UFC 189 Co-Main Event & Undercard Preview

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Given the relentless hype for the main event, it’s been easy to forget that there is actually an undercard to UFC 189 on Saturday but that undercard would probably be amongst the best PPV cards of the year even if both Conor McGregor and Chad Mendes suddenly got injured.

The co-main event itself is a fight worthy of headlining any MMA card as Robbie Lawler (25-10, 1NC) looks to make the first defence of his UFC Welterweight title against Rory MacDonald (18-2).

Robbie Lawler’s career would make an excellent movie trilogy, all the way from the youthful prodigy through his journeyman years in the wilderness to his triumphant UFC return and title victory.

6-1 since returning to the UFC and dropping back down to Welterweight, Lawler seems to have reached a point in his career where natural talents, coaching, experience and a maturity have moulded him into a complete martial artist where his always dangerous striking is fully in accord with his grappling game, cardio and mentality.

By contrast, Rory MacDonald has seemed like the heir apparent to the welterweight throne for years. A protégé of former champion Georges St-Pierre, it seemed that MacDonald was always the new big thing at 170lbs even as losses to elite fighters Carlos Condit (losing to a late KO after dominating the fight for three rounds) and Lawler (via split decision) checked his progress towards the seemingly inevitable title shot.

Nonetheless, MacDonald rebounded from both losses by becoming a more dangerous, more complete martial artists and in the five years since first tasting defeat in that fight against Condit.

Now, one of the sports most beloved and skilled veterans faces off with one of the preeminent examples of a modern, well rounded, cerebral and above all, professional MMA fighter with the belt on the line. What more could you ask for?

Well, a promoter would ask for one of them to be a bit mouthier and turn a credible sporting contest into a bit more of a media sensation, but a certain Irishman seems to have pegged the market in that field. In any case, for true fans of mixed martial arts as a sport, this is as credible a title matchwith as compelling a sporting narrative as any you are likely to find.

The main card is filled out with a few excellent fights, all of which could be expected to headline a Fight Pass card in their own right. Firstly, a featherweight contest between two guys who are no stranger to ‘of the night’ bonuses and had been on the outer edge of title contention before some recent losses in the shape of Dennis Bermudez (14-4) and Jeremy Stephens (23-11). A win for either man really places them back in the mix.

Next we have two rising welterweight prospects who met defeat in their last bout against experienced opposition as the exciting Brandon Thatch (11-2) meets smooth Icelander, Gunnar Nelson (13-1-1) looking to recover from losses to Benson Henderson and Rick Story respectively. Both are highly regarded by UFC brass, the media and the fans so the winner here could find themselves a win or two from a title shot.

Opening the main card, Brad Pickett (24-10) returns to 135lbs following a disappointing 1-3 run at Flyweight and is rewarded with the dubious honour of facing undefeated prospect Thomas Almeida (18-0). Pickett would be the biggest scalp of Almedia’s career to date, while a win over the impressive youngster would immediately rehabilitate Pickett to his former spot in the top ten of the bantamweight rankings.

The preliminary card also has it’s share of great fights as ‘Immortal’ Matt Brown (19-13) faces the surging Tim Means (24-6-1) and with a hefty 28 knockout wins between them I don’t think anyone is expecting a dull fight…

We’ve also got former Cage Warriors champion Cathal Pendred (17-2-1) looking to impress after a lukewarm start to his UFC career when he faces the ever-game veteran John Howard (22-11) and Neil Seery (15-10)continues his UFC fairytale against Louis Smolka (8-1) knowing that a win would likely place him in title contention given the shallow waters in the flyweight division.

For once this is a card which actually seems worth staying up late for so let’s hope it lives up to the hype.

CWFC 66 Headliner Announced… but Who The Hell Is Sergei Churilov?

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Following Cathal Pendred formally vacating the CWFC welterweight title to move on to the UFC, the promotion has wasted no time and indeed capitalised on the situation by planning to crown a new 170lb champion on their first foray into the Scandinavian market in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 22nd.

Competing for the belt will be home hero, Nicolas Dalby (11-0) who seems a great choice, unbeaten and ranked highly (#7 in our January European rankings, #12 in Europe and #64 in the world by FightMatrix) while also having the local angle.

His opponent was a new name to me though, as I would have expected an established CWFC talent on a streak (off the top of my head, Danny Roberts, Jack Mason, Gael Grimaud and Matt Inman spring to mind) to get the call.

That said, while I watch a LOT of MMA and read about a whole lot more, I doubtless process a mere fraction of what Ian Dean does, so with my faith in the booker man as strong as ever, I have to ask?

Who the hell is Sergei Churilov?

Churilov (15-1) hails from the Ukraine and currently sits on a five match unbeaten streak, all comprising of submission victories.

A quick Sherdog search tells me that he’s actually competed in CWFC before, on the undercard of CWFC46 in Ukraine (a card which I remember watching and it being pretty memorable but not recalling Churilov.  I’m only human, after all…) where he earned a first round submission win over Anatoly Starodubstev.

Check that match out here…

Going 7-1 since then, with only one fight going the distance (indeed only 3 fights in his sixteen fight career have) Churilov is in form and clearly a very dangerous competitor.

His relatively low ranking (#89 in Europe, #343 in the World according to FightMatrix) can possibly be attributed to the relative unknowns he’s been fighting in Ukraine and it’s worth noting that Dalby hasn’t fought outside Denmark at all., while Churilov has two outings abroad, both in Slovenia for WFC, going 1-1.

Both men are well rounded finishers who have excelled in their regional scenes but with home advantage and more experience of going the distance, Dalby should be a strong favourite here.

That said, there are two things I say a lot, because they keep being true. Don’t doubt Ian Dean’s matchmaking and never underestimate a former Soviet-bloc fighter just because you don’t know his name.

Pendred & Seery vacate Cage Warriors Titles for UFC Debuts

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It’s been a big few days of news from the Cage Warriors camp as Cathal Pendred formally vacated the Welterweight title pending his upcoming appearance on the Ultimate Fighter (which will also feature fellow CWFC alum and SBG Ireland product, Chris Fields) and today, Flyweight champion Neil Seery was announced as the late replacement for Ian McCall and is set to face Brad Pickett in London next month.

Pendred (13-2-1) leaves CWFC on a seven fight unbeaten streak, including wins over UFC vets Che Mills and David Bielkheden and a draw against the similarly UFC bound Danny Mitchell and a pre-CWFC win over current UFC fighter Nico Musoke.

He held the Welterweight belt since March 2013 where he defeated Gael Grimaud via decision and defended the belt once with his June TKO victory over Mills.

Seery (13-9) moves on carrying the best streak of his career, with four victories (all under the CWFC banner) since his 2012 submission loss to Artemij Sitenkov.

His last two victories – a liver kick TKO to Paul Marin and arm bar submission of Mikael Silander to win the Flyweight belt – have been especially impressive and when you remember that Seery has only had 4 fights in a 22 fight career go to a decision, he’s as close to guaranteed entertainment as you get.

 

Kumite would like to congratulate and thank Cathal & Neil for their efforts in the past few years which have formed a big part of Cage Warriors’ success and the rise in profile of Irish MMA.

 

We are sure both guys will be a credit to their country and great ambassadors for their gyms on the biggest stage but we have to say that Seery vs. Pickett just jumped to the top of my ‘must see’ matches for UFC London.

 

Cage Warriors 55 Results / Reaction

Cage Warriors 55 Results / Reaction

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Sat, 01 Jun 2013
Dublin, Ireland

Irish eyes are smiling.

Fighters from the Emerald Isle went 3-1-1 on the shows main card as Cage Warriors produced another quality show, roared on by the always vocal Dublin crowd.

In the main event, Cathal Pendred showed his quality against a strangely lethargic Che Mills by bullying him around the cage for two and a bit rounds (Mills was pretty much saved by the bell in the second) and earning a TKO in the third with Pendred laying on the ground and pound and Mills’ corner throwing in the towel, only for referee Marc Goddard to be told by Mills that he’d hurt his shoulder.

It was a standout performance from Pendred who has surely earned a call up for UFC Boston in August. He might not be the most entertaining fighter, but he’s damned effective and has defeated several top class opponents in a row.

Mills on the other hand, slides into a losing way (officially, barring Matt Riddles drugs punishment he would be 0-2 at the moment) and such a bloodless display followed by managing to miss weight for a title fight leaves him with a lot of ground to make up.

Much as I like Mills as a fighter, it seems that Dana White’s accusation of him ‘giving up’ seems less unfair than it did. I hope he comes back to form next time, I really do.

The co-main event saw veteran Neil Seery come back from being bullied about by the larger and younger Mikael Silander at the start to take the second round and then claim the stoppage victory with an incisive armbar in the third.

You’d have gotten pretty long odds on a Seery victory by tapout, but it’s almost the perfect way for him to win here. Always an underdog, I couldn’t be happier that at a point where he was taking his career one fight at a time, considering retirement, he’s become a world champion.

Cage Warriors now have two of their four active championships in the hands of Irish fighters and with Conor McGregor blazing a trail in the UFC, it’s a stunning time for Irish MMA.

Elsewhere on the card, former Middleweight champion Chris Fields forced a majority draw with Norman Paraisy after the Frenchman took the first two rounds, but took a point deduction for grabbing the fence that made his advantage only 19-18 going into the third.

Paraisy seemed convinced that he had the fight won, and stayed with a successful plan of taking Fields down, only to give up a deep kimura that changed the tide of the contest.

Fields was in the ascendancy and Paraisy seemed convinced he’d already won and just stood there grinning as Fields tagged him time and again. Sadly, Fields was too tired at this point to push for the stoppage but a head kick and flurry at the end secured him the third round.

Two judges saw it as a draw, while one gave Fields the third 10-8 for a comeback victory, but on balance that’s a majority draw. Fields seemed upset by the result, but given that he didn’t actually come close to finishing Paraisy, and given that even a 10-8 would only have earned a draw had Paraisy not been docked a point, I don’t think he can complain.

Paraisy on the other hand lost a win on his record by being cocky in the third round.

It ain’t over till its over!

Opening the main card, Lightweight Paul Redmond and Bantamweight Jean N’Doye scored impressive second round submission wins over Marc Allen and Steve McCombe respectively to extend impressive winning streaks and possible put themselves in contention for the two title tournaments coming up late in the year.

A great show as usual and free to view around the world. That’s why Cage Warriors are one of my favourite promotions. I can’t wait to tune in on July 6th where I expect another cracker from them.

RESULTS

• Cathal Pendred def. Che Mills via TKO (corner stoppage) – Round 3, 1:47 – non-title fight after Mills missed weight
• Neil Seery def. Mikael Silander via submission (armbar) – Round 3, 3:57 – to claim inaugural flyweight title
• Chris Fields vs. Norman Paraisy results in a majority draw (29-27 Fields, 28-28, 28-28) – Round 3, 5:00
• Paul Redmond def. Marc Allen via submission (toehold) – Round 2, 1:09
• Jean N’Doye def. Steve McCombe via submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 2, 3:03

PRELIMINARY CARD

• Piotr Ptasinski def. John Redmond via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:46
• Liam James def. Stephen Coll via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
• Konrad Iwanowski def. Sam Francis via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 2, 3:00
• Ben Rees def. Gavin Kelly via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 4:44

Cage Warriors 55 – Pendred vs. Mills Title Match Preview

Cage Warriors 55 – Pendred vs. Mills Title Match Preview

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Sat, 01 Jun 2013
Dublin, Ireland
The Helix

Arguably one of the biggest cards in Cage Warriors history is headlined by Irish national hero Cathal Pendred (12-2-1) making the first defence of his Welterweight title against popular Scots/Jamaican (by way of Gloucester) former UFC fighter, Che Mills (15-5, 2NC).

With two undeniably world class, massively popular fighters facing off for one of the most high profile titles in the world (three of the previous four CWFC 170lb champions have gone on to sign for the UFC) this match is possibly the biggest thing in European MMA this summer.

Pendred, nicknamed “the Punisher” is an extremely durable fighter, currently riding a seven fight unbeaten streak including consecutive decision victories over David Bielkheden, Bruno Carvalho and Gael Grimaud.

Training out of SBG Ireland alongside the likes of Conor McGregor and Chris Fields (as well as regular visitor Gunnar Nelson), Pendred has matured into a truly intentional class talent who combines very heavy fists with a level of calmness in the cage that belies his relatively tender twenty five years.

Who would bet against such a clearly on-the-rise fighter, competing in front of a doubtless partisan and vocal Dublin crowd?

Well, Che Mills would.

Mills earned a call up to the UFC with a 13-4, 1 NC record earned across the breadth of European MMA, fighting (and winning) in Russia and Spain, winning the Cage Rage Welterweight title and having an unbeaten 3-0 record in Cage Warriors and BAMMA.

His debut at UFC138, showcased his in inside, aggressive striking as he kneed Chris ‘Whoo’ Cope into unconsciousness in only 40 seconds.

His second UFC bout was a huge ask, as he faced wunderkind, Rory MacDonald and despite a game attempt was TKO’d by the megastar in waiting in the second round.

Earning a second UFC win almost by default against Duane Ludwig when the veteran kickboxer injured his leg, Mills went into his last match against Matt Riddle knowing he needed to impress.

In true American style, Riddle stifled Che’s game with takedowns and conservative wrestling and despite gamely trying to reverse the dull slide to a decision loss, or at least make the bout exciting, Mills fell to a unanimous decision defeat…

…which became a no contest when Riddle failed a drug test for marijuana.

Che was (rather unfairly) cut from the UFC, with Dana White making harsh comments about his giving up. I didn’t see the fight that way at all, indeed Che did very well not to be submitted by the accomplished grappler. If he was looking for an out, it was readily there..

Despite the cut, which in fairness comes from one of the UFC’s deepest, most competitive and overpopulated divisions, Mills is a bigger star than he was before and the memory of his Muay Thai clinic against Cope burns far brighter in the memory than his getting stifled by quality wrestlers.

As one of the biggest names in British MMA and on a 6-0, 1NC streak in Europe, Mills is an excellent test for rising star, Pendred.

Both guys deserve their nicknames, as Mills is at his best when delivering highlight reel displays of striking, while Pendred punishes his opponents with heavy hands and sheer endurance.

On balance, this fight is a toss up with Mills looking more likely to win by stoppage, while a decision favours Pendred. Of course, Pendred’s momentum, comfort in Cage Warriors and home advantage certainly makes him the favourite. Either way, this is a seminal fight in both man’s career, with Mills looking to halt his slide of losses and tainted wins and Pendred facing a genuine step up in competition (in terms of name value at least) and a drastically different fighter from his recent victories.

You can watch the main card on MMAJunkie.com (North America), Joe.ie (Ireland), Sportstube.tv (Italy) and CageWarriors.tv (everywhere else, including UK & Ireland) starting at 9pm local time, preceded by Facebook prelims at 7:45 pm local time.

Stay tuned for our previews of the night’s other title match for the inaugural CWFC Flyweight championship and the compelling undercard over the next few days and remember to add @TeamKumite on Twitter for live commentary on the night.

MAIN
• Cathal Pendred vs. Che Mills – for welterweight title
• Neil Seery vs. Mikael Silander – for inaugural flyweight title
• Chris Fields vs. Norman Paraisy
• Marc Allen vs. Paul Redmond
• Henry Fadipe vs. Mike Ling

PRELIMINARY (Facebook)
• Avi Jack vs. Philip Mulpeter
• Stephen Coll vs. Liam James
• Piotr Ptasinski vs. John Redmond

Che Mills to challenge Cathal Pendred for CWFC Welterweight Title

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Cathal Pendred will make his first defence of the CWFC welterweight title on home turf this summer.

The recently-crowned champion will put his belt on the line when he takes on Che Mills at Cage Warriors 55 on Saturday, June 1.

Cage Warriors 55, which will also feature a four-man flyweight title tournament, is set to take place at The Helix in Dublin, Ireland.

Pendred (12-2-1) has remained unbeaten in his six bouts under the Cage Warriors banner since making his debut for the organisation back in November 2010.

The 25-year-old Irishman earned his title shot courtesy of wins over David Bielkheden and Bruno Carvalho last year, before dethroning previous CWFC welterweight champion Gael Grimaud with a unanimous decision victory earlier this month at Cage Warriors 52.

“Fighting in my own backyard in a venue full of crazy Irish fans against a guy who was in the UFC until very recently, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to defend my title for the first time,” said Pendred,

“I can guarantee that the calibre of my opponent and the atmosphere the Irish fans will create is going to bring out the best in me.”

Mills (15-5-0-2nc) has spent the last two years of his career with the UFC, where he clocked up a 2-1-0-1 record which included wins against Chris Cope and Duane Ludwig.

At UFC on Fuel TV 7 at London’s Wembley Arena last month, the 30-year-old Gloucester native was beaten by Matt Riddle by split decision, but the result was later overturned as a ‘no contest’ after Riddle failed a drug test.

Mills, who’ll be returning to CWFC action for the first time since defeating Jake Hecht at Cage Warriors 38, said: “I’m really excited about this opportunity. This fight will be a war, but I’m not leaving without the belt.”

Tickets for Cage Warriors 55 will go on sale soon, with more fights to be announced and we’ll keep you updated as details emerge.

Wow. That is gonna be the UKMMA event of the summer!

Cage Warriors 52: Grimaud vs. Pendred Recap

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With virtually the whole card shown live either on Cage Warriors’ Facebook page or some combination of cagewarriors.com / mmajunkie.com / joe.ie (depending where you were in the world) this card provided arguably the best evening of free MMA action I’ve seen to date.

The prelims alone were a stunning display of heart and skills, with Dan Hope gritting out a gutsy split decision win over experienced French striker Gary Kono that saw both men bloodied up, Brad Wheeler and Paul Redmond score very impressive TKO victories over Merv Mulholland and Alexei Roberts and an incisive display of submissions skills from Chris Fishfold to go 8-0 at the expense of Steve o’Keefe.

It had looked like Alex Enlund was en route to another grappling masterclass against Martin McDonough when McDonough slipped on an armbar from frankly nowhere to get the tap, that left us and Enlund utterly shocked.

All in all, it was almost hard to believe you were watching the undercard, such was the quality of the bouts on offer with Paul Redmond and Chris Fishgold especially impressing and serving notice on their respective divisions.

A heated contest between Alan Philpott and Liam James opened the main card and despite a wee technical hitch getting the stream on http://www.cagewarriors.com to work, all was well in time for the bell.

An open first round showed James trying to use his power but Philpott adjusted and had his way in the second, coming very close to the TKO victory at the end of the round – close enough to question Marc Goddard as to why the bout wasn’t stopped. Silly boy.

The third was all one way traffic again and eventually Philpott secured the TKO win from mount with two minutes left on the clock. It was a very impressive performance from Philpott.

Next up was the catch weight battle of the Paul’s as the McVeigh vs. Marin bout transferred from the aborted On Top 7 card came on and we got a grappling masterclass with Marin’s explosive escapes being systematically smothered by McVeigh’s top notch jujitsu. In the brief standup sections, Marin searched for a knockout punch but McVeigh’s canny boxing kept him clear and the bout invariably returned to the mat. In the end a well deserved unanimous decision victory for McVeigh gets him back on track with his next bout surely to be at Flyweight proper.

The next two bouts saw two of Cage Warriors’ Welterweight mainstays score impressive TKO2 wins over hungry younger opposition as Jack Mason and Bruno Carvalho imposed their will on Matt Inman and Steve Dinsdale, who gave a good account of themselves en route to being saved from further punishment by the referee.

That was Mason’s third win on the bounce, putting him in contention for a title shot but Carvalho will no doubt be petitioning to rematch Cathal Pendred following his decision loss to the Irishman last time out.

In the co-main event, Graham Turner defended the spirit of his On Top Featherweight belt with a VERY impressive first round TKO of the game and somewhat hyperactive Fouad Mesdari.

Despite Mesdari’s fast hands and grappling skills, Turner nailed a takedown following the opening exchanges and advanced quickly to full mount before unleashing a torrent of blows which left Mesdari covering up and Marc Goddard no option but to call the fight.

This victory is Turner’s second successive TKO1 in Cage Warriors for a 4-0 streak and pro record of 22-7 at the age of only 25. I reckon he should get a shot at the winner of Jim Alers vs. Joni Salovaara for the Featherweight title. Who’s with me?

The main event saw experienced French submission specialist Gael Grimaud defending his Welterweight title against another talented scion of SGB Ireland, Cathal Pendred.

As we’ve come to expect from Pendred’s fights, this one went the distance with the repeated story of Pendred being the aggressor, taking some damage from Grimaud’s wily counter striking but generally staying on the front foot and pressing the Frenchman against the cage.

Grimaud scored takedowns in the third and fourth rounds but couldn’t keep Cathal down, although aside from a few flurries the Frenchman largely had the better of the striking game when he could keep distance.

In the end, the judges thought that Pendred’s fighting area control counted ahead of Grimaud’s more effective striking (which is fair enough, given the proportion of the match which was contested in such grappling situations) giving Pendred the unanimous decision and Cage Warriors yet another Irish champion.

I saw some heated debate on the Cage Warriors Facebook page after the fight, with French fans decrying Pendred as a ‘pusher’ and implying he’s a fake champion. Now, I don’t really hold with that but the bout could certainly have been more clear cut.

All in all, this was a fantastic evening of free, top class MMA and credit has to go to Cage Warriors for the quality of their matchmaking and production, once again topped off by my favourite announce team in the business, the informative and likeable Josh Palmer and John Gooden.

Next time out in Glasgow I’ll be in the stands again. Got my ticket already. Wouldn’t miss it.

Full Results

• Cathal Pendred def. Gael Grimaud via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) – to become new welterweight champion
• Graham Turner def. Fouad Mesdari via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 3:05
• Bruno “B.C.” Carvalho def. Steve Dinsdale via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:48
• Jack Mason def. Matt Inman via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:26
• Paul McVeigh def. Paul Marin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Alan Philpott def. Liam James via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 3:00

PRELIMINARY CARD

• Chris Fishgold def. Steve O’Keeffe via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 1:34
• Martin McDonough def. Alex Enlund via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 3:13
• Paul Redmond def. Alexei Roberts via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:30
• Brad Wheeler def. Merv Mulholland via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:46
• Dan Hope def. Gary Kono via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28
• Ben Hajir def. Anthony Ferguson via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 1:42
• Richard Griffin def. Shah Hussain via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:40
• Olly Battell def. Shaj Haque via unanimous decision (30-26, 29-28, 29-27)