Shay Walsh - Photo Credit: Bellator MMA

Lancaster’s Shay Walsh will face long-term rival Alan Philpott in Dublin, Ireland on Friday, June 7 at BAMMA 30. The pair has had numerous talks in the past but only now has a fight finally being agreed.

Former champions in their own right, the pair share a recent blemish on their record in the form of Tom Duquesnoy. Now “Firekid” has ventured to the UFC, this bout is a battle to fill the void left by the Frenchman and a chance to pick up the BAMMA bantamweight title.

Speaking to MMA Plus, Walsh revealed his delight at being given the opportunity to fight for the title once again: “I am a little surprised the chance has come this quick but that’s a sign of my hard work to get into this position. I’ve kept the pressure on Bellator and BAMMA to keep me fighting.”

The “Lancaster Martyr” first claimed the BAMMA bantamweight title back in 2015 with a convincing win over Ed Arthur at BAMMA 23. Despite having both this and the fight with Duquesnoy, champion vs champion, Walsh is adamant that the fight with Philpott ranks up there as the biggest of his career.

“It’s right there up, 100%,” he told MMA Plus. “I’ve worked myself back into the position that I wanted to be in. We’re the main event on a big show, live TV, belt on the line and a chance to shut Philpott up. It’s definitely up there as one of my biggest”.

Speaking to the Englishman on preparation, the confidence in how ready he feels for the fight was evident.

“I’m always improving. I’ve fought twice this year as I wanted to stay active and I have two wins under my belt. I’ve also been training in Thailand which is a fantastic place to train. Alan [Philpott] hasn’t fought since the loss to Tom [Duquesnoy] so it’s all going to play into my favour.” Walsh went on to describe Philpott delaying the fight as “probably the worst thing he could’ve done.”

There has been a lot of heated discussion between the pair with Philpott insisting Walsh will consider retirement after their fight. Walsh laughed this off in typical fashion.

BAMMA 25: Shay Walsh holding the championship belt. Copyright BAMMA.

“What? Retire with [the] belt? He wants me to retire with the belt?…” Walsh sarcastically asked. “To be honest, most of the stuff he says I find ridiculous. He reckons I’m slowing down and I’m coming to the end of my career when I’m actually just getting into my peak. I’m 28-years-old now and my best days are still ahead of me. The other stuff he stays is just laughable.”

Walsh was quick to draw comparisons between the fighters in the recent past and pointed mostly to both fighters’ bouts with Ed Arthur. “You look at his fight, he buckled under pressure against Ed and I completely dominated him a few months later. Alan chokes in the big fights and that’s exactly what is going to happen again.”

Should Walsh beat Philpott and reclaim the belt, the only reputable British fighters he hasn’t competed against belong to the UFC roster. Walsh insists he will take some time off, speak to BAMMA and see what they can offer the Lancastrian.

Shay ended talks with a big message for rival Alan Philpott: “You’ve lit a fire in my belly again. Talking that bit of sh*t on the internet is the worst thing you could have done. I am extremely motivated. I’ve trained very hard, very smart and I’m on fire in all areas. You’re about to feel it.”