The latest installment in the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship “Trilogy” series crowned a new champion.
The Cage Warriors 122 main event saw Jordan Vucenic (8-1) dethrone Morgan Charriere (16-8-1) thanks to a narrow decision at the end of a featherweight championship encounter at York Hall in London on Saturday. The challenger looked sharper than the defending champion from the first frame, attacking “The Last Pirate” with a variety of punches and continuously switching stances. Charriere didn’t look impressed by his opponent's striking, but it took a while before he got himself out of first gear and began to focus on close-range combat and wrestling.
“The Last Pirate” looked better in the championship rounds, where his grinding started paying dividends, coinciding with Vucenic starting to go low on his energy tank. The last two stanzas were arguably the most evident rounds in favor of the Frenchman, who kept Vucenic with his back against the fence for most of the time. Ultimately, the judges were split, as Jon Hand and David Lethaby saw a 48-47 score for “The Epidemic,” while Ben Cartlidge scored it 49-46 for Charriere. A very emotional Vucenic took home the split decision victory and the belt.
In the co-main event, Paddy Pimblett (16-3) had no difficulties in overcoming Italy’s Davide Martinez (8-3) in their 155-pound clash. “The Baddy” returned to the cage after a one-year hiatus and proved that cage rust is something that doesn’t concern him. Early on, a head kick from Pimblett put Martinez on the defensive. The English fighter then closed the distance and landed a few shots before throwing “Ispanico” on the mat.
Once on the ground, “The Baddy” took full mount with ease and secured the position. Martinez attempted his best to escape from the sticky situation but ended up conceding his back. Sensing that the end was near, Pimblett put the hooks in and hunted for a rear-naked choke. The submission attempt was very tight, and the Italian fighter had to tap after a few seconds. The official time indicated 1:37 into Round 1.
Elsewhere, Tobias Harila (9-1) walked through Aidan Stephen (8-4) with punches after only 74 seconds of their 145-pound encounter; in a bantamweight clash, Brian Bouland (10-3) stopped Liam Gittins (6-2) with a couple of perfectly-landed punches at the 0:52 mark in the opening frame and Jean N’Doye (9-2) put Corrin Eaton (10-4, 1NC) out of his senses with a knee as the official time indicated 1:30 into Round 2 of the featherweight affair.
In preliminary action, Nathan Fletcher (5-0) submitted Michele Martignoni (6-1, 1 NC) with an unexpected rear-naked choke with only 38 seconds left in the third frame in the bantamweight division; Yassine Belhadj (7-3) outpointed Tom Mearns (6-7) and swept up 29-28 nods from all three judges in the lightweight division and in a 125-pound clash, Nicolas Leblond (6-3) landed a perfect two-punch combination that left Darren O’Gorman (6-6) unconscious at the 3:20 mark of the second stanza.