Ah, Bonnie Scotland. Glasgow. Is there no finer setting for an evening of fights? Let’s be truthful, anyone with moderate awareness knows Glasgow is a tough old city. You can feel it when you first step into Central Station. The people are welcoming and lovely, but there is an essence of ‘don’t fuck with me’ which lingers behind those affable accents. And I’m from the North-East of England, so that’s saying something.
Absolute Championship Berkut has had considerable success in other areas of Europe, particularly in their homeland of Russia, yet this was their first venture into British MMA, and they didn’t hold back; they offered some big names and a stacked card of twenty fights, one after the other, with barely thirty seconds between each – this was not an evening for the faint-hearted!
There was so many noteworthy moments, and it would require an article of dissertation length to talk about all twenty fights, so I’ve discussed the main events and some stand out moments in detail, but I really recommend watching the whole event on YouTube. (It’s at the bottom of this article, in fact.)
Denis Ahern vs Shoabib Yusuf
From an outside perspective, this fight would have seemed one of the more insignificant fights on the card. Yusuf was making his professional debut, and Ahern had only one bout on his record; yet, this affair became of the most memorable moments of the night. From the second Shoabib Yusuf made his entrance, the crowd behind us were chanting his name.
The fight started, and it wasn’t long before Yusuf was wrapped around Ahern in the mould of a backpack; they were separated, but soon after Yusuf got a takedown and worked some ground and pound, before executing a lovely arm bar. An impressive debut, but equally impressive was the mania of his fans – with this kind of support already, the future looks bright for the English lad. My dad didn’t even come to my first football match…
Ed Arthur vs Brent Crawley
Earlier in the day we came across ‘King’ Arthur shadow boxing, looking collected and ready. He carried these mannerisms into the cage, as he confidently swaggered around and stared at his opponent before the fight began.
Though the first probably belonged to Crawley, Arthur’s aggression and crisp clean handwork was on show. This continued in the second as he worked both the head and the body of Crawley, before he got himself a guillotine victory. Crawley needed extensive medical attention afterwards, but he looked okay in the end. Strong win for one of England’s most intriguing and exciting fighters.
Ryan Scope vs Yusup Umarov
It’s a shame that the highly touted prospect Ryan Scope wasn’t able to fight for a couple of years, but the Sunderland based fighter made up for lost time in dramatic style. He began his fight with Yusup Umarov a little tentatively, and at one point Umarov landed a hard body kick which even made the crowd groan.
That tentativeness showed a little in the second round when Scope was dropped by a strong uppercut, yet what happened next didn’t follow the existing trajectory – somehow, this knockdown seemed to have the adverse effect on Ryan Scope, and once he got back to his feet he looked a completely different fighter. He picked apart Umarov with beautiful technique and in brutal fashion, ripping shot after shot to his head and body, before the referee rightfully stepped in.
He wiped away the dust and made a hell of a comeback. The uppercut seemed to wake him from his slumber. I can’t wait to see Ryan Scope fight again, and I hope he reaches his full potential. At 24, he’s got years of top level MMA, and the bigger leagues should be paying close attention.
Norman Parke vs Andrew Fisher
The stage was set for Norman Parke’s first fight since his cut from the UFC (a cut many people disagreed with), and it was with that in mind that this fight held so much importance. An apprehensive start by both soon led into the exchange of strong body kicks, with Fisher moving very effectively and avoiding the takedowns of Parke. It looked like it would be a frustrating evening for the Northern Irish Man.
But in the second Norman’s resilience prevailed as he finally scored a takedown. Though Fisher returned to his feet, the chants of ‘Norman’ from the crowd were perfectly timed as he stunned his opponent with a stern right hand. Fisher’s game plan seemed to be diminishing.
The third round was pivotal, which caused both guys to swing at a much higher volume. Parke’s left eye was starting to look a tad gruesome, but the man knows how to grind out a win. Experience and determination are factors to always be considered. A crucial victory for Norman Parke, and his popularity is still evident.
Saul Rogers vs Michell Adelina
Truthfully, there really isn’t too much to say about this fight. It went exactly as it should have done. Adelina was out of his depth before he even stepped into that cage, and it was a bewildering opponent choice.
Rogers stuck to the back Adelina and hit him with some deceivingly powerful shots, before he executed the choke and brought on the inevitable. ‘The Hangman’ looked exceptional again, and being such a likable guy, it seems foolish that none of the other larger organisations haven’t snapped him up since his whole UFC incident. Britain has potential. Let us fulfill it!
Robert Whiteford vs Kevin Petshi
With a tiny amount of exceptions, the matchmaking at this event was damn fine. It’s not easy to put 20 fights together, but ACB were very careful with planning their first British card, and the main event topped it all off fittingly. Making his return 6 months after his last UFC fight, the Scotsman Robert Whiteford was placed against Kevin Petshi, a young contender from France.
Stepping out to ‘O Flower of Scotland’, the Glasgow crowd stood up and sang emphatically. Sure, the place wasn’t full, but that did not matter; Scottish crowds hold the power of illusion with their voices, and you could’ve sworn there was ten thousand in attendance at this moment. Spine shivers all around, to put it in simple terms.
What ensued was a very technical yet gritty contest. Whiteford struck first with a takedown, and spent a significant amount of time in control, but Petshi switched things around towards the end and used his strength and speed to transition between positions. The bell rang, and it was 1-0 Whiteford. But it was damn close.
Robert instigated a takedown in the second, but it was the Frenchman who ended up on top. After they returned to their feet, Petshi clearly felt confident in the way things were going on the ground, and switched the action back to the canvas. Within three seconds the Scottish fans were hilariously yelling ‘stand them up’ to the referee – if only it was that easy. Both guys fought hard but Petshi got the better of this round, although Whiteford ended on top, much to the crowd’s delight. It was even going into the third.
What an important round. The home fighter encouraged the crowd, and they duly responded. Feeding off his audience, Whiteford tried to keep things standing and stunned his opponent with a firm shot. Both guys scored takedowns, and Whiteford did his best to nail a submission, but the tough French fella did enough to avoid being finished. Chants of ‘Scotland’ rang around the venue, and that morale support could have been the decisive edge in this encounter.
A tense judging announcement declared Whiteford a unanimous winner, and with the Scotland flag draped around him, celebrations ensued. It was a hard fought victory, but a deserved one. There are still things to come for the Scotsman, and the Frenchman can be proud of his performance. The perfect ending to a fine evening of mixed martial arts.
Other Honourable Mentions:
Adam Bramhald’s D’arce choke was one of the slickest I’ve seen in a while; Jake Bostwick’s formidable knockout of ‘The Cheesecake Assasin’; John Maguire upset the Scottish crowd with a lovely kimura on Kieran Malone, and Callum Murrie got a win on his professional debut with a head and arm triangle.
Full card results:
Robert Whiteford def. Kevin Petschi via UD.
Saul Rogers def. Michell Adelina via submission in 1st round.
Norman Parke def. Andrew Fisher via UD.John
Maguire def. Kieran Malone via submission in 3rd round.
Ed Arthur def. Brent Crawley via submission in 2nd round.
Gavin Hughes def. Chris Bungard via submission in 1st round.
Jake Bostwick def. Danny Mitchell via KO in 1st round.
Ryan Scope def. Yusup Umarov via TKO in 2nd round.
Sayd-Khamzat Avkhadov def. James Brum via UD.
Michael Bobner def. Majored Raisov via TKO in 2nd round.
Andy Spiers def. Beckhan Ezerkhanov via TKO in 1st round.
Shoaib Yousaf def. Denis Ahern via submission in 1st round
Ibragim Chuzhigaev def. Lee Chadwick via TKO in 1st round.
Calum Murrie def. Josh Abraham via submission in 1st round.
Shamil Shakhbulatov def. Arturo Chavez via UD
Daniel Crawford def. Alihan Suleimanov via TKO in 1st round.
Adam Bramhald def. Kevin Lobban via submission in 2nd round.
Ben Holdsworth def. Jack DeMarco via submission in 2nd round.
Rustam Asuev def Kim Thinghaugen via UD.
Dominic Dillon def. Jason Woods via UD.
(James Hammond was on location for this event at our behest, and sometimes writes stuff that we print here. He also writes for his own, very excellent blog, The MMA Fiesta. Go check it out, fools.)