It was a poor night for the Irish at Cage Warriors 113 as Belfast pair Joe McColgan and Decky Dalton both fell to first-round defeats in Manchester.
The event faced scrutiny amidst increasing concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. Having originally been scheduled to take place in London, the event was moved to the BEC Arena in Manchester.
The main event saw McColgan attempt to become the first Irish-man since Conor McGregor to hold the Cage Warriors lightweight belt, however, he came up short against Welsh fighter Mason Jones who extended his unbeaten record to 9-0.
Both men came out swinging as the pair went back and forth, however, Jones was eventually able to unload a barrage of punches to ‘The SBG Hunter’ which paved the way for him to land a devasting knee through McColgan’s guard. It sent the Belfast-based fighter crashing to the canvass where Jones unleashed more strikes leaving the referee with no option but to stop the fight 2.51 seconds into the first round.
Earlier in the night, fan-favourite and rising star Paddy Pimblett returned to the cage after a 19-month hiatus, however, the Liverpudlian didn’t seem to suffer from ring-rust as he stopped Decky Dalton, a late replacement who stepped in on two weeks notice, in the first round.
Dalton tried to strike with the grappler from the opening bell, however, an attempted kick saw the Fight Academy Ireland featherweight slip to the floor, it handed Pimblett the opportunity and he duly obliged as he kept Dalton grounded for the remainder of the fight.
Pimblett looked to secure the rear-naked choke but eventually finished the fight with strikes as Dalton was flattened out on the canvass.
Speaking backstage following the fight, Pimblett thanked Dalton for stepping in on such short-notice when nobody else would.
“Hat’s off to Decky. I can’t thank Decky enough. He’s a proper fighter. He got in there with me on two weeks’ notice when no one else in the U.K. would. Never mind Europe – no one else in the U.K. would. So I respect Decky. I can’t thank him enough for stepping in and getting in there with me. But there’s levels to this (expletive), and I’m just levels above.”
The former Cage Warriors featherweight champion has long been touted as a future UFC fighter, however, he claimed last night that he is sick of people asking when he will be joining MMA’s leading organisation.
“After a dominant performance like that, in half a round, you never know who’s going to come calling, do you?
“We’re open to all offers, so we’ll see. I was speaking to Joe (McColgan) and Mason before, and if they ever want to get it on in the future, I’m always here. I’ll fight anyone. I won’t back down to anyone, and I’ll fight for that belt – I want that belt. But I’m sick of people asking me, ‘When are you going to the UFC?’ So when the coronavirus gets to fuck, we’ll see what happens.”
After facing intense scrutiny for holding the event behind closed doors when most other sporting events have been postponed, Pimblett praised the staff at Cage Warriors for the measures taken to ensure Manchester’s event was a safe one.
“The guidelines were perfect,” Pimblett said.
“I don’t see how anyone can bat an eyelid at it. I came down to watch a teammate of mine who fought earlier, but the health and safety precautions in the way, I got told I had to go back to the changing room. We couldn’t have a certain amount of people in there. Anyone that thinks this is unsafe is wrapped in cotton wool. Going to shops, more people are touching and being closer to each other. Everyone is a drama queen who’s saying this show should have got cancelled.
“I put my heart and soul into this and for this to have got pulled six days out, no one would have been saying how unfair it was on me or the other fighters on this card who were trying to earn a living and make money for their families. People don’t look past that. We put our heart and soul into this and I wouldn’t let someone take that away from you without kicking and screaming. (Expletive) coronavirus.”
Paul O'Connell was a passionate, fearless and formidable rugby player and his exploits with Munster, Ireland and the British &… Read More
Business magazine Forbes have released their 2020 list of the world's highest paid athletes with tennis player Roger Federer claiming… Read More
Welcome to day 23 of Pundit Arena’s daily rugby trivia challenge. Each day, we’ll give you 20 questions and 20… Read More
How well do you remember Liverpool of the 2000s? Despite not clinching the Premier League during this decade, the 2000s… Read More