Monday, January 16, 2012

Brothers in arms

There are many well known families in mixed martial arts, which can include brothers who both fight. The most well-known is the legendary Gracie family, considered by just about everyone as the forefathers of MMA. But there are other well-known brothers in the sport, ranging from the Shamrocks to the Millers to probably the most well-known tandem in MMA right now, the Diaz brothers.

In Maryland, among the most well-known fighters is Jacob Kirwan, who trains with his brother Joey at Clinch Academy in Frederick. Jacob has fought on cards in Maryland, including the annual Shogun Fights card in Baltimore. But both Jacob and Joey both got their opportunities lately to compete on a more national stage when they fought in Bellator Fighting Championship, the de facto "competitor" to the UFC.

Jacob, a lightweight, fought Rene Nazare on a recent Bellator card while Joey fought at middleweight against Lewis Rumsey. Jacob's bout with Nazare went the full three rounds and neither competitor had much use for the stand-up game, going to the ground early and often in their fight where Jacob's mat skills earned him a unanimous decision victory.

Joey's fight didn't last nearly as long, as he escaped from a guillotine choke attempt by Rumsey to lock in a guillotine of his own and score a first-round submission victory.

It remains to be seen whether the Kirwans can achieve the kind of success enjoyed by the Diaz brothers, or even further down the line, the Gracies. But both guys appear poised to carry the flag for Maryland MMA for quite some time.

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