Mearns beats Butters and Wozniak wins title in a thriller at Contenders 27
- Credit: Archant
Richard Mearns scored the biggest win of his career so far with a second round submission of hometown hero Scott Butters at Contenders 27 in Norwich.
In what was a pivotal clash for both men, who entered the cage with matching 2-2 records as professionals, Mearns imposed his will on Dereham's Butters, dominating the Norfolk man with takedowns and heavy pressure on the floor in the first round.
Butters, who'd dropped to featherweight for the first time here, staggered Mearns with a big right hand at the start of the second stanza, sending the home crowd into a frenzy, only for Mearns to score another takedown and work for the finish, which came by way of armbar after a beautiful transition from a triangle choke.
Despite the high-pressure stakes of the co-main event clash, Mearns was as gracious in victory as Butters was in defeat, with both warriors emerging from the conflict as credits to their sport.
In the main event, Ewelina Wozniak lifted the Contenders strawweight title after an absorbing back-and-forth battle with Karolina Wojcik in what was a clash between two of the best 115lbs female fighters in Europe.
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After Wozniak took the first two rounds with powerful striking and strong grappling, the tenacious, aggressive Wojcik and her relentless push for takedowns carried the third and fourth.
But Wozniak landed flurries of punches and avoided the wrestling attack of her determined foe in the crucial fifth and final round, which was enough for her to take a split decision points win in a fight which will live long in the memory of all who watched it.
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Elsewhere on the main card, super prospect Felix Klinkhammer moved to 4-0 with another first round win over Laid Zerhouni via rear naked choke, while fellow welterweight Josh Leet also stayed unbeaten, the Wisbech man improving to 3-0 after busting foe Ivan Golod's nose wide open with elbows from mount in a crimson-soaked first round stoppage.
London Shootfighters talent Klinkhammer has yet to be extended out of the first round in any of his eight career fights - four as both amateur and professional - and is as exhilarating to watch as he must be terrifying to fight, throwing explosive, flashy techniques with impunity because, if and when the fight hits the floor, he's a monster there too. Remember his name - as if you could forget it!
Hugely popular Ipswich star Corrin Eaton returned from retirement to force Will Cairns to tap to strikes in the first stanza of their fight, and Aaron Rolfe bested Shaun Banyard in a brilliant 70kg boxing battle across borders, Norwich fighter Rolfe claiming a majority points win over Ipswich scrapper Banyard, and promptly calling for a title shot.
KO of the night went to Felixstowe's Brent Rose, who viciously connected shin to chin to switch off Daniel Ballard with a brutal headkick in their 82kg K1 battle, while Tsunami Gym Norfolk's William Booth took home best submission for his lightning quick mounted guillotine stoppage of Daniel Parker in a strawweight MMA bout.
Booth's gym-mate Eduardo Gonzalez-Ayala was also impressive in his 82kg MMA win over the tough and gritty Vincent Britto, setting an incredible pace on his way to a unanimous points win in a contest which ran the Wojcik/Wozniak classic close in the fight of the night stakes.
There was another win too for giant Norwich heavyweight boxer Jakub Adamski, who used his trademark sledgehammer body shots and forward pressure to beat the game and skilled Carl Marsh in their heavyweight dispute.
Look out as well for flashy young striker Flobater Fares of SBG Cork, who showboated his way to a win over Rio MMA's Phil Taylor in one of the night's early fights, a cadet MMA clash at 59kg.
Fares showed a staggering array of spins and strikes in his points win over the talented Taylor, and is certainly one to watch for in the future.
Meanwhile, on Friday night, the second Road to Contenders amateur show boasted some engaging fights and displays.
Elite Gym's Jack Farrell and Luke Goodge both impressed with rapid first round submission wins, while Optimum MMA's Jonathan Hind unleashed some horrifying leg kicks on his way to a points win over the very tough Danny Gotts.
Bury's Callum Cunningham looked good on his MMA debut, using a takedown heavy approach to best George Morris on points in their heavyweight tussle, and Josh Tinker and Dan Harvey took home fight of the night honours after they shared a draw in a K1 thriller.
In the grappling main event, Ollie Dillon and Chris Hayes finished in a draw after ten minutes of high-level BJJ exchanges, Hayes attacking with heel hooks and Dillon showing smothering, heavy pressure from the top, much of it in mount.
Alex Andrews beat Tayler Mills via UD (68kg K1)
Flobater Fares beat Phil Taylor via UD (59kg youth MMA)
Kacper Ozeg beat Arunas Jankevicious via UD (88kg boxing)
Housinne Ben Bouazza beat Mikey Finn by KO in the third round (welterweight K1)
William Booth beat Daniel Parker by submission in the first round - mounted guillotine choke (strawweight MMA)
Brent Rose beat Daniel Ballard by KO in the first round (82kg K1)
Aaron Rolfe beat Shaun Banyard via MD (70kg boxing)
Eduardo Gonzalez-Ayala beat Vincent Britto via UD (82kg MMA)
Jakub Adamski beat Carl Marsh via UD (heavyweight boxing)
Corrin Eaton beat Will Cairns by submission in the first round - tap to strikes (lightweight MMA)
Josh Leet beat Ivan Golod by TKO in the first round (welterweight MMA)
Felix Klinkhammer beat Laid Zerhouni by submission in the first round - rear naked choke (welterweight MMA)
Richard Mearns beat Scott Butters by submisson in the second round - armbar (featherweight MMA)
Ewelina Wozniak beat Karolia Wojcik by SD (wins Contenders strawweight MMA title)