Warrior Fight Series returned to York Hall for their fifth installment and produced another great card from top to bottom with a total of eleven fights, split six amateur and five professional, in my eyes the perfect amount of bouts for any fight card.
The team had to deal with a huge amount of injuries and pullouts which led to the likes of Leeroy Barnes, Pelu Adetola & Sam Creasey not competing on the card but still managed to salvage a show worthy of the anticipation they had built.
So with that in mind we have broken down some of the key takeaways from the show in our eyes, enjoy;
MMA is always unpredictable
You had to feel for Harry Shoebridge and his team going into this card seeing as the MMA gods have cursed the event since it was announced. A huge amount of injuries and last minute pullouts really left the promotion up against it but in true professional fashion they worked through the difficulties to ensure that #WFS5 would still be a show worthy of the ticket price and they definitely did not disappoint.
Aside from the promotion you have to feel for the guys who have spent countless hours/days/weeks preparing for fights only to be let down at the last minute and whilst most where reimbursed by the promotion (great work) its more than often the case that these guys are not just fighting for a paycheck and are really more interested in testing themselves inside the cage. Unfortunately, pullouts on these shows will continue to be common theme and I think that there is no magic wand that is going to be able to prevent that. But given what they had to work with at the last minute Harry and his team can be proud of #WFS5.
Twisters rule, period
The main event pitted Huseyin Garabet against Kim Thinghaugen and it seemed early on that Garabet was going to use his striking to put away the tough Norwegian. But after Thinghaugen was able to implement his expert grappling and get Garabet to the ground things quickly changed. Thinghaugen smothered his opponent on the ground and was close to sinking in a rear naked choke, then quickly switched things up and sinked in a twister, forcing Garabet to quickly tap and leaving the crowd silent.
Dominic Wooding is a serious dude
In one of the most anticipated bouts of the evening Dominic Wooding went up against Iurie Bejenari and once again left York Hall in total silence following a near flawless performance. Wooding was the much larger fighter and used his reach and his switching of stance to really put off Bejenari from the off. Wooding began to land shots at will and after a flurry of punches landed a knee flush on the chin on Bejenari, instantly knocking him out and solidifying that Wooding really is one to watch at Flyweight. I truly believe that Wooding worked the amateur bouts to his advantage and wasn’t in a rush to turn professional, which he is now reaping the rewards of. Wooding called for a Title shot after the fight and I think that Harry Shoebridge will have problems denying if for “The Black Panther” after another show stealing performance.
York Hall is Kes Mamba’s home
Kes Mamba once again he proved that he is willing to fight anyone, anywhere at any time. Mamba was coming into this one off a loss the previous weekend and things looked to be heading the wrong way for him at the start of his fight with Jag Singh, before the two engaged in a striking exchange. Mamba landed a huge shot which landed flush and as soon as it connected on the chin of Singh, his eyes rolled and he hit the mat and was instantly attended to by the paramedics. “I don’t train, I don’t like to train….But if I get you….I get you init” was all the man had to say in his post fight speech and lets be honest there isn’t much more you need to say after scoring another knockout like he did.
Reece Jones is one to watch
There were a few guys that stood out in the amateur portion of the card but none more so than Reece Jones in my opinion. It was Jones second amateur bout but the youngster looked so comfortable in the cage that he quite easily could have been mistaken as a more experienced fighter. The first thing which stood out to me is just how big he is for a Lightweight both in height and size and he does a great job of utilizing his huge reach advantage. He has some scary body kicks which echoed around York Hall and I personally think that it was a great test for him to get three rounds under his belt at such an early stage in his career. His opponent Peyman Padeshah put him under some pressure in the first round putting him on his back but as soon as Jones was back to his feet he moved far ahead with some deadly striking on the way to a unanimous decision win.
Overall a great show which really gave some young amateurs a chance to shine in front of a good crowd in York Hall. I love York Hall as a venue and the intimacy really adds to the atmosphere and you can just get the fight feel when you walk into the historic venue. This card for Warrior Fight Series was really a testament that you don’t always need the big named fighters to put on a great show and whilst some of those guys will help push more tickets out, building the stars of tomorrow will ultimately help grow the sport for years to come.
For me getting to see the evolution of the likes of Dominic Wooding, moving through his amateur days to the professional leagues in an environment like Warrior Fight Series will really help him grow in confidence and we are seeing that now which is a pretty special thing.
Each and every man that stepped into the cage at #WFS5 gave it their all to put a show on for the fans and there won’t have been many leaving York Hall last night disappointed.