As British MMA is going to feature heavily in this column in the next week what better way to start than with a retro review?
So let’s go back in time to Portsmouth, July 27th, 2003 and the fourth Cage Warriors show, entitled UK versus France.
We begin with Rob Mitchell against Glen Appleby.
This one got off to a fast start, with Appleby countering Mitchell’s initial onslaught with a take down.
However, it wasn’t long before Mitchell took control, going for a couple of submission attempts as well as unleashing with the ground and pound.
Appleby looked out of it at the end of the round, and when he didn’t come out of his corner at the start of the second Mitchell was given the stoppage win.
Then it was on to Graham Day against Gav Bradley.
Bradley began the fight by running out of his corner and getting the early takedown. But after Day managed to get to his feet it wasn’t long before he took control on the ground, keeping the pressure on with strikes before taking the submission win with a guillotine.
The next encounter, described as a “UK lightweight Superfight” saw Dave Elliot taking on Andy Butlin.
A quick affair saw Butlin start with a couple of kicks before the fight went to the ground, but as Butlin tried to posture up Elliot locked in an arm bar for the submission win.
Up next were Ricky Moore, who only took the fight that morning, against Guillaume Monono in the first of the UK versus France fights.
A very intriguing battle saw Monono getting the early take down. Moore soon reversed the positions and got in some good shots, but it wasn’t long before Monono regained control.
The Frenchman went for a triangle choke, but when Moore tried to slam his way out it only succeeded in helping Monono tighten his grip, with Moore tapping out seconds later.
The international action continued as Andy Cooper faced Mohamed Khacha.
The first fight to actually make it into the second round saw Khacha dominate after he got the quick take down, swelling Cooper’s right eye as he went to work with the ground and pound.
But the roles were soon reversed in the second round. Khacha tried to carry on where he’d left off until Copper took control, taking Khacha’s back, flattening him out and synching in a rear naked choke for the submission win.
Then we saw another one who took that fight that morning, Andy Lagden, against Laurent Bonnafoux.
Like others before him Bonnafoux took the early take down, controlling the fight until Lagden was able to reverse into side control.
Seconds later both men returned to their feet, and when Lagden connected with a knee to the head in the clinch Bonnafoux went down like a sack of spuds, Lagden getting the impressive knockout win.
None other than future UFC and Strikeforce star Paul Daley was next, taking on Florentin Amorim in only the Brit’s second professional outing.
Daley’s weak ground game has been exposed a few times over the years, and when he slipped while trying to deliver a kick Amorim was all over him, quickly taking Daley’s back.
Daley tried to defend, but it wasn’t long before Amorim synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.
Next up was Robbie Olivier, going up against Emmanuel Fernandez.
This final UK/France battle saw Fernandez putting on a good display on the ground. Olivier did a good job of defending at first before taking the guard himself.
However, Fernandez continued to fight as he locked in a triangle choke for the submission win.
Then it was on to the title fights, beginning with Dave McLaughlin challenging Paul McVeigh for the Under 65 kilo title.
A dominant performance from McVeigh saw him begin with a couple of strikes that opened up a cut above McLaughlin’s right eye.
McVeigh then took the fight to the ground, and although McLaughlin got to his feet McVeigh soon took him back down, going to work with the ground and pound. Realising that there was nothing he could do against this onslaught McLaughlin tapped to give McVeigh the impressive win.
Then Paul Sutherland faced Ozzy Haluk for the vacant Lightweight title.
The second fight to go into the second round saw Sutherland take control early on when he took the fight to the ground, and although he put in some good work Haluk did a good job of defending himself.
Sutherland took his game up a notch in the second, again take the fight down and going for the ground and pound. Haluk just couldn’t handle Sutherland’s attack and wisely tapped out, giving Sutherland the title win.
The third title fight saw Adrian Degorski challenging Paul Jenkins for the Welterweight title.
This fight began with a quick exchange before Degorski took the fight to the ground, briefly taking Jenkins’ back before they returned to their feet.
A brief clinch against the cage followed before another exchange of blows, with the Pole dropping the champion with a big right. Degorski followed him down, with the referee stepping in to stop the fight, giving Degorski the title winning TKO win.
The final title fight saw Ross Pettifer taking on Matt Ewing for the vacant Middleweight title.
This was a great back and forth encounter. After jockeying for position in a clinch against the cage the fight went to the ground as Pettifer took control, almost synching in an arm bar.
The frantic action continued into the second, with both fighters going for guillotines until Ewing took control after sweeping Pettifer and taking the guard. Seconds later Ewing took his back, locking in a neck crank for the great submission win.
In conclusion - even though I’ve got quite a few of their shows from their days on The Wrestling Channel it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen any Cage Warriors action.
As this show took place almost eight years ago it was interesting to see how much British MMA has progressed since then. The commentators mentioned that British fighters were having a hard time getting into the UFC, something which is a lot easier these days given the UFC’s global appeal.
All of the fights shown here were pretty decent, and it was good to see Paul Daley in only his second professional fight. I kept wondering though if he’ll ever overcome his weakness in the ground game.
It was also interesting to see tabloid darling Alex Reid serve as referee for some of the earlier fights. Maybe now he’s away from the clutches of Katie Price and the newspapers aren’t fixated on his cross dressing fetish he’ll start concentrating on his fighting career again.
So in all the fourth Cage Warriors show gets the thumbs up, not just for the fights but for this interesting lesson in the development of British MMA.
Before you ask, Cage Warriors are still going strong, and for information on their upcoming shows visit www.cagewarriors.com.