The main event of Cage Warriors 49 at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff, Wales, saw Cathal Pendred take a unanimous decision over the well-regarded Bruno Carvalho.

After a tepid opening round, the fight came to life in the second, with Carvalho going close with lengthy armbar and triangle attempts. In the final round, Pendred clearly rocked his opponent but resisted the urge to rush in. His caution was rewarded as the men at ringside all scored the match in his favor (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).

Controversy raged at the end of the co-main event between Tim Newman and the veteran Greg Loughran. After two unsuccessful guillotine attempts, Newman finally got what he wanted as referee Marc Goddard waved the fight off. Loughran looked bemused and protested, claiming that he had not tapped. As Newman’s arm was raised, Loughran cut a moody figure as he looked on.

Immediately afterwards, Loughran explained himself to

“At the end of the fight, I was holding out on the choke like I had on the two previous occasions,” he said. “I didn’t tap, then bam, Marc Goddard steps in and the fight’s over. I don’t know why he stopped it. I think he messed up. I’m gutted. I was never in trouble. I do that all the time in training. It burns your opponent out. It should be made a no contest. I want a rematch, definitely.”

After three rounds of standup, the judges preferred the meaty shots and Gallic posturing of Faycal Hucin to the work rate of John Michael Sheil, handing the Frenchman a split decision. Two judges scored it 29-28 in favour of Hucin, while the other had it 29-28 for Sheil. Hucin won the crowd over with the cheap trick of wearing a Wales rugby union shirt on his walk to the cage and maintained their support by dishing out venomous punches and showboating shamelessly.

It was a hard night for many of the Welsh contingent on the card. Merv Mulholland polished off Daniel Thomas with an armbar in 82 seconds, while the languid Lewis Long looked at ease against Paul Redmond in the first but was eventually worn down and finished with a rear-naked choke at 3:34 mark in the second round.

Most surprisingly, the highly-touted Kris Edwards fell victim to Northern Irishman Alan Philpott. Edwards was out of the traps quick, but Philpott weathered the storm, got on top of the local boy and slapped on a rear-naked choke at 3:53 of the opening frame after opening with harsh, short elbows. Edwards was inconsolable as he sat with his head down, dripping blood onto the canvas.

Earlier, Kevin Reed threw all he had at Lee Caers in a gruelling ground war. Bloody-nosed but defiant, Caers hung in there, and the ref waved it off 4:52 into round two as he swung punches at a spent Reed.

Martin McDonough made a statement with a quick win over the experienced Dino Gambatesa. The pair surely made MMA history, as the contest featured a man with a pink Mohawk up against a man with a pink beard. After a furious start, “Mr. Pink” McDonough caught his man in an armbar at 1:53 of the first round.

In what was basically a boxing match with the odd kick, Dubliner Neil Seery took center cage and dictated the pace against Karl Harrison. His clean work and ring generalship got the nod from the judges (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Brett Johns earned a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over game Cornishman Sam Gilbert. The opener set the standard for the evening when the Cardiff crowd went crazy for the first time to cheer Ryan Marshall on his way to a second round ground-and-pound victory over Jon Hope after a stirring brawl. The fight was halted at the 2:06 mark of the frame.

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