THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne
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It’s time to step into the mixed martial arts world again, and this time we’re going to take a look at the debut show of British promotion Martial Arts Partnership Promotions UK, and their debut show The Champions, filmed by A1 Productions and held at the Cedar Court Hotel in Leeds back in May 2008, with a massive thirteen fights on the card.
The show began with Kevin Coop facing Alfas Miah. This proved to be a very enjoyable contest, but sadly it had a rather unfortunate ending. After putting in a very good performance, Coop connected with what looked like an inadvertent low knee. After a few moments it was deemed that Miah was unable to continue, with the MC saying that it was due to a blow to the head, which did confuse me a little. The fight was therefore ruled a no contest, which was a shame, because Coop would probably have won, given his performance here.
Fight two saw Dave Kettlewell taking on Chris Noon. Two rounds of great action here, with numerous take downs, reversals and submission attempts. Both men put on a good showing, impressing this particular writer. The end came in the last minute of the second round. Noon slammed Kettlewell close to the corner, with Kettlewell verbally submitting almost instantly, ending a nice little fight, with Noon just edging it for me performance wise.
Declan Williams against Oobie Rahman was next. This one was fought at a frantic pace, with Williams getting the first take down, Rahman countering, Williams countering him, and so on, and just over a minute into the fight Williams scored with another take down, locking on a guillotine choke with Rahman duly tapped out to. Not quite a blink and you’ll miss it affair, but good action nonetheless.
Then came the only fight of the show to go the two round distance, with Qasim Shafiq going up against Peter Lynch. Shafiq put in a tremendous performance here, seemingly able to take Lynch down at will, and almost getting the win with a kimura attempt that seemed to last for an age. It was pretty much the same for the entire fight, although Lynch took Shafiq’s back briefly, but didn’t really do anything. Shafiq took the unanimous judges decision for his display of dominance, and rightfully so.
Things returned to normal with the next fight, Neema Hashima against Bryan O’Connor. Hashima showed some good skill here, with some crisp-looking transitions, before locking in a triangle choke for the submission win. Nice stuff from Hashima here.
The next fight was a back and forth affair between Shadu Ali and Lee Jones. Both fighters showed some good skill with their striking and submission attempts, with Jones clearly winning the first round, and Ali really upping his game in the second, applying an arm bar early on in the round for the submission win, tapping off a nice comeback, and ending a very good fight.
Philip Hoban and Chris Jones (not sure if he’s any relation to Lee) almost went into the second round. Hoban was the dominating force here, working well on the ground, first getting the mount for some ground and pound, before transitioning to side control for a couple of submission attempts. Jones looked utterly helpless at times, and just thirteen seconds before the end of the round Hoban locked in a triangle choke, with Jones quickly tapping. A great performance from Hoban here. Jones didn’t really get a look in at all.
Tom Cunnington versus Pete Hill was the first blink and you’ll miss it affair of the night, and it had a rather strange beginning. As Hill entered the ring he took off his fight shorts, wanting to fight in his underwear. Of course, the referee was having none of that, and ordered him to put his shorts on again. This little exchange lasted longer than the fight. Hill got a quick take down and immediately went for an arm bar. Cunnington soon tapped. A nice performance from Hill here, but what was the deal with his underwear?
Andy Reid against Scott McClellan was just a few seconds longer than the previous fight. It was also a rather odd fight. Reid began with a kick before a right knocked McClellan down. The referee checked McClellan, and the fight continued. Then another quick right sent McClellan back down. McClellan promptly got up, and a third right promptly sent him down again, with the referee calling a halt to proceedings at the thirty-two second mark. I’m really not sure what to make of this one.
The fight number reached double figures with Tom Widnieski facing Steve Martin. (No, it’s not THAT Steve Martin). Widnieski was another of those fighters who dominated his opponent, able to transition at will. There was a brief stand up, but they soon went back down to the ground, with Widnieski going for a couple of kimura, and getting the submission at the second attempt in a really impressive outing.
Marcin Gorzala against Nathan Joseph was next. Another fight that went into the second round, the only thing of note to happen in the first was when the referee warned Joseph for kneeing Gorzala in the head while they were in the north/south position, and it was from that particular position that Gorzala got the win, unloading with a series of punches to Joseph’s mid-section, and when Joseph failed to respond to this attack, the referee stepped in and stopped the fight, giving the TKO win to Gorzala. This was an okay fight, but it was the first time I’d seen someone get a TKO victory from the north/south position.
The penultimate fight saw Danny Carr face Niko Gjorka. Round one began with a quick exchange of blows, before Gjorka attempted a guillotine choke that seemed to last for ages. Not even a slam from Carr could get him to break the hold. Eventually Carr did, and he came back strongly in the second round, getting the win with a rear naked choke. This was a very exciting fight, and the fight of the night for me.
The main event saw Dave Hirst against Richard Taylor. Hirst put in a good little performance here, getting the take down after a clinch in the corner, and quickly moving to side control so he could lock in a side choke for the submission win.
DVD extras come on the form of a highlight reel, set to the tune of Queen’s classic “We Are The Champions”, and still photos from the event.
In conclusion – in case you haven’t guessed already, I really enjoyed this DVD. While I wasn’t exactly familiar with any of the fighters on show here, I was really impressed with some of the dominating performances here. It’s another case that if you scratch below the surface of the top MMA companies here in Britain, you may find something you like. So this DVD comes highly recommended.
With thanks Tom Tailford of A1 Productions for supplying a copy of this release. If you would like to purchase a copy of MAPP UK The Champions, visit either www.mappuk.com or www.fight-factory.co.uk for more details.