STRABANIMAL James Gallagher borrowed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic phrase by insisting he’ll be back after suffering a shock first round defeat to American Ricky Bandejas in Sioux Falls at the weekend.
The defeat at Bellator 204 was Gallagher’s first since turning professional and after some MMA fight fans gleefully welcomed the unexpected loss on social media, the Strabane native took to Instagram to reassure his many supporters it was nothing more than a setback.
“He caught me, I got beat fair square,” said Gallagher, who had moved down from featherweight to bantamweight for his eighth professional fight.
“I’m down but I’m not broke. He caught me lucky, I got clipped.
“Fair play to him, the whole game knows him now. Let’s go again, I’m coming back.”
The most shocking thing about Gallagher’s defeat was the manner of it.
In the opening minute Bandejas rocked his opponent with a punishing right hand on the chin and, in truth, the North Tyrone man, who fights out of the Straight Blast Gym, simply never recovered.
The American followed up with another right before landing a right kick on Gallagher’s jaw. That hammer blow sent Conor McGregor’s team-mate tumbling to the floor and Bandejas quickly swooped to finish off his opponent with a barrage of punches.
Without doubt the shock defeat in South Dakota’s most populated city is major setback for Gallagher. The clash was supposed to mark a glorious return for the Strabane man after 14 months out with a knee injury.
The initial plan was a title shot against Darren Caldwell in Dublin in December but a rematch with Bandejas is now uppermost in Gallagher’s thoughts.
“I want to rematch this guy in December. It’s definitely a possibility,” he continued.
FULL STORY IN TOMORROW’S STRABANE CHRONICLE