European MMA promotion Cage Warriors held their annual New Years Eve in Dublin event on Tuesday night and boy did it deliver. The corresponding event last year (Cage Warriors 51) served as the launching pad for one of the top MMA stories of 2013 Conor McGregor. His highlight reel knock-out victory over Ivan Buchinger made waves around the world and ultimately lead to him being snapped up by the UFC.
Well it is looking likely that Cage Warriors 63 could serve as a similar launching pad for a number of fighters who took to the cage and came out with impressive victories to add to their every growing fight records. I count four mixed martial artists that I believe made their claim for a spot on the UFC’s roster.
I will start with the least likely to be signed Mateusz Teodorczuk (11-2). He defeated tough Irishman Paul Redmond (8-4) who saw his own five-fight-win-streak snapped. The win might not go down as a major win in the grand scheme of things but to those who know and follow Paul Redmond this comes a great win for Teodorczuk. It also marks the 9th straight win for the young 23-year-old. What is working in his favour is that there is a UFC event planned in his native Poland for 2014, it could be a breakthrough year for the prospect.
Ireland’s most famous female fighter Aisling Daly (14-5) got back to winning ways with a second round armbar victory over Karla Benitez (11-6). It seems like Daly has been around so long but is still only 26-years-old. She has had a tough time of late having suffered three defeats in a row to fighters like Rosi Sexton, Barb Honchak, and Katja Kankaanpaa but this win puts her back on the golden path. Having fought above her natural fighting weight for a decent amount her career she looks at home at strawweight. With the UFC’s announced TUF 20 season creating a new strawweight division and crowning also new champ Daly’s name is looking likely to be added to the long list of high calibre fighters already part of the show. Will Daly add the UFC to her long list of top promotions on her fighting resumé in 2014?
Ivan Buchinger (25-4) finally did it! He became Cage Warriors lightweight champ. It has been a bumpy and heart-breaking journey for the Slovakian fighter and it all kind of started NYE 2012 when he found himself on the wrong end of a highlight reel KO, the one that launched McGregor into superstardom. He then fought his way into the tourney for the vacant lightweight title after winning his first two fights post McGregor. Buchinger won in the first round in a spectacular comeback fashion but suffered an injury that would not allow him to compete for the title. Third time did seem a charm for the 27-year-old as he defeated Scotland’s Steven Ray (14-5) with a fourth round rear-naked. His impressive record and 84% finishing rate makes him an ideal candidate to be given a chance at the UFC’s upcoming European Tour.
The man notoriously linked with Conor McGregor is my fourth candidate; Jim Alers (12-1). We saw him defend his title with a North-South choke on the experience Graham Turner (23-8) and in doing so get his eight straight victory. The American has a long history with McGregor due a war of words after the two were scheduled to fight for the Cage Warriors featherweight title. The fight never came to fruition but what is our loss could be UFC’s gain with a fight between the two down the line. His 11 finishes in 12 outings does not hinder his chances one bit either. This 27-year-old would not look out of place in the Octagon one bit.
Ivan Buchinger def. Stevie Ray via submission (rear-naked choke), round 4, 3:34.
Jim Alers def. Graham Turner via submission (north-south choke), round 2, 1:22.
John Maguire def. Philip Mulpeter via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mateusz Teodorczuk def. Paul Redmond via submission (anaconda choke), round 2, 0:51.
Aisling Daly def. Karla Benitez via submission (armbar), round 2, 4:26.
Sean Carter def. Myles Price via submission (triangle choke), round 1, 4:03.
Catherine Costigan def. Morgane Delagnau via submission (rear-naked choke), round 3, 2:22.
John Redmond def. Kieran Davern via submission (guillotine), round 1, 1:57.
Amanda English def. Slavka Vitaly via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Chris Boujard def. Peter Queally via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Gavin Kelly def. Dylan Sheehan via unanimous decision (30-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Kieran O’Brien def. Mick Brennan via submission (rear-naked choke), round 2, 4:46.
Photo Credit: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors