BAMMA12 North East fight reports

Image of cage fence, Made4TheCage

By Brad Ward and Padraig Whelan at Cageside - It was a mixed night of results for Sunderland fighters as the region took home two wins and two defeats from the four fights they were involved in at BAMMA 12.

There was originally scheduled to be more representing Sunderland but injuries to opponents prevented Darren Wardle, Callum Cook and Anas Mounir from taking to the cage.


Here’s how the four fighters from the North East fared:

Steven ‘Bam Bam’ Gardener vs Mahmood BeSharate – Bantemweight: 3×5

Sunderland’s own Steven ‘Bam Bam’ Gardener lost by unanimous decision (29-28) in a nail-biter of a fight against Mahmood BeShatre. However, many spectators  disagreed with the decision and agreed that Gardener was robbed.

‘Bam Bam’ came out quick and went for the takedown but BeSharate managed to back up to the fence and hold him off until Gardener sunk his hip and harms lower and slammed him to the mat. Once BeSharate hipped up back to his feet ‘Bam Bam’ caught the double leg and lifted him over his shoulder and slammed him in the centre of the octagon and quickly transitioned to the a leg lock.

Gardener ended up in the guard after letting go of the leg lock, but BeSharate was able to create a scramble that caused some awkward positions for both fighters. Towards the end of the round Gardener postured up and saw the 1st round out kicking the legs of his downed opponent.

In the 2nd round the Sunderland native took BeSharates back with an acrobatic move that locked in the rear-naked choke after spending most of the round working for the choke Gardener gave it up and maneuvered the top position. After putting on the body-lock and working for the submission again he was unable to finish which gave BeSharate the time to reverse the hold and sit in the guard, but ‘Bam Bam’ shrimped his hips out and managed to get back to his feet and again saw the round out kicking his downed opponents legs.

The 3rd round began with more exciting combinations from Gardener who dropped BeSharate flush on the chin with a knee after a spinning back-fist attempt. More ground work followed but neither fighter was able to work for the finish so late in the fight. BeSharate was able to mount the Sunderland lad and finished the final round with ground and pound.

Result: BeSharate def Gardener by unanimous decision (29-28)

Ryan ‘Big Baby’ Scope vs Luke ‘Nukem’ Newman- Welterweight: 3×5

Ryan Scope defeated Luke Newman via triangle in the 1st round in a pearl of a fight that sent the home crowd into frenzy.

North East fighter Scope fought The Ultimate Fighter contestant Newman in one of the most exciting fights of the night. Scope, who was undefeated faced another undefeated fighter in Newman who had never been out of the first round and who has trained with American Top Team with some of the best fighters in the world and who are UFC accredited.

The 21-year-old came out aggressive against Newman with a well-timed head kick, ‘Big Baby’ then wrestled him to the ground and took his back and worked for the rear-naked choke. After Newman got back to his feet the North East lad then dumped him back to the mat.

After some ground work ‘Nukem’ was able to get back to his feet and land a devastating knee to the body which caused Scope to wince and drop to the mat, Newman then swarmed him with vicious punches and elbows. Then after some extremely aggressive ground and pound the referee looked as though he was going to stop the fight but Scope showed a lot of guts and managed to stay in the fight and find the opening to hook his leg over the left shoulder and then tightened up the triangle which caused Newman to tap.

Result: Scope def Newman via triangle in round 1

Leeroy Barnes v Steve Watson – Middleweight

Following on from his victory in Sunderland at Made4TheCage 8 last year, Liverpool’s Leeroy Barnes made it another successful return to the region by beating local lad Watson.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Watson, who fights out of Newcastle, fell to a first round defeat at the hands of ‘The Cardi King’ who picked up the 10th submission win of his career from 12 victories.

He tagged Watson early in a flurry of punches with a strong left hook and sank in an excruciatingly tight guillotine choke as Watson fell to the mat.

With 47 seconds of the opening minute gone, he was forced to tap to the choke as Barnes moved his record to 12-10.

Barnes def. Watson via rear naked choke at 0:47 of Round 1

Curt Warburton v Stevie Ray – Lightweight British Lonsdale title

Durham native and another home crowd favourite, Curt Warburton brought the biggest cheer of the night out of a raucous crowd when he wrestled the lightweight championship from exciting Scotsman Stevie Ray’s grasp at the end of a three round thriller.

Warburton, 12-3, did enough in the eyes of the judges to pick up the championship belt with a unanimous decision victory, 29-28 across the boards.

After a tentative start to the contest, Ray’s exuberance in the stand up to catch Warburton saw him caught off balance and taken to the ground by the wily former UFC star.

From there, the crowd roared on ‘The War’ as he used an excellent wrestling and top control to dictate where and when the fight went for the remainder of the round, wearing the champion down with good work from his guard and firing off shots when the opportunity arose.

However, in the second round, the man who had been training with one of the best wrestlers in MMA, Georges St Pierre, at Tristar gym in Canada, displayed the skills he had learned there much better.

‘Braveheart’ showcased his own excellent grappling skills by controlling Warburton much more in this round and by pressing him against the cage and to the ground, he clawed his way back into the contest by taking this round.

So, with one round remaining and the scores tied level, the men shared a brief embrace at the start of the third before going to battle knowing that this round was the decisive one.

Again, the 12-3 Warburton showed great grappling technique to wear Ray down again on the ground and refused to allow him any chance to get himself back to the feet and into the contest once more.

When he eventually did get back up, there was not enough time remaining to make a real impact on changing the scores and although he connected with a fierce head kick, the final gong to signal the end of the fight meant a tense wait from both men before the champion was crowned.

In the end, the judges saw it the way of ‘The War’, a decision that was greeted with rapturous applause by the majority of those in attendance.

Warburton def. Ray via unanimous decision