NICO Musoke was the eventual winner of On Top Promotions’ four-man welterweight tournament despite losing his semi-final clash with Irishman Cathal Pendred.
Swedish star Musoke lost a unanimous decision in his semi-final at On Top 2, but agreed to take Pendred’s place in the final after the Irishman was forced to withdraw due to a hamstring injury picked up in his victory over Musoke.
It was to prove a wise decision as Musoke dominated Scottish hopeful Steven Ray in the evening’s main event, claiming the welterweight title and £2000 prize by virtue of a submission victory in the final seconds of the opening round.
Fife fighter Ray, 21, destroyed Mervyn Mulholland in the other semi-final, finishing the Northern Irishman with a triangle choke with just one second remaining in the fight.
But Musoke went into the final looking like a completely different fighter to that which lost to Pendred hours earlier.
He took Ray to the ground early on and from there reigned down blows until he finally took Ray’s back and locked on a rear naked choke which forced the brave Scot to tap.
Acknowledging he was somewhat fortunate to be in the final at all, Musoke said after his win: “I’d like to fight Cathal again for the belt.
“I think the fans would like to see that too.”
The defeat takes Ray’s record to 7-2, making his next choice of opponent perhaps the most important of his young career so far.
Elsewhere on the card, 19-year-old wrestler Kieran Malone lost by submission to the vastly more experienced Mick Bowman, a product of the famed Wolfslair Gym in Liverpool and a veteran of the UFC’s reality TV show The Ultimate Fighter.
The event was streamed live around the world via the internet and proved to be a stunning showcase of the best MMA talent Scotland has to offer.
Lanark fighter Darren Gray took his pro record to 2-0 with a unanimous decision win over pro debutante Ryan Quinn in a thrilling featherweight clash.
And in the flyweight division, energetic Brian Hyslop finished Irishman Barry McGuigan via submission and was joined in his celebrations by Marvin Baird, star of BBC documentary The Scheme.
The two met at a party and struck up an unlikely friendship.
It was a disappointing night for Wishaw-based lightweight Graham Armstrong who could not keep his recent winning streak going.
He was finished in just over a minute by a triangle choke locked on by opponent Claes Beverlov.
Armstrong had gone through a difficult weight cut ahead of the fight and didn’t appear to have fully recovered before stepping into the cage against the skilled Swede.
On Top promoter Tam Collins announced plans for his third event, On Top 3, to be held in September when the lightweight title will be on the line in a four-man tournament.
He said: “Roll on September 24 for On Top 3, this one is going to be out of this world.”
For details, see www.ontoppromotions.co.uk
ON TOP 2 FULL RESULTS
FOUR-MAN WELTERWEIGHT TOURNAMENT
Semi-finals contested over two rounds of five minutes each. Final contested over three rounds of five minutes each.
SEMI-FINAL: Steven Ray (Edge MMA) defeated Mervyn Mulholland by tapout due to triangle choke at 4.59 of round two.
SEMI-FINAL: Cathal Pendred defeated Nico Musoke by unanimous decision.
FINAL: Nico Musoke defeated Steven Ray by tapout due to rear naked choke at 4.56 of round one. (Musoke replaced Pendred in final after Pendred pulled out due to a hamstring injury picked up in his earlier victory over Musoke.)
Nico Musoke is On Top Welterweight Champion.
OTHER RESULTS (all bouts contested over three rounds of five-minutes each.)
59kg catchweight: Darren Gilchrist (Fighter’s Hive) lost to Mark Platts by TKO after one minute of round one.
Featherweight: Darren Gray (DNFT Lanark) defeated Ryan Quinn (Independent) by unanimous decision.
Lightweight: Mick Bowman (Wolfslair) defeated Kieran Malone (DNFT Griphouse) by tapout due to a guillotine choke after 54 seconds of round two.
Heavyweight: Andy Hillhouse (Griphouse) lost to John McGurk (Ayrshire MMA) by TKO after 3.45 of round one.
Middleweight: Alan Johnston (DNFT Griphouse) and Alex Montagnani (Keddles Gym) was declared a draw by the judges.
Flyweight: Brian Hyslop (DNFT Griphouse) beat Barry McGuigan (Antrim MMA) by tapout due to rear naked choke after 2.15 of round two.
Lightweight: Martin Delaney (DNFT Lanark) defeated Warren Mitchell (Antrim MMA) by TKO due to ground and pound after 2.36 of round one.
Lightweight: Sean Wright (DNFT Griphouse) beat Richard Edwards (Keddles Gym) by knockout after 1.05 of round one.
Bantamweight: Gregg Knapp (Olympians MMA) defeated Rob McCrum (Lycans MMA) by TKO after 2.29 of round two.
Lightweight: Graham Armstrong (Mataleon) lost to Claes Beverlov (Stockholm Shoot) by tapout due to a triangle choke after 1.13 of round one.
Featherweight: Sergej Grecicho (Lithuania Knight of Plunge) defeated Marcos Nardini (DNFT D-Unit) by unanimous decision.