Cage Warriors Academy South East 23 report: Sensational Edwards submits Butters in Battle of Anglia clash
Craig Edwards won the much-anticipated Battle of Anglia at Cage Warriors Academy South East 23 in sensational style, submitting Scott Butters in just over two minutes at Colchester's Charter Hall.
Colchester star Edwards dominated the lightweight clash, overpowering Norwich’s Butters against the cage before taking him to the floor and sinking in a tight arm triangle choke to force the tap from his foe.
The BKK Fighters product’s showing was a tantalising glimpse into the vast talent and potential he possesses and improves his pro record to 2-3, as well as securing revenge for a submission loss to Butters when the pair first fought as amateurs back in 2014.
Edwards won five in a row as an amateur before turning pro, and one senses that this could be the catalyst for a similar run in the paid ranks – simply put, if he harnesses his gifts consistently, he will pose major problems for anyone in the division.
Of the fight, he said: “That wasn’t the gameplan, to grapple. We ended up against the cage and I had the hooks and a strong position, so I got the takedown and got the mount - route one – and it went alright!
“I suck at the arm triangle, so I’m surprised it worked – I just squeezed and I’ve been pumping my guns, so something must have worked.”
And Edwards could well be out next when the main Cage Warriors show returns to Colchester on May 31.
He said: “2-3 still isn’t great so I’ve got to pump that up a bit, get some positive numbers going and that’s the plan. Cage Warriors is here in seven weeks, so that’s nice and local, and that’s a possibility for me now.
“There’s all the chances (of putting together a win streak now). I want to win, obviously. If I can continue to do this and turn up, that’s the key. When I don’t I take a pasting – I’ve got so much uglier in the last few years – but if I can turn up like that every time then I’m in with a shout of putting a string of wins together.
“Hopefully I get the chance to do that, and get a few more fights in this year.”
Butters, who dropped his second straight fight to even his record at 2-2, was gracious in defeat, heaping praise on Edwards and saying that the loss had made his mind up to drop to featherweight when he resumes his fistic career.
The Elite Gym fighter consistently seeks out the highest level of competition and will surely be a force in the 145lbs division, where he won’t be competing against naturally bigger and stronger opponents.
He said: “Craig’s an animal. I knew he was strong and I knew he was good. I said that we’d both improved a lot, but he’s just super strong. For me, I’m going to take a positive from it and that is that I won’t be fighting at lightweight anymore.
“I can’t. It’s not fair on myself. I’m just gutted that I didn’t get the chance to show everyone that I’m not just a wrestler.
“I came out and wanted to strike the whole time, it just didn’t happen. But when there’s two people in the cage, one’s got to win and one’s got to lose. “Fair play to Craig. Last time we fought I won and he then went on a five fight winning streak. I honestly believe he’s going to do exactly the same thing again, lift the Cage Warriors South East belt and then go on a tear in the main Cage Warriors too.”
Elsewhere on the stacked main card, in which every fight was for an amateur title, George Tanasa became a ‘champ champ’, beating Stefano Morotti by unanimous decision to add the featherweight gold to his lightweight crown.
Tanasa, now 5-1, is an elite wrestler, but showed damaging, destructive kicks and power striking on his way to victory against a tough, talented foe.
Jack Eglin looked absolutely ferocious in his first round KO win over Duncan Djillali for the bantamweight strap, walking his man down and dropping him heavily with a huge right hand to force an early halt to hostilities.
Sporting all black shorts and marching forward with menace while launching fistic bombs, there was a touch of the Mike Tyson aura about Eglin, who improves his record to 8-4 and bounces back from his submission defeat to Nathan Fletcher at Cage Warriors 100.
In the co-main event, the long and rangy Connor Hayes submitted Steve Riformato by armbar in the second round to lift the middleweight title, showing outstanding ground skills to neutralise the weapons of the noted K1 striker and move to 6-0. The SX MMA talent looks to be a tremendous prospect.
On the subject of prospects, Muhidin Abubakar showed once again why he’s considered one of the best young flyweights in the country, beating Krystoff Pawlaczek via majority decision in one of the best fights of the night.
Abubakar, the Cage Warriors amateur Grand Prix champion, roared back from losing the first round to impose his will on the gritty and game Pawlaczek and boost his slate to an impressive 8-1, lifting the 125lbs title in the process.
There were two women’s title fights to start the main card, with Lexi Rook emerging from an energy-sapping grappling and ground clash against Sophia Haddouche to claim the flyweight belt on unanimous decision and move to 4-0, while Jo Doyle made Kerry Isom tap to an armbar in the first round to secure the bantamweight crown and climb to 9-4.
Earlier on in the night, there were good wins for two more talented local prospects.
Bury’s Jimmy Fell, who fights out of Blue Wave Martial Arts, showed incredible heart and fighting instincts to battle to a split decision triumph over dangerous striker Sullivan Kerner, having been in several dangerous positions in the first round.
Featherweight Fell (now 3-1) is set to fight world-class striker Ben Woolliss next in a mouth-watering match-up at Contenders 26 in Norwich on May 18 – as long as Woolliss didn’t suffer any damage to his arm in his armbar submission defeat to Matthieu Moya.
And Norwich’s Chey Veal returned to the scene of his best win – on the undercard at Cage Warriors 99 last November – to put on another superb showing in a first round rear naked choke win against Gregorz Pawlaczek.
Flyweight Veal improves his mark to 4-3-1 with the victory.