As Close As You Can Get To UFC

Cage Warriors 80 wasone to remember after a showing of world-class fights at the Indigo in the O2 London. Youcef Dahmani reports.

East London gym, The MMA Clinic in Romford, keeps proving that they have talent in their ranks as Brad Wheeler won his fight by TKO in the joint main event.

However, the highlight of the night came as Karl Amoussou, a French national but fighting out of Germany, was crowned Cage Warriors welterweight champion, after beating the Englishman Matt Inman.

Both fighters came out showing that they meant business, from the strained stare that they gave each other while the referee went over the rules. Neither went to touch gloves when the fight commenced and went straight into exchanging punches. Inman mainly defended and relied heavily on his kicking, while Amoussou threw successful punches to the face.

It was then that Amoussou went in for the kill with a powerful right hook that knocked Inman down. While on the ground the Englishman tried to defend himself, but it was  defending the undefendable as Amoussou fired quick punches until the referee had to call the fight to an end, after three minutes and 33 seconds of the first round.

This victory was the Frenchman’s seventh straight win.  He has not had to fight a second round since 2014.

In the post-match interview with BT Sport, he put on a shirt which said ‘Hey UFC it’s time’. It was clear what Amousou is aiming for: “I’ve been asked by the UFC to keep winning,” he said. “Not only did I win, I smashed every single one of my opponents, that’s what I did, and that’s why I deserve to be in the UFC.”

Local boy

The co-main event was between local boy Brad Wheeler and the veteran Warren Kee. It was Wheeler, from Romford, who took the welterweight contest.

Wheeler had the momentum from the very beginning of the fight as he forced Kee onto the cage with a combination of hard punches. The 43-year-old did well to survive the whole round, but it looked impossible for him to carry on with the same game plan in the second.

A replica of the first round came with the second, as Wheeler stuck with his game plan to move Kee onto the cage. Kee did well to return some punches, but it was Wheeler who took the upper hand, as he threw a strong left hook that sent Kee to the ground holding his head. The referee had to stop the fight in one minute and 42 seconds on the second round, declaring Wheeler as the winner by TKO.

Wheeler said: “I’ve won six straight, I just won one title, I was hoping to look to fight for the Cage Warriors one. It’s my first time back at welterweight so maybe they want to give me some new contenders, to prove I am worthy of a title”.

Frenchman Anthony Dizy took on Martin Stapleton, who eventually returned to fighting after a nine-year break, in the 150 pound catchweight, with the Frenchman claiming he got his tactics right.

The first round started with a short exchange, but it was Stapleton who managed to get the first takedown. It turned out to go the wrong way for the Englishman as Dizy did well to defend the sprawl while on the ground. There was a brief moment where it looked like Stapleton was going in with a finish by submitting Dizy with an armbar, but Dizy showed that the ground is the strongest part of his game as he got out of the submission. The round ended with both fighters exchanging punches in the centre of the cage.

The second round started with a clinch and Dizy did well to move Stapleton towards the cage. The round just carried on till the end with both fighters repeating their display from the first round. Stapleton looked for a submission while Dizy controlled the sprawl.

With Dizy earning crucial points in the second round he went into the third with the clear intention to repeat his game plan and take Stapleton down to the ground.  Stapleton did well to control the sprawl, but it was then when he performed an illegal knee to the face, as Dizy had both hands on the ground, which gave the referee no choice but to stop the fight.

Stapleton was then penalised and lost a point, meaning that there was no other way for Stapleton to win than to force a finish. But it was all in Dizy’s favour as he took control till the end of the fight. The fight ended with a clear unanimous decision as the score was 29-27, 29-27 and 30-26 in favour of the Frenchman.

First Round Finishes

The main card started with two first-round finishes. The first was between Craig White and Thomas Robertson. It was Robertson who came out the strongest out of the both welterweights in the first round. However, White managed to turn the fight around as he attempted to submit Robertson with a triangular choke. That was then followed by a successful takedown by White who then managed to get Robertson in a head lock, forcing the tap out with three seconds left of the first round.

The second fight was between lightweights Alexander Jacobsen and Tim Wilde. The fight ended with a huge right hand hook from Wilde knocking Jacobsen down, followed by the ground and pound.

Main card results:

Craig White (Winner) vs Thomas Robertsen – Submission – triangle choke -1st round, 4:57

Alexander Jacobsen vs Tim Wilde (Winner) – Tactical knock out-1st round, 3:53

Anthony Dizy (Winner) vs Martin Stapleton – Unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)

Brad Wheeler (Winner) vs Warren Kee – Tactical knock out- 2nd round, 1:42

Karl Amoussou (Winner) vs Matt Inman – Tactical knock out – 2nd round, 3:13