What started in Beirut in February ended on Saturday in Amman, Jordan, as Chris Fields defeated Pavel Kusch to win the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship middleweight tournament at "Fight Night 7."
It was the eighth win in nine fights for Fields, who replaced an injured John Phillips in the 185-pound final – Phillips earned a semifinal victory over Fields via guillotine choke in July. The Irishman took advantage of his opportunity, winning via TKO over an exhausted Kusch at 2:05 of the third round at the Al-Hussein Youth City Boxing Arena.
“You don’t understand how much this means to me. I’ve given so much of my life, stuff with my girlfriend, stuff with my family, everything,” Fields said. “This is everything to me.”
The SBG Ireland representative weathered an early storm from his opponent, as Kusch spent much of the opening round hunting for leg locks, knee bars and toe holds. The lanky Fields refused to become the Ukrainian’s 14th submission victim, however, and when the fight was vertical he was able to score successfully with a variety of kicks from distance.
Kusch slowed considerably in round two and Fields capitalized by continuing to find a home for his strikes and slamming his way out of an armbar attempt. The Irishman teed off with knees and punches against the cage before Kusch unsuccessfully went for an ankle lock. Fields moved to mount and continued to attack, but Kusch turtled and just managed to survive until the horn.
“I was thinking, ‘Damn, I don’t want to go five rounds. That is tiring.’ The guy is strong,” Fields said. “I couldn’t put him away – I hit him with everything. He’s a beast, I give him all the credit. I hit him with my best shots.”
Fields wouldn’t need to go to the championship frames. Kusch began round three with his hands on his knees and mounted virtually no offense as Fields continued his assault. Finally, referee Marc Goddard stopped the fight after watching a lethargic Kusch struggle to get to his feet several times in the frame.
In the co-main event, Jim Alers didn’t get the title shot he was hoping for, but he made a serious case for receiving a chance at the CWFC featherweight crown in the near future. Alers submitted Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Marcio Cesar with a D’arce choke at 2:27 of the second round to earn his second straight finish within the promotion.
The Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Orlando product set the tone in the first five minutes. He wobbled Cesar with a combination, landed a series of knees in the clinch and executed a beautiful lateral drop. He continued to surge in round two, dropping his adversary with a counter right hand after catching a kick before moving to side control. Shortly thereafter, Alers secured the choke and set his sights on champion Conor McGregor.
“I feel amazing. I want my belt; let’s do it,” Alers said. “Conor, I wish that you get well fast. Heal up fast so we can make this fight happen.”
Earlier, Leonardo Santos made short work of Mark Holst, submitting the former UFC talent with an arm-triangle choke 1:15 into the first frame of their lightweight scrap. Holst looked comfortable on the feet in the bout’s opening moments, but the Nova Uniao member wasted little time in exploding for a takedown. From there, Santos moved to mount and secured the fight-ending choke for his fifth consecutive victory.
Mohsen Bahari started with a flurry, and then survived fatigue and a resilient Piotr Ptasinski to capture a unanimous verdict in a welterweight affair. All three cageside judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of the Norwegian.
It looked like it would be a short night’s work for Bahari, who had been past the first round just once in his four previous professional appearances. A right hand dropped Ptasinski early, and Bahari swarmed first with punches, then with knees as the Polish fighter got back to his feet. Bahari would floor his foe again before the round expired but was unable to finish the job. A more measured pace defined the final 10 minutes as Ptasinski consistently moved forward and attacked, but his late rally ultimately fell short.
Olivier Pastor struggled to remain upright during his bantamweight encounter with Liam James, but the Frenchman managed to turn a negative into a positive by submitting his opponent with a guillotine choke in the second stanza. James scored a quick takedown and controlled the majority of the first frame from top position. Meanwhile, Pastor had a point taken away for grabbing the inside of James’ gloves while defending from the bottom.
James went right back to work in round two, landing an uppercut before executing another takedown. After a restart, Pastor connected with a body kick but was slammed to the canvas for his efforts. It was then that he latched on to the choke, and James had no choice but to tap out at the 3:21 mark of the period, slamming his fist to the mat in frustration at the opportunity lost.
In the opening bout on the main card, James Brum utilized a workmanlike approach that included clinch work against the cage and heavy ground-and-pound on the mat to earn a unanimous decision against James Saville. All three judges scored the bantamweight contest 29-28 in favor of Brum.
After being muscled against the fence for much of the opening frame, Saville launched his most significant offense in round two, taking his opponent’s back before moving to mount to land some ground-and-pound of his own. Brum imposed his will in final five minutes, opening a cut on Saville’s head with an elbow and finishing the frame with vicious strikes from above.
In preliminary action, a huge overhand right from Brett Bassett ended Mike Ling’s night in just 38 seconds at middleweight, while Rob Krecicki won a majority decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-29) over Mohamed Ali at light heavyweight. Also, Jay Furness took a unanimous decision against Artem Lobov on short notice in a 162-pound catch-weight affair. All three judges saw it 29-28 for Furness.