Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Catch-Up: Cage Warriors 70-71

It's time to continue with the Christmas catch-up theme as we take a trip into the world of British mixed martial arts. We're going back to last August and Channel 4's highlight packages of two Cage Warriors shows.

We begin in Dublin with Cage Warriors 70, and the bantamweight encounter between Martin Sheridan and Dean Garnett.

Well, the first MMA fight I've seen in months lasted a little over sixty seconds. Both fighters tested the waters early on before Garnett scored with the takedown. As they grappled for position Garnett leaned back and locked in an inverted heel hook. Sheridan quickly tapped to give Garnett the submission win.

It was up to lightweight next as Alexis Savvidis faced Paul Redmond.

Now this was a very entertaining fight. Savvidis began to swing as soon as the first round began, but it wasn't long before Redmond took control of the action. The Irishman did a good job of closing his man down, and after managing to avoid Savvidis' flying armbar attempt he scored with the takedown and went looking for the arm triangle, a hold he just couldn't get on right.

Savvidis looked a little more carefree in the early stages of the second when he went for a Superman punch and a flying knee, and after a collision saw Redmond landing on his back there was a brief scramble as both men went looking for leg submissions. Redmond came out on top in this battle as Savvidis tapped out to toe hold.

The lightweight action continued into the main event with Damien Lapilus and Joseph Duffy.

This was another of those fights that fits into the very entertaining bracket. This was Duffy's return to the cage, and having gone on a seven fight winning streak as a professional boxer he was looking to make a big statement.

He just about did it. He controlled the action beautifully for the first two rounds, hunting Lapilus down and putting together some nice combinations. The Frenchman managed to get in a few good combinations of his own, but they just weren't up to Duffy's standard.

It wasn't just about Duffy's superior striking though. Having stuffed Lapilus' takedown attempt towards the end of the second he scored with one of his own early in the third. He then quickly took his man's back, locking in a rear naked choke for the highly impressive submission win.

Six days later the crew arrived in Jordan for Cage Warriors 71, beginning with women's bantamweight action between Lina Akhtar Lansberg and Laura Howarth.

Lansberg showed her intent as soon as the fight began when she connected with a high leg kick, and from there it was one-way traffic for the most part. Howarth looked like she was having trouble just getting started, and when the Swede bloodied her nose with a big knee and caused more damage with an elbow it didn't exactly do her case any good.

Howarth looked like a beaten woman as she made her way back to her corner at the end of the first, and a few moments later the fight was called, giving Lansberg the TKO win.

Featherweight action followed as Gaetano Pirrello took on Arnold Allen.

Pirrello began his night's work with a kick that landed south of the border, and that proved to be his most meaningful move of the entire fight because from then on Allen put in a dominating performance.

His striking looked incredibly crisp, and it got even better when he scored with several takedowns and unleashed with the ground and pound. Pirrello went looking for a couple of submissions, but Allen was more than a match for him.

The only thing missing from Allen's sound performance was a finish, which meant the judges came into the equation. No surprises here as Allen took the resounding unanimous decision.

The main event saw Deyan Topalski challenging Jack Hermansson for the Middleweight title.

We had quite a lengthy feeling out period at the beginning of this one, but as soon as Hermansson caught Topalski's kick and took the fight to the ground everything went in the champion's favour.

At first he went looking for a rear naked choke, but when that particular tactic failed he changed his plan, and as the round entered it's final minute he locked in a body triangle and began to rain down a torrent of blows to the side of Topalski's head. The Bulgarian was unable to defend these blows coming from behind, and it came as no surprise when the referee stepped in to give Hermansson the TKO win.

In conclusion - it's been quite a while since I've seen anything from Cage Warriors, and it's nice to see that they've kept up the high standards they've set for themselves. Every fight on these broadcasts delivered, and although I'm not usually one to watch one hour highlight shows I'm glad I recorded these for later viewing.

As for my prestigious fight of the night no-prize as I only saw three fights from both shows I'm going to pick an overall winner, with Arnold Allen's domination of Gaetano Pirrello taking the award this time.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give these shows the thumbs up.