Cage Contender 16 Results

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By Fergus O’Farrell (@fergtheiceburg)

Cage Contender XVI

Dublin, 23rd of February saw Cage Contenders first card this year and they did not disappoint. A star studded card dubbed their biggest ever featured global superstar Paul Daley takes on French grappler Patrick Vallee in the main event. With seven pro fights and two belts on the line we were given an excellent card and full credit goes to promoter John Ferguson.

Featherweight – Mick Brennan (KBA) defeated Alex Muzicuk (Drogheda MMA) via Majority Decision.

Excellent first pro fight in the featherweight division to begin the evening. Muzicuk showed his boxing ability early on in the first round with a straight right. Brennan responded with some excellent inside leg kicks and kicks to the body however one drifts to the groin of his opponent causing a break in the fight. When the action resumes Muzicuk lands a huge right hand which echoed around the National Basketball Arena flooring Brennan. He followed it with a stiff right hand on the ground as he looks for the finish but Brennan shows excellent heart and determination to survive the round. Round 2 was a completely different fight with Brennan dominating the stand up with his leg kicks, until another goes astray to the groin and he is docked a point. This inspires Brennan for the finish as he drops his opponent twice in quick succession with a short left and superman punch. Muzicuk tried some kicks of his own but Brennan caught one, landed the takedown, slickly transitioned to the back where he began to land some big shots. It’s Muzicuk who survives the second. Much more ground game displayed in the final stanza with Brennan attempting a knee bar and Muzicuk threatening with a guillotine. But it was Brennan who controlled most of the round and a well-timed take down at the end helped him secure the nod in this back and forth fight.

Lightweight – Peter Queally (SBG) defeated Diego Coloma (Checkmat BJJ) via Unanimous Decision

Clash of styles here as BJJ specialist Coloma took on the kickboxing Queally. Coloma came out with a spinning back elbow in an electric start but Queally comfortably dodged it. Queally took the centre of the cage and kept Coloma guessing with a wide range of kicks and landed some good left hooks as Coloma looks to rolls for the kneebar and take it to the mat but Queally manages to keep the fight vertical. Coloma looked to get involved in the standup in the second and had some success with the leg kicks but Queally looked really comfortable landing more shots and looking to put some combinations together. Coloma shot for a takedown but the Waterford man stuffed it and punished his opponents with body shots. Again Coloma is looking for the kneebar but Queally defends excellently. Queally showed excellent boxing in the final stanza landing jabs, hooks and rights. Coloma did not wish to engage on the feet and looked happy to lie on his back and try lure Queally to the ground but the SBG man showed excellent discipline to extend his professional record to 2-0.

Welterweight – John Redmond (Rush Fight Academy) defeated Chris McDonald (Team Dungeon) via majority decision

This was an excellent back and forth contest in which Redmond displayed his improved ground game to earn a hard fought decision win. McDonald secured an early take down but Redmond sprung back up. McDonald was having success with his trips and takedowns but Redmond was excellent and managed to return the fight to a vertical position every time in the first round. Redmond pressured his opponent against the cage and McDonald defended well against Redmond’s strikes. Second round was huge for the Rush man as he gained top position early and did not relinquish it, attacking with a guillotine and strong ground and pound. The third round McDonald was adamant in securing the takedown but huge credit goes to Redmond’s takedown defence as he kept the fight standing used the cage and landed some knees. Thrilling finish to the fight as both men swinging from the hip and landing as both men eat big hooks from each other. We spoke to John after the fight.

Bantamweight – Ricky Edgeworth (Team Ryano) defeated Josh Boal (Next Gen NI)

This fight was moved to the end of the card due to television scheduling so the two fought it out in a mostly empty arena. Excellent performance from Edgeworth who out boxed and out grappled the young Next Gen prospect.

Lightweight – Ali Maclean (Kaboon) defeated Myles Price (KBA) via unanimous decision

This was a highly anticipated fight with some bad blood at the weigh ins. Price returning from an 18month absence against an always impressive Ali Maclean. We had a razor close first round with Maclean making no secret of his intentions securing a takedown immediately and looking for his favourite north south choke but Price did a great job of getting back to his feet. Price looked to make his mark with his boxing as he tried to find the range and landed some good jabs and straight. Maclean looked to close the distance and tie up but it was Price who used an excellent hip toss to get the fight to the mat. Maclean however was excellent in returning to his feet and securing another takedown of his own at the close of the round. The second and third rounds were dominated by the wrestling of Maclean.  Price did a great job of neutralising his opponent but Maclean wasn’t overly active from top position as he looked to frustrate Price. Price had his moments with a good body kick and a takedown of his own but overall the wrestling of Maclean was too much for the Kilkenny man.

Lightweight Cage Contender Title Fight – Greg Loughran (Next Gen NI) defeated Chris Stringer (Kaboon) via unanimous decision.

This was my fight of the night and the best I’ve seen Loughran, the Next Gen fighter is the most experienced Irish fighter with wins over Peter Irving, Andre Winner and Rob Sinclair but this victory will be one of the sweetest for Loughran as he showcased a well-rounded game. Beginning with excellent boxing and Muay Thai in the first round as he used excellent footwork to control centre of the cage and land combos on Stringer. Stringer landed a big right hand of his own and bloodied his opponent. Before Loughran rounded off the round with a well-timed take down. Excellent second round here with much more even exchanges on the feet. Stringer landed some great combinations and the crowd is really behind the Liverpool based fighter. Loughran landed some nice strikes of his own with a left hook of notice. Loughran opens the third with good pressure of his opponent against the cage; Stringer responds with a takedown but an excellent wizzar from Loughran allows him to attempt an anaconda choke. Stringer escaped well but Loughran landed a big knee on the break after the scramble back to the feet. Stringer tried a nice spinning back kick at the close of the round but the boxing of Loughran was too much for him. Loughran takes the decision victory and the belt vacated by Norman Parke will remain in Next Gen NI.


Welterweight Interim Cage Contender Title Fight – Ali Arish (Fight Factory) – defeated Arni Isaksson (Mjolnir) via unanimous decision.

Two of the most under rated welterweights in Europe squared off in this contest for the interim strap. Fighting out of Manchester Ali Arish showed exactly why he is considered Europe’s best wrestler in MMA. Isaksson did well in the first round to stuff the takedown and lands a few crisp left hooks to keep Arish on guard. The second stanza starts in a similar fashion with the Icelandic cornered by John Kavanagh and Gunni Nelson managing to defend the takedown and makes Arish pay with an overhand right. However the tables turn halfway through the round as Arish secures a double leg takedown and smothers Isaksson for the rest of the round. Arish planted Arni with a takedown early in the first but the Icelandic fighter showed great hips to escape from the bottom and attempt a knee bar. Arish escaped and landed a swift takedown where he unleashed a mix of heavy ground and pound and short shoulder strikes. Arish show cased while he is Europe’s best MMA wrestler to claim the interim title. I would love to see a fight between him and the champ Cathal Pendred however it looks unlikely with Pendred to fight for Cage Warriors Title next month.

Welterweight – Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley (Spirit Dojo) defeats Patrick Vallee (Haute Tension)

It takes two to make a fight and the first round was evidence of this. Vallee looked to do his best Kalib Starnes impression as he circled away from Daley, frustrating him and not allowing him close the distance. Daley seemed frustrated and dropped his guard to encourage the Frenchman onto him. It was Vallee who eventually caught a leg kick and tripped Daley to the mat but Semtex quickly managed to sweep and saw out the round on top. The second round saw much of the same with the Dublin crowd and Daley becoming increasing frustrated with Vallee’s lack of desire to engage. Referee Dave Jones eventually warns Vallee but the caution seemed to make little difference. Daley continued to stalk his opponent but found it difficult to find the range against a back tracking Vallee. Until Paul Daley unleashed a flying knee which landed flush knocking out Vallee. Daley was elated with the victory. In his post-fight interview Daley called himself the best British fighter in any weight class. I’m sure he’s looking forward to getting into the mix in Bellator to back up those claims.



Despite the lack of finishes excellent card by Cage Contender and John Ferguson with fighters from all over Ireland and Europe we saw why they are head and shoulders Irelands’ best promotion.


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