By Jake Smith
Of the five IMMAF alumni who competed on Cage Warriors The Trilogy 3, Christian Duncan took home the biggest win of his career while Tobias Harila has marked himself as a serious contender in the Featherweight Division.
Christian Leeroy Duncan’s perfect start to professional life continued at Cage Warriors 120, with a second round TKO victory over Will ‘Drago’ Currie, although the circumstances in which the bout was deemed over were somewhat controversial
After dropping the first round, Duncan knew he had to try something different. He opened the second round with a flying knee, catching Currie flush on the chin and backing him up against the cage. Duncan then unloaded a flurry of shots onto Currie’s head. The referee was taking a close look at the action but decided not to step in.
Seconds later, Currie appeared to be finding his way in on a double leg with Duncan still chipping away with shots. It was at that point the referee stepped in and waved the contest off, much to the despair of Will Currie, who appeared to be fit to carry on.
In his post fight interview, Duncan was happy to explain why he had delayed a while before joining the professional ranks. He credited the IMMAF platform with preparing him not only for his first professional bouts but those he will have in the years to come. He said: ‘I went to the IMMAFs, the worlds, so there you are fighting guys from all over the world and each guy you fight has a very different style.
“So, if we are taking this 5 years down the line, by the time you’re at UFC level, you’re going to be fighting these guys from around the world. If you only get used to the style where you’re from, when you go to those other regions, for example in the UFC, you’re going to need to adapt. It’s better to get the experience early so when you match up in a later game, you’re ready.”
When Tobias Harila was matched against Aidan Stephen in the first bout of his Cage Warriors contract, it was clear the promotion had big plans for the Swede. Stephen was the highest level opponent ‘Bad Intention’ has faced in the professional game. Stephen’s ground game was an area that had been highlighted as a potential stumbling block for Harila and 40 seconds into the fight, Stephen shot for a double leg. Harila immediately sprawled and ended up in a top half guard. Staying calm and collected, Harila landed some heavy ground and pound before methodically working to find some space and unloading a huge right hand onto the chin of Stephen. Harila needed just over a minute to get the job done and with that victory, he has now moved to the upper echelons of the stacked 145lb division.
Former European Open bronze medallist, Scott Pedersen‘s long awaited professional debut against fellow debutant Matthew Elliott did not end in the fashion the IMMAF medalist would have dreamt of. Elliott’s elite judo and wrestling skills came to fruition early into the bout and led to a dominating performance from Irishman Elliott.
Meanwhile, Swedish athlete Rostem Akman’s road back to the UFC took a big knock as he dropped out of the Cage Warriors Welterweight tournament. In his first bout since being released by the UFC, Akman faced top Irish prospect, Ian Garry. In the second round, Garry pushed forward and after backed Akman up against the cage, before unleashing a monstrous head kick, which sent Akman crashing to the canvas & the fight being waved off.
Finally, Michele Martignoni was another alumni to taste defeat, with the Italian being handed his first loss in the professional ranks by rising star, Nathan Fletcher.
Image credit: Cage Warriors/Dolly Clew