It was a cold night on the Ice in Cardiff’s Ice Arena, but the action of Cage Warriors 97 was hot enough to keep us all warm! The co-main event saw two homegrown talents fighting in front of the Welsh crowd. Despite the last minute changes to his opponent and stepping up a weight class to fight Weslley Maia, Jack Shore demonstrated great mental strength to remain focused and extend his undefeated record to nine wins. In his post-fight interview with UK Fight Site Shore showed a lot of respect to Maia for accepting a fight in such short notice – which is never easy – and confirmed that the fight went to plan, as his took Maia to the ground, and won by TKO through efficient ground and pound. Shore has loyal fans, who he was never going to let down, and would have fought anyone in order to put on a great show for them for their continued support!
The second fight of the co-main event was Mason Jones vs Kacper Formela, with the latter starting the fight with all guns blazing, utilising his crisp karate skills to cause early damage. Then with the crowd cheering on their fighter and Formela tiring, Jones gained control of the fight, which was over as soon as Jones got him in the clinch, delivering brutal knees, and not releasing the clamps until the ref stopped the fight, giving Jones the TKO victory. Jones has now extended his undefeated run to six wins, and all within twelve months. With performances like this, it’s no wonder we can’t get enough of seeing Jones fight.
The other fights on the main card saw Brian Bouland beat Kris Edwards by unanimous decision, and Aaron Khalid finishing Jamie Richardson by rear naked choke in the first round. Cory McKenna and Micol DiSegni also fought to start the main card as the only female bout of the night, and as soon as McKenna’s entrance song begun the crowd made their presence felt. Despite the strong support of her opponent, DiSegni won the split decision as she was able to keep the fight standing, and with her superior striking gained the victory.
Following his fight, UK Fight Site spoke to Mason Jones
Before the excitement of the main card, we also had the pro prelims that started at 7pm, with a dominant win for Luke Shanks over Jason Jenkins. In a fight mostly fought on the ground, Shanks maintained control from top position executing effective ground and pound, with Jenkins attempting submissions from the bottom, but unfortunately for him, none were successful. With each round, a carbon copy of the last, Shanks won the fight by unanimous decision. Luiz Finnochio beat Brett Hasset by a forceful armbar in the first round of their fight, and while his opponent remained on the ground FInnochio stood over him to taunt him. Both fighters were entangled once Finnochio engaged the armbar, causing Hasset to injure his arm as he bravely fought the submission in his escape attempt. Hasset left the cage to receive treatment on his arm before the fight was officially announced, but not before the two embraced to show their mutual respect, overcoming the bad blood shown by Finnochio immediately after the fight ended. Struan Croxton put on an impressive display to beat Michael Corston by unanimous decision, in a bout that saw Corston also deducted a point for an illegal blow. The final fight of the pro prelims was the shortest, but by no means any less impressive, with Steve Amiable beating Liam Bennett by TKO (punches) in just fifteen seconds of the first round!
Also as part of the night in Cardiff for Cage Warriors 97 we saw three fights for the Cage Warriors Academy Grand Prix Semi-Final, which began with a victory for Chris Sterling over Nathan Johnstone. Sterling took control of the ground game in round two, and after delivering several unanswered strikes, finally won the fight by switching tactics and pulling off an armbar from top position. The second bout of the Grand Prix Semi Final was also decided by armbar, with Jordan Peake beating Joe Draper in round two of their fight. The third fight was between Mitchell Goode and Christian Duncan; during their fight, Duncan accidentally head-butted Goode as he made a takedown attempt in round two, with the damage causing a steady flow of blood from his nose. Goode was still visibly frustrated by his nose starting the third round, and Duncan locked in a guillotine to win by submission.
The amateur bouts at Cage Warriors 97 were fought at very high standard too, entertaining the crowd with submissions and stoppages galore. There were several outstanding moments among these fights to rival the pros, one of which was by Jahmel Westcarr when he defended a takedown during his fight with Craig Rawlins via a backward roll that instantly brought the fight back to the feet again. Despite the spectacular acrobatics, Rawlins won the fight by triangle submission. Auri Westcombe had a large section of the crowd in his corner for his fight against Keiran Bennett, which he won by unanimous decision. On a more sombre note, the bout between Liam Herbert vs Roan Crocker was decided by injury to Herbert’s right knee, which happened right in front of our press table, and all at UK Fight Site are wishing Herbert a speedy recovery! The final fight of this section before the Cage Warriors Academy Grand Prix Semi-Final began was between Dan Kniel and Scott Pederson, which gave us one of the most exciting finishes as Kniel landed a superbly timed uppercut, then pouncing on top of Pederson he end the fight in round one.
It was a great night in Cardiff’s Ice Arena, with the cold barely noticeable with the electrifying action in the cage, and the goosebumps caused by the roars of the Welsh faithful instead. The Welsh support for their fighters was ferocious, and that can make all the difference for a fighter when they have to dig deep! When Cage Warriors returns to Cardiff for #CW100 on 8 December we’ll be expecting an epic night again and UK Fight Site will be there if you’re planning to come out and watch the action live too, wrap up warm and be ready to make some noise!