Cage Warriors 75 Review

Last night saw the excellent comeback event from Cage Warriors after a seventeen-month lay off. With free television coverage plus the added bonus of being on UFC Fight Pass it was impressively accessible. The slick nature of the production meant there was not an overload of filler content and the nature of the card was a good mix of blast away stand up and technical ground game. It had something for everyone to guarantee a success.

My only minor grumble would be that of the American influence in presenting. Yes, Pulver added credibility being a very highly regarded fighter from the UFC but we have lots of budding British / European talent who could call the fight alongside the impressive Josh Palmer.

 

So, to the stars of the show

 

‘ARD’ Alfie Davis

Let us put the cards on the table: this fight was set up to showcase Davis’ four limbed arsenal and flair. His opponent lacked reach, never threatened the take down and was only effective in pot shots. If we are to nitpick, Davis left his chin up to dry with his upright striking technique and that led to him absorbing more punishment than he really should have taken.

Saying this, his crisp quick strikes combined with his self assured demeanour should earn him countless new fans. In his next outing he needs to be matched against a wrestler to nullify his embarrassing stand up advantage in order to truly gauge his potential.

 

Jack ‘the joker’ Hermansson

We were not left wanting more in this back and forth title fight. Hermansson survived a second round scare to assert his dominance in the third and gain the finish. Throughout he showcased some nice footwork with good stand up speed in a pressuring style. He seems to be a good all-round fighter with KO power, and certainly the most polished on this card.

With all this in mind, Hermansson looks all set to progress his career and try once again to crack one of the bigger organisations. His previous exposure to Bellator was a flop with back-to-back losses and a subsequent cut. However, that was three years ago and he has gone on a seven-fight win streak since. Perhaps now he is ready having matured into a fine European champion.

 

Paddy ‘the baddy’ Pimblett

This was a test. Against a physically bigger, more experienced foe that had been training with American Top Team it was a truly fantastic win. You could understand if he just scraped the victory with a split decision, but he dominated each round of the fight. Sure, his stand up was jumpy and far from complete but this kid really does not care if he is taken to the mat if an extravagant foray fails. His scramble was a joy to behold and his unconventional submission attempts led to a near perfect top control. When you add in his personality to the mix he easily stole the show and will have many eyes casting fine attention to his career path.

With such a performance there has been much chat about him joining the elite organisation of the MMA world at the tender age of 21. He currently fights in the featherweight division but once he fills out his stringy frame he may well progress to lightweight. Unfortunately for him, both divisions are utterly stacked in the UFC. Thus, he would do well keeping his head down to clean up the European scene and gain a Cage Warriors belt before heading for the glitz of Vegas. But make no mistake; he will have a successful transition with such a sound ground foundation to build upon whenever he chooses to move.

 

 

Notable Mentions –

Chris Fishgold and Darren Stewart both finished their fights early with a submission and TKO victory respectively. Sadly, neither was overly tested so it remains difficult to assess full potential. Fishgold looked strong and technically sound whilst Stewart looked a vicious finisher with a penchant for truly damaging elbows.

Heavyweight Pickings

The heavyweight scenery changes in seconds. Each fighter in the top ten holds knockout power and the ability to end a fight. This is the reason why anyone would be a fool to try and predict the future of this fickle division. Luckily, ‘Spit Bucket’ Murray is one such fool and tries to break down the paths to gold.

 

CURRENT MATCHES –


Overeem vs Arlovski

Arlovski looks best when his fights descend into rock ‘em sock ‘em style bar fights. Unfortunately for him Overeem is far too technical and experienced to be lured into such an exchange. Provided Overeem weathers the early storm he will stay upright and call on his kickboxing to distance the forays from Arlovski, knowing there to be little chance of takedowns. This method may not win him fans, but will win him the fight. Overeem to dance on the outside using his vast arsenal and pick up the points victory.

Result – Overeem by decision


Velasquez vs Browne

This should be a formality for Velasquez. Undoubtedly talented he would appear to be superior in all facets aside from reach against the lanky Browne. Travis has not the greatest record against the top guys and his current ranking of seventh would seem to be an accurate position. Sadly, he appears to be the fall guy to accentuate the performance of Velasquez. The incessant pressure and top-heavy grind will pay off by way of vicious ground and pound in the second.

Result – Velasquez by TKO round 2


Werdum [c] vs Miocic

Miocic has earned this by way of him being new blood in a devoid division and a finisher. His style is exciting with most wins coming by way of knockout but he has a relatively unproven record. The highest calibre of opponent to date was dos Santos, to whom he lost a decision but thoroughly battered. He will look to draw upon his speed and stand-up skills, both of which have troubled Werdum in the past (losses to Overeem and dos Santos) and are likely to be of a higher level. Werdum on the other hand will seek to drop the fight to the mat, where he truly excels above all in the division. He has won nine of his last ten outings (four by submission) and will look to extend that record. This should be a cagey affair with Miocic lining up in his first title shot and Werdum is likely to capitalise when Miocic searches for the win in the later rounds.

Result – Werdum by submission round 4

 

UNFORTUNATE LOSS –

Rothwell
Dropped a points decision but in truth it was a one sided affair. Will reflect and adapt as he is a smart fighter but the question remains if he can compete at the top of the division. Makes for an excellent personality to add to the mix.

INCUMBENT VICTORS –

Hunt
Scored a sensational trademark walk off knockout of Mir in no time. Stock and skills are high; he has only lost against the elite of the division and has set himself up to compete for the number one contender spot yet again.

dos Santos
Looked something akin to his best when flawlessly executing his game plan against the dangerous and resurgent Rothwell. Has fought all the top heavyweights and boxed himself back in to title contention.

 

FUTURE MATCHES –


Miocic vs Rothwell

This suits both fighters. Presuming Miocic drops his title shot, he will be looking to bounce back immediately. It is also a fight in which he would back himself and Rothwell had just been on a tear so is enough of a feature to spark some interest. Hunt would have been an apt foe given his recent win, but the memories of a one-sided affair looms so has been ruled out. Rothwell in comparison will be more than happy with this as he has an instant attempt at redemption against the cream of the crop.

 

Hunt vs Arlovski

Hunt is a difficult beast to match make for given he has already fought most of the top ten. But believe it or not, these two veterans have never actually lined up against each other. So for that reason it seems perfect. Hunt will count himself unlucky not to pick up a higher rated fighter, or indeed one coming off a victory, but the style of the Pitbull lends itself to the Super Samoan. Arlovski will be the happier of the two because if he strikes a victory he keeps himself relevant.

 

dos Santos vs Overeem (for #1 contender)

We are now in to the realms of winner versus winner. Overeem has possibly done enough to warrant a title shot, but Velasquez is still seen by many as the true champ of the division and dos Santos / Velasquez 4 rather lacks appeal. So for now Overeem would guarantee a title shot if he scales one last hurdle. He should also be confident of a repeat performance given his excellent technical kickboxing base that compliments the sharp shooting boxing of dos Santos. Junior of course should leap at the chance to avenge the prior loss on the back of a reinvigorated display to push himself back into the title picture.

 

Werdum [c] vs Velasquez

And finally, the rematch we actually want to see, and not least because we were left hanging at UFC 196. Cain is a monster of an athlete and has quickly erased blemishes in the past so will be chomping at the bit to even the score. Providing he breezes past his filler fight as expected, Werdum should be lying in wait to decide the future of the gold. The pressure wrestler versus the submission artist, make it happen MMA Gods!

UFC Zagreb Review

The organisation keeps growing like an all-conquering octopus with tentacles spreading far and wide from the sin city base of Las Vegas. The latest event held in Croatia was by all accounts a raging success. Some young talent, some brutal violence and a resurgence of a fine fighter ensured positive reviews. Even the obligatory local legend was in attendance and in fine spirits.

 

FUTURE CONTENDER –

Mairbek Taisumov def Damir Hadzovic (KO rnd 1)

Taisumov rounded off a very tidy performance with another KO victory. He has now amassed four finishes on the bounce since his decision loss stretching his UFC record to 5-1. Sadly, with the late replacement and the speed of success we really did not learn anything new about the Chechen. But his record suggests he is ready to take the next step and the powers that be need to grant him a chance to show off his well-rounded game. The reason why he will go far is that he is a finisher – only one of his twenty-five victories has come by way of a decision. It is just a shame that his division is stacked otherwise he would be well on his way to the belt. Top 15 fight next looms.

 

HIGHLIGHT REEL FINISH –

Derrick Lewis def Gabriel Gonzaga (KO rnd 1)

The black beast went full beast mode and put away the wily veteran Gonzaga with vicious power and ruthless accuracy. He may have his detractors but he certainly knows how to finish a fight. The knockout artist is keen to take on the ultimate fan favourite Nelson who has been on a slide and consistently come up short against the elite of the division. This fun fight would serve as a marker on his true potential. Gonzaga by contrast is facing being cut from the organisation. His recent record poor he very much risks falling by the wayside into obscurity.

 

PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT –
Junior dos Santos def Ben Rothwell (Unanimous decision)

Junior wound back a few fights and showed up in Zagreb. The walkout tunes set the tone – Rocky the plucky underdog boxer versus the evil superhero death march. He looked sublime in executing his game plan, dancing around the bigger Rothwell on his way to rack up five straight rounds. Rothwell, on the other hand, looked like an awkward robot being slow and clunky in his attempts to lay a hand on dos Santos. The two face different futures, dos Santos with his eyes upward and attempting to get back in the title picture while Rothwell is left to rue a missed opportunity and head back to the drawing board to plan his latest attempt to reinvent himself.

 

WINNERS MATCHES TO MAKE –

Taisumov vs Magomedov

Lewis vs Nelson

JDS vs Overeem