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The Awesome Ultimate Warrior Challenge 8

And indeed it was awesome, Ian 'The Machine' Freeman introduced no less than 28 fighters to the cage at UWC VIII. All would pit their martial arts skills against an opponent, delivering 14 fights exciting fights, in a night of MMA that would easily match the UFC in terms of sheer true grit and excitement for MMA fans. With no less than two knock outs and one of those in no more than eight seconds into round one, it really was a case of blink and you missed it.

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To get the night rolling, Luke Jolly defeated Silviano Valenti via unanimous decision, the judges scoring this Semi Pro Lightweight MMA fight (20-19, 20-19, 20-19).

Followed by a Semi Pro Middleweight Bout in which Warren Kee defeated Andrei Tsikheyenka via Technical Knock Out - due to Ground and Pound following punches to body. The fight was stopped after three minutes and ten seconds into round two.

Sean Childs then submitted Daniele Pecchia via Guillotine Choke at two minutes fifty three seconds into round one.

Next up, K1 Kickboxing between Lawrence Collins and Daniel Coram. Both fighters exchanged kicks and punches then Collins blasted Coram with a right then left punches knocking him down. The referee started to count, but it soon became obvious that Coram would be unable to continue and the referee stopped the fight, declaring a defeat for Coram by KO - 2:13 in round one.

The professional middleweight fight between Panikos Kleanthous and Chris Richardson was scheduled for 3 x 5 minute rounds. However, Richardson caught Kleanthous in a guillotine and at 2:02 of round one, Kleanthous tapped.

Then MMA war broke out

Yes - and I mean war, if I had seen this kind of spirit at UFC 89, I would have been highly impressed. The professional heavyweight bout between Linton Vassell and Shola Adeniran saw two hero's of the cage banging at each other with everything they could muster. At the end of round one, Adeniran's left eye was swollen enough for referee Marc Goddard to request a medical examination, before allowing the fight to continue.
In round two the fighters kept up the pace, time after time they exchanged a barrage of punches, knees and kicks. I lost count of how many times it went to the ground, then back up again for more of the same. The pace was relentless and the crowd was electrified. At the end of round two, I was excited and stunned by what I had seen so far. The fans were being treated to the kind of spirit witnessed when Forest Griffin fought Stephan Bonnar in The Ultimate Fighter.
At the end of round two, I had the fight as round one to Vassell, round two to Adeniran.
At the end of round two I could see Vassell was tiring and was sucking in the air, Shola was looking like he was the stronger of the two and in round three he left no doubt - he came out banging. At just over 3.30 of round three Shola Adeniran took Linton Vassell to the ground and it was the beginning of the end for Vassell. Shola rained down a series of powerful punches to his head. Then Marc Goddard stepped in and stopped the fight, declaring a victory for Shola by TKO. What a fight!

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That was going to be a hard act to follow and there was absolutely no time to blink in the next bout of the night. Reza Meldavian knocked out Aaron Lambourn via a standing punch, only eight seconds into round one of their professional middleweight fight.

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Then yet another blink and you miss it fight, when Lola Bamgbala noticed his opponent Francesco Ligato had dropped his guard and left himself open for a standing Guillotine Choke. An opportunity that Lola capitalized on and he seized the moment. Tapping out Ligato at 1.40 of round one of their pro welterweight fight. Proving the fact that if you get the guillotine on right, your opponent will either be out or tapping in short order.

Next, another referee stoppage due to ground and pound, in a professional heavyweight bout. The fight scheduled for 3 x 5 minute rounds between Ronnie Gill v Arunas Andriuskevicius was stopped at 2:57 into round one. Declaring Arunas Andriuskevicius the victor via TKO.

A Majority Decision in favor of Lee Weiczorec v Paul Jenkins in their professional welterweight bout, followed by yet another round one tap out, when Tam Khan tapped out Fabio Ferrari via Guillotine Choke - only 59 seconds into round one. Next warriors into the cage were Danny Batten v Cristian Binda, another submission. This time Batten submitted Binda by armbar after 1.45 of round two. Then Stav “Crazy Bear” Economou beat Theo Theodolou by ground and pound in 1.55 of round one.

Top of the bill was a light-heavyweight fight between Pierre Guillet v Valentino Petrescu. I had Guillet ahead after round one, but Valentino had other ideas in round two after the fight went to the ground, he rained down punches on Guillet, the fight was stopped by the referee and declared a TKO victory for Valentino Petrescu, via ground and pound.

A very special night of mixed martial arts, one of the best shows I've ever seen. Fight Live - Fight of the Night is a no brainer, without doubt that goes to the Ultimate Warriors - Shola Adeniran and Linton Vassell. Both fighters deserved the standing ovation they received from the trilled crowd in Southend.

Report: 9 November 2008

Photos by: Dave Roberts

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