Saturday nights alright for fighting but a Sunday is awesome, and the Sunday just gone was just that, as James Wallis yet again, put on another excellent night of fighting at the Grand Theatre in Swansea. A 19-fight extravaganza mix of K1 and MMA in a very grand theatre indeed. Let me just set the scene. A beautiful velvet seated auditorium, with a stunning cage set on the stage. VIP tables on the right of the cage and officials sat to the left, the whole layout worked a treat, with everyone able to watch the nights action ahead. As welsh channel S4C were filming this as part of a new contract to highlight the Welsh fighting talent, this was certainly one of the best shows to bring in new fans, and I managed to do that as I had brought my good friend Gemma Price with me, who runs the Boxing Pretty group, a group that train Women to box and put on all female boxing shows, Gemma became an MMA and K1 fan on Sunday night, as she sat with me and took in all the beautiful action in front of us.
The atmosphere in the theatre was electric all night and as I glanced through the wire of the cage I could see Welsh rugby legend Shane Williams enjoying the nights proceedings on a VIP table. I was very pleased to be seated next to my Bamma pal Malcolm Martin, being able to enjoy his commentating and joining in, in my own way, as I think he missed his commentating partner so I pretended I was that, in my own world, for a night. So, as Mr Smooth himself, MC Ricky Wright, and very able referee Mr John Cooper, entered the cage, we got ready for the night ahead, where no stone was left unturned in the world of fighting.
We kicked off with some Amateur action as the fights alternated between MMA and K1. Some very impressive match ups as KGB Gym and Chris Rees Academy had an army of talent they had to put out to work, and work they all did. With some fast K1 action from Chris Powell (WPT Gym) bringing a TKO finish to Daniel Morris (3D MMA) punching his way to a G&P win, all these Amateur bouts were edge of seat, solid Martial Arts action.
The last fight on the Undercard was an impressive K1 bout between Sam Hawkins (Koncept) v Ricky Langdon (KGB Gym) that brought a back and fore trade off with Sam showing strength in every strike resulting in him getting the UD win.
Going into the main card we had the winners of the 4-man tournament that had taken place at the beginning of the month, with Matt Peacock (Ippon Gym) fighting it out with Dan Thomas (Chris Rees Academy), showing some solid cage control from Matt and both trading good strong strikes resulting in a Decision win for Matt Peacock) as the £500 winner.
Scott Pederson (Chris Rees Academy) v Elliott Hallsworth (Fighting Tigers) was a battle for the K1 British IKF Title with a 5-round war that saw both fighters feeling each other’s shots, Elliott throwing combinations with ease and in return Pederson answering and delivering on cue, to succeed in winning the Title.
The Women’s European IKF Title fight came upon us as one of my favourite up and coming fighters Lauren Huxley (KGB Gym) took on a very tough Sarah Worsfold (Falcons Kickboxing) and by god was this a tough fight. Lauren is 19 years old and fights like a seasoned fighter, and I hadn’t seen Sarah fight before, so didn’t know what to expect. The fight that took place was one of the best female K1 fights I had seen live with both trading off, but Sarah throwing the most with very strong hands and legs. Lauren took every shot, throwing in her own powerful strikes and leg sweeps, but not quite managing to get Sarah into the Centre of the cage. One of the most intriguing bouts I have seen with all eyes on the ladies. With both women going the 5-round distance, Sarah won via decision, and Lauren picking up the belt, wrapping it around Sarah’s waist showing perfect sportsmanship. I know for sure we will see more from these two going through the ranks in the future.
More fights took place with impressive wins as Phil Raeburn (SBG) took on Cosmin Tutu (FFS Paris) in a battle for leg locks, takedowns and a masterclass in chipping away from top position, Raeburn took the decision win, speaking to Phil Raeburn after the fight, he wanted me to mention his own personal battle with mental health and how he struggles to go through his life, turning to MMA to help him in his journey.
The Main Event of the night was a Heavyweight, much anticipated return of Mike Edwards v Daniel Koneke. I had previously met and watched Daniel at Bamma so I knew he was a tough opponent and tough he was as Mike came in with a strong start to the bout, but as Daniel succeeded in the takedown, Mike found himself trapped in bottom position suffering a flurry of elbows and strikes to the head as Daniel stayed in top position, despite Mikes attempts at
powering through to get up and gain control, resulting in a G&P win for Daniel Koneke in the first round.
To round up the nights events, I have never seen such a constant display of Sportsmanship in every fight, with the crowd being totally respectful even if their chosen fighter hadn’t won, they showed respect, which, which made for a lovely atmosphere. Chris Rees and James Wallis have such a talent in their teams at the moment, making Welsh MMA quite powerful, and James Wallis should be proud of his matchmaking at every Adrenalin, not one fight was out of place or mismatched.
I would urge anyone outside of Wales to come to an Adrenalin fight night as it shows the wealth of talent in the UK on Welsh turf, and a mighty fine show to boot.
This one will be shown on Welsh Channel S4C under the name of Y Ffeit MMA at 9.30 Wednesday evening. Please watch and enjoy as much as I did.
Well done to all involved.
Words by Beccy Davies
Images by Gemma Price