The Bellator 270 showdown between Ireland’s James Gallagher and Patchy Mix was a litmus test of where the Irish bantamweight stood in terms of his progression in mixed martial arts.
Mix has been there, done that, having contested for the vacant Bellator bantamweight title against Juan Archuleta last year. Mix came up short, and while he got back in the win column earlier this year, he missed weight for Friday’s fight.
Gallagher, like Mix, had won all but a single fight through his professional MMA career. His competition had been a frequent focus of criticism, however. Too many fighters with pedestrian records and little name value were the most common complaints. Yet for the past year, Gallagher had been training under the watchful eye of James Krause; Friday would likely show whether the move to the U.S. paid off for “The StrabAnimal.”
Gallagher grabbed a leg early, and nearly had a takedown — only to find himself caught in a guillotine. That left the Irish fighter with a choice, either finish, or fight the choke first. He fought the choke, still carrying Mix’s weight. Breaking free, Gallagher then finished the takedown. But moments later, it was Mix getting back up and putting Gallagher on his back. Gallagher would try for his own guillotine, but wasn’t in position.
That left Mix in half-mount, with a lot of time to work. When he tried to move to side control, however, Gallagher instead got Mix back into his guard, then shrimped back to the fence. Gallagher came close to escaping up, but had to be wary of exposing his neck. A second attempt at escape paid off; Gallagher then missed a big swing off the break. Gallagher finished the round by landing a double-leg, but gave up position as the bell rang.
Round two opened with some low kicks by Gallagher, but one strayed, leading to a break for Mix to recover from the groin kick. After getting underway again, Gallagher landed a punch over the top that caught Mix, who ate it well. That right hand would be there again, though Mix would block it on the next attempt.
On a Mix takedown attempt, Gallagher jumped guard, and had the guillotine in tight. Mix had to re-position, then broke free, with nearly three full minutes to work from the top. Mix landed shots to the ribs with Gallagher trapped against the fence. The pair were actually jawing during this sequence, which saw Mix pass to side control and almost get to mount, only for Gallagher to slide out from under him, nearly escaping.
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Any progress by Mix was halted by the bell, but Gallagher’s choice to jump into the guillotine may have given the round to Patchy Mix. Making the third key — with a finish being needed by Gallagher a possibility.
In the third, it was Mix jumping into a guillotine early. He began rolling over onto Gallagher while holding the submission — and forced the tap, silencing the Irish crowd.
The only issue with Mix’s win — he’d missed weight for the fight. Leaving questions about a possible move to featherweight. Though to hear Patchy Mix speak afterward, it doesn’t appear 145lbs is in the cards just yet.
Official Result: Patchy Mix def. James Gallagher by submission (guillotine choke), Round 3, 0:39