New champion Moore delivers with dominance in Dublin to move a step closer to the UFC

Karl Moore is the new Cage Warriors light-heavyweight champion.


Paul Dollery reports from the 3Arena, Dublin

KARL MOORE WAS the headliner for Cage Warriors Fighting Championship’s return to Dublin and the Belfast native lived up to his billing as the star attraction.

Moore swept aside the challenge of American opponent Josh Clark tonight at Dublin’s 3Arena to win the vacant light-heavyweight title in the main event at Cage Warriors 81.

Karl Moore lands a punch on Josh Clark Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

In front of a healthy attendance for the mixed martial arts organisation’s first event in Ireland since August 2014, the Belfast native was backed by a vocal Irish crowd as he took his professional record to 8-1 with a comprehensive triumph over five rounds, following in the footsteps of Conor McGregor and Neil Seery by winning a Cage Warriors belt in Dublin.

Moore was utterly dominant in the opening frame. After defending an attempted takedown from Clark, Moore succeeded with one of his own and controlled proceedings on the ground. However, Clark’s defence of Moore’s rear-naked choke efforts brought the fight into a second round.

Karl Moore lands a punch on Josh Clark Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

When the contest resumed, Moore continued to enjoy superiority on the ground. Again he managed to take Clark’s back and threaten with the submission but the bell saved the former Ultimate Fighter contestant from another rear-naked choke attempt.

The early stages of the third round were played out on the feet, with Moore getting the better of the striking exchanges before looking for a takedown against the fence at the midway point of the frame. Clark was able to remain upright and while he was second-best once again, the Kentucky native was buoyed after landing a big shot just before the bell.

Karl Moore celebrates with his mother Jane Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

The fourth round was better for Clark but he was still unable to pose many questions of Moore, who landed regularly with the straight left. Clark needed a finish entering the fifth and final round to have any chance of becoming the first Cage Warriors light-heavyweight champion since Michael Bisping, but again he spent most of his time on the defensive as Moore took his back and made one last push for a submission.

Clark survived but it merely delayed the inevitable as Moore was awarded the unanimous-decision victory on scores of 49-44, 50-44, 50-42.

Catherine Costigan lands a punch on Wendy McKenna Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

In the co-main event, Limerick’s Catherine Costigan returned to action for the first time since suffering back-to-back Invicta FC losses. Costigan was pushed all the way by English opponent Wendy McKenna but managed to get back to winning ways, getting the nod from two of the three judges for a win by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).

After an excellent start to his professional career, Joe McColgan was dealt a setback tonight with his first defeat. McColgan, from Belfast, made a name for himself back in September when he scored an upset victory over UFC hopeful Peter Queally.

Joe McColgan in action against Arnold Quero Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

However, the 30-year-old lightweight was unable to build on that win when he shared the cage with experienced French fighter Arnold Quero. At the end of three closely-contested rounds, Quero was awarded the win but again the judges were split on the decision – 30-27, 28-29, 29-28.

Elsewhere on the main card, John Kavanagh was on cornering duty as Straight Blast Gym’s Blaine O’Driscoll delivered a sublime one-punch knockout of Cork rival Darren O’Gorman in the second round of their bantamweight bout, before Norway’s Hakon Foss submitted Englishman Martyn Harris in the first round of a welterweight contest.

Blaine O'Driscoll with his corner including Coach John Kavanagh and Richie Smullen (right) Gary Carr / INPHO Gary Carr / INPHO / INPHO

Cage Warriors 81 results

  • Karl Moore def Josh Clark via unanimous decision (49-44, 50-44, 50-42)
  • Catherine Costigan def. Wendy McKenna via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Arnold Quero def. Joe McColgan via split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
  • Hakon Foss def. Martyn Harris via submission (rear-naked choke) after 3:38 of the first round
  • Blaine O’Driscoll def. Darren O’Gorman via KO (punch) after 3:22 of the second round
  • Eric Nolan def. Marcin Zembala via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)
  • Maciej Gierszewski def. Romain Bidet via TKO (strikes) after 4:13 of the first round

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