Modestas Bukauskas produced arguably the best finish of his career to knock out Chuck Campbell and recapture the Cage Warriors light heavyweight title at Cage Warriors 148 in London.
The event, billed as Team Europe vs. Team USA, saw two title changes on the night, with new champions crowned at light heavyweight and flyweight. But it was Bukauskas who had the last word, with his one-shot finish of Campbell seeing him reunited with the 205-pound title he never lost in the cage.
Bukauskas came out looking noticeably more aggressive than in his recent win over Lee Chadwick as he opened up with spinning kicks and took control of the center of the cage. “The Baltic Gladiator” proceeded to stalk Campbell around the cage, looking to land big shots, while Campbell seemed a little tentative as his first-round efforts were concentrated more on avoiding Bukauskas’ strikes than landing big shots of his own.
The same pattern continued through the opening three rounds, with Bukauskas calling the tune and pushing the pace on Campbell. But, despite dominating the action, the England-based Lithuanian wasn’t quite able to connect cleanly enough with one of his power shots.
That all changed in the opening seconds of Round 4, when he landed a huge straight right that connected flush to the chin of Campbell, who face-planted into the canvas. It was a stunning way to round off a spectacular night of action at the Indigo at The O2, as Team Europe claimed a 3-2 win over Team USA.
Reis dominates to claim decision win
In the co-main event, former UFC flyweight title challenger Wilson Reis chalked up a victory for Team USA as the San Diego-based Brazilian picked up a dominant decision win over Tuomas Gronvall in their bantamweight bout.
Gronvall looked a little faster than the Brazilian veteran early on, but Reis soon found his stride and took control of the bout. His punches carried more weight in the stand-up, while his elite grappling proved to be too good for Gronvall on the mat.
The Finnish contender did well to defend from Reis’ submission threat, but overall he didn’t quite have enough answers to turn the bout in his favor. It meant that Reis ran out a comfortable winner on the scorecards, 30-27, 30-27, 29-27, as he claimed the 26th win of his career, his second straight victory under the Cage Warriors banner, and edged himself closer to a possible bantamweight title shot in 2023.
Harila stuns Wilson with perfect elbow
Swedish featherweight Tobias Harila produced one of the shots of the night to stop previously undefeated American Damon Wilson and claim a huge TKO win for Team Europe in their 145-pound clash.
Harila and Wilson both arrived in London promising to serve up a crowd-pleasing scrap, and it looked like Wilson was having the better of the action early on as he used his wrestling to take Harila to the mat, while also pushing the pace in the stand-up.
But that desire to push Harila onto the back foot ended up costing Wilson, as Harila threw a perfectly-timed short elbow up the middle that connected flush on the American’s chin, dropping him hard to the canvas. A few ground strikes were all that were needed to convince referee Marc Goddard that the fight was done, and the bout was waved off to give Harila a huge stoppage victory, and a big win for Team Europe.
The main card also saw notable wins for former UFC veteran Darren Stewart, who scored a first-round TKO finish of Spanish submission specialist Guilherme Cadila, and for Italy’s Dario Bellandi, who claimed Team Europe’s first win of the night with a first-round TKO of America’s Justin Barry in their middleweight bout.
Haque blasts his way to flyweight gold
On the preliminary card, Shaj Haque produced a highlight reel knockout to stun Sam Creasey and capture the Cage Warriors flyweight title.
Creasey dropped the challenger in the first and third rounds with flash knockdowns but, on both occasions, Haque bounced straight back up looking unruffled. Then, after showing he could take Creasey’s best shots, Haque delivered one of his own.
A huge overhand right connected flush to knock out Creasey before he hit the canvas as Haque stopped and watched the fruits of his labor, rather than apply unnecessary additional shots to the defeated champion. It meant that the 32-year-old from South Shields had finally reached the top of the flyweight tree, and in spectacular fashion, too.
There was also an eye-catching performance from American welterweight prospect Chasen Blair, who needed just 12 seconds to finish Helio Hernandez in the first Team Europe vs. Team USA bout of the night.
Blair timed Hernandez perfectly in the opening seconds of the bout to drop his man to the mat, then finished him with a barrage of ground strikes to improve his record to three wins, one loss and claim a win for Team USA.
Cage Warriors 148: Official Results
- Modestas Bukauskas def. Chuck Campbell via knockout (punch) – Round 4, 0:22– for vacant light heavyweight title
- Wilson Reis def. Tuomas Gronvall via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27)
- Tobias Harila def. Damon Wilson via TKO (elbow and ground strikes) – Round 2, 1:30
- Darren Stewart def. Guilherme Cadena via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 1, 2:05
- Dario Bellandi def. Justin Barry via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 1, 3:42
- Shajidul Haque def. Sam Creasey (c) via knockout (punch) – Round 3, 3:42 – for flyweight title
- Chasen Blair def. Helio Hernandez via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:12
- Emrah Sonmez def. Adam Meskini via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Nathan Fletcher def. Alessandro Giordano via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Omiel Brown def. Junior Orghulo via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 2, 3:12
- Samuel Bark def. Orlando Wilson Prins via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)