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Faced with a last-minute replacement opponent in Maia (3-4), who ventured into hostile territory on less than 24 hours’ notice, Shore (9-0) was clearly not interested in taking any chances on the feet. He shot for a takedown early, insisted on it, and wouldn’t relent until he had an overwhelmed Maia lying on the bottom of his ground-and-pound.
Despite showing gumption early, Brazil’s Maia was unable to escape the Welshman’s pressure on the ground. Less than three minutes into the featherweight bout, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from Ice Arena in Cardiff, Wales, the ref stepped in to call it off.
Shore, who dealt with two opponent changes for the headliner in Wales, kept his record perfect with the dominant display. Maia is on a two-fight skid after his first time fighting outside of Brazil.
Maia, a muay Thai specialist, was immediately aggressive, advancing with strikes on a southpaw stance. Shore looked to change levels early, though wasting no time in shooting for a takedown. Maia was able to resist for a bit, but Shore kept the pressure, and eventually managed to trip Maia onto the ground. From there, Shore quickly moved to top position, landing elbows from there. Maia managed to keep Shore at half guard for a while but ended up relenting the back in an attempt to escape. Shore immediately flattened Maia from there, landing punches to the sides of his head in what seemed like a fight-finishing moment.
Maia managed to get out from the dangerous position as the ref called for a reaction, but ended up giving up the mount the process. From there, Shore unleashed with punches and elbows. Although Maia was still somewhat defending himself with his hands, he didn’t seem too likely to be able to improve his position from there, prompting referee Marc Goddard to call the end of the action at the 2:51 mark of Round 1.
However, as Formela lived up to his “Polish Machida” nickname with every carefully curated punch and kick that landed clean on Jones’ face and body, it was Jones’ grittiness and aggressiveness that paid off big as the final two minutes of the first round approached.
After sniffing blood with a knee to the body, Jones made sure to stalk his prey to the end. After a few hooks and elbows, but mostly a whole lot of knees, the referee had seen enough. The impressive comeback meant Jones got to keep his unblemished record, while Formela had a four-fight winning streak snapped.
Formela seemed find the distance early, throwing few, but effective shots. Jones took a big kick and a big knee to the body and seemed rocked early, but weathered the storm. Formela kept the offense, though, and landed a solid hand flush on Jones’ face before tripping and dropping him to the ground. Formela worked from a visibly hurt Jones’ guard, but managed to keep enough distance to still land good shots on the ground. Jones never surrendered, though, and stayed active enough to get the fight back on the feet. As soon as they got back up, and Formela wasted no time throwing another power-laced body kick.
Jones was clearly the one taking most of the damage on the feet, but kept pushing forward despite Formela’s dangerous counters. In the final two minutes of the first round, though, things started turning around. A tired-looking Formela seemed to slow down significantly, as Jones found his groove. Then, a knee to Formela’s body changed the whole story of the fight. Seeing his hurt opponent, Jones made sure to capitalize, overwhelming Formela against the cage with his dirty boxing and unleashing the flurry of knees that prompted the ref to step in.
Kicking off the main card, 18-year-old prospect Cory Mckenna (2-1) put on a valiant, gutsy effort against Cage Warriors debutante Micol DiSegni (6-1), but ended up on the losing end of a split decision. It was the first loss of the young strawweight’s career, while 30-year-old DiSegni pushed his winning streak to five.
Complete Cage Warriors 97 results included:
MAIN CARD (UFC Fight Pass)
PRELIMINARY CARD (SPORTbible Facebook)
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