A COMBAT event has been hailed as a great success after being held in Hartlepool for the first time.
Eight Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts and one K1 (kickboxing) fight were held at the Borough Hall in the Combat Challenge North East show.
A strong crowd turned out on Saturday to support the fighters, and plans are already being made for a return, likely to be in March.
Two fighters from Hartlepool stole the show with impressive first round victories in their MMA bouts.
Ash Griffiths fought David Stone in a professional MMA fight, and won inside 30 seconds of the first round with an arm triangle submission.
The Gus Robinson Developments star’s victory took his record to four wins and one loss in his career so far.
Hartlepool Closed Combat Arena ace Bradley Nelson, meanwhile, also triumphed in the first round.
The John Dawson-trained fighter saw off Rob Kelly, from Middlesbrough, with a guillotine submission in an amateur MMA bout to maintain his unbeaten record.
Both of those fights contributed to a successful night at the Borough Hall, and show promoter Anthony Frankland was buoyed by what he saw. He said: “The show was great.
“There was a good turnout – there were about 350 people there – and we will be looking to improve even more next time, with hopefully even more fans turning out.
“We’re looking at putting another event on in March.
“There are areas we will look to improve, but we are delighted with how things went.”
Frankland was particularly impressed with the performances of Griffiths and Nelson, who won with the minimum of fuss.
He added: “Both of them got the win, and they were very impressive in winning the way they did.
“Bradley has remained undefeated, and Ash now has four wins and one loss, so they both have great records and good futures ahead of them.
“It was an outstanding effort from both of them to win in the first round.”
Other fights included a professional MMA bout between Perry Goodwin, from Redcar, and Tommy Claussen.
Goodwin won by decision.
Paul Venis, from Middlesbrough, also won the professional K1 title as he beat Jan Lysak on a technical knockout in the first round.
There were also six amateur MMA bouts, with Nelson winning one of them.
There was also a victory for Thomas Corrigill, who beat Kaleem Kahn on a decision.
James Donnelly was another victor as he defeated David Young with a keylock submission in the first round.
Matthew Batty, from Middlesbrough, beat Robert Hardman and was another to triumph in the first round, this time with a technical knockout.