A SPINNING HEEL KICK! off the break and Manny Akpan gets it done in one
A sensational finish here at #CW120
Watch the #CW120 prelims now on @UFCFightPass
York Hall, London pic.twitter.com/SazQc1y3Gl — Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) March 18, 2021
“The Trilogy” is back with a vengeance for Cage Warriors Fighting Championship.
The CW 120 main event saw the promotional debut of Bellator MMA veteran Kent Kauppinen (13-6), who took on Jamie Richardson (9-7) at middleweight. Kauppinen worked his opponent’s legs with kicks on the inside and outside, but they did not appear to affect Richardson early. “Young Gun” replied with polished combinations, until he shot in and scored a takedown with seconds left in the round. Even though Kauppinen got back to his feet quickly, there was little time for more action before the horn sounded.
Richardson celebrated some success with his hands early in the second round, clipping Kauppinen a few times with short combinations. “Young Gun” also frustrated his opponent by mixing in an effective takedown late in in the round. In the final stanza, Kauppinen dropped Richardson with punches with a few seconds left. Kauppinen invited his opponent to get back up, hoping to finish the fight standing. Richardson accepted the invitation, but savvily chose to shoot in and secure a takedown, finishing the round on top. Kauppinen took home a unanimous decision victory as all three scorecards indicated 29-28 scores.
In the co-main event, Paul Hughes (7-1) became the first man to defeat James Hendin (5-1) in their featherweight affair. Hughes showcased his polished striking as he knocked down Hendin in the opening stanza. Partly due to frustration and partly to his impetuosity, “The Honeybadger” landed a low knee that stopped the action for a while. Hughes recovered from the shot, only to take another knee below the belt in the next round. When the action finally resumed, Hendin had arguably the most successful round, as he did some damage on the feet.
Round 3 saw a more elusive Hughes as he made his opponent miss, and when he did, he paid Hendin back with some combinations of his own. After the Fight Academy Ireland-representative blocked all his opponent’s takedown, he dragged “The Honeybadger” down to the mat. From there, he took Hendin’s back and attempted a rear-naked choke, but it was not successful. After Hughes bailed on the choke, he hammered his opponent with ground-and-pound until time expired. Ultimately, all three judges scored the fight 29-28 in favor of the Australian-born fighter, allowing Hughes to keep pursuing his dreams of a championship.
Elsewhere, Christian Leroy Duncan (3-0) locked horns with Will Currie (5-1) in the middleweight division. After a close first round, Duncan nailed Currie with a flying knee that rocked him right at the start of Round 2. As Duncan continued to land punches to try to end the fight, Currie shot in for a desperation takedown. Before “Drago” could complete it, referee Daniel Movahedi rushed in to stop the fight at 18 seconds into Round 2, much to the dismay of the dazed but still cognizant Currie.
Kieran Lister (7-1-2) and Declan McAleenan (7-3-1) fought to a draw in their 155-pound encounter. The fighters went back-and-forth with relentless action, with Lister relying on his wrestling skills and McAleenan retaliating with punches and kicks. The judges were truly split, when judge David Lethaby scored it 29-28 Lister, judge Jon Hand 28-29 McAleenan and judge Ben Cartlidge 28-28 for a split draw result.
In a lightweight clash, Michal Figlak (5-0) stopped Steven Hooper (5-4) at the conclusion of Round 2. “Mad Dog” slashed open a gash on the left side of Hooper’s head with elbows in the first frame. While Hooper kept fighting, he continued to pour blood as the battle raged on. After the doctor examined Hooper carefully and advised the contest go no further, referee Rich Mitchell officially halted the fight at 5:00 of the second round.
Coner Hignett (9-6) smashed Leigh Mitchell (3-3) in the second stanza of their 125-pound clash. Mitchell had his moments in the opening round, capturing his opponent’s back and nearly securing a rear-naked choke. Hignett shrugged his opponent’s attacks off, composed himself to ride out the round. Midway through the second round, Hignett scored a two-punch combination that shook Mitchell, and followed it with a powerful knee and a series of punches to force referee intervention at 3:03.
Manny Akpan (3-0) kept his record unblemished by stopping Ben Ellis (3-1) in the opening stanza at featherweight. After jockeying for position in the clinch against the fence, Akpan let loose his unorthodox and flashy striking arsenal which included spinning kicks and wild, looping shots. One haymaker from Akpan clocked Ellis, and Akpan quickly slammed the door with a barrage of punches. The official end came at 4:22 in the opening stanza.
In the welterweight division, Mateusz Figlak (5-1) had no difficulties in taking care of Josh Plant (2-4). Figlak made the most out of his longer reach to keep Plant at bay, before landing an electrifying punch to the liver that shut off “The Power.” The referee intervened to save Plant from unnecessary damage at the 2:36 mark of the first round.
In the first fight on the card, Matthew Elliott (1-0) outpointed Scott Pedersen (0-1) at featherweight. Wrestling was the key to Elliott’s success, as the Fight Academy Ireland representative embraced the grind for all three rounds. Elliott swept the scorecards with a trio of 29-28 tallies from the judges.
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