Phoenix Fighting Championship 3 London.
September 22nd at the Indigo O2.
On arrival to the venue known for the MTGP series, immediately we noticed that Phoenix FC were making their own stamp on the setup.
The lighting rig above the ring, the walkway to the ring and the black back drop across the rear of the venue, it was slowly taking shape and ready to give us a super show with a cross of MMA and Muay Thai with some of the UK’s best versus the rest of the world.
Show MC Grant Waterman was full of enthusiasm as he was warming up his vocal chords.
Commentators, Muay Thai veteran Dave Fensom, British UFC star Brad Pickett, Cage Warriors commentator Bradley Wharton along with the famous voice of Will Vanders and of course the Fight Sport equivalent of Johnathan Ross, Danny Kendrick they had a plethora of knowledge and talent to talk the viewers through the evenings bouts.
Fight 1 Lightweight MMA-
Chase Morton (UK) versus Steve Aimable (UK)
Round 1 starts with an immediate takedown for Aimable, Morton quickly evading any attempts of a quick sub and bringing the bout back to the stand up.
Morton looking the more dangerous of the two fighters with his striking but Aimable again taking the fight to the canvas.
Round 2 starts with Steve landing the first blow with a sharp low kick, Chase now changing roles by leading the takedown. Aimable quickly takes control and starts resting on Morton. Morton again looking to take the fight back to standing up but Aimable again slamming Morton to the canvas with a big takedown. Steve looks to get Chase locked into an arm triangle but huge credit to a tough Morton he cleverly escapes.
The round is finished off with Morton attempting a guillotine but Aimable again with a huge takedown.
Round 3 starts and CM looking more comfortable standing up, Aimable again leading the takedown and winning the ground battles. Every time CM gets his hands going, Aimable takes the fight to the deck.
Winner via unanimous decision Steve Aimable.
Fight 2 Lightweight MMA-
Alfie Davis (UK) versus Youssef Wehbe (Lebanon).
This bout is hugely anticipated match up between the popular Davis coming off the back of his recent win on Bellator and the highly talented Wehbe who trains out of Phuket Top Team.
Round 1 starts with Davis landing two big and unreturned body kicks. Confident already, Davis throws one of his famous axe kicks which Wehbe smoothly evades and taking him down, Davis quickly reversing the submission attempt with some nice ground strikes inside Wehbes guard. Davis continued to dominate the round and finishes by attempting the rear naked choke.
Davis starts round 2 again with 2 left body kicks, Wehbe looking for the takedown attempt but Davis in full control and looking strong finds himself in a dominant position. Alfie looking relaxed attempts a guillotine but Wehbe escapes and secures a dominant position on the ground and finishing the round with 3 solid knee strikes on the deck.
Round 3 is just a stand up battle with Davis landing some lovely kicks to the body followed up with some sharp knees to the midsection of Wehbe.
Wehbe looking to avoid trading is aiming for takedowns but Davis cleverly evading these and exiting with some quality knees to the body of Wehbe.
Final bell goes and the winner is Alfie Davis via unanimous decision.
(For what it is worth, Alfie Davis has UFC written all over him).
Fight 3 Featherweight MMA-
Ashleigh Grimshaw (UK) versus Izzeddin Derbani (Jordan).
Tentative opening form the 2 fighters with a nice show of conduct from Derbani helping Grimshaw up from the canvas. Derbani showing some crisp hands with a nice uppercut on Grimshaw, Grimshaw looking to close the distance with takedown attempts. Derbani is dominating the stand up clinch and landing nice body kicks, Grimshaw finishes the round with a cut.
Round 2 and Derbani looking the more dangerous of the 2 standing up with some short, sharp strikes but Grimshaw looking for his back and the takedown, eventually managing to secure a rear naked choke which Derbani fights to hold it off until the end of the round.
As we enter the 3rd, it is similar to round 2 with Derbani looking for the stand up battle but Grimshaw again taking the fight to the ground.
Winner via points is Ashleigh Grimshaw.
Fight 4 Middleweight MMA-
Bola Omoyele (UK) versus Moise Rimbon (France).
Slow and cautious opening with at least 2 minutes passing before anything happens. Moise taking it down to the ground but Bola looking for the triangle submission. Slow battle on the ground and Omoyele is saved by the bell as Rimbon looks to lock in the rear naked choke.
As the 2nd starts it’s Bola who leads the round with a single leg take down. Very little getting done with the referee resetting both fighters in the centre of the ring.
The round ends with Bola evading a late Americana attempt.
Round 3 starts with Rimbon throwing a high kick, Bola goes for the counter takedown but Moise reversing this and secures an arm triangle.
Winner via submission is Moise Rimbon (France).
Fight 5 Bantamweight MMA-
Anissa Haddoui (Morocco) versus Antonina Shevchenko (Peru).
This exciting female MMA bout is between a kickboxing world champion and a Muay Thai world champion so the opening exchange of low kicks and boxing had the crowd buzzing. The left body kick from Shevchenko is landing each time and she is wrapping her opponent up at the end of each one with a strong Thai clinch.
Shevchenko edging the round with dangerous left straight and left body kicks.
Round 2 is still a stand up battle with Haddoui looking to close the distance but Shevchenko counters with crisp array of boxing and low kicks. Shevchenko finishes this round strong in the clinch with some strong knees up the centre and straight into a heavy takedown.
As round 3 starts, Haddoui has a big welting on her right cheek bone. Shevchenko again continuing the bout with heavy left straight and left kick. Haddoui looking to try and get close again but Shevchenko with a sharp 1-2.
Antonina showing her confidence now throws a great spinning back fist out of nowhere, straight into the takedown where she is also dominating the ground.
Winner via unanimous decision Antonina Shevchenko.
Fight 6 Light Heavyweight MMA-
Saulo Cavalari (Brazil) versus Pavel Doroftei (UK)
Round 1 of this MMA bout is the MMA debut for ex Glory World Champ Cavalari. Cavalari showing his stand up credentials immediately by landing some heavy body kicks.
Pavel throwing a big overhand right which narrowly misses. Cavalari quickly wrapping Doroftei into the clinch and landing a clean elbow again Pavel with that dangerous overhand right being thrown to push Cavalari back.
Doroftei taking control of the round now and is looking to secure the heel hook he is known for, as he locks it in, Cavalari quickly taps out.
Winner via submission is Pavel Doroftei.
Fight 7 Muay Thai-
Alex Bublea (UK) versus Xie Wei (China)
Strong opening to this bout from Bublea with a nice switch kick to the body, a spinning back fist attempt by Xie Wei missing Bublea. Bublea scoring nicely with his body kicks, showing great balance on the supporting leg when one was caught. The round finishing with Bublea dominating the clinch and strong knees to the torso of Wei.
Fast opening to the 2nd round with Wie rushing Alex and twice throwing him the canvas. Wie trying a 3rd but Bublea slipping nicely and taking the back of Wie.
As the round progresses, a cut has appeared on the cheek of Wie, Bublea is now punishing him in the clinch, AB finishing the 2nd strongly hurting Wie with a big elbow to the head.
Wie starting the 3rd rushing Bublea but Alex calmly tying him up in the clinch. Bublea now setting the pace with a straight right hand and big body kick. As we near the end of the 3rd, Bublea lands a nice long knee to Wie and a sweet right hook to the body and kick.
Winner via unanimous decision is Alex Bublea.
Fight 8 Muay Thai-
Azize Hlali (France) versus Charlie Peters (UK).
Nice opening to this bout between the experienced Hlali and the popular Peters of Double K gym in Bexley.
Peters throwing a sweet right body kick which Hlali returns one of his own but Peters slipping nicely. Hlali is looking to tie Peters up in the clinch but Peters keeping him at range with an array of well time body kicks.
The round ends with a nice throw from Peters in the clinch. This is a real back and forth technical battle.
As the 2nd starts it’s fairly even with both fighters throwing an exchange of body kicks and scoring well. Peters the stronger clincher of the 2 and this is acknowledged by his corner team.
Peters finishing the round stronger with a nice body hook into kick.
As we enter the final round, it’s a more cautious opening from both. Peters again scoring well with kicks and in the clinch.
From the clinch, Peters lands a nice 12 to 6 elbow to the head of Hlali.
The final bells goes.
Winner via unanimous decision is Charlie Peters.
Fight 9 Muay Thai-
Stephen Wakeling (UK) versus Cheikh Sidibe (France)
The 9th bout of the night is the return of (in my opinion) the best Thai/K1 rules cruiserweight fighter in the world, Stephen Wakeling.
The bout opens with a heavy low kick from Wakeling and quickly ties Sidibe up into the clinch and hurting him with knees.
Sidibe on the back foot throws a teep into the body of Wakeling. SW catches this and counters, stepping in with an elbow.
Wakeling showing his composure and scoring well, hurting Sidibe again with a sharp elbow. CS looking hurt is quickly saved by the bell.
2nd round is the same as the first. Wakeling not showing any signs of ring rust against a tough and experienced opponent in Sidibe.
Wakeling is pushing forward the whole round and is backing Sidibe up with a barrage of elbows in the corner, Big round for the Brit.
3rd round now and Wakleing with some powerful chopping low kicks after a strong 1-2 combo. Sidibe is offering very little to no return and Wakeling is dominating every area of this fight.
We enter the 4th round and Sidibe to his credit is still standing. He looks hurt and out of ideas but most definitely showing his mettle. Wakeling throwing a strong low kick into Sidibe and immediately grimacing.
The referee jumps in and calls a halt to the fight with Wakeling unable to continue.
Absolutely gutting ending to the fight with Sidibe winning via referee stoppage with Wakeling unable to continue due to a suspected shin break.
Fight 10 Muay Thai-
This bout is the between the much talked about match up between current Raja champion Boughanem and UK no4 Artur Saladiak.
Saladiak coming under a lot of negative comments from many on social media but to his credit, he saved a fight by replacing his team mate Jake Purdy and fighting a man not many others would take.
The 1st round is a calm one from Saladiak and very different from his usual style. He is moving round the ring and stepping out nicely from being backed into the corner by the dangerous Boughanem.
YB picking away at Arturs lead leg which is showing some welting.
2nd round now and Saladiak is getting his leg taken by a strong YB. Boughanem is now upping the tempo and got Saladiak on the back foot.
Youssef comes into the 3rd very fast and looking for an obvious stoppage. Saladiak very sharply lands an upwards elbow to the cheek of Boughanem, showing his experience Youssef shrugs it off and continues the onslaught.
Artur is showing some huge heart in this battle but referee Tony Myers steps in gives Saladiak the 8 count. The bout resumes but Youseef now, sensing a weakness rushes Saladiak and some big shots drops him to the canvas.
Referee Myers calling a halt to the fight.
Winner via stoppage Youssef Boughanem.
Fight 11 Muay Thai-
Ahmed Ondash (Lebanon) Versus Nathan Bendon (UK).
Tentative opening from the fighters as they exchange respective low kicks, both guys looking to command the centre of the ring.
Ondash calling Bendon forward with the pace picking up now, Bendon finishing strongly with a nicely placed body kick.
Lively opening to round 2, Ondash and Bendon exchanging kicks before engaging into the clinch with both guys throwing some sharp knees.
Bendon edging this round now with well timed long knee and low kick.
Again, a kick for kick exchange but is halted with a nice step in knee from Bendon.
Strong round from the British fighter.
Bendon now pushing the pace in the 3rd with a nice over hand right and knee.
Showing he can mix it up with a decent 1-2 combo.
Bendon now taking full control of the fight, scoring well before Ondash is given a standing 8 count.
The fight resumes and Bendon immediately rushes Ondash who again is stopped by the referee.
Winner via referee stoppage is Nathan Bendon.
Fight 12 Muay Thai-
Leyton Collymore (UK) versus Rafael Fiziev (Kyrgyzstan).
Nice start to this fight from the young fighter Collymore who is using his range and height to his advantage over the man described by UFC supremo Dana White as ‘Neo’ (The Matrix). Leyton is scoring well with no reply from Fiziev who so far is only trying get close and attempt a big overhand.
Round 2 starts how the 1st finished with Collymore scoring well and switching kicks nicely to the body of Rafael.
Rafael finishes the round strong with some nice body shots.
Collymore opens the 3rd with a big teep, Rafael looking to counter by attempting to step in with an elbow but Collymore smartly moves out the way. Fiziev is looking dangerous with his left body shot but Leyton again scoring well with a nicely placed body kick.
As the round ends, Collymore ties Fiziev up into the clinch to consolidate his win.
Winner via unanimous decision, Leyton Collymore.
Fight 13 Muay Thai-
Steven ‘Panda’ Banks (USA) versus Daniel Sam (UK).
Even opening from the 2 big guys with Sam throwing a big body kick into the side of Banks.
Banks showing what he has too with a nice return kick. Very cautious opening from these guys in the 1st.
Kick for kick opening to the 2nd with Sam landing a big straight right hand.
Banks is now trying to push Sam back and attempts a left elbow. Sam tying up his American opponent into the clinch and taking his back and scoring cleanly.
Sam opens round 3 with some crisp boxing finishing with a big head kick, Banks now looking visibly rocked, referee Jompop jumps in and gives Banks a standing 8 count.
Fight restarts and Banks immediately walks onto a straight right hand which wobbles him, Jompop immediately jumping in and bringing a halt to this fight.
Winner via stoppage is Daniel Sam.