Cage Warriors returned to Scotland for the second time in six months with a handful of Scots, some top European talent and a world title fight on offer.
With a few amateur bouts opening the show, I have to pass comment on the match between David Begg and Peter McCafferty which was an all action affair, eventually won in the third round by Begg with a slick submission.
The last time I saw McCafferty was on a Vision card last September, where he won a C-Class bout which went on to earn Fight of the Night honours. Win or lose, this lad is always in fun fights and made a good showing here before Begg’s size advantage tipped the balance.
The pro fights kicked off with Mark Connor (accompanied by reliably metal entrance song, of which we heartily approve \m/) giving his now familiar ground and pound showcase against Joe Laurence. Taking the first two rounds with takedowns and grinding strikes, the pressure told in the third as Connor managed to advance position and force the stoppage.
The win puts Connor on a career best 3-0 streak which lifts his record to even for the first time at 8-8-1.
Next we saw a supremely calm performance from Jean N’Doye en route to taking a second round submission win over Rich Edgeworth that clearly meant a lot to the French fighter. The signal move of the fight actually came as Edgeworth tried to shuck N’Doye off but N’Doye grabbed Edgeworth’s leg and rolled through, maintaining position and sinking in the RNC. Nice ring generalship there.
Opening the main card, local veteran James Doolan struggled with the greater length of Gym01’s James Pennington and always seemed to be taking damage as he tried to close distance. Pennington was docked a point for an elbow to the back of the head in the first round, but secured the win with a VERY tight armbar in the third round.
Pennington moves to 7-1 and must be regarded as one of the top young Bantamweights in Britain.
Acting as a qualifier for the upcoming Flyweight title tournament, I had high hopes for the bout between Paul Marin and Neil Seery given Marin’s high octane performance at CWFC52 and Seery’s history of exciting matches.
I was not disappointed as Seery scored what initially looked to be a common or garden body kick eighty seconds into the round that sent Marin stumbling and scurrying across the mat. As Seery swarmed for the TKO, Marin was noticeably tapping although referee Neil Hall was already en route to call the stoppage.
On watching the replay, Seery’s strike was a laser guided liver kick and from the welt on Marin’s skin as the result was announced, combined with the length of time it took him to hobble to the back, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d busted a rib as well.
Veteran Jason Ball scored a win over Jason Cooledge with an interesting standing guillotine in a bout which almost seemed overshadowed by Ball’s distinctive facial hair and Anonymous themed entrance…
We expected a grappling showcase from Mats Nilsson and Chris Scott and we weren’t disappointed as we got a gritty mat based encounter which Nilsson won via unanimous decision.
The victory puts Nilsson back in the win column and shows his reputation as one of the best Middleweights in Europe is well founded, but he’ll need some more memorable performances if he really wants to step up into title contention or get on the UFC’s radar.
Our co-main event featured potentially the last Scottish appearance of rising star Joanne Calderwood for the foreseeable future as she defended her unbeaten record against veteran Sally Krumdiak.
The bout opened with some tentative striking exchanges which didn’t last as Calderwood dodged a Krumdiak spinning back fist and kicked her off balance before landing a series of strikes including one super nasty uppercut which earned the TKO victory just over three minutes into the first round.
The main event was notable firstly for featuring the first ever MMA world title to be contested in Scotland. That’s cool.
With two rounded and experienced competitors like Jim Alers and Joni Salovaara we always expected a bout which would be decided by the finest margins and so it proved.
Cautious striking exchanges where Alers seemed the more confident and assertive combined with a general superiority on the ground without too much of an immediate threat had us scoring 30-27 Alers after three rounds, but the first half of the fourth was very much in Salovaara’s favour. However following a scramble, Alers locked in a triangle choke and twisted Salovaara’s arm this way and that looking for the best leverage until he secured the tap.
The night ends with the fans filing out into the street, Alers beaming broadly in the ring with his brand new golden accessory and Jo Calderwood shyly speaking to her adoring public at ringside.
What a great night of fights. We feel lucky to have been there, and while we won’t be able to attend the upcoming CW cards in Wales and Dublin, you can bet we’ll be watching with the rest of the world. Best promotion in Europe, hands down.
• Jim Alers def. Joni Salovaara via submission (armbar) – Round 4, 3:43 – to win vacant featherweight title
• Joanne Calderwood def. Sally Krumdiack via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:08
• Mats Nilsson def. Chris Scott via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
• Jason Ball def. Jason Cooledge via submission (rear naked choke) – Round 1, 3:16
• Neil Seery def. Paul Marin via TKO (kick, punches) – Round 1, 1:22
James Pennington def. James Doolan via via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 0:29
• Jean N’Doye def. Rich Edgeworth via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:41
• Mark Connor def. Joe Laurence via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 2:07