Paul ‘Semtex’ Daley made short work for his Japanese opponent Yuya Shirai in the headline fight of BAMMA 5 in Manchester, England.
Daley was landing a stiff left jab early that was noticeably rocking Shirai. One such effort dropped Shirai but that was most likely because Shirai was attempting a kick at the time.
Nonetheless Shirai was being staggered by Daley’s short straight lefts and that gave Daley the green light to start throwing the harder shots.
He backed Shirai up, stalking him across the cage, then used a lead uppercut/left hook combination to put him down and out 14 seconds short of the two minute mark.
Shirai was out for a good long while and there were a cluster of medical staff around his prone figure long after Daley had finished his celebrations.
Once he was back on his feet the referee brought the pair to the centre for Daley to have his hand raised as the official winner.
However the BAMMA welterweight title was not brought in as Daley’s failure to make weight meant the clash was downgraded to a regular match with no belt on the line.
BAMMA did not stage a post event press conference and Daley did not want to do post-fight interviews, (although British outfit Whoa TV managed to get a few words with him which you can watch here.)
Daley has been told by Strikeforce he could be in line for a shot against welterweight champion Nick Diaz on April 9th. Discussions are underway with all the relevant parties.
Ricco Rodriguez went a step closer to getting fifty wins on his sheet with a unanimous decision victory over James McSweeney at BAMMA 5.
McSweeney started strong and demonstrated some nice technical thai boxing. Having recently been working with the Rino Wrestling team in the US, he also demonstrated his improved takedown defence.
Of course Rodriguez is a superb jiu jitsu player but like many of his ilk, not much of a takedown merchant and he was having his takedown efforts fended off pretty easily.
Its always been a puzzle to me how fighters who like the action to be on the floor don’t have much in the way of techniques to get it there, but many BJJ players (I don’t mean Rodriguez specifically) seem to regard wrestling as something almost irrelevant.
Anyway, McSweeney was in his element until (i) he started to gas and (ii) Rodriguez realised that the increasingly slow kicks McSweeney was throwing could be caught rather easily and turned into takedown efforts.
Suddenly Rodriguez was having success getting it to the floor but McSweeney was doing really well getting back to his feet and stopping the ground and pound when in his guard.
Rodriguez seemed content to sit in guard rather than look to pass it, although there were some efforts. When he did advance position he looked for submissions and there was a close kneebar-to-heel hook effort and a good kimura effort.
In the end the fight turned into a stalemate on the floor and the last round did little to thrill the arena. McSweeney knew he had lost and when the bell ended the last round he raised Rodriguez’s hand before the referee had a chance to.
Rodriguez improves to 46-11 with the win and said afterwards he wants to get to 50 wins this year. He is on an 11-fight winning streak but said recently he has no chance of getting called back to the UFC as he nearly destroyed that organisation some years ago (click here to read how).
Alex Makhonin took a huge risk stepping up to face the vastly more experienced Xavier ‘Professor X’ Foupa-Pokam at BAMMA 5 - and it very nearly backfired.
Pokam was the far better technical striker and was far bigger than Makhonin, who could do with dropping to welterweight for future international matches (UK fighters generally do not make big weight cuts in domestic fights).
Bringing all his vast experience, including a brace of UFC fights, to bear on Makhonin, Pokam was able to land some savage shots.
Two roundhouse kicks to the midsection in particular landed with sharp cracks that echoed around the MEN Arena and caused thousands of people to wince simultaneously.
Pokam had been looking for a body lock throw/lateral drop in the clinch but I have no idea why. There was no need for him to take the fight to the floor as he was pretty much coasting it on the feet.
Towards the end of the first he went for the throw again and ended up pulling mount. Makhonin was threatening with chokes in a flash and Pokam must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when the ten-second clapper sounded and he realised he wouldn’t be down there long.
So, you’re a top-level kickboxer, winning the fight on the feet and your throw attempt nearly cost you the fight. When you come out for the second round, what do you do?
What Pokam did was to kickbox a bit, lock up a clinch and then - and even as I type this I cannot believe he did it - went for that same throw again. And pulled mount, again.
This time there was plenty of time left on the clock and Makhonin absolutely savaged him. His mount was solid and once he climbed high on Pokam’s chest it was a matter of when not if the fight would be stopped.
Makhonin rained heavy elbows on Pokam and opened several bad cuts. The beleaguered Frenchman had nothing in the way of technical mount escapes to offer and with Makhonin hitting the turbo button and going for gold, the referee had to step in to save Pokam.
It was a huge win for Makhonin but even his manager admitted afterwards there had been a strong luck element in the victory. Pokam was philosophical afterwards, shrugging off the loss, but inside he must have been kicking (or throwing) himself.
Paul Daley vs. Yuya Shirai
Daley defeated Shirai via KO (punches) at 1:46 of round 1.
Catchweight bout: James McSweeney vs. Ricco Rodriguez
Rodriguez defeated McSweeney by unanimous decision.
Middleweight bout: Xavier Foupa-Pokam vs. Alex Makhonin
Makhonin defeated Foupa-Pokam by TKO (punches and elbows) at 4:48 of round 2.
Middleweight bout: Claudio Henrique Da Silva vs. Jean-Francois Lenogue
Da Silva defeated Lenogue via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:51 of round 1.
Welterweight bout: Leeroy Barnes vs. Mohsen Bahari
Bahari defeated Barnes via TKO (punches) at 0:40 of round 1.
Welterweight bout: Rob Mills vs. Leigh Cohoon
Cohoon defeated Mills via TKO (punches) at 4:16 of round 2.
Lightweight bout: Jason Ball vs. Peter Duncan
Ball defeated Duncan via KO (knees) at 2:00 of round 2.
Welterweight bout: Paul Cook vs. Michael Johnson
Johnson defeated Cook via unanimous decision.
Lightweight bout: Tim Newman vs. Diego Vital
Newton defeated Vital via split decision.
Lightweight bout: Costas Doru vs. Liam James
Doru defeated James via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:47 of round 1.
Lightweight bout: Franky Slater vs. Jeremy Petley
Petley defeated Slater via submission (armbar) at 0:36 of round 1.