After 10 minutes of positional control by Jesse
Taylor, a Gael
Grimaud victory dance seemed to be the least likely of all
potential post-fight scenarios in the Cage
Warriors "Fight Night 6" main event.
But dance the Frenchman did after earning an improbable third-round
submission victory over Taylor to retain his welterweight title at
Khalifa Sports City in Isa Town, Bahrain on Thursday.
Taylor (20-9), a competitor on Season 7 of “The Ultimate Fighter,”
looked more than ready to ruin Grimaud’s first title defense in the
opening two frames. The Team Quest export scored a takedown
approximately 15 seconds into round one and went to work from
there, taking Grimaud’s back in search of a rear-naked choke. When
Taylor wasn’t hunting for the choke, he controlled the contest from
top position while landing moderate ground-and-pound.
The second period looked much like the first, as “JT Money”
remained persistent in pursuit of the fight-ending choke. Taylor
attempted the submission on three separate occasions in the round,
and each time Grimaud (15-5) remained poised under pressure despite
mounting little offense of his own during that time.
Taylor figured to follow a similar game plan in the third frame,
but Grimaud stuffed a telegraphed takedown attempt and turned the
tables by briefly getting his opponent’s back at the outset of the
round. His positioning wasn’t ideal, however, but as he slid off of
Taylor’s back, he transitioned to an armbar. Moments later, Taylor
asked out, and referee Neil Hall
called a halt to the action 55 seconds into round three.
“I wasn’t too worried about the situation, but I started my fight
maybe too slowly for the first two rounds,” Grimaud said through a
translator in a post-fight interview.
In the co-main event, Jim Alers
(8-1) utilized a well-rounded striking attack and defended a
multitude of submissions en route to a second-round TKO triumph
Lahdesmaki (12-8-3) in a featherweight bout. The two combatants
entered the contest with a combined 16 submission victories between
them, and much of the first round played out accordingly.
Alers scored a quick takedown, and Lahdesmaki immediately worked
for a triangle from his back before transitioning to a heel hook.
Alers escaped, but it was hardly the final salvo from the
28-year-old Shooto Lahti representative, as the Finnish fighter
would also attempt an ankle lock as well as another triangle in the
frame. The American survived everything Lahdesmaki threw at him,
all while getting the better of the action on the feet.
“He was a lot tougher than I thought,” Alers said. “I knew he was
gonna go for a foot lock, so I practiced [defending] them a
In round two, Alers continued to do damage on the feet, wobbling
his foe with a short right hook that had Lahdesmaki seeking via
takedown. He would find no comfort on the canvas, as Alers took
control of the fight from the mounted crucifix position, landing
punches and short elbows until the assault was stopped at 1:30 of
round two. It was just the second stoppage by strikes of the
Floridian’s MMA career.
“I told you guys I wasn’t a one-trick pony,” Alers said. “I have
heavy hands and you saw it tonight. I haven’t ever gotten a TKO, so
I’m happy I got one of those.”
Buchinger (20-3) put the heavy leather on Diego
Gonzalez (15-7, 1 NC) in their lightweight encounter, ending
the contest with a series of power strikes at 1:30 of the opening
frame. The 26-year-old Slovakian was content to remain on the
outside against Gonzalez, mixing the location of his punches and
kicks nicely while taking minimal damage in return.
As the opening round waned, “Buki” punctuated a one-two combination
with an overhand right that floored Gonzalez. The frame expired as
Buchinger moved in for the finish, granting Gonzalez a temporary
reprieve. The Octagon Fighting Academy product quickly picked up
where he left off in round two, dropping Gonzalez with a right hand
before pouncing with a flurry of follow-up punches that forced
referee Rich Mitchell to halt the action.
Smothering top control carried Eddy
Bengtsson – literally – to a first-round submission triumph
Mortimore (6-3) in a heavyweight clash. The Swede secured a
double-leg takedown almost immediately and controlled the fight
from there, moving to full mount twice in the opening stanza.
The second occasion proved to be the end for the Englishman, as
Bengtsson (6-3) smothered him with his chest in a move referred to
by the Cage Warriors announce team as “Mother’s Milk.” The tapout
came at 2:46 of round one.
Phillips (15-5, 1 NC) displayed a new dimension to his game in
the first main card bout of the evening, submitting Tomas Penz
(8-6) with a triangle choke at 3:21 of the second frame in a
middleweight affair. Phillips wanted to stand with his Czech
opponent, but Penz secured takedowns in rounds one and two after
getting the worst of the exchanges with “The White Mike Tyson.”
Phillips, who has finished 13 of his 15 career victories by
knockout or technical knockout, handled himself nicely on the mat
as well. The Wales native punished Penz with elbows from the mount
early in the second frame and looked to have his foe in trouble
with a rear-naked choke. Penz escaped the predicament but succumbed
to the fight-ending hold shortly thereafter.
In preliminary action: Brazil’s Alan Carlos
(7-6) took a majority decision from England native Mike Ling
(9-4) at middleweight; Frenchman Olivier
Pastor (15-9, 1 NC) knocked out Wales’ Dino
Gambatesa (8-7) in 52 seconds at bantamweight; and Scotland’s
Love (8-4) stopped Lithuania’s Ignas
Petkus (4-4, 1 NC) with punches at 3:03 of round one in a