By Roy Billington
On Saturday night, top Irish featherweight prospect Brian "The Pikeman" Moore debuts for Europe’s premier promotion Cage Warriors against gifted grappler Dave Hill in Cardiff’s Motorpoint Arena at Cage Warriors 59.
Brian Moore is a product of the illustrious Straight Blast Gym in Dublin, Ireland, where he trains under top coach John Kavanagh alongside top European talent, including Conor McGregor, Cathal Pendred, and Owen Roddy, though whereas Moore’s teammates have received notable acclaim from MMA insiders, The Pikeman has been quietly honing his skills across the burgeoning Irish fight scene.
Brian’s MMA story started back in his county of Wexford, a coastal county on the Southeast corner of Ireland, a county that is the source of Moore's nickname "The Pikeman." The origins of Moore’s nickname go back to 1798, when a cruel and unjustified reign of terror from the British government caused the people of Wexford to rebel against the far more powerful British army, and against all odds the men of Wexford -- armed only with their Pikes as weapons -- managed to defeat the British and take control of the county. Moore chose the nickname of "The Pikeman" to symbolise the "Never Quit" attitude of the Irish.
Skillswise, Brian is notorious for being probably the best-conditioned athlete in the country, and uncharacteristically for a Irish fighter, he has solid wrestling. Just like all the pro fighters from the famed SBG gym, his grappling is top-notch, and in his last two bouts, he’s won by submission in the very first round.
I asked Moore how a typical day of his fight camp goes, and he replied:
"I have a great training schedule in place. I train twice a day most days. Morning sessions usually consist of a LOT of sparring, BJJ, or positional sparring. The evening sessions involve striking technique, light rolling, wrestling, or strength & conditioning. Every session I go into with the intention to improve."
As we see all too often in the fight game, young fighters are motivated by the pursuit of girls and money, two conquests that usually lead to complacency in the cage, but one of Moore's strongest suits is his support team. He recently married his childhood sweetheart Noreen, and has a strong support system comprised of family, friends, and teammates. I asked Brian what motivates and inspires him, and he answered:
"I want to be successful. I put the work in and deserve to be successful. I've always been competitive and I love testing myself. For me, Mixed Martial Arts is the ultimate test. I have many idols in many different walks of life, not just combat. But my main inspiration is getting the best out of myself, making my family and friends proud, and representing my county and country."
Cathal Pendred and Conor McGregor, the general public in Ireland has discovered a newfound appreciation of mixed martial arts, and all eyes are on the Cage Warriors cage. Moore will be debuting on live TV, and I asked him what it meant to finally be competing for such a well-known company, and he said:
"It means a lot to fight on Cage Warriors. They are the biggest show in Europe, and I am excited to get the chance to showcase my skills on the world stage. There will be nerves -- like all fights -- but I welcome them, they make me sharper."
On Saturday Brian’s opponent is Dave Hill, a vastly experienced fighter who is coached by UFC referee Marc Goddard, who himself is a student of acclaimed grappler Braulio Estima. Cage Warriors matchmaker Ian Dean has thrown Moore right in at the deep end by pairing him with Hill, and this is a great litmus test to see where he currently is. I asked Moore for his thoughts about being matched up with Hill, and he answered:
"He's a former title contender with a good record and a good chin. Beating him will put me right in the mix. He prefers grappling but I'm skilled in all areas and ready for whatever the fight brings."
Cage Warriors 59 will take place on September 14, 2013 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.
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