Cage Warriors kicked off their latest series of three events, “The Trilogy”, on Thursday night with Cage Warriors 123 and a new middleweight champion was crowned in East London’s York Hall.
In the night’s main event, Nathias Frederick was looking to make the second defence of his title at 185 pounds, but Matthew Bonner had other ideas.
Bonner clearly had the grappling advantage and looked stronger than Frederick in the clinch and on the ground, while the champion looked the more confident in the striking stakes.
“The Beast” controlled much of the first round, landing a takedown and taking full mount to throw down some ground and pound in the opening five minutes’ most notable action.
Frederick seemed to be in a better rhythm in the second, but was deducted a point by the referee after driving an illegal knee into Bonner’s head while he was pinned against the cage and down on one knee. After a brief stoppage, Bonner was able to regroup well enough to end the round on top of the champion.
With a point deducted and his future as a champion in doubt, Frederick started the third stanza strongly and was able to land punches on Bonner, but the challenger was once again able to rally and use his grappling advantage to nullify his opponent’s striking skills to end another round on top on the ground.
The fourth round saw the fight’s finish as Bonner’s ground game paid off in a big way.
With around a minute remaining of the fourth round, Frederick was happy to stay in Bonner’s guard to rain down punches and elbows with his opponent pinned against the fence.
Bonner was able to create some space to scramble out of that precarious position and wound up taking Frederick’s back. From there, Bonner quickly slipped his arm under Frederick’s chin for a rear-naked choke attempt and, using his hand-to-hand grip, he was able to force Frederick to tap.
Incredible! Matt Bonner out of nowhere 👏
A submission stoppage in the 4th means we have a NEW champion 🏆
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) June 24, 2021
With that win, Bonner extended his winning run to four in a row, snapped Frederick’s nine-fight unbeaten streak, and lifted Cage Warriors gold. Not a bad night’s work.
Cage Warriors 123 full results
Cage Warriors Middleweight Championship: Matthew Bonner def. Nathias Frederick (c) via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:16 of round four
Middleweight: Christian Duncan def. Will Currie via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bantamweight: Liam Gittins def. Emrah Sommez via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:38
Flyweight: Sam Creasey def. Aaron Aby via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
Middleweight: Mick Stanton def. George Smith via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:45
Featherweight: Keir Harvie def. Manny Akpan via submission (arm triangle) – Round 1, 4:30
Welterweight: Omiel Brown def. Joel Downey-Cave via submission (guillotine choke) – Round 1, 2:56
Lightweight: Adam Cullen def. Josh Plant via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 1:42
Featherweight: Rory Evans def. Jimmy Fell via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 2:10