British MMA is on the agenda for the first time this year, and this time around we’re going to take a trip to Dublin and Cage Warriors 51, held on New Year’s Eve and shown this past Wednesday night on Sky Sports here in Britain.
The broadcast began with a women’s catchweight fight, made at 120 pounds, between Katja Kankaanpaa and local favourite Aisling Daly.
Daly began her night’s work by coming forward as soon as the fight began, but it wasn’t long before her Finnish opponent took the upper hand with a takedown.
Once on the ground Kankaanpaa dominated the action. Daly tried her best defensively until Kankaanpaa managed to transition into a position where she could apply a brabo choke, and when Daly managed to get back to her feet Kankaanpaa kept the hold in place and connected with a series of knees before Daly managed to break away.
Round two was pretty much the same as round one, with Kankaanpaa controlling the action on the ground. Daly managed to up her game a little in the third with some nice striking, but the Finn always looked one step ahead.
With no finish in sight the judges were called into action for the first time during the broadcast as Kankaanpaa took the unanimous decision.
Welterweight action followed as Jack Mason took on Florent Betorangal.
This one began with quite a lengthy feeling out period. At one point it looked as if neither man was willing to engage until Mason scored with the takedown.
From there he went on to control the action on the ground, and although Betorangal was always looking for either the guillotine or the escape Mason managed to keep him grounded.
Round two began in the same way, and played out the same way as well, with Mason scoring with the takedowns and controlling the action on the ground after a long feeling out period.
Round three saw Betorangal almost dancing in front of Mason, but the Frenchman soon found that his attempted mind games didn’t work when Mason took him down again.
A few moments later the referee took a point off Mason after a head butt, and after the referee gave him a few seconds of rest Betorangal came across the cage as if he’d been shot out of a canon as he went for a flying knee, but as he flipped over Mason the action soon returned to the ground, with the Stone taking control again.
But once again with no finish in sight the judges came into the equation as Mason took the unanimous decision.
The co-main event saw Jesse Taylor challenging Chris Fields for the World Middleweight title.
This was good. As his custom Fields began his shift with a front kick, but he soon found himself on the end of a Taylor takedown.
The American soon took control as he took Fields’ back, and although the champion put on some good defensive work at times Taylor’s grappling was top notch, with Fields’ only offensive move of note being a kimura attempt.
The end came in round two. Fields began with a couple of kicks until Taylor quickly took the fight to the ground. Seconds later he took Fields’ back and locked in a rear naked choke for the title winning submission.
The main event saw Ivan Buchinger taking on World Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor for the vacant World Lightweight title.
No feeling out period in this one. As soon as the fight began McGregor came forward, and with his hometown fans cheering him on he began to take Buchinger apart.
After a few attempted kicks McGregor scored with the takedown. Buchinger managed to get back to his feet a few moments later for a clinch against the cage, but after that it was an all striking affair.
Buchinger was on the back foot throughout as McGregor kept coming forward. Every punch McGregor threw looked like it was thrown with a tremendous amount of force, and when he connected with a big left hook Buchinger crashed to the canvas, with the referee quickly stepping in to give McGregor the knockout win, making him a double champion.
In conclusion - although this show had it’s good and bad points overall I’d have to say that Cage Warriors’ final event of 2012 was pretty enjoyable.
While the Mason/Betorangal encounter didn’t exactly set the world alight the other three fights delivered, especially Conor McGregor’s one round demolition of Ivan Buchinger, which gets my vote and the no-prize for the fight of the night.
So with all of that out of the way it’s time to wrap this thing up by giving Cage Warriors 51 the thumbs up.