Linderman victorious, Kusch-Cheng tourney final set
DESPITE just a week’s notice and giving up nearly 25 pounds, DJ Linderman was victorious over Bobby Brents in the main event at Cage Warriors Fight Night 5.
Linderman won the all-American heavyweight headliner via unanimous decision – and quite possibly set up a title shot in the process.
Cage Warriors Fight Night 5 took place at New Boxing Arena in Amman, Jordan. The main card streamed on MMAjunkie.com following prelims on Facebook.
Linderman, who replaced the injured Chris Barnett, did damage in the first round with a well-balanced striking attack that left Brents’ nose leaking blood. He was lighter on his feet and quicker to the punch, though Brents proved stronger in the clinch.
The second round was marred by heavy accidental low blows by both fighters. But like the first round, Linderman’s advances were briefly slowed toward the end of the frame when Brents secured a deep guillotine choke.
But in the third and final round, Linderman’s variety of strikes and quick foot and head work made Brents (12-3) an easy target. He picked away at him and did damage to take another round on the judges’ scorecards, which favoured Linderman (11-3) via 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 scores.
“I knew he was going to go to the ground with it, so I said some things and changed it up,” said Linderman, who hinted he’d take the fight to the ground in pre-event interviews.
After the fight, Linderman called out fellow Bellator vet and Cage Warriors’ current heavyweight champion, Mike Hayes.
“Mike Hayes is next,” Linderman said. “I’m taking that belt.”
Hayes suffered an early-career loss to Linderman and is anxious to avenge it.
“I don’t care about that fight,” Hayes said after the Linderman-Brents bout. “I’ve been wanting that guy for three years. I’m going to crush you.”
Don’t be surprised if Cage Warriors officials announce the title fight for a future card.
Kusch, Cheng advance to tourney finale
Pavel Kusch and Victor Cheng have a date in the finale of Cage Warriors’ middleweight grand prix.
Both fighters won semi-final bouts at Fight Night 5, though they did so in far different fashion; Kusch scored a slick 25-second submission via heel hook while Cheng scored a decision win after 15 gruelling minutes.
Kusch (13-2), a late replacement for the injured Chris Fields, made the most of his chance in the eight-man tournament. He wasted little time attacking the leg of Phillips (14-5).
The Ukrainian vet secured the limb, rolled, and forced the quick tap-out after torquing the heel. Kusch now owns 13 submissions in 13 career wins.
Cheng (9-2), meanwhile, used frequent takedowns and constant circling to frustrate striker Hucin (7-3). After a close first round that ended with Hucin’s one-point deduction for grabbing the fence, the French fighter struggled to put together extended assaults.
Instead, Cheng took the fight to the mat and did enough damage to win over the judges. Both fighters were sapped of energy after the fight, but Cheng took it on the scorecards via 30-27, 30-27 and 30-26 scores.
The fighters now meet in London in July in the tournament finale, which earns the winner the Cage Warriors’ vacant middleweight title.
James gets upset, Ling’s elbows prove dangerous
In an entertaining slugfest, featherweight Liam James’ brute and relentless aggression proved a solid match for Jean N’Doye’s crisp and well-rounded striking.
James, who showed a granite chin throughout the fight, scored with overhand rights and dirty boxing.
Slowed by an apparent injury, N’Doye (5-1) mixed in effective punch-kick combos and some rapid-fire uppercuts, but it wasn’t enough to get the win.
Instead, James (6-3) earned the upset split-decision victory via 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28 scores.
After a flat first round, 6-foot-6 English middleweight Mike Ling turned up the volume in the second round and scored a TKO victory over France’s Eric Cebarec.
Once Ling got his opponent to the mat, he unloaded a series of heavy elbow strikes to prompt the TKO stoppage at the 2:11 mark of the second round.
In lightweight action, England’s Kevin Donnelly (8-5) proved resilient and took his opponent’s best shots before finally tapping out to Poland’s Piotr Hallmann (9-1). The end came via rear-naked choke at the 4:10 mark of the third round.
In the night’s curtain-jerker, British bantamweight James Brum (9-2) slowly pulled ahead and then dominated the late action for a clear-cut unanimous-decision victory over fading Swedish fighter Thomas Back (5-5). The lopsided decision win came via 30-27, 30-26 and 30-25 scores.
D.J. Linderman def. Bobby Brents via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Pavel Kusch def. John Phillips via submission (heel hook) - Round 1, 0:25 - middleweight-tournament semi-final
Victor Cheng def. Faycal Hucin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26) - middleweight-tournament semi-final
Liam James def. Jean N’Doye via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Mike Ling def. Eric Cebarec via TKO (elbows) - Round 2, 2:11
Piotr Hallmann def. Kevin Donnelly via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 3, 4:10
James Brum def. Thomas Back via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25)
Kris Edwards def. Janne Elonen-Kulmala by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Mohamed Ali def. Doo Hwan Kim by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Report from MMAJunkie.com.
Search Videos & Photos
Cage Warriors 72: Review
Event: Cage Warriors 72
Venue: Newport Centre, Newport, Wales
Cage Warriors 71: Review
Event: Cage Warriors 71
Venue: King Hussein Boxing Arena, Amman, Jordan