Welsh MMA continues to grow after the events of the Cage Warriors Academy Wales, which saw four new champions crowned and a great deal of young Welsh quality beginning to break onto the scene.
The fifth installment of the Cage Warriors Academy went down in Ebbw Vale once again, with four titles up for grabs; bantamweight, featherweight, middleweight, and light-heavyweight. With 13 finishes in 22 fights, the quality of the show was phenomenal.
The first fight saw undefeated 16-year-old, Befan Hall pick up his first loss against the very impressive, Tallon Jones, who pulled off a fantastic triangle choke on his MMA debut.
It took until the sixth bout for a fight to go the distance but this one still had Fight of the Night written all over it. Real up-and-comer, Ioan Thomas, increased his record to 2-0, with his coach, Richard Shore, stating he could be “the best fighter Wales has ever produced”.
Shore, who hosted the event, is the head coach at Shore Mixed Martial Arts and was in the corner of all 12 of his fighters on the night, including that of Stephanie Evans, who stretched her record to 7-2, in what was the only female fight on the night.
Evans took on debutant, Ella Beale, who had none other than former UFC welterweight title challenger, Dan Hardy, in her corned. Hardy corned both Beale and featherweight, Josh Hood.
The first title fight went down for the light-heavyweight strap. Shore MMA’s Owain Williams, who had not fought since 2019, took on current middleweight champ, Mitchell Goode, who is regarded as the number one amateur middleweight in the country.
Goode came out fast and aggressive and managed to pick up an early submission, in the form of a rear naked-choke to become a champion in both the middleweight and light-heavyweight division. Having already fought on three Cage Warrior cards, there’s no doubt that he is someone to keep a close eye on moving forward.
The middleweight belt went home with Roan Crocker who pulled off a dominant display against Greg Cuthbert, with all three judges awarding the decision victory to the 22-year-old Welshman. Crocker, again of Shore MMA, moves his amateur record to 6-2.
The co-main event saw Levi Batchelor take on Ross McGowan for bantamweight gold. A fight that showcased the high-level wrestling and jiu-jitsu on display at the event. McGowan managed to open up a nasty cut on the face of Batchelor but, a similar story to before, it was the Shore MMA fighter who got the nod from all three judges, and ‘Young Money’ secured his first amateur title.
Cage Warriors welterweight, Oban Elliot, and teammate to Batchelor believe the “sky’s the limit” for him after his “dominant” performance.
Heading into the main event, it was Celtic Pride against Shore MMA, in the form of Ieuan Mackenzie and Kenzie Jones. Mackenzie who trains with UFC lightweight and attendee on the night, Mason Jones, came into the fight with a 5-3 record, whereas, Jones was looking to stay undefeated, already 4-0.
Round one was a back and forth wrestling display with Jones probably10-9 up. The second, however, saw Cardiff-based, Mackenzie shows off his ability. Strong in the clinch and great ground defense and offense, he clipped Jones a couple of times and was looking good.
Before the final round could take place, Jones’ coach, Richard Shore, was forced to retire his fighter, with Jones unable to continue, crowning Mackenzie the new featherweight champion. After the fight, Shore confirmed that Jones had broken his hand, justifying the fight being stopped.
After picking up another amateur title, fans of the sport better keep an eye on Ieuan Mackenzie who’s ready to start picking up more wins in his push to turn pro.
The Welsh mixed martial arts scene is growing rapidly and with fighters like Jack Shore and Mason Jones already making a name for themselves in the UFC, events like these are proving to be a breeding ground for young, hungry, Welsh talent.
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Featured Image Credits to Cage Warriors Academy Wales