Report & Photos by Lee Whitehead – MMAWeekly.com
LONDON – The Troxy played host to the second installment of Ultimate Challenge featuring a card consisting of two grand-prix tournament qualifiers in opposite divisions: lightweight and heavyweight. Top of the bill was an encounter between U.K. MMA legend Mark Weir and Mohammed Khatcha of London Shootfighters.
Exploding out of the gate with little hesitation, Khatcha transitioned from a failed shoot to drive Weir back into the cage with a vicious combination to signal his intent. Things started to settle down a little with both fighters measuring their range, Weir with his trademark straight kicks and Khatcha with his punches, closing in to the end of the first round. Khatcha landed a forceful left hook to flash knockout Weir before pouncing on him to seal the deal by ground and pound.
Dyson Roberts made short work of a game Pablo Ben who stepped up to the plate with only two days notice and no professional MMA experience. Still, the game fighter landed a couple of solid punches before being taken down and subjected to a serious barrage off punches from back mount.
Jimi Manuwa and Jamie Hearn’s encounter was shaping up to be a serious fight, but unfortunately Hearn rolled his ankle early in the fight and crashed to the canvas in pain. Collecting himself up, he tested his ankle with the hardest kick of the night on his opponent’s thigh before collapsing again. Unable to recover or give a full account of himself, Manuwa capitalized on the opportunity that presented itself and locked home a guillotine choke for the win. A rematch between these two is money and I don’t stand alone in wanting to see it happen.
Edgelson Lua surprised many with his slick counterpunching game, but staying composed and fending off a hard charging Scott Jansen. A fantastic back and forth series of exchanges punctuated the first round with both landing good shots, Jansen aggressive as always, and Lua showing that his confidence while standing is on the rise. Round two started with a couple of spinning back kicks by Jansen before Lua landed the takedown, applied a barrage of punches from mount that forced his opponent to give his back before sinking in the rear naked choke. Fight of the Night!
A joyous day for Dan Mohavedi, as he picked up his debut win on his eight appearance in the cage, this time via triangle choke over Darren Walsh midway through the firsts stanza.
The heavyweight tournament qualifiers got underway with Ashley “lock-it-in” Pollard taking on the ZT Fight Skool wrestling coach Saieed Gholamie who stepped up on short notice to ensure the bout went ahead. A game Pollard took serious punishment in the bout and briefly threatened with a couple of runs at a Kimura, but ultimately fell prey to a ground and pound assault from Gholamie, who appeared to find a second wind when it counted most.
Ben Smith grounded opponent Tony Starnes before creating a blood flow due to strikes before settling upon an armbar submission for the finish. Romanian wrestler Kiril Handzhiyski heroically slammed Sebastian Iwaniak into the canvas before applying a heavy-handed ground and pound assault for the stoppage.
Finally, in lightweight tournament qualifiers, John Joe Ellis dispatched Marcus Thomas in a bare nine seconds after headhunting around the cage for the big right hand. Luke Smith sunk in the rear naked choke for victory over Dragos Voiculescu, and Jamain Watkins picked up the decision over David Ralph after three hard fought rounds of shot picking between the two.
Wesley Johnson never got a chance to show his hand in the lightweight qualifiers on account of his opponent going AWOL during the scheduled break.
Ultimate Challenge 2 Results:
Mohammed Khacha def. Mark Weir via TKO (Strikes) at 4:26, R1
Dyson Roberts def. Pablo Ben via TKO (Strikes) at 1:46, R1
Jimi Manuwa def. Jamie Hearn via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 1:49, R1
Edgelson Lua def. Scott Jansen via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:12, R2
Dan Movahedi def. Darren Walsh via (Triangle Choke) at 2:47, R1
Saieed Gholamie def. Ashley Pollard via TKO (Strikes) at 1:10, R3
Ben Smith def. Tony Starns via Submission (Armbar) at 4:57, R1
Kiril Handzhiyski def. Sebastian Iwaniak via TKO at 1:36, R1
Wesley Johnson vs. Scott Pooley (No Contest)
Luke Smith def. Dragos Voiculescu via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:37, R1
John Joe Ellis def. Marcus Thomas via TKO at 0:09, R1
Jamain Watkins def. David Ralph via Unanimous Decision, R3
Alex Reid def. John MaGuire via Unanimous Decision, R3