Results: Cage Warriors 54
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship middleweight champion Jesse Taylor (26-9) earned the first defense of his belt in quick fashion, needing little more than one-half of a round to earn a submission win over John Phillips (16-6).
Taylor wasted no time shooting in and taking the fight to the floor at the opening bell before unleashing a vicious ground-and-pound assault. Heavy punches and elbows scored, and blood trickled down Phillips’ face. Rather than stay in an obviously dominant position, Taylor gambled by latching on to a guillotine choke and falling to his back to finish the hold. The risk paid off, and Taylor earned a tapout at the 2:43 mark of the first frame.
“I can strike with the best of them, but if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” Taylor said after the win. “I’m not going to risk it with a guy like John Phillips. I respect everyone, and I respected his power. I took him down. I was ready to go all five rounds. I was ready for a war. Thank God I got the finish.”
Taylor now boasts a six-fight win streak. Phillips sees a two-fight win streak snapped.
In the night’s co-feature, welterweight Danny “Hot Chocolate” Roberts (8-1) proved to be too much on the feet for Swedish grappling specialist Diego “The Silencer” Gonzalez (15-8).
The taller Roberts, a southpaw, worked jabs and big left hands from the opening bell. After several minutes of avoiding the power shots, Gonzalez did score a takedown, but he was unable to keep the action on the floor. Gonzalez did answer on the feet with a few standing elbows, but it was obvious Roberts was the better striker.
In the second, Roberts opened by nearly locking a guillotine choke. Gonzalez survived and managed to counter the position, but Roberts again escaped to the feet. When he did, he capitalized with a flurry of punches that connected and sent Gonzalez toppling to the floor. Roberts didn’t wait, immediately pouncing for the finish, which came at the 3:02 mark of the second frame.
Fighting for the first time in 18 months, Mark Glover (6-2-1) was a step behind Welsh lightweight Lewis Long (7-2) for the entirety of their three-round affair.
After the pair went through what was largely a feeling-out process in the opening frame, the intensity picked up in the second. After Glover tried and failed to take the fight to the floor, Long started to link together combinations that included slashing kicks to the legs that went unchecked. Long also worked the body, and while Glover signalled repeatedly that the blows weren’t affecting him, they were unquestionably scoring points.
Glover came out firing in the final frame, but Long continued to show crisp striking while picking apart his opponent’s legs. Glover continuously walked forward, trying to turn the contest into a brawl, but Long stayed true to his plan, sticking and moving and staying out of trouble while landing straight punches. In the end, the result was clear, and Long was awarded a unanimous-decision win, 30-27 on all three cards.
Veteran lightweights Ivan Buchinger (22-4) and Jason Ball (20-12) boast more than 50 fights between them, but neither could gain a true advantage over the other in a lightweight matchup. The pair battled back and forth for 15 minutes, and while Buchinger was generally in the better position, neither was ever truly close to finishing the fight.
In the end, Buchinger was awarded a decision win, allowing him to rebound from a December loss to current UFC fighter Conor McGregor. Ball saw a two-fight win streak snapped.
In an entertaining bantamweight scrap, Welshman Brett Johns (7-0) kept his undefeated record intact with an impressive TKO finish of Scottish fighter James MacAlister (7-2).
Johns, a seasoned judoka, dictated the action from the opening bell, scrambling through a series of exciting transitions that included a standing D’arce choke attempt and a leaping pass to back control. In the end, it was his strikes that would end the fight, as he took MacAlister to the floor and unleashed a barrage of strikes until the fight was waved off at the 3:23 mark of the second round.
In the night’s first main-card matchup, Martin McDonough (11-4) earned his fifth-straight win with a second-round submission of Mark Platts (10-10).
The bout was competitive throughout, with both fighters holding the advantage at various moments in the fight. However, “Mr. Pink” McDonough used a slick ground transition to move to his opponent’s back, sinking in the choke and earning a quick tap.
Jesse Taylor def. John Phillips via submission (guillotine choke) - Round 1, 2:43 - to retain CWFC middleweight title
Danny Roberts def. Diego Gonzalez via TKO (punches) - Round 2, 3:02
Lewis Long def. Mark Glover via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ivan Buchinger def. Jason Ball via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Brett Johns def. James MacAlister via TKO (punches) - Round 2, 3:23
Martin McDonough def. Mark Platts via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 1:18
Shaj Haque def. Kris Edwards via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Matt Inman def. Leon Kenge via TKO (punches) - Round 3, 1:03
Jamie Rogers def. Brad Wheeler via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Steve McCombe def. Joe Orrey via technical submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 3, 1:48
Owain Parry def. Rob Leybourne via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 1:11
Photo: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors
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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