Party for your right to fight
The 22nd of May saw me attending my second MMA card in as many Saturdays, and I even managed to go to the right place this time. This one was held in a little venue set up in one of the NEC exhibition rooms (like the Pain & Glory card I went to years ago), and more importantly it was the first event that Cagewarriors had put on in quite a good ol’ while. I’ll always have happy memories of going to the old Cagewarriors cards in Coventry, seeing fighters who later went on to become much better known (Michael Bisping, Dan Hardy, Antonio Silva, you name ‘em they were there). This here “Right To Fight” changed a lot in run-up (I thought it was particularly a shame that Rosi Sexton’s fight was cancelled, but looking at the bigger picture it’s a brilliant thing for her to be getting more fights stateside/in Bellator), but still looked good fun and an interesting mix – some good European-level fights and some less experienced combatants taking their earlier steps.
Two minor annoyances to get out of the way before I talk about the good stuff: It all started ridiculously later than advertised (although I suppose I should have remembered from the olden days that CW had a tendency to do this. It was brilliantly paced once things had started, with one fight straight after the other), and I know that the compere from the night is a popular and beloved figure in the MMA world but his pretend American accent was really bloody irritating all evening.
So then: the last three fights were all great. Peter Irving (someone I’d wanted to see fight for a long time, going on what I’d heard about him) was absolutely excellent against Nordin Asrih, looking good with his stand up and his wrestling and his g’n’p, in spite of Asrih’s good defensive guard and all-round toughness. Greg Loughran (a man incapable of having a boring fight, it seems) was unfortunate against Ken Rosfort, starting well in a contest mostly fought on the feet but getting stopped due to a cut. They both showed some great striking, though, and if it had gone the distance it could well have been difficult to pick between Loughran’s workrate and Rosfort’s power (bruuuutal body kicks). Although a good chunk of the (already sparse) crowd had left by the time of the last fight between Pascal Krauss and John Quinn, the latter’s supporters (oh those Scots) made more noise than the rest of the audience all night and got the atmosphere going. Sadly for them, Krauss was largely dominant with nasty leg kicks and volleys of punches when upright, elbows from top position on the ground, and even a stab at an anaconda choke. Quinn did manage to sweep him at one point (or was it a couple of times? I dunno, I’m writing this a couple of weeks later) but it didn’t last and Pascal took the win with an RNC in the second round.
The best KO of the night came from the debuting Louis Chapman, who hit Jay Gilbey so hard that I think it may have actually destroyed his immortal soul; sub of the night came from Daniel “Denzil” Thomas, who beat Ali McClean with a pulling guillotine-come-neck-crank type of thing; the best entrance music of the night award easily went to Sarah Moras for her use of Louis Armstrong’s “Cheesecake Song”. There was other stuff, too.
I’m really happy to have CW back.