Dominique Wooding showed his sharp striking skills on Thursday, finding an opening and stopping Nathan Fletcher in the third round of a bout to earn the vacant Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship.
The fight headlined Cage Warriors 127, which took place at the York Hall in London, England.
Wooding put an end to Fletcher’s wrestling-heavy performance with a damaging flurry of strikes.
Wooding hurt Fletcher late in the third round, countering a takedown attempt with a flying knee. After further hurting Fletcher with punches from a body lock position, Wooding separated, then landed a head kick and a combination of punches that scored a knockdown and caused an end to the fight.
Fletcher had a near three successful rounds of action before the finishing sequence, using takedowns to control Wooding for a large portion of the fight.
Wooding won his Cage Warriors debut in just June, needing just over a minute to stop Cameron Hardy with strikes. He joined the promotion after a three-fight stint in Bellator from 2019 to 2020.
Fletcher was being given a title shot after a flawless six-fight run in the promotion. Having made his debut in 2019, Fletcher finished all of his opponents, including three who had undefeated records going into their meeting.
Reed Submits Returning Khizriev, Hands Him First Loss
Josh Reed handed Kurban Khizriev his first pro loss in the co-main event, securing a first-round rear naked choke submission.
Reed took the fight down in the second minute of action, although the fight returned to the feet shortly after he lost control on the back of Khizriev.
Reed got the fight back down a minute later, passing to side control then into full mount before getting to the back again and securing the submission.
Reed has flipped between winning and losing in his past six bouts. His prior appearance was in June, where prospect Dylan Hazan picked up a unanimous decision over him.
Khizriev was appearing in MMA for the first time in nearly six years. His rookie year as a pro was in 2015, where he picked up four wins.
Evans Comes Back From Early Injury, Gets Decision Nod Over Maia
Dealing with an early injury, Rory Evans battled back to secure a unanimous decision win over Weslley Maia on the main card.
Evans seemingly tripped and fell halfway through the first round after a leg kick he threw landed awkwardly.
Maia used this discomfort to take the fight to the ground early on, where he scored with punches. Evans was able to slow the pace of strikes from Maia with a submission attempt.
An injury to the right leg of Evans became apparent early in the second round, as he slightly slipped again while doing basic footwork on the mat.
Evans spent a large portion of the second and third rounds closing the distance and getting takedowns. The work he did in these positions was enough to get him the victory. He had a strong final round, finishing the fight with ground and pound from the back of Maia.
Evans is now on a strong four-fight winning streak that includes two previous appearances in Cage Warriors.
Maia had a three-fight win appearance broken in his prior bout, losing to Michele Martignoni in late 2020.
Elliott Puts Away McManus Early In Brawl
Oban Elliott scored an explosive win over George McManus, ending a one-round brawl with a series of hard punches in the third minute.
Elliott dropped McManus with a three-punch combination that finished with a clean right cross. The combo caused the referee to step in, ending the bout.
Elliott’s previous appearance saw his first loss, where he was stopped in 2020 against Mike Figlak.
McManus now has a negative pro record of two wins and three losses. He lost to now-UFC fighter Ian Garry in his previous fight, which took place roughly a year ago.
Crawford Calls End To Clinch Battle With Submission
Kingsley Crawford secured a submission win in the opening bout of the main card, finishing Adam Wilson in the third round.
Crawford’s finish scored a victory for him after a close start to the fight.
A large portion of the fight took place in a clinch position, where Crawford and Wilson scored with close elbows, knees and punches.
Crawford was able to cut Wilson open early with an elbow to the head.
The sub for Crawford put him back into the win column after suffering a decision loss to Ben Ellis late last year.
Wilson was coming back after suffering his first pro loss last year, getting finished by Weslley Maia.
The Rest of the Card
Bakhtyaar Oryakhail won his pro debut on the prelims, applying a triangle choke over fellow debutant Jack Clarke for a tap.
Ryan Shelley opened the prelims by picking up his second pro win, notching a mounted rear naked choke submission in the second round against Liam Molloy.
Main Card (4:00PM EDT / 9:00PM BST) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 7: Dominique Wooding def. Nathan Fletcher via TKO, Strikes (RD 3, 4:21) (Vacant Cage Warriors Bantamweight Championship)
Bout 6: Josh Reed def. Kurban Khizriev via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 1, 3:23)
Bout 5: Rory Evans def. Weslley Maia via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 4: Oban Elliott def. George McManus via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 2:47)
Bout 3: Kingsley Crawford def. Adam Wilson via Submission, Darce Choke (RD 3, 2:43)
Preliminary Card (3:15PM EDT / 8:15PM BST) (UFC Fight Pass)
Bout 2: Bakhtyaar Oryakhail def. Jack Clarke via Submission, Triangle Choke (RD 1, 2:39)
Bout 1: Ryan Shelley def. Liam Molloy via Submission, Rear Naked Choke (RD 2, 3:23)