Bisping Defends CageWarriors Title, Izidro Wins Belt

By Pedro Wrobel Oct 2, 2005
COVENTRY, England, Oct. 1 — The Skydome in this city is a pretty cool venue. I mean this in every sense. As an ice hockey arena the place feels like a huge, bitterly cold warehouse but when all the lights are installed, when the cage is constructed and the seats start to fill with fans, well then you ignore the rising frostbite in your toes and enjoy the cheering.

To be truthful the venue was far from sold out Saturday night, but the fans that were here were enthusiastic and the atmosphere was supportive. Lots of cheering and little booing made for a fun, action-packed show.

This was actually the most efficient MMA show I've ever attended. The 12 fights and two breaks were timetabled and this organization was stuck to with surprising rigor. It all kicked off at 7 p.m. and after just 13 rounds of combat and 12 decisive stoppages it was all over just two hours later. It might have felt a bit quick for some, but MMA is an unpredictable spectacle and this is all part of the game. Maybe CageWarriors can fit an extra fight in next time.

In a heavily anticipated main event, Michael Bisping (Pictures) utterly dominated Jakob Lovstad. Let's be serious about this: Lovstad is for real. I've seen the "Striking Viking" fight before and the man is usually a beast, strong and tough with the ability to finish things standing or on the ground.

It is therefore testament to Bisping that he made the Norwegian look like a complete rank amateur tonight. Lovstad had been up to some funny business before the fight. Despite rumors of medical problems, Lovstad looked supremely confident and cocky as he laughed to himself during Bisping's entrance, and then drew his rubbery features into a series of comic and mocking expressions during the pre-fight staredown.

Once the bell had rung, however, the story changed. Bisping tagged the Norwegian early and then sprawled well to stuff the ensuing shot, forcing Lovstad to pull guard. From here on in Bisping worked steadily, punishing the "Striking Viking" with some brutal ground-and-pound, forcing the Team Scandinavia standout to tapout.

As the referee separated the fighters, Bisping, who had remained stoic throughout his opponent's pre-fight antics, got his revenge by laughing and reminding Lovstad of his taunts. "You tapped, you wanker!" He did though, and Bisping retains his CW title, as well as his undefeated record, after 1:13 of the first round.

Diego Gonzalez may have defeated Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy tonight but nobody will have been impressed by his sportsmanship. Although the rules do not require fighters to touch gloves at the beginning of a match it is an accepted part of the sportsman's code of conduct. So when Gonzalez replied to Hardy's outstretched glove by throwing a haymaker and then shooting in for a takedown, he could have no complaints when his actions led to his incessant booing throughout the rest of the match.

Hardy looked surprised by his opponent's actions and this may explain his defensive showing throughout the first round. Having given up his back early following Gonzalez's unsportsmanlike takedown, Hardy spent the rest of the round hanging tough, defending well against Gonzalez's choke attempts, but failing to improve his position.

Despite an early flurry from Hardy, the second round was a repeat of the first, with Gonzalez scoring the takedown and this time succeeding in imposing himself on his opponent, forcing the tapout from a rear-naked choke after 1:19 of the second round.

Tengiz Tedoradze survived a hairy opening before finally stopping his opponent, Tom Blackledge (Pictures), with strikes in a heavyweight clash. Tedoradze looked the more effective in the stand-up, landing some good shots that forced Blackledge to shoot. Here, again, Tedoradze showed his superiority, sprawling well and forcing Blackledge to pull guard.

There were some rocky moments for Tedoradze, as Blackledge showed his submission skills, snagging an arm and making the UK-based Georgian grimace in pain. Despite Blackledge's best efforts, Tedoradze managed to escape and when the fighters stood back up the Georgian connected hard, dropping Blackledge and forcing the referee to intervene 2:21 of the first round.

In what was unquestionably the biggest upset of the night, 10-1 underdog Alexandre Izidro (Pictures) made light work of Jani Lax. Lax was visibly bigger and more muscular than the UK-based Brazilian, but if there was a strength differential between the two then it was not apparent.

Lax landed an early jab that seemed to fire the relaxed Izidro into action. "Xandinho" closed the distance quickly, forcing Lax against the fence before slamming the Scandinavian to the floor. From there it was just a matter of time as Izidro patiently worked for his opportunity, which came as Lax put his hands down to help himself stand, leaving his neck exposed.

Izidro was on him like a flash, gratefully taking the guillotine before swinging into guard, cranking hard on the exposed neck and leaving Lax with no option but to tapout 2:58 of the first round. With this victory Izidro became the new CageWarriors lightweight champion, and showed that his domination of Abdul Mohamed (Pictures) in Cage Rage was no fluke.

In other action, Henrique Nogueira submitted Marc Goddard via guillotine choke, 2:49 of the opening round.

Ross Pointon used a guillotine choke to finish Jerome Laulan 36 seconds into their fight.

Kristian Lexel stopped Darren Spencer 3:33 of round one.
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