Topping the card was tough undefeated Irish fighter Joseph Duffy who has been on a tear through Cage Warriors, as well as making a very successful debut stateside, picking up a unanimous decision over UFC veteran Jorge Gurgel.
The encounter between him and Ivan Musardo was a classic clash of styles with Duffy exhibiting a tight controlled attack in stark contrast to the latter’s winging exchange.
Always stalking, Duffy’s footwork proved to be a deciding factor in the flow of the fight. He always seemed to be well planted for his strikes, be it in offensive or counter mode, and he used this composure to rattle off a nice high kick that staggered the Italian toward the end of the second.
Out of nowhere in the tail of the fourth round, Ivan Musardo capitalized on a slip from Duffy when he threw a low kick and pounced into side control. Scrambling quickly, Duffy popped out from underneath, but got caught in a guillotine that he was unable to shake. Resigned to failure, Duffy tapped and Musado became the new Cage Warriors lightweight champion.
Talking of UFC veterans, Brian Foster came to London with a view to getting back on track after an 11-month hiatus and wasted little time in blasting through Jack Mason.
Forceful from the bell, Foster exploded into action throwing hands before slamming Mason to the canvas. After a brief tie-up on the mat, he backed out before rocking the Briton with a huge right hand that sent a message of intent before they returned to the feet.
Mason looked tentative in the exchanges and sensing this, Foster threw a huge spinning back-kick that winded his adversary before closing the distance and latching onto a guillotine choke for the finish. Mason never had a chance to get any offense underway.
Ashleigh Grimshaw scored early on with a series of aggressive strikes landing particularly hard on opponent Graham Turner, but it wasn’t long before the latter found his range and started to bring his Muay Thai variance into the bout, landing kicks at will before setting up a nice takedown off the clinch.
A slightly more strategic approach to the second found Turner looking to protect his thigh from damage, retain movement, and avoid any power from Grimshaw, who had started to look for a decisive blow.
A tough fight for the judges to call, but they came down in favor of Graham Turner with a split decision, most likely on account of being more active overall, but it was a very close bout to call.
Kevin Wheeler and Brad Donnelly opened with a solid technical display, each looking to dominate the clinch before hitting the mat, Wheeler being very offensive from his back, only allowing his opponent a few opening where punches slipped through.
The second started with Donnelly being much more fluid with his hands and even landing a solid flying knee and a sharp spinning backfist. Wheeler had his moments though, landing some solid kicks and ending the round in back mount.
Continuing the third stanza much in the same way as he ended the first, Wheeler was back mounted with a body triangle and landing strikes before an opportunity to slide home a rear naked choke at the 1:51 mark.
Dayman Lake wasted no time in dumping opponent Rab Truesdale on his back with a big takedown before landing in side control, using his weight advantage to maintain position. Squirming furiously, Truesdale tried to bust out, but eventually found himself mounted and eating punches before Lake hoped off to the side and into a tight arm triangle for the tap.
Cage Warriors 44 Main Card:
Ivan Musado def Joseph Duffy via Submission (Guillotine) at 4:25, R4
Brian Foster def Jack Mason via Submission (Guillotine) at 2:15, R1
Ashleigh Grimshaw (145.9lbs) v Graham Turner via Split Decision, R3
Brad Wheeler def. Kevin Donnelly via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:51, R3
Rab Truesdale def. Dayman Lake Submission (Arm Triangle) at 1:24, R1
Cage Warriors 44 Preliminary Card:
Steve O’Keeffe def. Dean Reilly via Submission (Arm Triangle) at 0:54, R1
Ian Entwistle vs. Charlie Leary (Entwistle withdrew to illness before the bout)
Neil Seery def. Niko Gjoka via KO at 4:04, R2
David Howell def. Kieran Malone via TKO at 2:19, R1
Cage Warriors 44 Amateur Card:
Charlie Watts def. Tye Palmer via Unanimous Decision, R3
Adam Brearley def. Ben Reid via TKO (Punches) at 0:32, R2