Results: Cage Warriors 68
It was only fitting that the tenth professional fight on the Cage Warriors 68 card ended in the night’s tenth stoppage.
In the welterweight headliner of a card chock full of knockouts and submissions, Jim Wallhead (25-9) returned to the promotion for the first time in four years but suffered a loss to local favourite Danny Roberts (11-1), who overcame some early trouble for the dazzling finish.
Cage Warriors 68 took place at Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, and the main card streamed on MMAjunkie following prelims on Facebook.
Wallhead struck early in the night’s featured bout, got the takedown and immediately moved to mount. “Hot Chocolate” escaped and got to his feet, which elicited a roar from the crowd. Wallhead, though, quickly regrouped, closed the distance and threatened with another takedown.
However, Roberts avoided a trip to the mat, jockeyed for hand position from the clinch and, after some distance, landed a right hand that dropped Wallhead. He quickly followed with ground-and-pound on the Bellator vet to force the referee’s intervention. The stoppage came via TKO at the 4:49 mark of the opening round as the crowd cheered the local fighter’s big win.
“I wanted to be the first one to stop him, and I did,” Roberts, a Liverpool-based fighter who’s won five straight, said. Technically, it was the second TKO loss of Wallhead’s career – but his first in nine years and 30 fights. That has Roberts optimistic about his future. “I’m in a good place, and I feel unstoppable,” he said. “With a little more work, I’ll be ready to fight the best in the world.”
In the event’s co-headliner, Ronnie Mann (23-7-1) decided to stick with what was working – namely, throwing punches that tagged Marcelo Costa (9-2-1) with sometimes-remarkable ease. But once the fight hit the mat, that game plan fell apart.
The big-show veteran threw from distance, countered with quick combinations and occasionally stood in the pocket to deliver blows that landed flush and frequently. But after scoring a second-round takedown to stop Mann’s advances, Costa found his opening.
Costa, who weighed 140.3 pounds for the bantamweight fight, lost 40 percent of his purse for the infraction. His Cage Warriors 68 experience initially got no better once the fight began, and aside from a few takedowns that halted his opponent’s advances, Mann experienced little trouble early in the bout.
But after eating some punches in the second round, Costa got a takedown and worked for a kneebar. Mann tried to counter with one of his own, but after scrambling to his knees, Costa pounced and took his back. Mann couldn’t put up much of a fight once he was stuck, and Costa eventually tapped him out with a tight rear-naked choke.
The tap-out came at the 3:35 mark of the second round. Costa continued an unbeaten run (5-0-1) with his successful Cage Warriors debut. Mann, who joined the organisation after a run with Bellator, halts a two-fight winning streak with Cage Warriors.
Mauro Chimento (16-10) scored a bit of an upset after dazing Matt Inman (13-6) with an early swarm of punches and then dropping the welterweight with a crushing left hook to the body. Inman crumpled to the mat in obvious pain, and a few follow-up shots forced a stoppage just 88 seconds into the bout.
After trying to create distance with kicks but eating a few big shots during the process, Matt Hallam (5-2) finally got his opening late in the second round when he dropped middleweight Steve Dinsdale (6-2) with a few nicely placed punches. After forcing a halt to the bout at the 4:03 mark of the round with a lunging shot and a crushing follow-up blow, Hallam now owns five knockouts in five career wins.
After a rough 2013 campaign that saw the UFC vet go winless in three fights, Che Mills (16-7) rebounded in his first bout of the year. He opened a hairline cut on middleweight Leeroy Barnes (12-14) with elbows from side control, staggered him with a right hand after a standup, and then dropped him with punches. Mills then slapped on the fight-ending rear-naked choke to get the tap-out at the 4:46 mark of the first round.
The night’s main-card opener ended in impressive fashion as Dean Garnett (6-0) extended a career-opening winning streak with a first-round submission victory over bantamweight John Cullen (17-9-2). After scoring takedowns and taking dominant ground positions, Garnett found his opening for a heel hook and forced a tap-out at the 4:35 mark of the opening round.
Full Cage Warriors 68 results included:
Danny Roberts def. Jim Wallhead via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:49
Marcelo Costa def. Ronnie Mann via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 3:35
Mauro Chimento def. Matt Inman via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:22
Matt Hallam def. Steve Dinsdale via knockout (punches) – Round 2, 4:03
Che Mills def. Leeroy Barnes via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:46
Dean Garnett def. John Cullen via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 4:35
Paddy Pimblett def. Conrad Hayes via via submission (triangle choke/armbar) -Round 1, 3:17
Dez Parker def. Charlie Watts via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:42
Adam Ventre def. Anthony Phillips via via submission (armbar) – Round 1, 0:47
Azi Thomas def. Ellis Hampson via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 3:20
Photo: Dolly Clew | Cage Warriors
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