December 13 JJ Aldrich

By Luke Henderson –
Three Colorado fighters had MMA bouts across the United States on November 16 and all three tasted bitter defeat. While it’s not the first time any of the three; Nick Laney, Cody Donovan, or JJ Aldrich, have lost, for them it doesn’t make the sting of it any less harsh.
First up was Nick Laney, featured last month for his year spent training fighters in Cork, Ireland He lost his main event return at Sparta Combat League’s Lords of the Legion event by unanimous decision to Jared Deaguero. The always feisty Laney wasn’t pleased with the way the fight turned out for a number of reasons.
“I’m not happy with the way the fight went, not happy with my performance or the performance of my opponent. If I wanted to wrestle, I would have gone to college,” Laney said, referencing what was mostly a ground based fight. “I came to fight and feel like I did more damage and had him in trouble a couple times, definitely feel like I had more opportunity to finish the fight than he did. I learned from it and will come out a better fighter for it, but I feel like Jared robbed the fans off what could have been an awesome fight.”
Laney, out of Infinite MMA, now stands at 6-2 professionally.
Later in the day, Colorado’s favorite son, Cody ‘Donnybrook’ Donovan, kicked off UFC 167 against Gian Villante. The first round found Donovan dominating with crisp striking from both his fists and feet and it was clear right from the start that he was looking to make an aggressive statement. Donovan was clearly going for a highlight level ending when he threw a head kick in the second round, however the timing could not have been worse luck for him. At the same moment his foot caught his opponent’s shoulder, Villante connected with an overhand right that dropped Donovan to the mat and handed him a TKO loss.
Donovan, out of Elevation Fight Team and Easton Training Center, now stands at 8-4 professionally.
The day rounded out with amateur JJ Aldrich defending her Destiny MMA women’s flyweight title against Rachael Ostovich in Hawaii. Aldrich, one of the most decorated female fighters in the history of Colorado MMA and whom is nominated yet again for a number of awards, has heavy ties to the Irish community.
“My dad was born in Ireland and most of my family is full blooded Irish. I would like to one day go to Ireland to visit and learn more about the culture. I think it’s really cool that the Colorado Irish community supports MMA,” Aldrich, who now calls Aurora home, said.
But all of that support couldn’t help her overcome her first loss in over a year. Aldrich dropped her title by unanimous decision.
“Physically, I’m fine because I didn’t get hit. I feel I could have done more and there are some mistakes I made and opportunities I had in the fight that I didn’t capitalize on. I know she didn’t beat me because I beat myself,” Aldrich said.
Aldrich, out of Freedom Fighter and 303 Training Center, now stands at 6-4 as an amateur.
While fans may feel like it was a demoralizing date for Colorado-Irish fighting, it’s important to hold the context. If we judge the Irish by our win/loss ratio as a people, we would be well below anything close to a winning record. But our history is steeped in rich stories of gallant men and women who faced long odds and sometimes won, but often times lost…handily. The point of the battle was to enter it, never mind the odds or the eventual outcome. The best drinking songs seem to all end with the titular hero falling to some infinite glory. So be of stout heart fight fans, all of these fighters will be back and winning soon enough, and no matter what, we’ll still raise them up.
To that end, please take a moment to help us decide on the immortality of our local fighters. Voting is now open for the first ever Colorado Celtic ‘Club’ award, honoring the best Colorado Irish-American fighter for the year by naming them as the ‘Club’. Both Donovan and Aldrich are nominees, as well as a number of other worthy fighters. Take a moment to go here, https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/coIrish, and give your favorite warrior a vote.

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