Results: Cage Warriors 59
Fighting for the second time on the night, undefeated bantamweight Brett Johns (9-0, pictured) kept his perfect record intact with a gutsy five-round decision win over a hard-working Jordan Desborough (7-3), who refused to go away.
The four-man tournament final bout served as the headlining fight of Saturday’s Cage Warriors 59 event, which took place at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. Johns walked away with the promotion’s vacant bantamweight title with the win.
Johns was able to bring the fight to the floor early in the opening round, but Desborough defended well underneath. Johns eventually turned out and looked to attack the leg, but that allowed Desborough to pull free and work himself to top position. Johns refused to stay there, reversing positions once again and finishing the round in the dominant spot.
Johns again controlled the positioning to open the second, bringing the fight to the floor early on and working from the top. The pace remained high with both fighters, though Johns seemed to get the better position more often than not.
In the third, Desborough was given some time to work from top position. Johns was active on his back looking for options, but Desborough was scoring points from the top. Johns eventually realized he needed to get out from underneath, but he had given up some time in the process. In the fourth, it was a similar back-and-forth feel. Johns was the one on top early, but Desborough reversed the position later in the round, keeping true to the back-and-forth nature of the contest.
In the fifth, the two opened with a spirited exchange on the feet, but Johns eventually ducked under and brought the action again to the canvas. A game Desborough refused to stay there and again reversed to top position. And the two, despite fighting for the second time in the evening, kept the pace high until the final bell. In the end, it was Johns who was awarded the razor-thin split-decision win, 47-48, 48-47 and 48-47.
In the night’s co-feature, Cage Warriors featherweight champ Jim Alers (11-1) retained his belt with an impressive decision win against a tough challenger in the 6-foot-1 Martin Svensson (12-4).
Alers pushed the taller Svensson to the floor and stayed tight to the body as his opponent crawled back to his feet. Alers deftly snuck around to the back and looked to have a rear-naked choke almost guaranteed, but Svensson showed incredible will by surviving the move and eventually creating room to breathe. Alers remained in control and turned for an armbar later in the frame, but Svensson again survived the attack and offered a wild flurry in the closing seconds of the round.
Alers kept the pressure high in the second, looking to work in close against a taller foe. Svensson landed an illegal low blow, which caused a brief stop. On the restart, Alers brought the fight immediately to the floor and looked to strike. Alers continued the approach in the third, sprinting forward at the bell and taking the action to the floor. Svensson was able to crawl up to his feet in escape, and he eventually scored a takedown of his own very late in the round. However, he wasn’t able to capitalize much with the minimal time on top.
In the championship rounds, Svensson picked up where he left off in the third. While he wasn’t able to do much damage, he stayed on top for the first half of the round. Alers eventually scrambled to the top, but Svensson was there to slow things down and earn a reset. Alers took advantage of it, scoring a stunning side kick at the bell that saw Svensson double over in pain.
As the final round started, Svensson slipped on a kick. and Alers rushed to get top position. He swarmed with punches and elbows, but Svensson again showed heart, slowing things down underneath and refusing to quit. Alers tried again for a finish with an earnest north-south choke attempt, but he couldn’t finish the squeeze and had to settle for a decision win.
In a key lightweight fight, Tommy Maguire (15-5) overcame a slow start to score a third-round submission win over Lewis Long (7-3). The pair went back and forth in the clinch to start, but neither could take full control. A Long eyepoke briefly slowed Maguire, but the action resumed quickly. The fight remained moderate and pace, and neither put a real stamp on the round. Maguire did score a late takedown but couldn’t truly capitalize.
In the second, Long picked up the pace with his striking, scoring well with his hands as he stayed at range. Maguire quickly adjusted and started to dig at the body, finding some success with peppering the torso. The action remained tight, as both had moments of success. With scores anything but certain in the third, Long was the busier fighter to open. Maguire countered by taking the fight to the floor, and after having to defend a submission attempt from his opponent, he transitioned quickly to an arm-in guillotine choke, earning the tap at the 2:56 mark.
In a middleweight contest, Swedish fighter Mats Nilsson (11-2-1) outgrappled English striker Denniston Sutherland (20-12) before stopping him with strikes in the second round. Grappling specialist Nilsson walked through a few punches to score an early takedown and moved quickly to mount. Sutherland worked his hips underneath but was absolutely stuck on his back. Nilsson didn’t find any immediate submission opportunities, but he stayed busy by adjusting his positioning and alternating between knees and elbows to his grounded foe.
Nilsson worked quickly into a clinch again in the second, but Sutherland was able to remain upright and look to strike. However, as he opened up, Nilsson slipped under and brought the fight again to the floor. Sutherland rolled to expose his back, and Nilsson unloaded with punches to the face. Referee Marc Goddard gave a quick warning, and with Sutherland stuck, he called an end to the fight at the 2:40 mark of the second frame.
In early featherweight action, English fighter Dave Hill (11-3) outworked tough Irishman Brian Moore (7-3) en route to a decision win. Hill scored an early takedown, but he wasn’t able to control the action there, and Moore eventually reversed the position. With Hill active from his back, Moore withdrew to his feet, where they reset. Moore bloodied Hill’s right eye in some initial exchanges, and the pair exchanged takedowns to close the round. Hill nearly locked in a guillotine in the closing seconds, but Moore pulled free.
Hill again looked for a takedown to open the second, but Moore was up to the challenge, and the pair settled in for some exchanges on the feet. Moore scored a quick trip takedown, but Hill immediately worked back to his feet. Moore took it to the ground again, but Hill reversed the position and worked to his opponent’s back. Moore tried to defend as Hill unleashed punches from the dominant position. Moore turned and rolled and survived, but he endured a lot of punishment in the process.
Hill continued to keep the pressure high in the third. Again taking the fight to the floor, Hill controlled the positioning throughout the frame and Moore was forced to absorb more damage. With time winding down, Moore did his best to steal a win, moving to his opponent’s back and looking to work in a rear-naked choke. He ran out of time before he could lock in the submission, and Hill was awarded a unanimous-decision win, with scores of 30-28, 30-27 and 29-28.
The evening’s first main-card match-up saw welterweight Lee Caers (9-3) survive early trouble to rebound for a submission win over Aaron Thomas in a one-round thriller. Thomas rushed in for an immediate takedown, and while Caers was able to crawl back to his feet, he was immediately slammed to the floor again. Thomas stayed busy on top, drawing blood with some early ground and pound and eventually moving to mount. Thomas picked up the pace and looked close to ending the fight with massive punches until an ill-advised armbar changed everything.
Caers pulled free from the hold and immediately established himself in top position. He advanced quickly to mount, and as Thomas looked to scramble free, Caers moved to the back and locked in a rear-naked choke that ended the fight in come-from-behind fashion with just 29 seconds left in the first frame.
James Pennington (9-1) was dominant in his unanimous decision win over Kris Edwards (8-6) in the bantamweight tournament’s opening round – but it apparently was Edwards who did the most damage. An injury suffered by Pennington in the fight kept him from moving on to the tournament finals. Instead, early prelim winner Jordan Desborough (7-2), who stopped Timur Mercanoglu (3-1) in the second round of a reserve fight, took his place in the co-main event to fight Brett Johns.
Pennington kicked early, then landed a knee that forced Edwards to go after a takedown. On a second takedown attempt, Pennington instead powered him to the floor, where he started working ground-and-pound from half-guard. Although Edwards had a couple moments in the round, Pennington was in control. That continued in the second frame, as well. Edwards got the fight to the ground and went to work in side control, but Pennington squirmed his way out. The two traded position on the ground, even enduring a standup from the referee. But Pennington was in control throughout and took the decision – even though he found out 30 minutes later he couldn’t continue.
Brett Johns (7-0) and David Haggstrom were cautious early, but midway through the first round, Johns worked for a takedown. He appeared to be on his way to a win in the round, but as the clock ticked down, a big Haggstrom body kick hurt him and Haggstrom landed big blows just before the horn. Haggstrom’s kicks found their way through in the second, but Johns put him on the ground again. Although the activity wasn’t fast and fierce, Johns did enough to win the round – but that was only enough to push things to a third frame after a pair of draws through the first two rounds.
A minute into the third, Johns got a takedown to give himself the advantage in the third. Then he was able to cut Haggstrom open on top with elbows. From there, it was smooth sailing to the unanimous decision. He learned later he would be fighting Desborough instead of Pennington.
Complete Cage Warriors 59 results include:
Brett Johns def. Jordan Desborough via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) - bantamweight tourney final
Jim Alers def. Martin Svensson via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) - for featherweight title
Tommy Maguire def. Lewis Long via submission (guillotine choke) - Round 3, 2:56
Mats Nilsson def. Denniston Sutherland TKO (punches) - Round 2, 2:40
Dave Hill def. Brian Moore via unanimous decision (30-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Lee Caers def. Aaron Thomas via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 4:31
Sam Gilbert def. Jamie Rogers via submission (triangle choke) - Round 2, 1:52
Brett Johns def. David Haggstrom via unanimous decision - bantamweight tourney opening round (two-round fight with overtime round)
James Pennington def. Kris Edwards via unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18, 20-18) - bantamweight tourney opening round (two-round fight)
Jordan Desborough def. Timur Mercanoglu via TKO (elbows) - Round 2, 2:20 - bantamweight tourney reserve bout
Brett Caswell def. Paul Rogers via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Photo: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors
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