London saw plenty of fireworks last night, especially in the O2, where Cage Warriors 148 witnessed two new champions crowned and a whole host of spectacular knockouts.
There was initially a third world title fight scheduled for the main event. However, in unfortunate circumstances, Christian Leroy Ducan and Jesse Taylor could not battle for the middleweight belt as the fight was called off at the last minute.
Taylor, unbelievably, was involved in a hit-and-run on Friday night and although he was discharged from hospital, he was not medically cleared to take part at the O2.
Although Leroy Duncan didn’t have the opportunity to defend his belt and extend his professional record to 8-0-0, it was not all doom and gloom, as the UFC came calling for the young English fighter.
It was announced on the broadcast that the Middleweight Champion would make his UFC debut in London on the 18th of March, and right now, it seems like the sky is the limit for this young man.
Now, onto the fights.
Modestas Bukauskas v Chuck Campbell
Having been dropped from the UFC after his loss to Khalil Rountree Jr., Bukauskas returned to Cage Warriors after a year-long injury layoff due to knee surgery.
His stock is high among those in this organisation, having already been Light-Heavyweight Champion previously, so after just one fight in November of this year, the Lithuanian-Brit was given a shot at the vacant belt against the explosive Chuck Campbell.
Despite Campbell’s last result, ‘The Baltic Gladiator’ showed no nerves and being a four-time British Kickboxing Champion, he showed his experience on the feet. There was no point during the four rounds in which Bukauskas looked phased by Campbell’s evident athleticism.
The American was biting on almost all of Bukauskas’s feints, meaning he gave up control of the ring to the Lithuanian and was regularly backed up against the cage.
As a result, Bukauskas could land shots at will and finally produced a stunning right hook to floor Campbell and end the fight.
Over the moon to see Modestas Bukauskas get back in the win column so emphatically.
— Chisanga Malata (@Chisanga_Malata) December 31, 2022
Bukauskas showed his class on the night, and at such a young age, he will surely have another fight in the UFC if he can hold onto his Cage Warriors strap.
Shajidul Haque vs Sam Creasey
MMA has its first Champion of Bangladeshi origin, and his name is Shajidul Haque. Another devastating knockout meant that Haque snatched the Cage Warriors Flyweight strap off Creasey.
These two fighters faced off six years ago, with Haque winning via unanimous decision on that occasion. However, that was a long time ago, and both men have matured as Mixed Martial Artists since then. As a result, many expected this fight to be different.
The opening stages suggested the same as well. Creasy had the better of the striking in the first two rounds and hurt Haque early with a good straight right.
‘Urai’ even dropped Haque in the third, although the man from South Shields claimed that ‘he slipped because of the matting in the cage’ after the fight.
What A Knockout ! Shajidul Haque Vs Sam creasey cage warriors flyweight Title fight new pic.twitter.com/VxbFAbCBBD
— Fightgame (@futurefights360) December 31, 2022
Haque believes “that he should be in the UFC now” and that he is “the best Flyweight in Europe and has been for the last six years.” Last night he backed up that claim, and it would not be a surprise if Dana White came calling with a contract if Haque defends his title.
Damon Wilson v Tobias Harila
The promotion billed this fight as ‘the people’s main event’, and it did not disappoint.
Both Wilson and Harila are known for finishing fights in dramatic style. Wilson came into the bout 5-0-0, and in his five pro fights before last night, ‘The Nomad’ had only gone the distance once.
In his last fight, the American cut James Settle so severely that a doctor’s stoppage was called after round one.
Likewise, Harila has a knack for entertainment. Sitting 10-2-0 before last night, the man they call ‘Bad Intentions’ had only gone on to face a decision twice, making pundits think that this one would not bring the scorecards into the discussion.
The way the scrap began, however, it looked as if they could be wrong. Wilson took Harila down three times in the first two and a half minutes of the fight, looking the more polished grappler of the two. He also landed a few stiff uppercuts to the jaw of Harlia, although to end the round, the Swede cut Wilson badly over his left eye, meaning it was even going into the second.
What followed was an absolute master class in dirty boxing from ‘Bad Intentions’.
Harila had been looking for an elbow throughout the fight. In fact, after the fight, he told the Sports Gazette that he and his coach had been working on elbows throughout his fight camp in preparation for this event, which clearly paid off.
This is yet another highlight to add to Harila’s already impressive reel, and he will earn a lot of money in the future if he keeps knocking out his opponents like that.
Other notables from Cage Warriors 148
In the prelims, Chasen Blair knocked out Helio Hernandez in 12 seconds to make his professional record 3-1-0.
Young Scouser Nathan Fletcher, who trains at Next Generation MMA with Paddy Pimblett and Molly McCann, survived a deep guillotine choke to beat Alessandro Giordano and move to 7-1-0.
Finally, Darren ‘The Dentist’ Stewart got a win under his belt after losing four fights in a row, causing him to be dropped from the UF, to get his career back on track.