Cage Warriors 131: Bonner vs Melan – Recap and Results

The leader in European MMA landed back in London with the first of their next events. Cage Warriors Double Trouble is a continuation of their current series of multiple fight cards over a weekend however we see two, instead of three cards this weekend.

CW131 was badly hampered as a positive COVID test for Mehdi Ben Lakhdar forced the cancellation of the fantastic co-main. After Joe McColgan’s recent vacation of the 155lb title, George Hardwick and Mehdi Ben Lakhdar were scheduled to contest for it. This pushed Kinglsey Crawford vs Liam Gittens to the main card.

Main Card:

  • Main Event: Djati Mélan defeats Matthew Bonner via Unanimous Decision.

York Hall saw the Middleweight title on the line. Matthew Bonner looked to defend the title he won from Team Renegade’s Nathias Fredrick at CW123. Djati Mélan returns to the Cage Warriors banner as Bonner’s dance partner.

The first two rounds were dominant in favour of Mélan. His explosive takedowns and dynamic guard passing ended with Mélan traversing the mount and back positions. A cocktail of positional control and peppering shots slid across the bar for Bonner to sip on. To his credit, Bonnar survived the positions, rode out the bad positions despite referee Dan Movehedi taking some close looks at the damage that Mélan was dealing.

Round three was a similar story, dominant positional control from Mélan. However Bonner is visibly the fresher fighter. Mélan landed a clear illegal knee, to which a point was not taken. On the restart Bonner put on his running shoes and chased his man round the cage, looking to capitalise on the positional restart.

The championship rounds Bonner shot out of the blocks synonymous of a man that was three rounds down on the scorecards. Mélan bided his time, hit a lovely level change to takedown and normalcy ensued. With 40 seconds to go, Bonnar rose to his feet and snatched a very tight guillotine in the takedown transition. Djati did all the right things, posting his hands and rotating his shoulders in, to free the head from the guillotine.

Four rounds down. Bonnar sprints out of the corner, and immediately puts its on his opponent. The fairy-tale comeback energy started to surged through the crowd as Bonner, chin down, hunted his man who was scraping himself across the cage wall, mouth open. The shots came thick and fast, clipping Mélan over and over, a survival mode takedown landed Bonner on the ground, is he out? He is not, he rises again and for the last 40 seconds did everything in his power to get his man out of the cage. It wasn’t to be. The four round dominance was enough for Mélan to win a landslide scorecard.

A new Cage Warriors Middleweight Champion is crowned. Djati Mélan.

  • Co-Main Event: Christian Leroy Duncan defeats Justin Moore via Submission (RNC) R1

Christian Leroy Duncan was a sixteen wheel truck in a single lane of traffic in this fight. Landing a flying knee rocking his opponent at the start of the fight, Duncan then proceeded to out grapple Moore, taking him down, forcing the back-take and landing lots of damaging ground and pound.

Moore valiantly attempted to stand and exit out of the back door, to which Duncan responded sinking in a rear naked choke, and calling a halt to the contest. Brilliant performance from Duncan, who cannot be far away from a title shot.

  • Will Currie defeats Nikola Zlatev via Submission (Triangle)

Will Currie puts to bed the last two losses. From the moment Linkin Park blasted out of the York Hall arena speakers, Currie looked in charge. Great distance control, great footwork. Zlatev managed to land a takedown, in the second half of the first round. Zlatev, known for his grappling might have felt comfortable.

However Currie from the bottom began to reguard into a half butterfly guard, landing elbows from the bottom. He retracted his butterfly hook to threaten the traingle. More elbows from the bottom distracted Zlatev, allowing Currie to take wrap up the triangle, and the tap came soon after. A combination of the triangle choke and more hellish elbows.

  • Madars Fleminas defeats Oban Elliot via TKO R2.

An electric first round saw Fleminas rocked by an Oban Elliot overhand right, an exchange of takedowns, strikes and positions. The round ends with Oban Elliot fighting off a deep guillotine choke, wrapped up from the closed guard of Madars Fleminas before he rolled the Welshman over into the mounted guillotine.

The second round was all Fleminas, an ultra dominant grappling display from the Latvian Express. Fleminas with a back bodylock took Oban Elliot down via a leg trip mat return. Landing in a three-quarter mount and landing an unanswered flurry of strikes, forcing the stoppage.

  • Kingsley Crawford defeats Liam Gittens via Unanimous Decision

An early shout for Fight Of the Night.

Kingsley Crawford and Liam Gittens opened the main card like a bag full of fireworks. Ian Dean excelled in his matchmaking again. Gittens came out in the first round and for the first minute looked measured, and to be picking his shots cleanly. However, by midway through the first the old Liam Gittens rose out through his roaring chest and the marauding, square stance body punishing style of Gittens came out.

The clearest of rounds was the second, whereby Crawford dropped Gittens with a straight right hand, The third much like the first, a close war of attrition from both men. The closing period of the third was spent with Crawford on top, landing shots, which might have solidified the judges decision.

Undercard:

  • Tom Mearns defeats Jean N’Doye via Unanimous Decision
  • Luke Riley defeats Yuki Angdembe via TKO R1
  • Samir Kadi defeats Michael Tchamou via TKO R2
  • Nik Bagley defeats Scott Pederson via Submission (RNC) R2
  • Adam Cullen defeats Mikail Bayram via Submission (RNC) R1