From the moment the opening bars of Luke Corcoran’s entrance music, “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, are played, the fog of anticipation in the National Basketball Arena suddenly transformed into screams of encouragement from the Blanchardstown lad’s countless hometown supporters.
Steven Heather, Corcoran’s opponent, proved to be perfectly focused on the task at hand. He didn’t blink while the frenzied crowd reached fever pitch as their local hero entered the Cage Contender enclosure for the first time.
The sea of Coolmine BJJ T-shirts at ringside chanted “LUKEY” as the two fighters began the feeling-out process.
Corcoran, who talked at length about his striking ability prior to the fight, seemed to abandon the tactic, going for two early takedowns, one which was stuffed by Heather.
The second however, was a fantastic double leg by the talented judoka. Corcoran gained mount quickly before Heather quickly escaped and got to his feet.
Anxiety swept over the Blanchardstown contingent as the former Irish judo captain sat on the mat looking up at his opponent.
In a move, undoubtedly taught to him by his father, Corcoran grabbed the ankles of Heather and pushed through his legs to gain a mounted position. With the mount secured, victory seemed imminent.
However, to much of the crowd’s amazement, Heather managed to sweep the experienced grappler awkwardly, landing in a dominant position.
Heather seemed to have the upper hand, trapping Corcoran from his top position, hitting him with strikes, albeit harmless ones. The Kokoro fighter kept “Killer” on the bottom for the guts of 30 seconds, before Corcoran managed to shake him off.
A scuffle ensued in the middle of the cage with Corcoran appearing to go for another double leg, with his opponent trying to push down on the SBGi fighter in an example of standard takedown defence.
From here Corcoran displayed his life of martial arts experience catching Heather in, what appeared to be, a rolling armbar. With the submission in place, the out-classed Heather had little choice but to tap out, confirming Corcoran as a Cage Contender.
Corcoran stretched his record to 2-0; he has yet to have been outside the first round in his MMA career and will look to future bouts under the well-renowned John Ferguson promotion.
This began a great night for John Kavanagh’s SBGi, winning 8 of their 9 bouts on the night.
Photographs by John Mulholland