Warrior Fight Series returned to York Hall on Saturday 1st August for their fourth show, which featured huge knockouts, some great back and forth action and unfortunately a crowd brawl which overshadowed the co-main event.
Amateur Light Heavyweights Sam Spokes and Stanley Wilson started off the evening in a bout which turned out to be a relatively one sided affair. Spokes, who held a significant height advantage over Wilson was able to utilise the Muay Thai plum and deliver knees to the face of Wilson to bring the action to a halt at just under 2 minutes of the first round.
Sam Spokes def Stanley Wilson via TKO (referee stoppage) at 1:47 of Round One
The next fight which featured Danny Sherlock and Steve Steward ended in some controversy, which is partly down to most of the people in attendance not quite understanding amateur MMA rules. Following some ground and pound from Steward, Sherlock looked to get himself into a safer positon, however, in trying to reverse the position found himself standing up with Steward’s leg in a heel hook. A heel hook is illegal under amateur rules but it was an unintentional move from Sherlock which is why referee David Swann declared the fight a no contest.
Danny Sherlock and Steve Steward fought to a no contest
Next up was the first of the amateur Title fights with the Flyweight strap up for grabs between Gareth Ingham and Elliot Hoye. A very back and forth affair with Hoye managing to escape some serious submission attempts from Ingham including a rear naked choke and a triangle. Hoye remained scarily calm during the submission attempts to allow himself to focus and work out of them and he eventually got the majority decision win to become the WFS Amateur Flyweight Champion.
Elliot Hoye def Steve Steward by majority decision
Dominic Dillion and PK Zadeh then fought for the WFS Amateur Featherweight Title. Zadeh showed that he had the superior grappling landing a few takedowns throughout but in a largely uneventful fight both of these guys need to get back to the drawing board.
PK Zadeh def Dominic Dillion by unanimous decision to win the WFS Amateur Featherweight Title
Well what can I say about this next one? I think the personal highlight for me in a Welterweight bout between Josh Mitchell and Sunny Sandhu was when they were both on the ground with each other’s legs in their arms but completely unsure as to what to do with them. It was obvious that this was Mitchell’s debut and after being stood up he shot in for a takedown and left his neck out there for Sandhu to grab and squeeze for the victory.
Sunny Sandhu def Josh Mitchell by submission (guillotine) at 4:30 of Round One
I had followed Dominic Wooding’s amateur career for a while and so was interested to see how the Flyweight would fare in his professional debut against Darren Castleton. Well, the Black Panther did not fail to deliver. After stalking down Castleton and throwing a few high kicks, Wooding waited for Castleton to rush in and delivered a knee straight down the middle which knocked his opponent out clean and that was all she wrote.
Dominic Wooding def Darren Castleton via TKO (knee) at 0:32 of Round One
Ok the next one for me provided the most crazy moment of the night. Kes Mamba was certainly shipped in to lose this one against Arydas Juska at Middleweight, a weight division above Mamba’s normal home at Welterweight. But this didn’t stop Mamba taking the fight and allowed him to, in his very own words “eat more chicken to make the weight.” After a relatively uneventful opening round the second round saw both fighters slip and fall to the mat after both trying to throw a high kick which pretty much summed up the action to that point. Cue Kes Mamba landing a jumping left hook which shut down Juska and sent him crumbling to the ground in what I can only describe as a “HOLY SHIT” moment. The punch came from absolutely nowhere which only added more devastation to the moment. For me it was certainly the best knockout of the night. Give this man £50k.
Kes Mamba def Arydas Juska by TKO at 2:11 of Round Two
Now we could have had a crowd riot a bout earlier if CJ Meeks had lost against Mehdrad Janzimi, as the Team Titan fighter pretty much had the whole crowd on their feet cheering his name as he entered the cage. The pair came out swinging and both landed huge punches at the same time wobbling them both, but Meeks was able to secure a takedown amidst the madness and quickly work to the back, sink in the rear naked choke and get a very loud reaction from his followers.
CJ Meeks def Mehdrad Janzimi by submission (rear naked choke) at 0:32 of Round One
The co-main event featured Brad Wheeler and Jefferson George fighting for George’s Lightweight Title. This was my fight of the night, although this fight was overshadowed by a disgraceful crowd brawl which broke out during the second round of the fight. During the first round Wheeler was able to control most of the action pressing George against the cage and landing some knees, which was surprising as George was certainly visibly the larger man on the night.
The second round certainly favoured the Champion George who scored a takedown, took back control and landed some huge shots which seemed to rock Wheeler and as later confirmed broke the jaw of the Crazy Kid. Wheeler managed to clear his head after controlling George against the cage and took the fight to the ground which is at the same time that a full blown riot started in the crowd. I will talk about that at the end of the article so not to take away from the excellent fight which at one point we thought may be called off.
The third round was largely weighted towards Wheeler who controlled the fight from the top for a large portion of the round, although George showed just how difficult he is to hit when on the floor, constantly moving and looking to improve his position. In fairness to both fighters I think a rematch is needed as the second round had an impact on them both but I was not surprised to hear the judges giving the nod to Wheeler, George proved that records are nothing to look into and showed that he is definitely a top Lightweight in the UK.
Brad Wheeler def Jefferson George by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) to become the WFS Lightweight Champion
Now shooting in to takedown Jack Hermansson is definitely not a good idea, just ask Karlos Vemola. In the main event of the evening for the Middleweight Title, Vemola came out of the gun like a race horse and possibly threw out any gameplan he had within seconds. After being unsuccessful with the takedown Vemola found himself with Hermansson on his shoulders which is not something I advise to anyone. It took only seconds for Hermansson to sink in a triangle which Vemola broke free from, only to find himself back in the same move, which he then again broke free from but left an arm out. And you don’t want to do that with Hermansson about. Hermansson sank in an arm bar which put the elbow of Vemola in a direction that it shouldn’t be and forced him to tap out in agony. Jack Hermansson proved he is one of, if not the very best Middleweight in Europe.
Jack Hermansson def Karlos Vemola by submission (arm bar) in Round One
So there you have it a great night at Warrior Fight Series with some very exciting finishes throughout the amateur and professional card.
As promised here is my two cents on the brawl which ruined the whole evening for me and I think personally promotions need better security at events. I have been to a large number of shows across Europe and so this was certainly not the first in crowd brawl which I had witnessed but it was by far the worst I have seen. The security at the event did not react quickly and it didn’t seem that there were enough of them to handle the situation. In a way I hope that word of this does spread so that promoters do review their security arrangements because I can guarantee that there was a number of innocent bystanders at the event who were affected by the brawl and that just can’t happen.
I truly feel for the promotion and whilst the fight was obviously something out of their control, do plead that they review their security for future shows. For all the good that WFS has done in trying to bring their product to the mainstream including landing a deal for the show to be broadcast on London Live, you can’t help but think that word of this will put it back a few steps.
Overall I was impressed with the product that Harry Shoebridge has put together and the fights were on the whole very well matched and competitive. York Hall as a venue is a great one and with the right fighters there the atmosphere is electric. I have been informed that whilst the event was not quite a sell out it was very close to being so, with 1100 of the 1200 seats being sold. The venue may have not looked like that throughout the whole evening but as we know a lot of fans do only turn up to support their friends and leave as soon as they have watched the one fight they have turned up for.
Ticket selling will always be an issue across UKMMA with the WFS local fighters (Jake Bostwick, CJ Meeks, Brad Wheeler) always more likely to bring a bigger following. An issue Harry is no doubt aware of for future shows but selling 1100 out of 1200 is a solid effort.
No word yet on when Warrior Fight Series will return with their fifth show but you can guarantee that the match making will be top notch and that there will be some big European names at the top of the card.