British MMA with an international flavour is on the agenda as we take a look at Cage Warrior’s most recent show, a show which saw them travel to Beirut for Fight Night 3, making their first appearance on Sky Sports this past Wednesday evening.
The broadcast began in the welterweight division as Domingos Mestre faced John Donnelly.
Ground fighting was the order of the day in this encounter. After briefly jockeying for position in the first round Mestre went for a couple of guillotine attempts in the first round which Donnelly waited out.
Sadly the second round wasn’t shown, so it was straight to the third round where more ground fighting followed, with Mestre opening up a nasty cut on Donnelly’s forehead before going for another guillotine.
So with the fight going the distance it was down to the judges to decide as Mestre took the unanimous decision. Would have been nice to see that second round though.
The quarter-finals of the Middleweight title tournament began next as Victor Cheng took on Matt Gabel.
This was a fight packed with incident, particularly in the first round. After a brief feeling out period the fighters engaged in a clinch against the cage where Cheng connected with a knee south of the border.
Cheng got off a few good strikes, but later on Gabel went for a guillotine choke. But as he tried to synch in the hold properly he connected with a kick to Cheng’s spine that earned him a warning from the referee.
A second warning came a few seconds later. As Cheng made his escape Gabel connected with an upkick while Cheng still had one knee on the ground. This time around though the warning came with a one point deduction.
The end came in the second round. Cheng began to unload with the heavy leather, staggering his American opponent, before taking the win with a crisp rear naked choke. Nice work all round.
The second quarter-final saw Faycal Hucin taking on Gareth Joseph.
This was a great, if somewhat brief, back and forth encounter. Joseph began in an explosive manner, scoring with a takedown and going for the ground and pound with a series of hammer fists.
Hucin managed to escape and began to unload with the big shots. A right hand staggered Joseph, and with the American looking out on his feet the referee stepped in immediately to give Hucin the knockout win.
With the tournament action over for the evening it was on to a featherweight contest between Matteus Lahdesmaki and Graham Turner.
Another good encounter saw the fighters engage in a brief feeling out period until Lahdesmaki scored with the takedown. The Finnish fighter soon went for the kimura before seamlessly transferring to Turner’s back where he synched in a rear naked choke for the submission win.
It was back to the middleweight division for the next fight as Mats Nilsson went up against Tommy Speer.
This was one of those very intriguing affairs. Both guys put on some good work in the first round, particularly in the first round as they exchanged positions on the ground.
The best work came in the second. Nilsson took control on the ground, putting in a good showing as he controlled his American opponent until the referee stood them up because there wasn’t enough work for his liking.
With the fighters back on their feet Speer looked to take control with his striking but soon found himself back on the ground. Nilsson then took the mount before locking in an arm triangle choke. Speer tried to fight it but it wasn’t long before the inevitable tap out to give Nilsson the submission win.
The main event featured lightweight action as Juha-Pekka Vainikainen went up against Kyle Watson.
A solid if somewhat unspectacular affair saw both guys putting in a good effort in an even looking first round. The action really didn’t hot up until the second when Vainikainen scored with a couple of blows straight down the middle as well as showing some good takedown defence.
The rather unfortunate ending came when Watson went for a takedown. A glancing blow from Vainikainen opened up a nasty gash on Watson’s forehead. As the blood began to pour during a clinch against the cage the referee stopped the action and called in the doctor, who soon called the fight off, giving Vainikainen the TKO win.
In conclusion - Fight Night 3 proved to be an enjoyable show. There were some good displays here, particularly from Cheng and Nilsson, although Hucin’s knockout win was the fight of the night for me.
So in all Cage Warriors’ debut on Sky Sports gets the thumbs up from this writer. A very enjoyable show, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from them in the next couple of weeks.