Tuesday, 12 July 2016

TV Review: Cage Warriors 77

So where do we start with the bonanza of mixed martial arts action that appeared over the past few days on BT Sport? Well, let’s start with some MMA of the British variety as we take a look back at Cage Warriors 77.

We begin with action from the featherweight division and the clash between Teddy Violet and Paddy Pimblett. Well, I say featherweight, but Pimblett actually missed the weight limit by a whopping seven pounds.

This was a great way to start the broadcast, a fight jam-packed with action. Pimblett began his shift with some nice kicks, but when Violet dropped him with a short right it looked as if we were going to get an early finish, especially when the Frenchman locked in a guillotine after Pimblett had gone for the takedown.

Pimblett managed to survive that particular storm though, and it wasn’t long before he took control, putting on an excellent display of ground fighting as he transitioned from position to position, overwhelming his opponent.

The second began in much the same way, with Violet getting in some good blows and Pimblett take the fight to the ground, but this time around it was Pimblett all the way, and after taking the mount he quickly took Violet’s back, locking in a rear naked choke. The Frenchman had nowhere to go, so it wasn’t long before the inevitable happened and Violet tapped out to give Pimblett the highly impressive submission win.

Light heavyweight action followed as Boubacar Balde faced Darren Stewart.

The only fight of the broadcast to make it to the final round gave us some interesting back and forth action. Both fighters looked good early on, but as the fight progressed Stewart began to assert his authority on the proceedings, wearing down Balde with clinches against the fence while mixing in a few good blows along the way.

Balde had his moments, but by the time the second round ended he looked absolutely shattered, so when the final round began he had very little to give. His takedown attempt was easily defended by Stewart, and when the referee separated the fighters for inactivity during a clinch it was the beginning of the end. Stewart immediately connected with a big right, and after the Frenchman slumped to the mat Stewart delivered a few more blows until the referee stepped in to give Stewart the TKO win.

It was down to lightweight for the next fight as Scott Clist went up against Tim Wilde.

Fast and furious would probably be the best way to describe this particular encounter. Wilde looked great in the first round. His striking looked top notch throughout, and although Clist got in his fair share of good strikes Wilde always looked one step ahead of him.

All of that changed in the second round though. Once again they began at a furious pace, with both guys getting in their shows, but when Clist pushed his man to the mat and went down for a spot of ground and pound it wasn’t long before the referee was stepping in to give Clist the knockout win.

The co-main event saw Adam Boussif take on Chris Fishgold for the vacant Lightweight title.

No messing about with this one. After an intense staredown the fight began with Fishgold scoring with a takedown, and as soon as they reached the ground he was all over Boussif like a cheap suit, and as the fight entered it’s second minute he took his man’s back and locked in a rear naked choke, with Boussif tapping out after just 93 seconds to give Fishgold the submission win.

The main event saw Christopher Jacquelin face Jack Marshman for the vacant Middleweight title.

This was another fight in which it looked as if we were going to get an early ending when a big Marshman left rocked Jacquelin. The Frenchman managed to weather the early storm as the action settled down a little, with both fighters getting in their fair share of good shots.

But as the first round entered it’s latter stages Marshman upped his game, getting in some good strikes, but just when it looked like they were going to take it into the second a Marshman combination rounded off with a big right hook sent Jacquelin crashing to the canvas. A few more blows from the Welshman followed before the referee called the action to give Marshman the knockout win with just two seconds of the round remaining.

The show rounded out with filler material, featherweight action with Kondom Deh defeating Aiden Lee by unanimous decision

In conclusion – so how did Cage Warriors get on with their first show on BT Sport?

It was a pretty good show, a fine example of what British MMA is all about these days. All of the main card fights delivered, with both newly-crowned champions putting on great performances.

But despite the efforts of the new champions my prestigious fight of the night no-prize goes to the Violet/Pimblett opener.

So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing to do, and that’s to give Cage Warriors 77 the thumbs up.