Cage Contender VIII gave Dublin a great night of fights on March 12th, headlined by Cathal Pendred, who improved his record to 7-2 while successfully retaining his Cage Contender Welterweight Championship.
The National Basketball Arena was packed with fight fans eagerly anticipating their fill of mixed martial arts. Cage Contender VIII did more than quench their thirst—the bouts provided spectacular knockouts and submissions throughout the night.
All photographs by John Mulholland
The night began with the teenage bout which included Sean Knox (fighting out of PCCB) trading blows with Oisin Coburn of Legends MMA.
Coburn came out striking and dominated the first round by rocking Knox before taking him down to the mat. Knox did well, showing a strong guard keeping Coburn from landing heavy blows. The fight was stood up and the Legends fighter again took Knox down, gaining full mount before the round ended.
Beginning the second round, Coburn took Knox down and immediately gained side control. Showing a good top game, Coburn transitioned to the north south position, and from there the teenager got the mount.
The Legends fighter attempted an armbar from a high mounted position and the bout looked to be over. However, Knox showed great determination escaping the arm lock and landed punches on his opponent until the end of the round.
The third round showed Coburn to be the dominant striker, landing several clean shots to Knox. The Belfast lad showed great heart, never gave up and seemed as if he had Coburn finished when he snapped a standing guillotine on his opponent which brought him to the ground. Coburn managed to escape and once again found himself in mount.
Coburn won by unanimous decision.
This lightweight clash gave the much touted Luke Corcoran a chance to prove himself against a fellow unbeaten opponent.
Heather did well in the opening minutes, stuffing the judo black belts first takedown. Even when Corcoran managed to secure a takedown, the Kokoro fighter bounced up leaving Corcoran sitting on the mat.
Corcoran then displayed some real artistry with an unorthodox takedown from a sitting position. Just when the SBGi fighter got into mount position, Heather again showed great athleticism in sweeping the Japanese jiu jitsu black belt, getting top position and landing some annoying, but harmless strikes to his opponent.
Corcoran scrambled out of the defensive position and stalked his opponent across the cage. A scuffle ensued in the middle of the cage with Corcoran appearing to go for another double leg, with his opponent trying to push down Corcoran in an example of standard takedown defence.
From here, Corcoran displayed his life of martial arts experience catching Heather in what appeared to be a rolling armbar. With the submission in place, the out-classed Heather had little choice but to tap out, confirming Corcoran as a Cage Contender.
Corcoran won via submission (armbar) in round one.
This lightweight bout got off to a great start with Corcoran scoring a take down, gaining half guard and then attempting a guillotine choke before the end of the round.
Round two saw Connolly gaining the mount on his Kokoro MMA adversary. Corcoran displayed impressive defensive grappling, sweeping the Spirit MMA fighter before gaining back control. A hand fight ensued with Connolly defending the rear naked choke effectively.
Connolly came out swinging wildly at Corcoran in round three and was taken down by the Kokoro man. Corcoran then advanced to a high mount, where he landed repeated right hands to Connolly until the fight ended.
Corcoran won by unanimous decision.
Stoklosa scored the take down in the first round and managed to score with some nice strikes from Vilmars’ guard. Towards the end of the round, Vilmars wrapped the Cork City Combat Sambo man into a triangle. Many thought Stoklosa would tap but he showed great heart making it back to his corner.
Vilmars scored the take down in round two and dominated his opponent from the top position. He finished the fight landing successive strikes from a postured guard position which lead to the referee stepping in, believing Stoklosa was not intelligently defending himself.
Vilmars won by TKO by referee stoppage in round two.
Coady, another SBGi fighter, came out with something to prove only having a 0-1 record. He left the audience wondering how he was ever beaten.
The Bantamweight came out flying with strikes before securing Patrick Murphy, of Cork City Combat Sambo, in a standing guillotine.
Coady held the guillotine and forced Murphy to the ground, finishing the submission from top position.
Coady won by submission (guillotine) in round one.
Cleary had good form in this bout, giving Pedlow a hard time and not allowing him to settle into the fight.
The Primal fighter landed a lovely knee strike to Pedlow before taking him down and gaining side control. Despite the efforts of the Kyoujin fighter, Cleary gained full mount.
Not wanting to eat any more punches, Pedlow turned around and gave Cleary his back. The Primal fighter then finished the bout in under two minutes with a rear naked choke.
Cleary won by submission (rear naked choke) in round one.
Krawczyk came out with an unorthodox variety of strikes, one of which seemed to rock Duffy in the opening phases of the fight.
In a perfect reaction, Duffy went straight for the take down, where he put the CCCB fighter down on the mat. The fight was stood up and Krawczyk’s attempted hip throw led to Duffy securing side control. The SBGi fighter demonstrated a good top game, transitioning from side control to north south, sapping the energy from Krawczyk.
Krawczyk looked drained going into the second round, after spending much of the first round on his back. Duffy took him down again with ease, turning the fight into an interesting ground battle. Krawczyk swept Duffy who ended up in his guard, where he dealt some damaging shots leaving his opponent bloodied. Out of nowhere, the SBGi fighter looked to have a triangle secured but Krawczyk escaped. Duffy finished the round in side control.
Krawczyk seemed to rock his adversary again at the start of round three, before Duffy took the fight to the ground. After gaining side control, Coach John Kavanagh urged his fighter to gain the mount. Duffy complies, with Krawczyk giving up his back and the fight was finished by rear naked choke.
Duffy won by submission (rear naked choke) in round three.
This bout was delayed up to 10 minutes due to Staz not having his hands wrapped on the way into the cage, but when it got underway the fans didn't mind the wait.
The heavily supported Dargan grabbed Staz and looked to get him against the fence, to drain the energy from his opponent who looked in peak condition. Dargan shook the body with a right hand before taking to the ground. From there, the SBGi fighter gained mount with Staz complaining that he had been grabbing the cage and his shorts during the ground fight at the end of round one.
The referee warned Dargan about his use of the cage and the bout got back underway. Dargan landed an overhand right and Staz looked to be out. After regaining his composure, Staz showed he was no slouch on the ground, sweeping Dargan and finished the round in his guard.
Staz came out with a lot to do in round three, and nearly did it by landing a crisp five punch flurry on Dargan. The SBGi man then wrapped his opponent up and put him against the cage again. Holding Staz there, the ref spotted more cage usage from Dargan and takes a point. Back in position, Dargan scores an important take down before the end of the round.
Dargan won by unanimous decision.
In an uneventful first round, Crossdale seemed to neutralize Cooke after taking him down, not allowing the Red Dragon man to utilize his powerful strikes. Going back to his corner at the end of the round, Crossdale had every right to think he had Cooke where he wanted him.
However, when the SBGi fighter came out for the second, he seemed to telegraph his take downs far too much. This coupled with Cooke showing excellent vision, keeping distance and landing vicious strikes, led to the Antrim man finishing the fight in round two.
Cooke won by TKO (referee stoppage) in round two.
Richie Ivory stomped his dominance on this bout right from the get go, with a right head kick landing before he took his opponent down.
Ivory went straight into the mount position, and controlled his opponent with a guillotine from the top.
With Pultak desperate to get out, he moved from bottom to top, then from top to bottom before he tapped out to the tight submission of Ivory’s.
Richie Ivory won by submission (guillotine) in Round 1.
McCombe came out throwing loose strikes leaving his neck vulnerable. Noting this, Holahan jumped on McCombe securing a guillotine. Holahan took it to the ground, but lost the choke, after which the fight went back to the feet. Holahan, confident of his ground game, scored a takedown and went for an armbar. McCombe shook the attempt off but then gave his back up. The round finished with a hand fight as Holahan tried to secure the rear naked choke.
In the second round McCombe found himself in top position against the SBGi fighter. Holahan managed to sweep and got his hooks in to secure control of McCombe’s back. It appeared McCombe suffered a low blow at this point and took some time to compose himself. Holahan jumped all over him when the fight resumed, finishing the round with some G’n’P on his opponent.
In the third round McCombe countered Holahan’s takedown attempt with a guillotine. McCombe then took the SBGi man down and the two struggled for position for the remainder of the round, with Holahan attempting several arm locks.
Holahan won by unanimous decision.
This bout began with a clinch battle against the cage with the two competitors struggling for position, with Dempsey looking to get he better of Walsh.
The bout then was paused as Dempsey recovered from a low blow received from “The Moycullen Scumbag”, Walsh. When the fight resumed Dempsey went straight back to holding Walsh against the cage in an effort to wear the PBS man down.
Dempsey then scored a fine takedown and moved to side control. A good top game won Dempsey an armbar, which in turn, won him the fight.
Owen Dempsey won by submission (armbar) in Round 1.
This lightweight fight boasted the quickest finish of the night, with McGregor completely dismantling Wood.
McGregor came out and hit Wood with 6 consecutive lefts to the head which forced the Husaria fighter to the ground, with the ref stepping in after approximately 10 seconds.
Wood deserves the utmost respect for taking the fight on a days notice, after McGregor’s opponent pulled out due to “car trouble”.
McGregor won by TKO in Round 1.
A spectacular pair of shorts and an even more spectacular knockout endeared “Son of Life” to many of the crowd, during this featherweight clash.
The PBS fighter showed excellent takedown defense initially, as Murnikas looked to catch him with a judo throw. Catching “Son of Life”, with a straight right that smashed his nose, Murnikas found it easier to take him down the second time around.
The bloodied Davis found his way back to his feet and hurt his opponent with leg and body kick combo. Eyeballing Murnikas’ legs, “Son of Life”, sent a deceiving left head kick to his adversary which dropped him.
Benjamin “Son of Life” Davis won by K.O in Round 1.
John Shields replaced team mate Chris Fields in this clash, that would have been for the Cage Contender Middleweight Championship.
A great stand up bout, Redmond seemed to have the better of the striking in the opening exchanges, working Shields well.
This forced Shields to look for a takedown which he did successfully, with a fine bit of technique. Shields immediately moved to side control and controlled Redmond well on the ground.
Shields then transitioned to mount and began reigning down strikes. The referee had to step in and finish the fight, claiming Redmond had not intelligently defended himself. Protests rang out from the RFA corner but the decision was final.
John Shields won by TKO in Round 1.
The most anticipated fight of the night, both men went hard from the first bell, with Cathal Pendred sending Shannon down, almost immediately, with a 1-2 combination.
Pendred then used some forceful G’n’P while Shannon defended himself against the cage. Pendred continuously took the Belfast man down with ease in the first, even bringing him over to his corner to get some advice off SBGi coach John Kavanagh.
As the bout resumed in the second round, the audience noted a cut under of Pendred’s left eye. Again, the champion showed dominance wearing Shannon down against the cage.
Shannon got his back off the cage and got the better of Pendred in the stand up, before the champion scored a much needed takedown, landing in half guard and hitting his opponent with unanswered strikes.
In the third, Pendred scored a well timed double leg and transitioned to a high mount position on the contender. From the mount Pendred landed unanswered shots and referee stepped in and put an end to the fight.
Cathal Pendred retained Welterweight Title by TKO in Round 3.