Darren Stewart picked up a big win over a former champion as he claimed a unanimous decision victory over former middleweight title-holder Matt Bonner in the main event of Cage Warriors 156 in Cardiff, Wales.

Stewart, who made his name as a striker earlier in his career, turned to his wrestling to secure the victory as he mixed up his game more effectively than Bonner to secure the unanimous decision verdict from the judges, who scored the bout 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.

Stewart made excellent use of his double-leg takedowns to repeatedly send Bonner down to the canvas, as “The Dentist” landed multiple blast doubles to take the former champion down to the mat. However, despite securing multiple takedowns, Bonner’s grit and determination saw him work his way back to his feet on each occasion.

With the action on the feet, both men scored with solid punches, but Stewart appeared to carry the power advantage. The former UFC man appeared to hurt Bonner on a couple of occasions as he connected with solid shots in the stand-up. Overall, though, it was Stewart’s ability to go from strikes to takedowns that proved crucial as he mixed things up well to prevent Bonner from gaining a foothold in the bout.

In the final round, Stewart’s takedowns started to fall just short, giving Bonner the chance to swing for the fences in a bid to turn the fight around. Then, for the first time in the fight, “The Beast” turned the tables and took Stewart to the mat. This time it was Stewart who fought his way back up, but he was met by a barrage of knees as Bonner landed flush on “The Dentist’s” chin on multiple occasions. Remarkably, Stewart didn’t go down and even managed to stem the tide with a well-executed takedown.

In the final 60 seconds, Bonner pushed forward in search of the knockout, but was visibly frustrated as Stewart landed yet another takedown. It meant the bout went all the way to the scorecards after a 15-minute war, with Stewart getting the nod from all three judges.

It means that Stewart now stands as the likely next challenger for the Cage Warriors middleweight title, which will be contested on July 21 at Cage Warriors 157 in London, when champion Mick Stanton and former champion James Webb face off for the second time at the Indigo at The O2.

In the night’s co-main event, Reece McEwen proudly flew the flag for Scottish MMA with a second-round TKO finish of Brazil’s Leonardo de Oliveira to further his growing reputation in the 135-pound division.

McEwan controlled the action throughout before eventually finishing his man with ground and pound mid-way through the second round to improve his record to 7-1 and extend his win streak to four. And, with back-to-back second-round submission finishes, the Scot will be hoping his next matchup puts him in position for a run towards the 135-pound title.

‘The Vice’ chokes out his man

Andy “The Vice” Clamp was dancing with delight after securing a first-round submission victory over Dutch striker Ghassan Abdenabi in their light heavyweight bout.

Clamp quickly took the action to the mat and, after taking some time in half-guard, eventually moved to Abdenabi’s back. Once there, he got both hooks locked in, snatched the Dutchman’s neck, and choked his man unconscious with a tight rear-naked choke.

It took less than four minutes for Clamp to secure the victory, as the popular Englishman picked up his first Cage Warriors victory in fine style.

Eglin scores come-from-behind TKO

In one of the most exciting bouts of the night, Jack Eglin scored an impressive second-round TKO finish over local favorite Rory Evans in their bantamweight bout.

Evans took control early and, after taking the action to the canvas, aggressively pursued the first-round finish as he locked up an arm-triangle choke and eventually worked his way free of Eglin’s half-guard to apply maximum pressure on the Englishman.

But Eglin managed to survive the round, then came out all guns blazing after the restart. Eglin let his hands go with vicious intent, mixing up his shots between head strikes and powerful body shots to put Evans in big trouble up against the fence.

The finish seemed inevitable and after Eglin easily stuffed two desperation shots from the Welshman, the man from Melksham eventually forced the finish with an extended barrage of punches and knees that prompted referee Marc Goddard to step in and wave off the bout at the 2:53 mark of the second round.

Quinn gets off to a flyer

The night’s opening main card bout was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it affair, as debuting former two-time Cage Warriors Academy champion Jimmy Quinn produced a highlight-reel finish to knock out Dan Kneil after just 10 seconds of their bantamweight matchup.

Quinn, a former dancer with Britain’s Got Talent winners “Diversity” build a strong reputation as a finisher of fights as an amateur. And, after a fight camp spent in California with the MMA Fight Academy, Quinn stepped into the cage for his professional debut and finished his man with a beautiful short left hook to claim a show-stealing victory on his professional debut.

Preliminary card recap

In the night’s featured preliminary card bout, Shore MMA featherweight Scott Pedersen improved his pro record to 4-3-1 with his third successive first-round finish.

Pedersen needed just two minutes and 15 seconds to submit Yohan Salvador via rear-naked choke to put him in a rich vein of form heading into the second half of the year.

Elsewhere, featherweight Milad Ahady picked up an impressive victory in his featherweight bout with Brazil’s Marcondes Bastos. Ahady’s striking looked light years ahead of Bastos, who needed to be helped back to his stool at the end of a punishing opening round.

To his credit, the Brazilian came out of his corner for Round 2, but was pieced up by more slick striking from Ahady, who registered his first Cage Warriors finish in style.

The prelims also saw a dramatic buzzer-beater submission from Wales’ Stephanie Evans, who choked out Malgorzata Tkocz in the final second of the opening round of their featherweight matchup.

Tkocz started fast, but it was Evans who finished strongest as she took down her opponent and locked up a tight rear-naked choke with seconds remaining in the round. The choke was locked in tight, and Tkocz tried to survive the round, throwing punches over her shoulder at Evans’ face as the final seconds counted down. But Evans kept the pressure on and eventually choked her opponent unconscious just before the horn sounded to end the round.

The opening bout of the night saw El Hadji Ndiaye bounce back from a tough opening round to claim a unanimous decision victory over MMA Fight Academy prospect Marin Vetrila.

Ndiaye returned to his corner looking exhausted after a grapple-heavy opening round, but “Game Day” pushed the pace and dominated the action through Rounds 2 and 3 to claim the win, with all three judges scoring the bout 29-28 in the Senegalese fighter’s favor.

Cage Warriors 156: Official results


  • Darren Stewart def. Matt Bonner via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Reece McEwan def. Leonardo de Oliveira via TKO (ground strikes) – Round 2, 3:52
  • Andy Clamp def. Ghassan Abdenabi via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 3:44
  • Jack Eglin def. Rory Evans via TKO (punches and knees) – Round 2, 2:53
  • Jimmy Quinn def. Dan Kneil via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 0:10


  • Scott Pedersen def. Yohan Salvador via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 2:15
  • Milad Ahady def. Marcondes Bastos via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:10
  • Stephanie Evans def. Malgorzata Tkocz via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:59
  • El Hadji Ndiaye def. Marin Vetrila via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)