There were highlight reel knock-outs, sensational submissions and titles changing hands at a sizzling Cage Warriors Academy South East show in Colchester last night.

On what was a sweltering night outside the cage, the action inside it at the Charter Hall raised the temperature further as 33 fights thrilled a loud, vocal and knowledgeable capacity attendance.

In the main event, hometown hero Charlie Falco dropped to his natural straw-weight division for the first time since 2018 and lifted the vacant pro title belt with a composed, educated display against compact Italian striker Riccardo Pala.

Falco, one of a number of combatants from Colchester's powerhouse BKK Fighters Gym on the card, mixed spiteful striking with effective grappling to earn a unanimous decision points win and claim the gold.

There was no need for judges in the co-main event though, as bantamweight Ollie Sarwa exploded into the paid ranks with a stunning knock-out of tough opponent Noah Mannion.

Sarwa's pro debut could not have gone better as, having been rapped into the cage, he caught Mannion with a knee and followed it with a nuclear left hook, flooring his foe before adding a couple of elbows on the deck to seal the deal after just two minutes of action.

In the fight before that, top Norfolk prospect Tariq Pell continued his ascent, claiming the vacant amateur lightweight belt with an impressive showing which displayed his array of martial arts weaponry.

Having been caught early and bloodied by the fast hands of foe Ruben Lindo, Pell seamlessly mixed a striking and grappling attack, dumping Lindo on the mat numerous times en-route to a unanimous points win which moves his amateur record to 6-2.

Pell, who fights out of Lee Doski's Tsunami Norfolk gym, now looks set to launch his own assault on the pro ranks, and has the tools and mindset to go far in the sport.

Pell's win capped a good night for his team, with both Marcin Kochel and Daniel Frank also heading home victorious, the latter courtesy of a nasty first round rear naked choke.

That would perhaps have been the submission of the night, were it not for Harry Myers' dramatic late guillotine choke of reigning amateur bantamweight champion Jimmy Quinn, depriving him of both his title and unbeaten record in the process.

Myers, now 7-2, was on the way to a points defeat before he locked onto Quinn's neck and secured the tap with less than a minute of the fight left.

In the other amateur title fights on the card, Angus Hewett retained his light heavyweight crown by outpointing Dante Dragan in an assured showing, while Shaun Fraser took Matt Oki's welterweight belt, and unbeaten record, with a very impressive all-round performance which earned a unanimous points win.

There was controversy in the flyweight title fight though, as Norwegian talent Fabian Ufs, having been given all he could handle by late notice opponent Alaa Cheaaibi, secured a third round rear naked choke win in unique circumstances.

The lights in the hall went off twice during the final round, the second time as Ufs sought to lock the choke in. One hopes they can rematch and settle the matter, fully illuminated, on October's Academy show.

In terms of best fights, there was ample competition. Featherweight Mason Kinsella, of Gracie Barra Chelmsford, and Will Matier, of the hometown Combat Institute, waged war in an absorbing striking battle, won on points by the impressive Kinsella.

Cameron Stewart claimed a dramatic third round rear naked choke win after a cracking back-and-forth lightweight dispute with Billy Fenech, while Louise Bennett, of Kingdom Peterborough, extended her unbeaten record with a superb display against Camilla Bergstrom at flyweight. The latter never stopped walking forward, despite being bloodied and banged up at the cruel hands of Bennett.

Falco's title win was the highlight of a mixed night for the hometown BKK Fighters Gym. Bantamweight Kuba Kawiorski scaled the cage to salute his large following after he'd stopped Steve McMorris with a flurry in the first, while flyweight Kevin Wang scored a points win over Mahmood Mikail in the opening fight of the evening.

But Will Oldman and Danny Parker emerged from battle on the wrong side of the argument. Parker mounted a stirring third round rally of purposeful punches which had opponent Frank Warwick reeling, but he survived to claim a points win.

Finally, praise must also go to SX MMA lightweight prospect Dom Rogers, who stretched his unbeaten record to 6-0 by stretching the neck of Yusuf Al-Taleb in a first round rear naked choke finish.

Rogers looks to be a name worth remembering - could a title shot be next?