Craig Jones went the distance with Matheus Diniz in the main event of Grapplefest 2 in Liverpool, UK after a closely fought affair. Here's what else went down.
Diniz showed early signs of explosive intent, ferociously trying to pass the guard and avoid giving Jones the chance to come under and elevate into any kind of leg entanglement. Ultimately, Diniz’ efforts were fruitless with the latter parts of the match taking place in the closed guard of Jones, with either men unable to advance their position.
The judges raised the hands of Jones, to the astonishment of Diniz, who cut a frustrated figure following the announcement.
Jones’ hype train continues to build momentum and Diniz is another scalp on a list that seems to keep on growing.
The event featured over 20 head-to-head match-ups,. In the co-main event, Jones’ team mate mate Ben Hodgkinson made light work of British prospect Ashley Amos. Countering a takedown attempt, the Aussie swept, passed and clinically took the back before sinking in a rear-naked choke for a quick submission. Amos has a particularly pressure-heavy style but was completely denied any chance to bring it into play.
In a late addition to the card, 10th Planet’s Ben Eddy flew in to meet Ashley Williams in what promised to be a technical and fast paced match. Both men are EBI veterans and were used to submission-only rule sets and the announcement of the match caused a buzz.
Williams, fresh off an overtime win on KASAI Pro 3, came out far more aggressive than Eddy and quickly put him on his back with no chance to tie up or any real attempt at a threatening guard.
Throughout, Williams really pushed the pace in the exchanges with Eddy and looked the more athletic of the two. Williams’ guard retention was impressive and he did enough to get the judges’ nod. All-in-all, a fun and technical match – you get the feeling this wont be the last time these two meet in this format.
Two exciting British stand-outs, Ross Nicholls and Sean McDonagh met in a match that excited the UK domestic scene. Nicholls has one of the most technical guards in the country, while McDonagh– technical himself– always provides the entertainment with his never-say-die style.
Nicholls was threatening in the early exchanges with the leg entanglements, but McDonagh managed to ride an early heel hook attempt. However, Nicholls was particular insistent and went back for the heel again which ultimately paid off.
Noted filmmaker and jiu-jitsu black belt Stuart Cooper looked particularly impressive against Ben Dyson, controlling Dyson throughout and threatening with an early arm bar attempt. Cooper has recently featured in Quintet and Boa Super 8 and shared with FloGrappling that by beating Dyson he hopes to gain further opportunities on submission-only shows.
Arguably the fight of the night, Jack Grant and Eoghan O’Flanaghan went the full 10 minutes with Grant taking the decision.
Report by Tom Bell
Craig Jones def Matheus Diniz via decision
Ben Hodgkinson def Ash Amos via rear naked choke
Ashley Williams def Ben Eddy via decision
Ross Nicholls def Sean McDonagh via heel hook
Jack Grant def Eoghan O’Flanaghan via decision
Stuart Cooper def Ben Dyson via decision
Matty Holmes def Ben Bennet via heel hook
Kieran Davern def Nick Forrer via armbar
Tom Caughey def Chris Walsh via decision
Jay Butler def Harry McKnight via heel hook
Maia Holmes def Lucy Harrison via decision
Shea Williams def Theo McEvett via decision
Jack Sear def Kev Corkhill via decision
Mark Lindars def Tommy Everett via decision
Ian Jones def James Bland via decision
Josh Cherrington def Callum Morris via arm triangle
Chris Paines def James Orr via kneebar
Nichola Fishwick def Ellie Boylan via kneebar
Ian Wales def Ash Fletcher via triangle
Naqi Arshed def Piotr Chojnacki via decision
Andrew Hardwick def Brett Reeves via heel hook
Jack Rimmer def Travis Hern via kimura
Anthony Duffy def James Winstlanley via guillotine
Louise Thompson def Georgia Munnerley via decision