Thompson Stops Blackledge at Cage Gladiators

Mar 3, 2008
LIVERPOOL, England, March 2 -- Cage Gladiators returned to the historic Liverpool Olympia on Sunday boasting a card stacked with tough local fighters. As you might expect from a series of turf wars, only two of the 16 fights on the card went the distance.

In the main event, Martin Thompson dished out a beating to Tom Blackledge (Pictures) to claim the vacant Cage Gladiators British heavyweight title.

Blackledge started well with a vicious body kick that resonated disturbingly around the venue. To his credit, Thompson stormed back into the contest, showing some impressive hand speed and quickly landing a flurry of punches that sent his foe tumbling to the mat.

Blackledge took guard. He seemed to begin a recovery as he threw his legs high, ensnaring his opponent in a triangle choke. However, Thompson defended extremely well and passed to side mount, where he unleashed a terrible series of punches and hammerfists until referee Marc Goddard (Pictures) called an end to the contest.

In one of the most shocking finishes on the U.K. scene in some time, Mick Sinclair was disqualified for brutally soccer kicking his Irish opponent Aidon Marron. The strike simultaneously concussed Marron and handed him the promotion's lightweight championship.

Sinclair took his opponent to the floor early and stood over the downed fighter, threatening with kicks to the thigh. As Marron attempted to regain his feet he instinctively threw a heavy kick that landed flush on the Irishman's jaw, knocking him unconscious.

Goddard, the referee, immediately signaled a disqualification while ushering the paramedics into the cage.

A star in the making, Ronnie Mann (Pictures) claimed the vacant Cage Gladiators world featherweight title by a clear unanimous decision after a grueling 15-minute ground fight with Frenchman Fred Fernandez. Mann demonstrated his excellent wrestling once again, as he dominated the takedown battle. He also securely pinned his opponent in punching range and diligently worked his game plan to take home the belt.

Jay Gladden exposed a gulf in ground-fighting talent between himself and Kevin Reed. Gladden soon scored with a beautiful sweep and worked his way to rear-mount to finish with a slick rear-naked choke.

The fascinating matchup between Welsh tough guy Paul Jenkins (Pictures) and Gary Kelly (Pictures) was cut short when a misplaced finger caused agony for the gutsy Liverpudlian, who immediately made his way out of the building to seek medical attention for a poked eye.

Lee Dixon exploded into life in his fight with Chris Ram (Pictures). He banged in a series of brutal knees to his opponent's ribs before sliding across into mount. A stream of hard punches gave Ram no choice but to turn his back, allowing Dixon an opportunity to sink the armbar -- a gift he accepted after just two minutes of action.

Kev Axworthy (Pictures) bafflingly pulled guard twice in the first round of his fight with Tom Haddock. In the second round, Haddock put on a grappling clinic to choke his way to victory.

Rob Sinclair did a number on Matt Sellers in three tough rounds. Sinclair damaged the Trojan's face with strikes and forced an early end to the contest.

Lee Chadwick (Pictures) appeared tentative in the first round against Chris Lewis, probing with low kicks as his cornermen implored him to let his hands go. A takedown from Lewis landed him in the wrong part of town, and Chadwick soon moved to rear mount to apply another rear-naked choke.

David Johnson turned on the spite in his bout with Will Burke. Burke was clearly the stronger fighter, but Johnson had the edge in technical ability and was able to sweep his way out of trouble to pull guard with a very tight guillotine choke.

Gareth Burbridge threw down with malicious intent during his fight with local tough guy Mark Scanlon (Pictures). The Welshman fired off punches with real zeal, but he soon found himself on his back as Scanlon quickly worked out what route to take. After controlling from the top position, Scanlon finished with a choke in the second round.

In the first professional contest of the evening, Lucasz Les once again demonstrated that he has one of the fastest takedowns in the United Kingdom by taking down late-replacement Marius Buzinskas (Pictures) in the opening seconds of their fight. Les quickly moved to mount and transitioned from an ill-fated armbar attempt into a fight-winning triangle choke.
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