This past Saturday night Britain’s Cage Warriors promotion held their latest show at the HMV Forum in London. The event was originally meant to air live, free to air, on subscription channel Premier Sports, but when one of the technical bods at the channel forgot to flick a switch or something those not wanting to sit in front of their computers only got to see the final thirty minutes of the show, which meant that yours truly couldn’t do his usual day after review.
Realising their mistake, Premier Sports quickly went into action, announcing that the show would be aired for free this past Monday night.
So a few days later than planned here’s my review of Cage Warriors 44.
The show began with the big boys of the heavyweight division as Dayman Lake faced Rab Truesdale.
Lake came forward early on, scoring with the immediate takedown. It wasn’t long before he tried to take Truesdale’s back, with the ensuing scramble seeing Lake take the card.
Within seconds Lake moved into position so he could apply an arm triangle, with Truesdale tapping within seconds. An impressive and dominating performance from the Englishman.
It was down to lightweight for the next fight as Kevin Donnelly took on Brad Wheeler.
This was one of the best technical fights I’ve seen this year. Although both guys looked good in the striking department they really shone when they went to the ground.
Donnelly put on a good ground display in the first and the early parts of the second, although Wheeler looked equally as impressive while defending off his back.
Wheeler began to work his way back from the second round onwards, taking Donnelly’s back late in the second and taking it again in the third, locking in a body triangle and synching in a rear naked choke for the very impressive submission win.
Featherweight action followed as Ashleigh Grimshaw went up against Graham Turner.
Having witnessed three rounds of great ground action we were now treated to three rounds of great striking action.
Both men looked tremendous as they exchanged combination after combination, with Grimshaw getting the better of the kicks, as evidenced by the big red mark on Turner’s left leg.
Grimshaw had further success in the third round when a big right staggered Turner, but overall it was great to watch.
So with the fight going the distance it was down to the judges as Turner took the split decision. You can’t really argue with that, although I thought that Grimshaw had just edged it.
The next fight was a catchweight encounter, made at 181 pounds, between Jack Mason and Brian Foster.
This was a quality return for the American. After being taken down by Mason for a few seconds Foster was soon on the offensive with a big slam, delivering an overhand right as he postured up.
After they returned to their feet Foster connected with a devastating spinning back kick to the body that doubled Mason over. Foster then pounced on his man, locking in a standing guillotine for the impressive submission win.
The main event saw Ivan Musardo taking on Joseph Duffy for the Lightweight title.
Once again the best was saved for last, as well as being a perfect example of how momentum can change in an instant.
For nearly four full rounds Duffy looked on top, especially in the striking department. While Musardo seemed to be looking for the big punch all the time Duffy was more fluent with his combinations and his kicks, staggering the Italian on more than one occasion.
But as the fourth round drew to a close Duffy slipped when he went to kick Musardo’s leg. Musardo pounced immediately, locking in a guillotine choke within seconds, taking the submission win from out of nowhere.
In conclusion - after Saturday’s technical problems I was glad that I finally got the chance to see this show, because having been fed a staple diet of Ultimate Challenge (or is it Cage Rage again now?) and BAMMA over the past few years I’m glad that Cage Warriors shows are now readily available on British television again.
This was a quality show, every fight delivered, with the encounter between Duffy and Musardo the fight of the night for me, and having seen two of their shows since their re-launch a year ago I can see why a lot of fans prefer Cage Warriors to their illustrious counterparts.
So in all Cage Warriors 44 gets the big thumbs up for what was a great show, and hopefully when they return in November the powers that be at Premier Sports will remember that the show is meant to be free to air!