Friday, 2 November 2012

Cage Warriors 49 on Sky Sports - TV Review

We’re making a quick return to the British MMA arena for our next review as we go back in time to last weekend and the St. David’s Hall in Cardiff for Cage Warriors 49, shown this past Wednesday night on Sky Sports here in Britain.

The broadcast began in the lightweight division as Paul Redmond went up against Lewis Long.

There was very little striking in this mainly ground-based affair. Long took control early on, turning Redmond’s takedown attempt into an impressive judo throw. However, his stint on the ground didn’t last very long as Redmond gradually worked his way back into the fight.

His comeback began with the first of many big takedowns as he slammed Long to the mat, and although long managed to get to his feet Redmond quickly took him back down with the same sort of slam, exerting even more control on the action.

Redmond’s control continued into the second round, but this time around Long seemed almost defenceless against his opponent as Redmond gradually worked himself into position so he could take Long’s back and apply a rear naked choke. Long managed to defend at first before eventually succumbing, giving Redmond the submission win.

The lightweight action continued as Merv Mulholland took on Daniel Thomas.

This one didn’t last long. Mulholland came forward early looking for a strike, only to find himself on the receiving end of a Thomas takedown.

Thomas went to work immediately as he moved his man towards the fence. A few moments later Mulholland went on the offence with a leg triangle. Thomas held out for as long as he could, but when Mulholland added a few strikes into the mix that was it. Thomas was out of it as the referee stepped in to give Mulholland the submission win.

It was up to middleweight for the next fight as John Michael Sheil faced Faycal Hucin.

This proved to be a very competitive three rounder. As the fight began Sheil’s intentions were obvious as he connected with some nice kicks. His hand work wasn’t too bad either, and while Hucin looked like he was looking for that one big knockout blow Sheil looked as lot busier.

Hucin had some success with his takedowns, but the main problem he had was that Sheil, more often than not, managed to get back to his feet. He also didn’t do much work down there, but he did have some success with his strikes in the second, staggering Sheil, who immediately went on the counter with a takedown attempt of his own.

Sheil threw a few takedown attempts into his performance in the third round, adding this to his continuing success with his striking as he opened up a cut near Hucin’s left eye, while the Frenchman continued with his tactics of choice, scoring with a few more takedowns.

With the fight going the distance the judges were brought into the equation. Their verdict was a split decision in favour of Hucin. I have to admit that this came as a surprise to me, because I had Sheil ahead because of his superior work rate.

It was back down to lightweight for the next fight as Greg Loughran faced Tim Newman.

This was the one with the controversial ending. Both guys got off some good strikes in this one, with Loughran having a little more success in that department.

But this fight will be remembered for it’s ground work. Loughran scored with a series of takedowns, but each time they hit the ground Newman went for a guillotine. Loughran survived the first two attempts, but when he scored with the third takedown Newman synched in the guillotine even deeper, arching his back as he applied the pressure.

It wasn’t long before the referee stopped the action. Loughran was confused, disputing the referee’s decision that he’d tapped out. His mood wasn’t improved at all when the official told him that he’d tapped Newman’s hip once, and that was enough under the rules. His cause wasn’t helped at all when some folks in the front row and the video replays confirmed this.

The main event featured welterweight action as Cathal Pendred took on Bruno Carvalho.

The second three rounder of the show proved to be a very interesting affair. Pendred has some success in the striking department early on, but when he instigated a clinch against the cage Carvalho took him down with a combined judo throw and trip, although Pendred managed to get back to his feet after a few seconds.

Carvalho’s best moments came on the ground in the second round. While Pendred was in top position Carvalho went to work off his back with a number of submission attempts, moving from triangle to arm bar with ease. However, although it looked like the fight was going to end Pendred managed to survive, making this writer wonder if the Welshman was made of rubber.

The final round was fought at a slower pace. Both fighters had their moments in this one, with Carvalho gaining more success on the ground after a leg kick saw Pendred stumble down to the ground. Carvalho then followed him down for a spot of ground and pound.

Once again the judges were called into action, and once again they left me scratching my bald head a little as Pendred took the unanimous decision.

In conclusion - this was another night of great action, and of somewhat confusing decisions.

There were some really enjoyable fights here with some great performances. But some of the decisions left me a little perplexed, especially in the main event. I was left to wonder how Cathal Pendred, a guy who was on the end of some brutal submission attempts could get a unanimous decision, especially with one judge giving him each and every round. I wasn’t alone in questioning some of the decisions, with the announcers commenting on some of the strange decisions made in the unaired fights.

But rather than focus on the negatives let’s turn our attention to the positives and the fight of the night. This time around the no-prize is going to Merv Mulholland and Daniel Thomas.

So with that out of the way let’s end today’s business by giving Cage Warriors 49 a thumbs up.