Leonardo Damiani (10-2-1) with the RNC to win it. Really good fight for the main event of their first Fight Pass show. Both guys showed up and fought an entertaining competitive battle.#TGC3 pic.twitter.com/Etjzn34qLF— Dusty Andrews (@Fight_Expert) February 6, 2021
After nearly a year of inactivity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Italian MMA returned with the action-packed third event of The Golden Cage series on Saturday.
In The Golden Cage 3 main event, Leonardo Damiani (10-2-1) took on Marco Saccaro (6-3) in a rematch of an October 2018 bout won by Damiani. The promoter never communicated the weigh-in results, but the 180-pound catchweight bout was nonetheless valid for the welterweight belt. Both fighters lived up to their reputations as heavy strikers and exchanged some hards shots early in the opening stanza as Damiani scored with his kicks and Saccaro connected with his punches. After a quick scramble phase against the fence, Damiani attempted to move the action to the canvas, but Saccaro used the cage to work his way back up. Damiani continued to insist on his takedown attempt, but his opponent shrugged it off and came back with an overhand.
In the second round, “Puppy” and Saccaro swung a few wide shots before Damiani shot for a takedown. Saccaro looked for a kimura, but his opponent defended it well and got up on his feet, where he clipped Saccaro with some big elbows on the side of the head. Saccaro retaliated by dropping Damiani with a low kick and followed up with a series of punches as "Puppy" was getting back on his feet. A few moments later, Damiani jumped for a guillotine choke, taking his opponent down in the submission attempt. Even though Saccaro’s defense worked against the guillotine, he had to concede his back. Damiani put the hooks in with ease and sunk a vicious rear-naked choke that forced Saccaro to tap after a few seconds. “Puppy” reiterated his superiority over Saccaro in the second round, claiming the 170-pound championship in the process.
The co-main event saw Wisem Hammami (5-0) overcome Franc Agalliu (3-1) thanks to a quick TKO victory that occurred in the opening stanza. Hammami aggressively sought his opponent as soon as the bell rang, clipping Agalliu with many punches before slamming him on the canvas and jumping into the mount. Even though Agalliu scrambled his way out of the sticky situation, his opponent slammed him back down on the mat and landed a series of punches. From there, Hammami easily regained the mount and unloaded a series of heavy shots. Referee Daniele Proietti watched closely and intervened when he felt that Agalliu wasn’t defending himself intelligently anymore. In the post-fight interview, Hammami sent a message to the UFC claiming that his arrival is imminent.
Elsewhere, Michele Baiano (4-0) crushed Nizar Ben Amara (4-1) after dropping his opponent on the canvas with an ill-intentioned right punch and finishing him off with a follow-up strike en route to capturing the featherweight championship.
In some other action, Walter Cogliandro (10-1-1) edged Gregor Shestakov (6-2) via split decision in a hard-fought 155-pound contest; in a bantamweight battle, Mohammed Walid (3-0) submitted Fabio De Luca (3-2) thanks to a furious guillotine choke in the first round.
In the first battle on the main card, Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA alum Danilo Belluardo (13-6) smashed Daniele Miceli (9-4) with ground-and-pound punches in the third stanza of their 176-pound catchweight rematch.