German-based Bosnian Roberto Soldic announced himself on the European stage with a spectacular head-kick knockout of welterweight contender Lewis Long in the main event of Cage Warriors 87 in Newport, Wales in what many have commented is a stunning unexpected upset.
Welshman Long went into the clash as the hometown favourite, but Soldic delivered a performance of ferocious power, landing a huge head kick that sent Long face-planting into the canvas inside the opening 40 seconds of the bout. Commendable referring meant Long only faced a couple of punches whilst sprawled on the canvas.
After the contest, Soldic put the rest of the Cage Warriors welterweight division on notice, saying: “I am a different level. I am another league.”
The night’s co-main event saw Exmouth welterweight Craig ‘Thundercat’ White continue his remarkable 2017 with a standing TKO stoppage of former title challenger Matt Inman.
White came out aggressively at the start of the fight, but ended up pressed against the cage, as Inman looked to impose his Muay Thai striking from the clinch.
Daaaamn…what a god damn upset! Nice KO finish though. pic.twitter.com/JEsoK46L2w
— Michael Morgan (@mikewhoatv) October 14, 2017
White eventually managed to work himself away from the cage and stunned Inman with a big right hand around the guard, then swarmed the SBG Manchester man as he backed away to the cage fence.
With White unloading a furious flurry of punches, ref Rich Mitchell called for Inman to improve his position. And when he didn’t respond, the experienced referee called a stop to the contest to give White his third first-round finish of the calendar year.
Welsh featherweight prospect Jack ‘Tank’ Shore continued his impressive start to his pro career as he secured the sixth straight win with a spectacular third-round KO of Italian Sambo exponent Mattia Galbiati.
Shore dropped the Italian with a beautiful two-punch combination as he took charge of proceedings in the opening round, then he showcased his dominance on the mat as he took Galbiati down and worked him over from the guard.
And in the third round he fought off Galbiati’s pressure and unleashed a huge knee up the middle that landed flush on the Italian’s chin as the local hero secured a highlight-reel knockout win.
Aiden Lee produced a hugely impressive performance to stop Ludovit Klein inside a round with a rear-naked choke to rack up his third submission win of 2017.
Klein came into the bout with back-to-back submission wins and initiated the takedown. But once the fight hit the mat it was Lee who took over, locking up a body triangle before setting up a rear-naked choke that forced his man to tap out inside the opening round.
The opening bout of the night saw Ross Houston continue his undefeated career with a hard-earned unanimous decision victory over Wales’ Aaron Khalid.
Houston looked to have the edge in the opening two rounds and did enough in the third to win all three rounds on all three scorecards, but Khalid came on strong and nearly stole the fight away in the final moments as an entertaining battle went all the way to the judges.
And that’s not all – the pro prelims featured a trio of impressive submission finishes as Mason Jones and Kris Edwards secured rear-naked choke wins over Shaun Luther and Bryan Creighton respectively, while Richard Williams claimed victory with a quickfire armbar submission of Cosmin Tutu.
However, one of the biggest talking points of the night came as the fights ended and Cage Warriors looked toward its next visit to Wales. A huge fight has been announced which seasoned fans and media alike have already taken to social media to commend – Josh Reed vs Marko Kovacevic. For the bantamweight division, this is a seriously exciting contest between two men who have fallen short of the bantamweight title to London star Nathaniel Wood. When Reed came up against Wood, it resulted in perhaps the greatest fight in Cage Warriors history and Kovacevic will have no doubt improved since the last time he stepped under the lights.
CAGE WARRIORS 87 RESULTS
Roberto Soldic def Lewis Long via KO (head kick), Round 1
Craig White def Matt Inman via TKO (punches), Round 1
Jack Shore def Mattia Galbiati via KO (knee), Round 3
Aiden Lee def Ludovit Klein via submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1
Ross Houston def Aaron Khalid via unanimous decision
Richard Williams def Cosmin Tutu via submission (armbar), Round 1
Kris Edwards def Bryan Creighton via submission (rear-naked choke), Round 2
Cornelia Holm def Diana Filipa via unanimous decision
Mason Jones def Shaun Luther via submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3
Lawrence Tracey def Josh Ellis via unanimous decision