This Week’s Irish Pro Fight Announcements

In the midst of the Cage Warriors Dublin fight week furore, there have been some fantastic professional matchups announced for Irish MMA fighters in other organisations over the past number of days:

  1. Will Fleury vs Rob Wilkinson

Will Fleury (12-3) is back in the PFL cage on Thursday 8th June in Atlanta, Georgia, and it’s a huge matchup for “The Raw Bastard” from Tipperary! The SBG Ireland fighter is set to take on 2022 PFL LightHeavyweight World Champion “Razor” Rob Wilkinson (18-2) in the co-main event.

Fleury is coming off the back of a successful 2023 tournament debut, defeating Krzysztof Jotko earlier this month via decision to scoop 3 points. Officially sitting in 5th place (though technically joint third with Australia’s Wilkinson and American Ty Flores), Fleury has a massive fight on his hands and a huge opportunity to put himself into playoff contention on his quest to win the PFL Light Heavyweight Million-Dollar Tournament.

2. Andreeas Binder vs Aiden Lee

SBG Charlestown’s Andreeas Binder (7-2) is scheduled for the biggest fight of his career to date. “Judoka” is set to battle Team Renegade’s Aiden Lee (11-7) for the Levels Fight League lightweight title on Sunday 9th July in Amsterdam.

After already capturing Clan Wars and Cage Conflict welterweight belts on the Irish circuit, Binder now makes his charge to claim his first European title as a professional. The Galwegian has won 7 of his last 8 fights, and most recently overcame 27-fight veteran Chris Stringer at LFL 8.

It will be another tough opponent for Binder, with Aiden Lee being a well-known commodity on the UK scene. A former Cage Warriors title contender, Lee has also competed on Bellator 6 times, mixing it up with the likes of Aaron Pico. With 9 of Lee’s 11 pro wins coming via stoppage, the Birmingham fighter is a proven finisher too.

This fight marks Binder’s first fight at lightweight, having competed at 170lbs his entire pro career to date. Having already knocked out former UFC Rostem Akman, adding wins over the likes of Chris Stringer and (potentially) Aiden Lee strengthens the Owen Roddy trained prospect’s case for one of the larger MMA promotions to come knocking very soon.

3. Daire Toman vs Matiss Zaharovs 2

Team Torres’ Daire Toman (4-2) is set for the first defense of his Clan Wars professional bantamweight title against a familiar foe in Matiss Zaharovs (4-2) on Sunday 11th June in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast.

A rematch of their Clan Wars 36 main event, Zaharovs emerged victorious in the first fight, submitting Toman inside the first round with rear-naked choke.

After suffering that first loss to Zaharov’s, in what was his professional debut, Toman would not compete again for close to 2 years. Returning in September 2021, Toman notched his first win as a pro, defeating Nikola Ivanovic over three rounds at the inaugural event of Iúr Fighting Championships. “The Dart” has remained relatively active ever since, and has notched wins over Sam Kelly, Ciaran Breslin, and Alexander Gudbrandsen, claiming the Clan Wars bantamweight and super bantamweight titles in his last two fights.

Zaharovs will be looking to spoil the party for Toman’s Clan Wars run as he looks to do the double over his counterpart. After beating Toman the first time back in October 2019, Zaharovs signed with BRAVE CF and opened his promotional account with a brace of stoppage victories. However, the Latvian-born Irishman would suffer back-to-back decision losses under the BRAVE banner in 2021. Zaharovs hasn’t fought since, so he’ll be looking to reboot his pro career when he steps into the cage for the first time in 18 months.

4. Darragh Kelly vs Claudio Andrezinho

Since making his pro debut in 2022, Darragh Kelly (3-0) has emerged as one of the hottest prospects coming out of SBG Ireland. Though signed to Bellator on a multi-fight deal, the Donegal man is taking a fight outside the promotion to stay active. Kelly will compete for the Clan Wars lightweight title against Brazilian Claudio “Andrezinho” (2-4).

Kelly has competed at both lightweight and featherweight under the Bellator banner, and has impressed while notching two finishes and a submission. It’s back up to 155lbs, in what I expect to be a showcase affair against “Andrezinho,” who will travel over from Brazil for the contest.

The Brazilian will be hoping to snap a 3-fight losing skid, all by way of submission.

With Kelly’s friend and SBG Ireland teammate, Jordan Furey, expected to make his pro debut on the card, it’s set to be a big night for the traveling Donegal natives in support.

Andy is a multimedia reporter, interviewer, writer, with a strong focus on Irish MMA. Co-host of The Auld Triangle podcast. Follow Andy on Twitter (@andyste123) and Instagram (@andystevensonMMA).

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