Cage Warriors 88: In the Rear View Mirror

Cage Warriors returned to action last night at a sparsely populated Echo Arena in Liverpool. Although those in attendance were giving their full support and backing to the hometown fighters, you can’t help but think that Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence in Cardiff may have had an impact on ticket sales for what was a highly entertaining card and very successful night for the Next Generation team.

Prelims:

In the opening prelim of the night, Australian Jack Della improved his record to 4-2 with a 2nd round submission victory over James Duckett, his fourth consecutive win. With numerous submissions attempted throughout the opening round, Della finally suck in a decisive rear-naked choke towards the end of the 2nd.

In what was quite possibly the stand out fight of the prelims, Jack Grant made an impressive Cage Warriors debut with a savage 1st round KO of Perry Goodwin. Striking Goodwin with three heavy knees midway through the opening round, Grant was composed throughout and moved onto 13-4 with this eye-catching performance.

In the final fight of the prelims, Paull McBain beat Sam Spencer with a TKO at the end of the 1st round. Deemed unfit to proceed due to doctors’ advice, Spencer ducked into a solid right hand from McBain which appeared to be the night ending blow from the Scotsman. Although by no means totally out of the fight, Spencer was clearly in no fit state to continue due to a heavily swollen right eye socket. With fighter safety paramount, there really couldn’t be any over decision as to the outcome of this featherweight clash.

Main Card:

Molly McCann 5-1 v Priscila de Souza 12-7

Hometown favourite Molly McCann got the main card underway with a unanimous victory over the tough Brazilian, Pricilia de Souza. With de Souza charging in straight from the off, McCann landed with some early strikes against an opponent where no love was lost. Following a confrontation at the weigh-ins, both fighters got straight down to business in a high octane 1st round. McCann finished the round strong with a series of short elbows and a flying knee whilst in the clinch.

In the 2nd and 3rd rounds, the fast paced 1st round seemed to take its toll on both fighters but it was McCann who continued to unload with a series of combinations. The experienced de Souza was visibly exhausted and grimacing towards the end of the 2nd as McCann continued her pursuit for victory.

Despite the seemingly bad blood before the fight, both fighters touched gloves and hugged it out before the start of the final round. Continuously warned about her outstretched fingers throughout, de Souza was lucky to not received a point deduction, although it wouldn’t have made much difference to the outcome as McCann came out with the unanimous victory, much to the delight of those in attendance.

Martin Stapleton 19-5 v Søren Bak 8-1

Next up it was an interesting lightweight bout between former marine Martin Stapleton and the self-proclaimed true Viking that is Søren Bak. Making his entrance with his trademark pelt and axe, Bak would prove too strong an opponent for the veteran Stapleton. Claiming that “I will 100% finish that man” before the fight, Stapleton endured a tough night as Bak, who has a strong wrestling background, rode out a deep-set body triangle for a large chunk of the fight. At 3:51 of the 1st round, Stapleton tapped out when Bak transitioned into a rear naked choke and finished the fight in what was a solid performance from the Dane.

Lee Chadwick 23-13 v Victor Cheng 11-2

The vacant Cage Warriors middleweight title was on the line in what transpired into uncharted territory for both Lee Chadwick and Victor Cheng. With both fighters going the 5-round distance for the first time on their careers, both were seemingly finding each other out in the early exchanges. Chadwick, the visibly larger set of the two, has explosive power behind his punches but didn’t want to unload and strike himself out too early with Cheng probably coming out on top in the early rounds.

The heavy hitting Chadwick was starting the throw more in the 2nd but a series of continuous leg kicks in the early round appeared to be taking their toll on the highly experienced Chadwick.

Early in the 3rd, and on a few occasions, Cheng landed with a straight right which had Chadwick take note but a massive standing guillotine attempt by Chadwick late in the 3rd could’ve very easily seen this fight finished. Lifting Cheng off the ground on a couple of occasions, Cheng survived what looked like a deep choke. Chadwick seemed spent at the end of the round but showed heart and composure as both fighters entered the championship rounds.

Chadwick gained a 2nd wind as he chipped away at Cheng who was subtly starting to fade away in the 4th. After an exhausting exchange, both fighters came out swinging from the off in the final round but it was Chadwick who took the decision with a unanimous victory to become the new Cage Warriors middleweight champion.

Chris Fishgold 16-1-1 v Alexander Jacobsen 8-1

Chris Fishgold defended his Cage Warriors lightweight title for the third time to become the 1st fighter in the modern era to do so. After successful defences against Jason Ponet and Nic Herron-Webb, Fishgold saw off Alexander Jacobsen with a striking and submission masterclass. Exerting pressure straight from the off, Fishgold was landing with some big shots against an opponent with a strong striking background. Jacobsen showed a level of durability early on when receiving a cut below the left eye. With superb defence, Fishgold turned his excellent striking attack into a lethal ground game that had the fight finished as soon as both fighters hit the canvas. No sooner had the fight been taken to the ground, Fishgold sunk in the rear naked choke to claim his 3rd title defence and cement his name in Cage Warriors history.

After the fight, Fishgold announced that he will be stepping down to featherweight. Setting his attentions on champion, Nad Narimani, Fishgold wants to avenge the defeat of team mate Paddy Pimblett in what would be an exceptional fight.

 

Main Card Results:

Chris Fishgold vs Alexander Jacobsen (lightweight title)

Fishgold wins 4:15 Round 1 Submission (RNC)

Lee Chadwick vs Victor Cheng (middleweight title)

Chadwick wins via unanimous decision.

Martin Stapleton vs Søren Bak (lightweight)

Bak wins 3:51 Round 1 Submission (RNC)

Molly McCann vs Priscila de Souza (flyweight)

McCann wins via unanimous decision.

 

Prelim Results:

James Duckett vs Jack Della (welterweight)

Della wins 3:44 Round 2 Submission (RNC)

Mick Stanton vs Josh McManus (welterweight)

Stanton wins via unanimous decision

Jack Grant vs Perry Goodwin (lightweight)

Grant wins 3:17 Round 1 KO (knees)

Sam Spencer 5-1 vs Paull McBain 3-0 (featherweight)

McBain wins 5:00 Round 1 TKO (stopped on doctors’ advice).

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