BAMMA 28: Norman Parke Ready For Paul Redmond Showdown

BAMMA 28: Norman Parke Ready For Paul Redmond Showdown

Norman Parke faces Paul Redmond this Friday in the main event of BAMMA 28 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He's confident heading into the bout.

Feb 20, 2017 by Jim Edwards
BAMMA 28: Norman Parke Ready For Paul Redmond Showdown
Norman Parke fulfills a dream on Friday, Feb. 24, when he headlines BAMMA 28 at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  

The 30-year-old is facing Paul Redmond in a battle for the BAMMA lightweight title that has the whole of Ireland talking. Both former UFC fighters come into the bout on good form, having picked up a win apiece since their departures from the Octagon. 

With Parke now at an important time in his career and a big name on the domestic scene, understandably he's after big fights. Speaking exclusively to FloCombat this weekend, the Northern Irishman revealed his fight with Redmond on Friday was one of many that could've come together over the last four months.

"After my fight in October, [BAMMA] wanted me to fight Redmond for the title in December--that was the plan," Parke said. "I said financially if it works out for both of us then I'll fight no problem. That for some reason or other never came about, so I just kind of forgot about it and took a fight in Russia, but then I had to pull from that because of my hand injury.

"After that, the whole thing with Bellator and Daniel Weichel came about. [Redmond] pulled out of the fight, and I said I'd step up and fight him [Weichel]. I thought my hand injury was getting a bit better at that point, but I went back to hitting the bag that week and my hand just flared up again right away something nasty. Jude [Samuel] was the one who originally reached out about it, but I didn't hear back for like a week. At that point I was just like, f*ck it, I'll sit this one out and detach myself from MMA for a bit."

Reflecting on it all now, Parke is content with the fact the fight is happening this Friday and feels the circumstances have worked out for the better. With the fight now for the BAMMA lightweight title and on his own patch, he feels the bout is happening under better terms than would've done had it been put together before.

"In hindsight, I think it was for the best because they came back later offering me this fight and the date was good," Parke said. "I think it's given me time to heal my hand properly, and it's better for me because it's in Belfast. I'm on a three-fight deal, and it's for the title. That works out just perfectly for me.

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"The deal is two fights in the UK and one in Ireland. Whatever happens in the fight with me and Paul on Friday, I think we can go onto even bigger things."

Unlike a lot of other high-profile fights these days, Parke and Redmond have avoided any trash talking or hyperbole. Both fighters have been respectful toward one another since the fight has been announced, and the mutual respect is apparent heading into BAMMA 28. 

"For sure, there's absolutely no beef, smack talking or any nonsense like that," Parke said. "Me and Paul have both been fighting on the scene for a long time, way before we ever stepped foot in the UFC or anything like that. People have wanted to see us fight for a long time and we've even been offered grappling matches with each other, but injuries for both of us have stopped that from ever happening. 

"Now it just seems to have worked out perfectly, you know? He's a great opponent, and I know this sounds a bit like I'm not saying, but he really is good everywhere. He's a BJJ brown belt, and he looked good in that fight he had with (Chris) Stringer in Bellator. He totally had him everywhere you know, the striking, the wrestling--he just dominated him."

While highly complimentary of Redmond and what he brings to the table on Friday night, Parke feels he has what it takes to get the job done in front of his home crowd. Suffice to say, it should be a special night in the SSE Arena Belfast, and Parke is confident he will be the man with his hand raised when BAMMA 28 ends.

"Like I said, he's a great opponent, and I think we match up well," Parke said. "We always knew at some point this fight was going to happen when we were on the Irish circuit. Obviously, I'm coming to win and he's coming to win--that goes without saying. We are both good fighters, but I know I can win this fight.
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"Both of us are good enough to jump straight into that Bellator lightweight division--it's not deep at all, just look at it. There's like, what? Six top guys? We could jump in there no problem, man. But whatever, I'm not looking past this fight, so I say let the best man win."

How to Watch  BAMMA 28

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