THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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It was billed as the biggest fight in British MMA history as Tom “Kong” Watson defended his Middleweight title against the darling of the tabloid press Alex Reid in the main event of BAMMA 4, shown this past Friday night on Bravo here in Britain.
The broadcast began with three fights in the lightweight division, beginning with David Round against Harvey Harra.
Fast paced back and forth action was the order of the day here. Both men went for numerous submission attempts in the first round.
They continued the pace into the second, only this time Harra had some success after Round took him down, securing the win with a guillotine to end a very entertaining affair.
Then it was on to Scott Jansen against Stuart Davies.
Another nice back and forth battle saw Jansen going for the ground and pound early on, but Davies wasn’t put off one bit, always working with his legs, always looking to escape.
Halfway through the first round his work paid off as Jansen left himself open for an arm bar, giving Davies the submission win.
A.J. Wenn against Tim Newman followed.
This was another good fight which saw both men put in some good work in the first round. Newman in particular looked very good.
But as the Welshman began to up his game in the second Wenn suddenly countered, turning a rubber guard into a triangle choke for the very impressive submission win.
Welterweight action in the form of Gunnar Nelson against Eugene Fadiora followed.
Both fighters came into this one undefeated, and the highly regarded Nelson put on another good display of ground fighting, overwhelming Fadiora as soon as they went down.
Fadiora tried to fight back, but it wasn’t enough as the Icelander took his back. Fadiora tried to stand up, but as he did Nelson synched in a neck crank for the great submission win.
It was up to the middleweight division for the next encounter as John Phillips went up against James Zikic.
Given that the majority pf Phillips’ wins had come by TKO it was pretty obvious how this was going to play out.
Phillips went to work with the heavy leather early on, and although Zikic was able to counter with some shots on the inside it was a body shot from Phillips that sent Zikic down. The referee quickly stepped in and called a halt to proceedings as Phillips took home another TKO win.
The highly publicised main event saw Alex Reid challenging Tom Watson for the Middleweight title.
This fight certainly lived up to the hype. Nobody, myself included, thought that Reid had a chance against someone as skilled as Watson.
Reid came forward from the opening bell and rocked the champion a number of times in the first, opening up a cut above Watson’s right eye.
But Kong was able to fight back and as the fight progressed it became clear that Reid wasn’t going to back down.
Reid’s good performance continued throughout the fight, but it wasn’t enough to put Watson away as he slowly asserted his authority, and as the fight entered the fifth and final round Reid’s face was a mess, and his left eye was almost closed.
Watson took control in the firth with a big shot. Brief trips to the ground followed, but neither man could get the job done, especially as the fatigue factor came into play.
So after five outstanding rounds the judges were called into action, with Watson getting the unanimous decision, setting up a future date with John Phillips.
In conclusion – this was British MMA at it’s best, a strong undercard with an outstanding main event between two men who gave their all.
I really can’t speak too highly of this fight, and even though I was critical of Reid getting a title shot, especially has he hasn’t had an MMA fight since 2007 and a win since 2005 he put in a hell of a performance, the best I’ve ever seen from him.
But the main event wasn’t the only big news, as the BAMMA 5 main event for December 4th was announced, with “Crazy Bear” Stav Economu taking on none other than “The Beast” Bob Sapp, and after he pulled out of his last proposed British fight a few years ago let’s hope he actually turns up for this one!