Charles Byrd chokes John Phillips for UFC debut win

A fight between two UFC debutants headlined the UFC London undercard, Wales’ John Phillips and American Charles Byrd.

Given Phillips’ power and penchant for spectacular knockouts, Byrd wisely took Phillips down in an instant, landing himself in full mount. Former Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series contestant Byrd displayed some impressive, suffocating ground work.

Phillips took everything Byrd had in terms of his thudding ground and pound, eventually squirming to half guard. But Byrd soon took the Welshman’s back and synched in a rear-naked choke.

Phillips tapped and it was Byrd who claimed victory on his UFC debut and celebrated with some extraordinary breakdancing.


Danny Roberts quickly dispatches Oliver Enkamp

Both Danny Roberts and Oliver Enkamp had last opponents, and defeats, in common against Nordine Taleb. But it was Liverpool’s Roberts who managed to overcome his setback in the Octagon.

The bout looked evenly-matched in its early embers as Roberts and Enkamp exchanged strikes on the feet.

But as Sweden’s Enkamp threw a tame push kick, Roberts came over the top with a lethal left straight hand to send his opponent spinning to the ground. Referee Leon Roberts quickly flung himself into action, stopping Roberts from dishing out any unnecessary punishment.

Danny Henry ends it quick in win over Hakeem Dawodu

“Squeeze that neck, cash that cheque,” were the words from a victorious Danny Henry after he choked upcoming Canadian talent Hakeem Dawodu unconscious in just 39 seconds.

It all started when Scotsman Henry landed a big right straight to send Dawodu reeling on the canvas.

As Dawodu scrambled to get to his feet, Henry began to search for his opponent’s neck. Eventually, he found it – promptly wrapped his arms around it – and squeezed until Dawodu passed out.

Impressive underdog victory for Henry, who is now 2-0 in the UFC.

Paul Craig pulls off stunning triangle choke win with just one second left in the fight

Light heavyweight Paul Craig may have pulled off one of the most stunning come-from-behind wins you’ll ever see in the Octagon.

On the feet and on the ground, Russia’s Magomed Ankalaev was having the better of his Scottish counterpart.

The third round had developed into a carbon copy of the two rounds previous. Craig and Ankalaev traded shots with reckless abandon before the former took the fight down to the mat. From there, Ankalaev would work his way to a dominant position with Craig on his back to close off the round.

As the clapper went off to signal the final 10 seconds of the fight’s last round, Craig jumped into action from his back. The Scot threw his legs up, wrapping them around the neck of Ankalaev to synch in a triangle choke. The Russian duly tapped with just a second remaining. Incredible.

“Did you hear those fans? It didn’t go my way in Glasgow last time so to be able to get that finish for the Scottish fans tonight was something special,” Craig said after the fight. “Listen, people say the Irish fans are the best but the Scottish fans are so loud and so supportive. To come back after two losses and get that finish, it just means so much.

“My coach jumped into the Octagon and said I had finished it with only seconds to spare. Now I’m going to take my kids to Disneyland and give them something special to make up for all the time I spend training and preparing.”

Kajan Johnson edges close split decision win over Stevie Ray

Canadian Kajan Johnson was stepping into enemy territory as he took on Scotland’s Stevie Ray, but there can be no claims of favouritism with the result of this split decision win.

It was a close, tentative fight with Ray marching forward as the aggressor and Johnson on the retreat for most of the fight. Johnson smartly avoided most of Ray’s shots in the opening round, keeping the Scot at bay with leg kicks.

Johnson enjoyed the better of the second round, controlling the majority of the five minutes with Ray underneath him on the ground. However, the third round saw Ray land a number of punches which hurt Johnson and Ray undoubtedly had his best showing in the fight’s final stages, finishing on a high.

The judges awarded the fight 29-28, 29-28, 28-29 in favour of Johnson in a split decision – much to the victor’s surprise as he mouthed “wow.” The decision largely came down to an ultra-close first round which was nearly impossible to score, but that didn’t matter to the fans in attendance who booed vociferously.

Dmitriy Sosnovskiy makes triumphant UFC debut

UFC London is headlined by a Russian heavyweight in Alexander Volkov, and his compatriot and fellow heavyweight Dmitriy Sosnovskiy opened the show in some style.

Sosnovskiy made his UFC debut on Saturday against durable Brit Mark Godbeer and his grappling expertise was ultimately the difference.

The bulk of the fight took place on the ground thanks to the Russian’s takedowns. Sosnovskiy constantly threatened Godbeer with submissions to keep his opponent guessing, almost securing a kimura in the second round.

But with both fighters brought back to fight on their feet by referee Grant Waterman with one minute remaining, Sosnovskiy began scoring on the feet. The fight once again quickly went down to the canvas and Sosnovskiy quickly took full mount before moving to Godbeer’s back.

After landing numerous heavy punches from Godbeer’s back, Sosnovskiy quickly snatched the neck of his English opponent and forced his foe to tap with just 30 seconds left in the round.

An impressive Octagon debut for Sosnovskiy.

UFC London: Werdum vs. Volkov preliminary card results:

Middleweight bout: Charles Byrd defeats John Phillips by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:58 of round one.

Welterweight bout: Danny Roberts defeats Oliver Enkamp by KO (punches) at 2:12 of round one.

Featherweight bout: Danny Henry defeats Hakeem Dawodu by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:39 of round one.

Light Heavyweight bout: Paul Craig defeats Magomed Ankalaev by submission (triangle choke) at 4:59 of round three.

Lightweight bout: Kajan Johnson defeats Stevie Ray by split decision after three rounds. (Judges’ scorecards: 29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

Heavyweight bout: Dmitriy Sosnovskiy defeats Mark Godbeer by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:29 of round two.