Leah ‘The Curse’ McCourt (4-1-0) made history on Saturday as she emerged victorious over Germany’s Judith Ruis at Dublin’s 3Arena via unanimous decision.
The 27-year-old featherweight was drawn into a battling ground scrap for three rounds, as she wrote her name into the history books becoming the first female to headline Bellator Europe.
In the first round, McCourt displayed her brilliant take-down skills as she brought Ruis to the ground several times with some impressive grappling abilities. McCourt couldn’t let her hands go for any ground and pound action but remained in control in the first round.
There was however a scare for the Irish crowd as it appeared Ruis had McCourt locked into a dangerous armbar but once again McCourt showed her dazzling skill to manoeuvre out of danger.
In similar fashion to the first, the Belfast fighter took Ruis down but this time managed to get a good position on the German’s back. McCourt fought hard to end the fight with a stoppage via a rear-naked choke but Ruis managed to escape and land punches and elbows of her own.
In the final round, the SBG Charlestown fighter came back in aggressive fashion and dominated for the full five minutes. McCourt was in total control and scored another take-down before landing some hefty punches on the ground.
In the end, all three judges scored the bout in McCourt’s favour (29-28, 29-28 & 30-27). It was a third consecutive victory for the 27-year-old as a Bellator athlete and she is unbeaten since her pro debut back in June 2017.
The magnitude of this cannot be understated. An Irish woman taking centre stage at one of the biggest MMA shows of the year. McCourt has constantly been pushing boundaries and paving the way for more Irish female MMA fighters to rise through the ranks. This is not only a big win for MMA but a big win for women in sport.
McCourt spoke after the fight giving her verdict on the bout and how proud she made her daughter Isabella who watched her fight live for the first time.
McCourt also acknowledged the historic nature of the bout and gave an insight into her hectic weight cut before weigh-in!