Cage Warriors 70: A New Assembly of Irish Stars Rise to the Occasion

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“Irish” Joseph Duffy couldn’t have asked for a better return to MMA following his three-year absence. Although he was in a better place as far as rankings are concerned before he took his leave, when the Donegal man finally came face to face with The Helix roar his usual calm disposition came ablaze.

It took a change of career path and time away from the sport, but finally he had received an ovation that his earlier performances had deserved. However, this was all before the bell rang for his main event showdown with French submission specialist Damien Lapilus.

A new stance, indeed a new Duffy, was noticed immediately when the action got underway. He exuded a new confidence on his feet from his years of isolated pugilistic training. His hands hung by his side but flew into Lapilus’ face when necessary.

He peppered the Frenchman with jabs and shots to the body throughout the first round as Lapilus backed away. The Cross Fight man tried to tie Duffy up and force him to the ground, but the Irishman was savvy enough to pummel quickly and get back to striking distance.

The second round saw Duffy throw a lot more lead right hands as he looked for a big shot that would send the ever-evacuating French fighter to the ground. Lapilus became increasingly inactive as the fight went on as Duffy completely dictated the pace with hands, landing hard right hooks to his opponent’s body at will.

Despite Duffy looking reluctant to test his submission game in the first two rounds, the lightweight hit a double leg in the third round. Taking Lapilus’ back, Duffy went palm to palm to finish the rear naked choke, announcing his return to the sport in the most dominant of scenarios.

Although Joseph Duffy, the MMA fighter, had existed for years before Saturday night in The Helix, it took three years and some retrospective thinking but now his star has finally been born.

Paul Redmond usually embodies the reluctant hero status championed by his stable mate Neil Seery. He would laugh off talk of titles and UFC contracts, but the Redmond Dublin witnessed on Saturday night was fully aware of his potential.

Finally we got to see the improvements in the Ryano man’s hands that were originally cited a year ago. His opponent, Savvidis, threw the “wild bombs” Redmond was expecting but the Irish lightweight just stepped back and let off one two combinations.

Barely missing with an uppercut that flashed in front of Savvidis’s face in round two, Redmond controlled the fight and eventually put his Greek opponent on his back. A scramble saw Savvidis try to kill Redmond with his own sword as he tried to lock up one of the Dubliner’s signature finishes, a toehold. Without panic, Redmond took a limb himself and finished the exciting Greek prospect with his third toehold win in ten successful outings.

Cage Warriors 70 set Redmond apart in the 155 bracket. The crowd bellowed their approval for the Team Ryano man as he sat astride the cage in celebration. Now in the championship picture, Redmond commands the attention and respect that could see him headline the next Graham Boylan card in the Irish capital.

Artem Lobov’s performances are cut from filmmaker’s dreams and his outing at CWFC 70 was no different, taking the win from Andrew Fisher in literally the last second of the bout.

Fisher flew out of the traps on the first bell and rocked the SBG stalwart with a furious flurry of hooks and a head kick that saw Lobov hit the deck. Fisher held dominant position for the majority of the round, so when Lobov reappeared for the second round he knew had to keep the fight standing.

“The Prospect Killer” stung Fisher with a right hand after fending off the Englishman’s takedown attempts against the cage. He found more success and he reeled off hooks and straight hands before an over commitment to a hook supplied Fisher with angle for a takedown. This time Lobov stayed active on his back and looked for a heelhook.

Whether Fisher had been dominant enough to take a 10/8 round in the first five minutes was still up in the air as he locked horns with Lobov in final installment of action. With Lobov taking the second round, he knew he needed a completely dominant round in the third or a finish to take the victory. When Fisher scored a single leg takedown that ended any notions of 10/8 round, Lobov quickly got back to his feet and began his memorable assault.

Inside the last minute Lobov dropped Fisher with a straight right and followed him to the ground. Fisher shrimped, pushed and scrambled away from the SBG man but he continued his pursuit landing big left hands. Finally, when Fisher could not longer move to get away, Lobov rained down shots that saw the fight stopped one second before time was to be called.

The ovation the Dublin crowd gave him rocked the arena, and not for the first time for Lobov, a man who has dedicated his life to giving fans bang for their buck every time he wraps his hands.

FAI man Karl Moore put on an exhibition en route to a decision victory over Lloyd Carlson. Despite being bloodied by the end of the bout, you could count the significant strikes of the Englishman on one hand compared to the constant barrage of Moore.

For a light-heavyweight, Moore’s volume and output are a sight to behold. He puts a pace on his opponents that they cant live with. However, the lack of active fighters in the UK and Ireland at the weight have left him somewhat untested. It was as one sided as any fight in recent memory and Carlson left the cage with a face like a butcher’s block.

The Moore hype train continues to add carriages and so far there is no reason to think the unbeaten Ulsterman will stop his winning ways. Only when Moore meets someone from the very top of his weight class should we get a clear understanding of how far he can go.

Veteran flyweights Paul Marin and Andy Young met in a ‘Fight of the Night’ war in the second bout of the main card. One can only imagine how difficult the scoring was for the judges as Marin and Young dominated each other for seven minutes and thirty seconds each, splitting the bout right down the middle.

Marin started as explosively as ever and sent Young to the canvas on two occasions with his right hand. Young was beaten to the punch throughout the first round and Marin came out with similar guile in the second.

Another right hook from Marin sent Young down in the opening thirty seconds of the second round and the Romanian followed it up with some heavy ground and pound. Young managed to scramble to his feet and the audience screamed the Next Generation man back into action.

At the midway point Young cracked Marin with combination from nowhere and threw the kitchen sink at his opponent to see the dynamic of the bout change. It was Marin on the back foot for the remainder of the round as Young would take him to the canvas with ease.

The third round saw Young dominate again. He got off quicker on the feet as Marin faded with every second that went by. Young mixed up his assault with various takedowns and landed solid shots from top before allowing his opponent back to the feet again.

A rollercoaster of a contest, when Marin’s name was called as the victor everyone in The Helix knew the decision could’ve gone either way. Both competitors have bolstered their stock with the promotion after their explosive exchange.

Dean Garnett was the only man to collect one of Graham Boylan’s €2000 bounties of the night. The bantamweight locked up a heel hock in the early exchanges of the main card opener against Martin Sheridan to remain unbeaten.

Earlier in the night Peter Queally put on a striking clinic to hand Ryano’s Konrad Iwanowski his first professional loss. Queally looked very fluid on the night and managed to keep Iwanowski off his game to claim a deserved unanimous decision.

Tommy McCafferty took his record to 6-0 after a straight right hand brought an end to his fire fight with Dean Reilly in round two of their explosive bout. Ryan Roddy elbowed his way to victory in the first round against Yorkshire man Louis Chapman.

Catherine Costigan showcased his grappling prowess with a technical submission win over aggressive atomweight Noelia Molina who nearly had her arm ripped off before the bout was brought to an end.

Although it felt like there was some what of a void around the Cage Warriors cards with the likes of McGregor, Seery, Pendred and Fields on business for UFC, CWFC 70 has proved that no amount of champions lost will take away from the magic of The Helix when they roll into the Irish capital.

Peter Carroll is Severe MMA's lead feature writer. He has been featured in many top publications and some rubbish ones too. He also writes for the Irish Daily Mirror and Vice's Fightland.