Sun. Jan 29th, 2023

Whilst the UK were revelling in their second UFC London card of the year, British promotion Cage Warriors celebrated their 20th anniversary, putting on a stacked card with some of their best talent, the night before, a few hundred meters away in the Indigo at The O2.

With the UFC card being underwhelming, and ending in rather anticlimactic fashion, here is a recap of the electric Cage Warriors 141 main card.

In the main event George Hardwick came through adversity to claim the vacant lightweight title, finishing AKA talent Kyle Driscoll by TKO, ending his eight-fight winning streak, dropping him with a left hook to the body, following up with ground and pound at 1:25 of the fourth round.

Driscoll looked as though he had the measure of Hardwick in the early rounds with Hardwick admitting “he boxed the s***” out of him. The Middlesbrough native didn’t let this deter him and he continuously pressured “KD” back all fight, brushing off whatever was thrown at him and stuffing all takedowns attempted by the former division one wrestler.

The newly minted champ used his post-fight interview to call out the former lightweight champion, who vacated the belt, Joe McColgan.

However, further down the card the undefeated Mike Figlak put on a dominant display against a former Cage Warriors lightweight champion, Agy Sadari. Hardwick engaged in a stare down with Figlak in the back of the arena before the event and said if McColgan didn’t want to return he would be open to facing him in his first defence.

In the co-main event Jim Wallhead returned from three years off in the best way possible, knocking out Daniel Skibinski at 1:15 of the first round. The 38-year-old is a legend of the UK MMA scene, making his pro debut in 2005, on Cage Warriors 10.

The UFC and Bellator veteran handed Skibinski his second loss in the promotion in as many fights, landing a flush right hook to the Pole’s jaw, dropping him against the cage, landing a few more strikes before the referee stepped in.

A big upset came in the middleweight division with Mick Stanton defeating former UFC fighter Darren Stewart by unanimous decision. The 35-year-old frustrated Stewart with takedowns, that he turned into back control multiple times.

“The Dentist” spent the time with his back taken talking to his corner and at the referee, rather than escaping the position.

This puts “The Huyton Hammer” on a three-fight winning streak upon his return from welterweight too 185 pounds, as he looks to be after a shot at Christian Duncan’s title.

Contrarily Stewart now finds himself on a four-fight losing streak and was dropped by the UFC just last year.

Two Swedes opened the main card, with Tobias Harila facing Samuel Bark. Bark took the fight on just one week notice, after James Hendin pulled out of the Harila fight.

“Sammon Decker” finished his countryman at 2:30 of the second round, with a knee from a Thai clinch.

“Bad Intention” started the fight well, taking the Thai boxing expert down with and outside trip early, gaining mount and then back control. Bark escaped and expertly used his striking to dismantle Harila, in a brawl that tends to favour Harila.

This was Bark’s debut on Cage Warriors, and he seems to be a real contender added to the featherweight division.

Harila has now moved to 2-2 in the promotion, after coming in highly touted with a 7-1 record. Although not what was to be expected of the 28-year-old, he finds it hard to have boring fights and it is clear he just needs to fight with a smarter game plan moving forward to become a threat in the division.

If your appetite for violence wasn’t sufficed by UFC London check out this event for the best entertainment to be offered on the UK scene this week.