Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley and James McSweeney Fight at BAMMA 5

Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley and James McSweeney Fight at BAMMA 5
BAMMA are currently fleshing out their fifth fight card, scheduled for Feb. 26, with a plethora of talent, including some well-known British fighters clashing with international opponents.

Paul Daley

The latest to join this charge is TUF and UFC veteran James “The Hammer” McSweeney, who will be colliding with a resurgent Ricco Rodriguez.

I’d like to take a look at the man that would clearly hope to play the role of spoiler in this situation, Yuya Shirai:

Shirai was victorious at the All-Japan Sambo Championships in 2003 and began his MMA career that same year. The Team M.A.D. product started his career with a five fight win streak until running into Yuki Sasaki in 2004. Varied results, including a decision loss to Joey Villasenor, followed from 2004 to 2007 as Shirai competed in DEEP, as well as Pancrase, and Spirit MC.

In 2008, Shirai lost two close decisions in a row, against DEEP middleweight champion and UFC signee Riki Fukuda and former Olympic wrestler Jordan Radev of Bulgaria. In case you can’t tell yet, Shirai spent a good portion of his career as a real undersized fighter.

The last loss on Shirai’s record came in April 2009, at the opening round of the DREAM welterweight grand prix at DREAM 8. This is probably the fourth time I’ve linked to this video, but he just refused to tap, I can’t help it!

Shirai won his DEEP welterweight title early in 2010 with a decision victory over Seichi Ikemoto. Shirai has since defended his title once, against the unheralded Shigetoshi Iwase in October. He also submitted British journeyman Che Mills with an armbar in the intermediary.

In all, Shirai is a solid fighter who has been undersized much of his career. His power isn’t impressive, his striking not highly technical. He’ll throw wide shots from far out and leave himself open. Then again, who the hell would expect him to stand in this upcoming bout? I’ve seen Shirai use his striking to play to what advantages he may have – he’ll throw, change levels, maybe just grab on and drag an opponent to the ground. Completing that process is sometimes an issue (watch the fight against High, ask yourself what in the world he’s doing), but once on the ground, Shirai definitely has the ability to gain position and ultimately submit people. Of course, that’s not to say that he isn’t quite vulnerable in that area as well.

Will Shirai top Daley? No, he probably won’t. He does have a skill set that could allow him to stick around and provide an interesting fight though. And if not? Well, there’s a very real chance that it would be because he threw a lazy left hook trying to get inside. In that case, at least we’ll probably get to see another highlight reel knockout.

check some of his previous fights


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