Two kings crowned in Dublin
MIKE HAYES may be more careful about what he wishes for. After eagerly anticipating a rematch with DJ Linderman for three years, he finally got it in the main event of today’s Cage Warriors 47 event.
Unfortunately for Hayes, their second meeting ended much like their first, and he surrendered his Cage Warriors heavyweight title to Linderman after suffering a unanimous decision loss.
Hayes boasted of better wrestling defence and an overhauled ground game since their first fight, which Linderman won via unanimous decision on the regional circuit. And though he successfully fended off multiple takedown attempts, Hayes wasn’t prepared for Linderman’s striking skills also to be superior.
While Hayes used a strong base and good balance to fight off early takedowns, Linderman put together better combinations, attacked with high and low kicks, and largely dictated the flow of the fight. Even when Hayes got through a few solid single shots, Linderman answered with combos or put his opponent on the defensive with the threat of takedowns.
Late in the third round, Linderman finally got the fight to the mat, and over the next two rounds, the takedowns came with more ease. Hayes lost a step as the fight wore on, and though heavily breathing, Linderman was simply the busier fighter.
Hayes finally landed his own takedown and scored some knees to the body in the final round. He also attempted a late-fight rear-naked choke, but it was too little too late. The judges declared Linderman the unanimous decision winner via 49-47, 49-46 and 48-47 scores to make him the organisation’s new heavyweight champion.
“I came into this fight knowing Mike is strong,” Hayes said. “I came in here confident, but I knew he’d put me to the test. He has a little reach on me, but I knew if I stayed on the inside, I’d get him.”
Linderman (12-3) has now won three of four and six of his past eight. Hayes (18-5-1), meanwhile, snaps a six-fight win streak.
McGregor claims vacant featherweight belt
In the night’s co-headliner, Conor McGregor (pictured) brought the first major MMA championship to Ireland. And he did it in rather easy fashion. In a fight for Cage Warriors’ vacant featherweight title, McGregor dominated English fighter Dave Hill before submitting him with a rear-naked choke in the second round.
The 23-year-old Dubliner fed off a partisan crowd. After some early scrambles and exchanges, McGregor stuffed a takedown and ended up in top position, where he ignored potential submissions to dish out a sustained and often-brutal ground-and-pound attack. Once back up, he seemingly taunted Hill, who circled around the perimeter of the cage while tying to dodge head kicks and powerful right hands.
After again taking the fight to the mat, McGregor’s rear-naked-choke attempt was cut short by the end of the first round. But after rocking Hill with a head kick in the second round, he got the fight to the mat again, briefly worked from the mount position, and ultimately took Hill’s back. He cinched a body triangle and then secured and torqued another rear-naked choke. With his grip secured tightly, and plenty of time remaining in the round, Hill was forced to tap out.
The end came at the 4:10 mark of the round. Immediately after the stoppage, McGregor hopped the cage and celebrated the victory with a raucous crowd.
“I felt like I had this belt from day one,” McGregor said once he got back into the cage. “I just visualized it in my head, and here I am.”
McGregor (11-2) now has won seven consecutive fights and moves closer to his goal of fighting in the U.S. with the UFC. Hill (10-3), who opened his career with nine consecutive victories, is now 1-3 in his past four.
Sexton edges Daly, advances to tourney final
In the night’s lone female action, Rosi Sexton and Aisling Daly combined for a thriller in the semifinals of Cage Warriors’ 125-pound women’s tournament.
Sexton worked immediately into a clinch at the opening bell and brought the fight to the floor shortly after. Setting up in side control, Sexton looked extremely confident on top. Daly looked to be in a bit of trouble, but she slipped quickly into an armbar attempt that threatened to end the bout. Instead, Sexton calmly stepped over her opponent’s head to relieve the pressure and eventually yanked her arm free and assumed top position.
It was a battle of wills from there, as Sexton’s ground-and-pound was matched two more times by earnest Daly armbar attempts. Sexton calmly escaped each one as the two went back-and-forth in their strategies.
In the second, the two again worked quickly into a clinch before a Sexton whizzer earned her top position on the mat. Daly again looked to work her hips for submission opportunities, but it was Sexton who kept top position until her opponent kicked free inside the two-minute mark. the fight didn’t stay on the feet long, as Sexton hit a creative rolling takedown attempt before securing a bit more ground and pound.
The two women clashed quickly again in the third, and Daly locked into a guillotine choke and rolling into top position. Sexton looked to be in trouble but somehow pulled her head free and escaped from mount to bring the action back to the feet. Sexton looked again for a takedown, avoiding another guillotine choke en route to claiming top position. Daly turned and exposed her back, but Sexton could not keep her hooks in, allowing her opponent to escape again to the feet.
Sexton looked to shoot in over the closing minutes, but Daly sprawled well against the cage and landed short elbows inside until the bell finally sounded.
In the end, judges rewarded Sexton for a gritty effort, awarding her a unanimous-decision win with three scores of 29-28. Sexton (13-2) now advances to face Sheila Gaff later this year. Daly (13-3) sees a three-fight win streak snapped.
Irishmen Pendred, Seery victorious in high-energy contests
In welterweight action, Irish prospect Cathal Pendred made a statement with an impressive decision win over David Bielkheden in a bout that brought The Helix crowd to its feet.
Bielkheden was on the defense to start, as Pendred shot forward at the opening bell, looking to drop bombs. He succeeded less than a minute in, dropping his foe with a flurry. Pendred allowed Bielkheden back to his feet shortly after, and the Swede took advantage of the decision by taking the fight to the floor and latching on to a kimura in the final minute of the round. Pendred survived until the bell, sending the back-and-forth fight into the next frame.
The pace slowed a bit in the second, as both fighters settled into a standup matchup. THey each took turns landing decent shots until a Pendred high kick again sent Bielkheden to the floor. Pendred briefly flurried with punches before again allowing Bielkheden to return to the feet. However, it was Pendred who scored a driving takedown in the second, avoiding
In the third, it was Bielkheden’s standup that was on display, dropping Pendred with a vicious flurry. Bielkheden followed to the floor, briefly thinking about the kimura again before transitioning to mount. Although he appeared exhausted and rattled, Pendred felt the shift and escpaed from his back, bringing himself to top position. Bielkheden looked to change his fortunes in the closing seconds, but with an Irish crowd cheering on their countryman with chants of “You’ll never beat the Irish,” Pendred prevented his opponent from turning the positioning, and both fighters stayed in a neutral position until the final bell.
In the end, the spirited work from Pendred was enough, and he took a unanimous-decision win with scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 30-28.
With the win, Pendred is now unbeaten in his past five fights and is 9-1-1 in his most recent 11 outings. Bielkheden (17-11) falls to just 1-4 in his past five bouts.
The evening’s first main-card contest featured a rousing flyweight matchup between top-ranked Europeans Mark Platts and Neil Seery, and the two 125-pounders did not disappoint.
It was Platts who scored the first significant strike of the bout with a crisp left hand, but Seery soon answered back with a left hook that dropped his opponent and then swarmed with blows that all but halted the fight. Platts somehow survived the onslaught, as well as a guillotine choke and returned to his feet, ready to offer back to his foe.
Platts remained competitive in the second, looking to move forward, but he again walked into a Seery onslaught, this time punctuated with knees. When Platts wilted, Seery followed to the canvas and moved around to his opponent’s back, quickly sinking in a fight-ending rear-naked choke.
With the win, Irishman Seery (10-9) improves to 3-1 in his past four fights. Platts (10-8) sees a two-fight win streak snapped.
DJ Linderman def. Mike Hayes via unanimous decision (49-47, 49-46, 48-47) - to become new heavyweight champion
Conor McGregor def. Dave Hill via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 4:10 - to win vacant featherweight title
Rosi Sexton def. Aisling Daly via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) - women’s tournament semifinal bout
Cathal Pendred def. David Bielkheden via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-28)
Neil Seery def. Mark Platts via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 2:36
Jack Mason def. Tommy Quinn via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Paul Redmond def. Yuri Malko via TKO (strikes) - Round 2, 2:05
Brett Sizeland def. Victor Peixoto via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 1:32.
Report from MMAJunkie.com | Photo: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors
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