Last night Cage Warriors: Night of champions took place in the Apollo theatre in London. Leading up to the event there didn’t seem to be much of a build-up, but despite lacklustre hype, Cage Warriors brought with it a sick night of fights, and marked a historic night for UK MMA as we witnessed six title fights.
Here’s the most stand-out events of the night, condensed to three chapters!
Chapter ᛒ: A clash for the ages
In the main event of the evening, undefeated phenom and welterweight king; Ross Houston took on Nicolas Dalby in a welterweight title unification bout. Houston won the belt against Stefano Paterno last October, winning by way of a five-round dominant decision. Since capturing the title, Ross has been sidelined due to injury. As for Dalby (A UFC veteran) he won the interim title back in March, by delivering a devastating KO to Alex ‘Da Kid’ Lahore.
Heading into last night, Houston was (8-0) with a 38% finishing rate, and Dalby was (17-3-1) with a 59% finishing rate. When the two met last night, what proceeded was one of the greatest, goriest fist fights in MMA history. To cut a long battle short, in the first round Dalby was hit with a flush elbow which sliced and diced open the side of Dalbys head. Instead of quitting, Dalby being the warriors he is, destroyed Houstons nose in the second round by landing two straight jabs. With the laceration and nose breakahe, the fight was just too bloody that referee Mark Goddard needed to step and call a no-contest in the third round as the canvass was too wet and slippery from the gallons of blood both fighters lost.
It will be fascinating to see if there’s backlash in the UK from politicians and tabloids due to the pure brutality on display, as MMA in the UK and Ireland is barely legal. As of Sunday morning, I haven’t really seen much backlash nor do I really expect any, but am still on the look-out.
As for Dalby & Houston, it looks like an immediate rematch is on the cusp for the pair, just as soon as they heal up from the insane damage sustained last night. Dalby voiced his opinion afterwards that the rematch take place at UFC Copenhagen, in September. I personally hate this idea as if they were signed to the UFC, the rematch would most certainly be a curtain-jerker on UFC Fight Pass. Instead of being a sold-out, main-event blockbuster for Cage Warriors, the UFC would put the pair at the bottom of the Copenhagen card were a grand total of 500 fans in attendance and a bunch of depressed MMA hardcores online would watch. It would be a true travesty to spoil such a huge rematch by pithing it on some shitty UFC Fight Night 439483947394. I’d like to see both fighters stay at Cage Warriors and fight as either the main or co-main event of Cage Warriors Liverpool in September; providing both are healed up in time.
Chapter ᛞ: The Ghost Of Bob Sapp
Further down the card, we witnessed the Pride spirit reign free as Nathius Frederick scooped up James Web and proceeded to smash his cranium into the canvas. The big slam was momentous and ultimately costly for Frederick as he was deducted a point for the giant hit. Web survived the near-fatal blow and the pair went to a judges decision, which ruled unanimously in favour of a draw. If Frederick didn’t embrace the soul of Sapp, he would have obviously went on to claim the Middleweight crown.
So with this controversial decision past us, there will most likely be a rematch further down the pipeline as the duo both put on impressive performances in a tight battle, and Fredrick will probably feel like he deserves the belt.
Chapter ᚨᛋ: Krazy KOes & Subs
If you’re into watching people get strangled unconscious and bashed in the face, Cage Warriors: Night Of Champions was the right card for you! Here’s the four big finishes that had us salivating profusely…
KO: To kick the card off, Lithuanian light heavyweight contender; Modestas Bukauskas got a TKO victory in the fourth round over Marthin Hamlet Nielsen. Both were battling it out for the vacant belt.
KO: Later on, French Flyweight; Samir Faiddine pulled off a gigantic upset and sent Englands Sam Creasney to sweet ether by way of a monstrous right hand.
Fail! Straight after getting the finish and winning the Flyweight belt, Sammir had a pretty sick celebration.
SUB: Then things took a turn to the even more insane. When hometown hero; Dean Trueman was finished with a Japanese Necktie in the third round by the Norwegian Mads Burnell.
KO: We also saw an underdog pull off a huge and impressive upset as Grimsby’s Jack Grant got KOed by rising star Jai Herbert.