Sunday, 16 December 2012

Cage Warriors 50 on Sky Sports - TV Review

It certainly has been a busy time for British MMA recently. A week after three of our major promotions held shows on the same night Cage Warriors stepped up to the plate and took their 50th show to Glasgow, with the event being shown this past week on Sky Sports.

The broadcast began in the middleweight division as Denniston Sutherland faced Scott Askham.

This was a great way to begin the night’s action. They didn’t wait to get started, but when Askham rocked his man early on his domination began. Sutherland tried for a takedown but Askham easily countered and he soon went to work on the ground.

Eventually Sutherland managed to wall walk back to his feet, but this didn’t do him much good when he ate a few knees from Askham’s Thai clinch.

Sutherland looked like a beaten man when the second round began. His legs looked like they were made of jelly, and his best moment of the fight came when he ended up in the top position after Askham executed a judo throw.

However, it wasn’t long before Askham regained control, and as the second round became the third round Askham’s dominance continued. The only blot on his copybook was the fact that Sutherland was there for the taking, but Askham just couldn’t put him away.

Which meant the judges were called into action as Askham took the unanimous decision.

It was down to featherweight for the next contest as Nathan Beer went up against Graham Turner.

This proved to be an exciting affair. Turner scored with a takedown within the first few seconds, but it wasn’t long before Beer managed to get to his feet. For the next few minutes the two fighters engaged in a back and forth grappling battle around and across the cage.

As the first round neared it’s final minute Turner took the fight to the ground again and began to rain down a torrent of right hands from side control. Beer managed to stand up but the barrage continued, and the referee soon stepped in to give Turner the TKO win.

Welterweight action followed as Aaron Wilkinson took on Alan Johnston.

This was one for the technical purists. It began with Wilkinson taking the fight to the ground, and that was the start of three rounds of great ground fighting.

For the first two rounds Wilkinson was the submission hunter. He was always looking to put his man away in one form or another, no matter what position he was in. It wasn’t all one way traffic though, and Johnston had his fair share of success as well, particularly from the top position in the second and in the third as well, although Wilkinson ended the fight with a kimura attempt.

But with no finish to the fight the judges were called upon again as Johnston took the unanimous decision. You couldn’t help feel sorry for Wilkinson though after his stellar performance.

It was down to bantamweight for the next fight as Wilson Reis faced Owen Roddy.

This one was fought at a frantic pace throughout. It was a joy to watch as they exchanged blow after blow, and when the action went to the ground it was just as frantic.

Both guys put in good performances. The striking exchanges were top notch, and the ground work was just as good, and after two rounds of great action it looked as if the fight could go either way, especially as neither man seemed to slow down.

The end came early in the third round. Reis connected with a big right that sent Roddy crashing, and it wasn’t long before Reis applied an arm triangle before he took his man’s back and synched in a rear naked choke. The referee stepped in when Roddy passed out to give Reis the submission win.

The main event saw Brandon Hempleman taking on Paul McVeigh in a catchweight bout made at 130 pounds.

This proved to be an intriguing three round affair, and while we didn’t have any ground work to speak of the striking was well worth watching.

Both fighters kept up a good work rate throughout the fifteen minutes, with McVeigh getting the better of the exchanges early on and drawing first blood when he opened up a cut above Hempleman’s left eye.

It wasn’t all one way traffic though. As the fight progressed Hempleman seemed to be getting the better of the exchanges, and his work rate got even better in the third as his one shot at a time tactic looked as if it was having a great deal of success.

Neither man was able to get in that one big blow, which meant a final assignment for the judges as Hempleman took the unanimous decision.

In conclusion - it seems as if I’m getting a little spoiled for great British MMA action at the moment.

Cage Warriors 50 proved to be a quality show. All of the five fights shown over the two hour broadcast delivered big time, and the performances of those involved was top notch and another example of the dearth of talent we have on these shores at the moment.

As for my fight of the night, all five of them were in with a strong chance this time around, but I eventually went for the Aaron Wilkinson/Alan Johnston encounter, a great exhibition of ground fighting if ever there was one.

So with all of that out of the way it’s time to wrap this thing up by giving Cage Warriors’ penultimate show of 2012 the big thumbs up.

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