the submission via rear-naked choke inside three minutes.

The co-main event saw Myles Price take a split decision victory over Dubliner Peter Queally.

Saintfield's Leah McCourt secured her second successive win with a dominant first round victory.

In the main event Gallagher wasted little time in taking his American opponent to the ground, sensing the opportunity after latching onto Graham's kick.

From there the the county Tyrone man dominated proceedings with several submission attempts before making the necessary adjustments to execute the rear naked choke on two minutes 31 seconds of the in front of a raucous crowd

The finish was the sixth rear naked choke submission of Gallagher's nine fight professional career, with the 22-year-old once again exhibiting the grappling skills which have led many to tout him as a future world title challenger.

Queally, a teammate of Gallagher, enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges with his fellow countryman Price but the Kilkenny man fought back to finish stronger.

Price was able to secure a vital takedown in the third round and dominate position. The former SBG man controlled the back and looked to secure a late submission before the final buzzer sounded.

The fight had been billed as a grudge match as Price, formerly a teammate at SBG went to America to train with Conor McGregor's former opponent Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Former IMMAF world amateur champion McCourt claimed a first round TKO victory over Hatice Ozyurt, with the referee stopping the fight upon doctor's recommendation after McCourt had connected with a flurry of elbows.

The Saintfield fighter revealed that her win came despite suffering a rotator cuff tear two weeks ago.

Earlier Belfast's George Courtney won the opening bout of the evening, submitting Ian Cleary in the third round with a guillotine choke despite taking the fight on 10 days notice having replaced Tyrone's Mickey Doran who was pulled from the card after failing a pre-fight medical. .

Arklow's Richie Smullen defeated Adam Gustab, whose fellow Belfast fighter Daniel Olejniczak suffered defeat by Dubliner Kiefer Crosbie.

Bellator 217 selected results
Will Fleurydef.Shaun Taylor2nd Round submission
Ryan Curtisdef.Luis Gonzalez1st round TKO
Richard Kielydef.Mickael Bucher1st round TKO
Paul Redmonddef.Charlie LearyUnanimous decision
Charlie Warddef.Jamie Stephenson1st round KO
James Gallagherdef.Steven Graham 1st Round TKO