Cage Warriors 52: Grimaud vs. Pendred
Sat, 09 Mar 2013
Europe’s #1 promotion return for their first event of 2013 and the SAFE MMA era with a stacked card showcasing the extent of Cage Warriors professionalism and the depth of UKMMA.
When February’s On Top 7 card in Glasgow fell through thanks to the unhelpful nature of Strathclyde Police, Cage Warriors stepped in and offered to place the booked fighters on their March card in London. This has led to this card being one of the deepest in Cage Warriors history, and what’s even better is that the card will stream live on Facebook and www.mmajunkie.com.
The main event sees Gael Grimaud (17-5) defending his Welterweight championship against SBG Ireland’s Cathal “The Punisher” Pendred (11-2-1).
Grimaud is one of France’s premier MMA exports and with his high level submission game is a threat to anyone – just ask new Cage Warriors Middleweight champion, Jesse Taylor who tapped to a Grimaud armbar in May last year.
Across the cage, Pendred is riding a wave of momentum, like his SBG Ireland teammates Conor McGregor and Gunnar Nelson (who you may have heard of) and earned this title shot with impressive decision victories over UFC veteran David Bielkheden and the dangerous Bruno Carvalho to improve his current streak to 5-0-1.
This is very much a grappler vs. striker bout but with Pendred only being submitted once and Grimaud only being knocked out once its hard to assume either has an especial weakness. Throw in the fact that Ireland play France in the Six Nations before the fights on Saturday and this one is on a heated knife edge, folks…
In the co-main event, we have what would have been the main event of On Top 7 for that promotion’s Featherweight title, relocated to Cage Warriors and of course, it’s ‘only’ bragging rights rather than a belt on the line.
Defending the spirit, if not the fact of his belt is Graham ‘Afterburner’ Turner (21-7) who comes in after an increasingly successful 2012 where he rebounded from a first round submission loss to Matteus Lahdesmaki at Cage Warriors Fight Night 3 with three wins on home soil, winning the Vision FC Lightweight and On Top Featherweight belts before putting Nathan Beer away in the first round at Cage Warriors 50, all in Glasgow.
Graham was also nice enough to talk to us a week out from this fight and if you’re minded, you can check out that interview here.
Across the cage is France’s Fouad Mesdari (10-3) who holds a 12 second TKO win over Turner’s Dinky Ninja teammate Dean Reilly, but enters this match off the back of a submission loss to Araik Margarian in January.
Hmn, there’s a real France vs. the Celts thing going on here, isn’t there?
Turner is an exciting fighter, who’s first preference is always to let his kickboxing do the talking but he’s more than capable of using his grappling skills to get the job done on the mat.
It’s interesting that the bulk of Mesdari’s wins and ALL his defeats have come via submission, and it will be interesting to see if Turner elects to try and keep the fight standing or not.
Next up is a compelling bout between the well travelled Bruno Carvalho (14-6) and undefeated Steven Dinsdale (5-0) making his Cage a warriors debut.
For all that Carvalho has the advantage in terms of experience, he has shown a tendency to get knocked out and knocking people out seems to be Dinsdale’s forte and after Scott Askham’s win over Denniston Sutherland at CW50 I’ve learned not to discount heavy handed youngsters…
Our next bout has one of UKMMA’s real veterans and hardest working fighters, Jack ‘the Stone’ Mason (22-11) looking to continue his recent good form after going 5-2 in 2012.
Looking to derail his momentum is Matt Inman (9-4) who will be looking to add to his record of eight first round stoppage victories.
Also transplanted from On Top is the bout between Paul McVeigh (18-8) coming back to his day job after his brief turn as comic relief on a Channel 5 documentary to face knockout artist Paul Marin (5-1).
McVeigh has struggled with injuries of late, and his three month turnaround between fights here is his fastest since 2007. That period has coincided with a blink and you’ll miss it appearance in the qualifying round of the Ultimate Fighter and back to back decision losses to now-UFC hotshot Erik Perez and Brandon Hempleman.
However, McVeigh remains a top level competitor and will be looking to exploit his experience, the ‘home ground’ of competing in Cage Warriors – this is his tenth appearance in the promotion- to bring home the win.
He’s not a doctor, he’s a CAGE FIGHTER.
Sorry Paul, couldn’t resist.
Rounding off the main card is a bout which promises to be a tasty ground battle as Alan Philpott (7-3) faces Liam James (6-4) with a combined twelve submission victories.
From the preliminary card, I’d like to pick out undefeated submission maestro Chris Fishgold (9-0) against equally sub happy Steve O’Keefe (6-2) who might have some losses on his record, but they are to Connor McGregor and Diego Vital, so shouldn’t really indicate any lack of quality.
I was impressed with Alex Enlund (7-1) in his first round win over Ahsan Gilani at CW50 although I hope we get more of a contest to enjoy against Martin McDonough (9-4).
The last fight I want to focus on is yet another Dinky Ninja, Dan Hope (9-4) returning to Cage Warriors following a solid win over Avi Jack at CW50 to face the feisty Gary Kono (10-10) who is coming off three successive defeats and will be looking to make an impression and get his record back above .5.
This is simply an awesome card, and I’d advise anyone who has the slightest interest in MMA to either get a ticket or at least check out the broadcast, wherever you may be (details can be found at www.cagewarriors.com) to witness some of the most exciting fighters in Europe, on a truly professional show with my favourite MMA commentating team into the bargain.
MAIN (MMAjunkie.com, 9 p.m. GMT)
• Gael Grimaud vs. Cathal Pendred – for welterweight title
• Fouad Mesdari vs. Graham Turner
• Bruno “B.C.” Carvalho vs. Steve Dinsdale
• Matt Inman vs. Jack Mason
• Paul Marin vs. Paul McVeigh
• Liam James vs. Alan Philpott
PRELIMINARY (Facebook, 7:15 p.m. GMT)
• Chris Fishgold vs. Steve O’Keeffe
• Alex Enlund vs. Martin McDonough
• Paul Redmond vs. Alexei Roberts
• Merv Mulholland vs. Brad Wheeler
• Dan Hope vs. Gary Kono
• Anthony Ferguson vs. Ben Hajir
• Richard Griffin vs. Shah Hussain
• Olly Battell vs. Shaj Haque