Purdy wins grudge match with Finn at Road to Contenders 3
- Credit: Brett King
Suffolk's Jack Purdy stopped Mikey Finn in the second round of a wild main event as fight sports returned to the region with a bang at Road to Contenders 3 last night.
Purdy squared off with Norwich-based Finn in what was the professional K1 debut for both men, a grudge match months in the making.
And tensions were heightened further when Finn missed weight by a mile - around 4kgs - for the 70kg scrap at the Epic Studios in Norwich.
Purdy, ever the fighter, refused to back out of the dust-up though, and what resulted will live long in the memory of all who were lucky enough to be in attendance.
Finn, who throws a bewildering array of spinning attacks, caught Purdy just above the ear with a heel kick in the first round, dropping the Suffolk man and leaving him on very wobbly legs.
But Finn failed to finish his foe, and Purdy survived, cleared his head and then launched some blistering attacks of his own, dropping Finn twice before the end of the round, using devastating spear knees from the Thai clinch to brutal effect.
The Hodray K9 fighter duly finished the job in the second, a heavy round-kick to Finn's mid-section freezing him, before a further flurry from Purdy ended the fight.
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To both men's credit, they embraced in the cage afterwards, squashing their beef and showing the respect that runs through martial arts.
Purdy will now look to move further up the pro ranks, while a devastated Finn suggested afterwards that would be his final fight. If that proves to be the case, there is no shame in finishing with a barnburner like that.
In the co-main event, Norfolk's Tariq Pell unveiled an upgraded and improved version of his MMA game in every aspect, dominating the gutsy Scot Thomas Callaghan to claim a wide points decision in their catchweight clash.
Pell, who improved his amateur record to 3-2 with the win, and will now move into the professional ranks, displayed blisteringly fast, powerful striking and a suffocating ground game in what was a career-best showing.
Clearly, his time training under Lee Doski, a pioneer of UK MMA, at the powerhouse Tsunami Norfolk gym in Thetford is paying dividends.
Elsewhere, there was another career-best display from giant Norwich heavyweight Jakub Adamski, in what was the toughest test of his unbeaten boxing run so far.
Skilled and slick opponent Ben Smith boxed off the back foot and landed counter shots on Elite Gym's boxing behemoth, but Adamski showed real maturity to box within himself, conserve energy and apply educated pressure.
That paid off in the sixth and final round, a body shot forcing Smith to his knees and, with blood pouring from his mouth, he was unable to continue.
There was an impressive showing too from Tayler Mills on his MMA debut, the Union Thai fighter coming through some sticky moments in the first round to stop Carlito Ramos with a 20-punch salvo in the second round of their featherweight fight.
Earlier Ramos' team-mate from London's Stronger MMA, Amir Mansoori, silenced the partisan home crowd with a spectacular first round submission of the super popular, all-action Norfolk fighter Reece Ward.
After frantic back and forth opening exchanges, Ward looked to have the upper hand on the ground, only for Mansoori to roll him into first an armbar and then an Americana, to force the tap in their 63kg MMA dispute.
Ward, who raised the roof with his rousing walk to the cage, will learn from the defeat and bounce back better.
Mansoori had competition for submission of the night honours from Elite Gym's Tanga Dikki, who wrapped up Brendan Roberts in a triangle armbar combo to get a fine first round finish.
There were no doubts about the knockout of the night though. Kyle Buggs, of Reflex MMA, detonated a nuclear bomb of a southpaw left hand on the chin of Valentin Prajisteanu, folding him like a deckchair in the first round of their lightweight MMA bout. An undoubted contender for KO of the year.
Credit, too, must go to James Hannant and Russell Chapman for their ridiculously entertaining 73kg K1 tear-up, which saw Hannant eat a spinning wheel kick and Chapman somehow rise after being heavily dropped to claim a split decision win.
That was rivalled for fight of the night by the bantamweight MMA match-up between Ily Merryacre and Magomed Guseinov, a three-round battle which saw London Shootfighters' Merryacre dominate the stand-up exchanges and look every inch a future star.
But Guseinov, from Manchester Top Team, never stopped trying to find a win, despite his face becoming a mask of crimson at the cruel, stinging hands of Merryacre.
Indeed, seconds before the final bell, the Manchester man even landed a Hail Mary upkick to the head of Merryacre, but it just bounced off his teak tough foe.
Finally, Ethan Charlton, of Stronger MMA, also looked very impressive en-route to his first round TKO win over Luke Mannion in their middleweight MMA match-up.
Road to Contenders 3 results
Tyler Poll beat Phicitt Crosbie via unanimous decision (59kg K1)
Kyle Buggs beat Valentin Prajisteanu via first round KO (lightweight MMA)
Yousif Rasouli beat Ethan Mathia via second round TKO (65kg boxing)
Russell Chapman beat James Hannant via split decision (73kg K1)
Peter Luczak beat Nico Balcock via split decision (75kg boxing)
Tanga Dikki beat Brendan Roberts via first round armbar submission (welterweight MMA)
Joe Holzman beat Rafa Giersberg via second round TKO (76kg K1)
Callum Sidney beat Kenny Peckham via UD (80kg boxing)
Ethan Charlton beat Luke Mannion via first round TKO (middleweight MMA)
Shaniel Veman beat Jack Farrell via first round KO (featherweight MMA)
Ben Lewis beat Ben Pincher via UD (85kg boxing)
Ned Gamble beat Matthew Wiseman via UD (62 kg K1)
Ily Merryacre beat Magomed Guseinov via UD (bantamweight MMA)
Joel Thomas beat Ben Thomson via SD (75kg boxing)
Amir Mansoori beat Reece Ward via first round submission - armbar/Americana (catchweight 63kg MMA)
Taylor Mills beat Carlito Ramos via second round TKO (featherweight MMA)
Joe Heron beat Carl Reeve via UD (88kg boxing)
Jakub Admaski beat Ben Smith via sixth round KO (heavyweight boxing)
Tariq Pell beat Thomas Callaghan via UD (catchweight 72kg MMA)
Jack Purdy beat Mikey Finn via second round TKO (70kg pro K1)