On a sunny evening in Gainsborough; British Fight League hosted their second instalment, live from the West Lindsay leisure centre.
The night featured ten bouts of Amateur MMA and K1, as well as a solitary professional K1 match up, all which kept the fans on the edge of their seats throughout.
Our reporter Simon Cafferty headed to the show and here is what happened on the night.
Amateur Mixed Martial Arts
62Kg: Brandon Gethin vs. Simon Vickers
The first bout of the evening begins with both to the centre and a nice right low kick from Vickers who follows up with a sharp combo, before another kick and fires in more shots well. The fight goes down with Vickers on top but Gethin locking up a triangle from his back but eating some big rights from Vickers, who throws in quite a few. He tries to stand but Gethin is keeping this on well. The action starts to slow and Gethin rolls over, looking for the arm I think, but we end back with him on his back again. He has the arm and goes closer to the cage but Vickers has his knee under the arm and postures to start landing some more rights, with possibly three scoring. Vickers stands up and then goes to his knees in the guard of Gethin. Gethin is tying up his arms, so Vickers stands and lets Gethin up. On the feet Gethin snapps a right kick to the thigh, before Vickers returns an inside one gets it down but finds in himself on top but in a guillotine He works from half guard, to side and then up. Both go back to the feet and Vickers lands a low kick with ten seconds to go but Gethin pushes in with shots and swarms Vickers, before getting the arm triangle on the feet and takes Vickers down. He is tightening up the triangle but can’t get the tap as the end of the round is sounded.
An exciting first round from both competitors and a great way to start the evening.
We begin with both in the centre and Vickers in with the shots and pushing his opponent to the cage, but he ends on his back on the floor. Gethin looks for the shot and goes to the ground and both scramble and Gethin looks for the guillotine, but settles on his back and traps his opponents arms who stands up. On the feet both exchange stinging leg kicks and Gethin unloads with brutal shots, lefts and rights, and they stun Vickers. Vickers goes to his knees, and Gethin looks for the guillotine, but works his way to the top and gets into full mount. Vickers is tying his neck up and eating shots to the body but reverses and goes to the top and in the guard of Gethin. Gethin closes his guard and ties up the neck, with Vickers landing to the body, but he postures up and starts to look for the ground and pound. Lefts and rights come down. Gethin then rolls and transitions beautifully to get on top in full mount and unloads with the ground and pound. These are connecting and Vickers turns to his knees and turtles up offering his back. Gethin lands more shots, gets the back and then goes to his back with ten seconds to go. He is working on the arm of Vickers, but Vickers isn’t giving up. He is defending well and the end of the round is sounded.
This exciting fight deserves a third round and both fighters touch gloves to begin. Gethin takes the centre, lands a right kick to the legs, pushes in close, and pulls guard. Off his back he is looking for the submission and rolls over to get a very high full mount. He postures and fires in the ground and pound. Vickers is trapped and Gethin is relentless with the right hands and Vickers offers his arm so Gethin grabs it and goes to his back. Vickers is on his knees and trying to get out but Gethin adds more pressure and the tap comes.
Brandon Gethin gets the Submission (Armbar) at 58 seconds of round three.
70Kg: Jordan Smith vs. Nath Thompson
Unfortunately I was unable to see the first round, due to interviews.
We begin with both to the centre and both looking to jab. Neither connects right away but both are moving quickly on their feet. Thompson goes for a jab and Smith a combo. Both land a jab and Smith gets in a straight kick to the body and misses up high with a right. Smith is in with a combo and looks like he scores, before Thompson has a kick to the body blocked. Both score inside with shots and then Thompson works to get in a right which just clips. Both are trying to find that opening and Thompson lands the front kick. Smith goes in with a left but misses and scores with a right front kick. A left right combo lands for Smith and the crowd rises. Thompson flicks up a front kick and then left to the body. Smith has the centre and Thompson comes in and misses with a big left. Thompson clips a left kick and Smith a right kick to the thigh. Back to the centre and Thompson lands a nice left, and Smith carries on forward. A smashing right kick to the legs lands from Thompson and Smith gets in a right. Thompson pushes in and kicks to the legs twice and the last ten is sounded. In Thompson goes, scoops up his opponent and slams him down, before quickly getting into side control. He can’t get to work as the end of the round is sounded.
The third round gets underway with a touch of gloves and both to the centre. A left kick to the legs lands for Thompson and a right punch as he goes in. However Smith is right back on him and scores, after eating a right high kick. Neither is giving an inch and Thompson blocks a Smith shot to the body. Thompson kicks to the body and is taking the centre, pushing Smith back and landing with the right kick to the legs. In Thompson goes with a big left shot and scores up high with a right head kick. The crowd raises the volume and Smith’s corner urge him forward. Thompson goes in but eats a shot and they go back to circling. Thompson flicks out the left jab and comes in forward and misses a big right. Smith misses with a quick right, before Thompson lands two forward kicks. His corner is asking for the takedown, but Thompson goes to working for the combos. Smith is looking for his but isn’t connecting and Thompson pushes in and gets Smith on the cage. Smith gets his arm round looking for the guillotine but Thompson pushes and breaks. Smith seems to land with the combo but Thompson drives in, picks him up, walks him across the cage and slams him down. The last ten is sounded and Thompson takes top position, in the closed guard, but Smith keeps him tied up until the end of the fight is sounded.
We go to the judges for the first time tonight who render the unanimous decision in favour of your winner: Nath Thompson.
61Kg: Katie Brownless vs. Laurelle Hodgetts
This exhibition bout featured two very talented martial artists who went toe to toe for three rounds, with neither backing down for a moment. It was fought at a very high pace and both having their moments to score with good shots.
I missed the first round unfortunately but the second round was explosive right from the off and Hodgetts got in some fierce punches to get us going, which could have knocked down other opponents but Brownless absorbed them and pushed forward to keep going. She got her chance to fire back and did towards the end of the round when she opened up with some crisp striking to connect flush on her opponent.
To start round three Hodgetts came forward right away and threw in some bombs which again tested Brownless but again she absorbed them and continued to look to score.
Overall the exhibition bout was a fiercely fought match up which saw neither shy away from the high pace and showcase just how tough and talented they are. The official result was a draw but both will go away with one hell of an experience and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them competing at a high level in the future.
Alex Smith – Junior MMA display
Alex Smith is the youngest member of the Gorilla Fight Team and he got the opportunity to showcase his skills inside the cage, for a two and a half minute round, with his coach Dan Gibbon.
It takes a lot to get inside the cage, in front of a crowd, but Alex put on a fantastic display of the skills he has been learning.
The highlight was a throw/takedown and some ground and pound, which got impressed the crowd.
70Kg: Liam Stones vs. Wes O’Neil
The crowd roars its approval as Charles Martin competitor Liam Stones walks to the cage. The atmosphere has been upped with his arrival.
We begin with Stones straight forward and kicks to the chest and catches O’Neil with a huge right, who backs off toward the cage and Stones unleashes his shots…lefts and rights hammering in and O’Neil covers up so Stones throws a knee in for good measure and the jumps in to do a standing count.
We restart with Stones right back in with a kick to the body and catching O’Neil with a smooth left, which sees him cover up and crouch up against the cage. Stones doesn’t let up and is in to pound away with vicious body shots until the ref jumps in and stops the fight. .
The crowd love this one and are screaming “Liam, Liam, Liam”
Liam Stones gets the TKO victory at 36 seconds.
94Kg: Brad Conway vs. Tommy Fagan
Off we go with Conway looking for the hooks but missing and looking to kick but Fagan lands a snapping kick of his own. Conway pushes in with the shots and kicks but Fagan snaps one back before Conway goes back to kicking and looking for his shots at a fast pace. Fagan again snaps in a kick to the thigh and you can hear that one racket. Conway looks for his combos but Fagan is blocking well. Conway kicks to the legs, so Fagan kicks to the legs himself and blocks Conway’s shots well and scores with a left jab. Both score to the chest with punches and Fagan lands a nice left and follows in with a vicious kick to the right thigh. Conway rushes forward with shots, and Fagan catches his kick and pushes him over. We restart and Conway opens up again, with odd shots getting through but Fagan is striking and landing well and thunders in three more dangerous kicks to the body, which thud into the body of Conway and the end of the round comes to a close.
Between rounds Conway cannot continue, as he seems to have an injury to his hand or wrist.
Tommy Fagan gets the corner stoppage after round one.
72Kg: Percy Hess vs. Rich Laming
This 72 kg contest begins with Hess eating a Laming right kick and firing back upstairs. Laming blocks another and both are looking strong. Laming eats a front kick but fires in a good left punch and is taking the centre. He kicks twice does before striking and kicking again. He is catching Hess clean with his punches and pushes him back and is stalking him to land another right. Hess is backing off, but Laming lands a kick to the thigh and Hess goes for combos which miss. Laming scores twice to the thigh with a right kick and is moving well. Hess ducks under a Laming shot, before Laming kicks again to the thigh three times and opens up with combos which lands. Hess fires in his own shots and scores with kicks in particular. Both exchange punches and kicks to the body and the ten second warning is sounded and Hess gets through with a left right combo and front kick, and ups the tempo before the end of the round is sounded.
The second begins with a right kick to the thigh from Laming and he follows up and is right in with the shots, landing two or three combos but Hess is back in with his shots and a flying knee, before having Laming on the fence and opening up and firing in with some solid punches. Laming breaks away and Hess is still throwing them in but eats a big kick to the groin and instantly curls up and is given chance to recover.
Hess is back on his feet and we get going with Laming down to the thighs with a kick and opening up with his punches and scoring a left kick up high. Hess fires back and Laming goes for his combos. Both are getting through. They kick at the same time and score, before Laming scores well with a kick and both land to the body. Hess gets him to the cage and fires the kick and they move to the middle. Laming is pushing forward and scores with some nice combos, and a solid right, before kicking twice to the thigh with his right kick. He scores with it again and it’s into the centre. Hess grazes with a kick but Laming is in with big punches and lands to the body and head and Hess goes for a spinning kick, which Laming ducks and the round draws to a close.
The final begins with both to the centre and Laming missing with a punch. Hess kicks low but Laming is in with a kick and shots of his own. He is stalking Hess and lands good left punches and a kick to the body. Laming then goes with four kicks to the thighs unanswered and backs Hess to the cage and opens with punches to the body and finishes with a kick. He then pushes out and both eat kicks to the body and settle in the centre. A left kick to the thigh lands for Laming, before he blocks two body kicks, lands his own and gets in a good right hand. He is back to chopping at the thigh of Hess and looks fresher. He scores with a right, and aims for the body with a right punch and finishes with two snapping right kicks to Hess’s thigh. He lands a left right combo, but Hess fires and lands one of his own. The last ten sees Laming scoring with a kick to the thigh and Hess a nice combo, before Laming lands to the legs with kick and the end of the fight is sounded.
We go to the judges who render the unanimous decision in favour of your winner: Rich Laming.(Click here to watch the post fight interview with Rich)
61Kg: Adam Cowling vs. Josh Turner
We begin with Turner pushing forward and looking to strike but Cowling connects with a kick. However Turner pushes in and gets Cowling to the fence and takes him, landing in the guard of his opponent and posturing up. Cowling quickly looks for the triangle, but Turner gets out and back to guard. Cowling is traps the head well, and is not letting Turner manoeuvre. He closes his guard and traps the wrists of Turner, who manages to break free and get in three rights does, but Cowling gets back on to the wrist control. The ref asks for work and Cowling could be looking to sweep but Turner goes into half guard, and Cowling turns to his side a little, and Turner works to fire in a few left hands, but Cowling ties him up and doesn’t let him posture. Turner flattens himself out and looks to move to mount but can’t, so he gets off a couple of short lefts and posturers up a little as the last ten is sounded. He gets to his knees and lands two rights and the end of the round is signalled.
The second starts with a nice left jab from Cowling, Turner pushing forward and Cowling circling near the fence. Neither is committing but a left jab flicks out from Cowling. Turner goes himself and misses, but lands a nice right. He pushes forward and Cowling goes for the one-two but doesn’t seem to hit. Again Turner gets Cowling on the cage and gets a solid single le takedown. He lands in half guard and a possible guillotine choke from Cowling, which doesn’t look tight and Turner pops his head out and settles in the guard. Cowling again is looking for a submission and locks on the arm, and is really cranking from his back, it looks tight but Turner stands a little and manages to get his arm out. That looked close, but Turner goes back to the guard. The ref asks for work as Cowling is tying him up well. Turner throws a little left in, as the ref asks for more work, and Cowling again looks for the arm but can’t get it on with ten seconds to go Turner goes into side control and lands a little shot but that’s all and the round draws to a close.
The final round begins with Turner to the centre and dodging a jab and both landing with kicks to the thighs. Turner throws, but Cowling lands a sharp right before both go to circling. A nice right again lands for Cowling, but Turner is in, lands a little left, pushes Cowling to the cage and takes it down. He lands in side control, with Cowling looking for the guillotine but Turner is never worried and flattens himself more out in side control. Turner looks for little knees but not much happens and the ref stands them up. Cowling scores with a right kick to the thigh, but Turner fakes the shot and is in to pick Cowling up and take him down. Again Cowling ties up the neck, but Turner gets in side control and pops his head out. He flattens himself out on top and seems to get to mount and then half guard but is pushed away and it’s back to the feet. Cowling lands a few on the feet and looks for kicks, but Turner is in and takes it down with ten to go. This time Cowling has the guillotine on tighter, as Turner is in the guard and he is trying to crank it but he can’t get the tap as the end of the fight is sounded.
The judges are back into play and they give the unanimous decision victory in favour of Josh Turner.
53Kg: Michelle Page vs. Yamila Sanchez
We get going with Page right in on her opponent, pushing her back to the cage, and landing punches, but Sanchez turns off and is firing off her punches as well. These are fast and furious and landing well. Page pushes out and both kick in the centre, then exchange more kicks, before Page is in with her punches. Sanchez fires back and Page kicks to the legs as Sanchez lands a front kick. She then lands to the thigh of Page, before Page fires in with her jab. The pace slows and Page goes in with a superman punch, eats a kick to the thigh and lands a right. Sanchez looks for her shots, but Page kicks well. Sanchez is in on her opponent but Page opens up with her combo to land. Sanchez is on the cage and she lands, but Sanchez turns and fires in herself. Page flicks to the legs with a right kick, and both trade off with punches and Page lands a knee in the clinch, before they continue to fire in punches until the end of the round is sounded.
After a fast and furious first the second starts with both more clam and Page on the outside. She lands a kick and pushes in with her punches. Both come in close to land with a kick and knees. Sanchez then moves forward and gets Page on the cage to land a kick and some shots, before they push out. Sanchez comes forward again and drops Page with a straight right. Page is right up and the ref counts, but she is fine to continue. We restart with both in the centre but Sanchez pushing forward and landing a kick to the thighs and stalking. She lands a good combo and then Page kicks to the thighs strongly to score. Sanchez is on Page again and both exchange big blows before pushing out. Sanchez lands a fast combo, and follows it up but Page fires in a solid right kick to the body. Sanchez is working the combination again but Page lands some kicks and pushes forward. Both are looking to fire and Sanchez comes in with a good shot but Page lands a big right which pushes Sanchez back and she swarms in on her and opens up with venom and they are thrown in fast, with the crowd roaring its approval and wanting more, but the end of the round is sounded.
This one deserves the final round and the crowd roars its approval as both step out to begin. It’s Sanchez looking to score first and does with a body kick and both are opening up on each other with the punches. Neither is backing down and furiously fire in, before Page kicks to the body and they move. It’s a surprise no one went down there. Back in the centre both are kicking to the legs and looking to strike. It’s slowed down a little but Page has the centre and both are throwing out the jabs. Sanchez pushes in to score but Page pushes out with a good combo and a fierce right kick to the body. Again Page takes the centre and snaps to the thigh with a kick. Sanchez misses a combo and Page fires back. Sanchez lands with a left right, then kick to thighs, before Page returns with a kick and solid punches of her own. Sanchez goes for the one two, but Page is alert and goes to the outside and kicks to the thighs and both trade punches. The final ten sees Page swarm her opponent with big shots and scores well with a great right, before continuing to look for big punches before the end of the fight is called.
The crowd roars its approval and are on their feet. What a fight.
We go to the judges who render the unanimous decision in favour of the winner: Yamila Sanchez.
84Kg: Mateus Franco vs. Will Wright
Wright to the body with a kick, but Franco opens up with punches and lands before pushing Wright to the cage and is looking for the takedown. Wright is defending well and tries to knee to the body, and turns Franco to the cage. Franco gets on the neck and jumps up with the choke, and then falls to his back and is looking to crank this one. The arena is buzzing with anticipation but Wright is defending well and scores to the body with a few punches. Franco still has the neck however, maybe not as tight, and Wright goes to the body again. Wright gets his head out but is in the closed guard of Franco. He is looking to posture but Franco is tying up his arms well. Wright postures and lands a few good shots before a scramble and its back to the feet. Franco storms forward and is scoring well, but the ref stops for an accidental head-butt. We resume with Franco looking mean and straight in scoring some solid rights and is swarming Wright, who gets away and lands some knees near the cage and Franco pushes him onto the cage and is looking for the single leg. He is working but can’t get it down and the end of the round is sounded.
The crowd is noisy for this one and it’s deafening as Wright kicks to the legs to get us underway and then slips to the floor and Franco dives in. He goes straight into the guard of Wright, who is working for a transition or a submission, possibly a triangle, but is tying up the arm of Franco. He then gets on the triangle and works to tighten it up, which it is, and Franco taps.
Will Wright gets the Submission (Triangle) at 39 seconds of round two.
80Kg: Taz Rashid vs. Brendan Needham
The main event gets going with Rashid kicking low and Needham replying and Rashid opening up with a good combo. Needham comes forward and kicks to the body but Rashid lands up high with a left kick and both fire off on each other. After a short break both kick to the body and trade well, with Needham in with a good left, but Rashid going up high again with a left kick. Needham pushes forward with the shots, but they tie up and Rashid lands a knee. Both are kicking to the legs and Needham is through with a nice front kick. Rashid smashes away on the legs, and is punching well, before catching a Needham kick and tripping him over. On the feet Rashid is in but Needham scores with a good right. Rashid is in this time with good punches and a kick, before it goes to the middle and Rashid landing a snapping kick to the legs and a good combo. Needham fires back but Rashid is pushing in well and scores clean with a right high kick and is opening up with little kicks. Needham fires in a combination but Rashid is in and kicking well to the thigh and lands a good one two. Needham is defending well and Rashid opens up again with his combinations, but Needham lands a one two of his own and Rashid kicks to the thigh, which Needham responds with a kick to the body and punches. Rashid goes to the legs and up high with a left kick and both see out the round kicking to the thighs.
The second gets underway with both in the centre and trading leg kicks. A nice left lands for Needham but Rashid turns and fires in a good kick to the body. Both trade kicks to the body and Rashid catches one well and tries for the trip but Needham stays on the feet. Needham is on the outside but catches Rashid with some solid shots and is finding his range, but Rashid is through with kicks and a shot of his own. He gets Needham on the cage and works punches to the body. So Needham fires out with a left punch but Rashid is back in and landing well with kicks to the thigh and shots upstairs. Needham lands a punch but Rashid is in throwing combinations and kicks to the thigh three times, and lands with a right hand to score. Needham fires in a big left which thuds in and is finding his range and goes in with a right and then presses forward with more punches which score. Rashid gets back forward with solid punches and kicks and Needham responds to score with a left punch. Rashid looks for the jab and a one two seems to land. Both trade at the same time and Rashid right kicks to the legs. He tries a superman punch which misses, so he smashes a kick in again to the thighs. Needham eats another shot and kick but lands a left jab and solid right hand. Rashid is back in to score with two punches and Needham comes forward with a combo, and the round ends with a Rashid kick to the legs and a nice jab.
Needham looks hurt and can’t come out for the third round, so the fight is waved off by the referee. It looks like it is his left leg/shin and I hope he recovers quickly.
Taz Rashid gets the corner stoppage victory after two rounds.
SD MMA UK – Fight Night Awards
As always I like to put forward my thoughts on the KO, Submission, Fight and Performance of the night.
BFL featured some cracking match up’s and finishes, so here are the choices.
(T)KO of the Night: Liam Stones
Submission of the Night: Brandon Gethin
Fight of the Night: Michelle Page vs. Yamila Sanchez
Performance of the Night: Laurelle Hodgetts and Katie Brownless
British Fight League’s first event last August was a fantastic first show and set the bar high for them, but the second show took that bar even higher as it was one hell of a fine night in Gainsborough.
Dan Gibbon has put together a well-rounded show, with well-matched contests and a whole array of talented competitors on show.
The tone was set right from the first bout of the evening and the atmosphere and action didn’t let up all the way through, with BFL delivering on all levels to deliver a high quality, value for money, show.
It will be later on this year that they will return for the third show and don’t be surprised for it to be even bigger and better than this offering.
I would like to finally thank Dan for allowing me to come down and cover the show. I try to keep up with the action but some parts may be missing as the action does go by so quickly.